Witches abroad is the third in Granny Weatherwax sequence and one of my personal favourites in a strong field. Terry Pratchett’s books are like onions there are layers. The basic plot is Magrat is left a Magic wand by one of the ramptops witches who also happens to be a fairy godmother. There is a girl in Genua who is going to a marry a prince and this being Discworld it needs to be stopped.
Let me take a minute there with my proud feminist hat on and punch the air. Women fighting against the established narrative that a young girl must be wanting to marry the prince.
Anyhoo, something is rotten in the city of Genua and it isn’t just the zombies.
Granny, Nanny and Magrat journey to Genua in order to sort this shambles out. Granny becomes ever more herself in this, with bad ass card playing and dispensing her own brand of terrifying justice. (As an aside I think Granny Weatherwax’s justice and The Doctor’s justice have a scary amount in common and it made me smile). Also her nemesis is rather more familiar than she would like to admit.
Nanny Ogg comes more to the fore in this one, whilst Granny feels like the most powerful, Nanny has her own way of gaining and using power. I wish I had her social skills. I also wish I had Greebo but that’s a different paragraph. The postcards home are a joy.
Magrat too develops in this novel, she often feels overwhelmed by these two strong characters but seeing her grow and gain is ace.
Also Greebo gets his first human transformation in this one and a crush was born in my teenaged self.
I love the way that fairy stories are parodied and twisted in this novel. We get one of the saddest big bad wolves ever, also creepy sleeping beauty not least the Cinderella motif. Mirrors and reflections are also important. In fact the more I think about Witches Abroad the more I remember and the more I want to smoosh this book so hard. It is riotously funny. Even knowing it well I laughed out loud rather more than is usually considered sane.
I also loved that Genua is loosely based on New Orleans with its Fat Tuesday and it’s voodoo themes. There are so many references packed in that I’m sure I missed loads even now.
Next up in the Great Re-Read is Lords and Ladies in which we first meet my Discworld counterpart Agnes Nitt. Also Faeries, morris dancing and more Shakespeare references. Can you wait?