Terry Pratchett – Wyrd Sisters

And this is where the fun really begins. The knobs[1] are all turned up to eleventeen[2], and Terry really gets into the swing of things. The jokes flow like something that flows a lot, the characters develop, and above all, the Story becomes a powerful force.

As the title hints, there’s more than a little fun being had with Shakespeare in the sixth Discworld novel, and this is the most significant instance so far of ideas from some other place leaking into the magical reality of the Disc. There will be more of this later, sometimes just hinted at, and other times done with all the subtlety of a brick. Both methods work remarkably well, as it happens.

But to return to the story at hand, Wyrd Sisters sees the return of Granny Weatherwax, last seen a few books ago in Equal Rites. This time she’s at home in the tiny kingdom of Lancre, and she’s got a coven, consisting of Nanny Ogg and the very young and very enthusiastic Magrat Garlick. Magrat is very keen on doing things that she thinks witches are supposed to do, including the coven thing. Granny and Nanny aren’t so sure, but go along…

As the cauldron bubbled an eldritch voice shrieked: ‘When shall we three meet again?’

There was a pause.

Finally, another voice said, in far more ordinary tones: ‘Well, I can do next Tuesday.’

Verence, King of Lancre, wasn’t too bad as kings go. He only burned down the occasional cottage, for instance. But he starts the story by being murdered by the somewhat less pleasant Duke Felmet, who is of course driven by his even less pleasant wife, in true Shakespearean style. Being a King, he gets to haunt the castle along with all his predecessors.

And much fun follows, with Verence’s heir being hidden and taken to a new life with a company of travelling players, time being warped a bit, and more jokes than you can shake a Fool’s bladder at.

And one of my favourite lines concerning Granny Weatherwax gets an outing

I do hope she hasn’t happened to someone

Enjoy the Shakespearean references, not least the dwarf playwright Hwel, who suffers from an excess of inspiration – it’s been established that particles of inspiration flow through time and space and occasionally zap into some poor sod’s brain, where depending on circumstances, something may happen. Hwel gets this a lot, with some very odd ideas bursting into his brain, leading to him writing scenes that just aren’t going to play on the Discworld

1ST WITCHE: He’s Late
(Pause)
2ND WITCHE: He said he would come
(Pause)
3RD WITCHE: He said he would come but he hasn’t. This is my last newt. I saved it for him. And he hasn’t come.

And so on, and indeed, so forth. Loads of fun, and you’ll need to read it at least twice to make sure you didn’t miss any of the jokes.

Coming up next in the Great Terry Pratchett Re-read-athon is something a wee bit different.

[1] Especially those at the end of wizards’ staffs
[2] At least

2 thoughts on “Terry Pratchett – Wyrd Sisters

  1. Pingback: The Great Terry Pratchett Re-read-athon | Losing it

  2. Pingback: Terry Pratchett – Lords and Ladies | Losing it

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