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Rarely There

A collection of discourses - myriad, profound, uplifting...
Bah! Who am I kidding?!
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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wyrd Sisters

I am waiting for a few books I've placed on hold at my public library. Meanwhile, I enjoyed Mort very much. And Equal Rites before that. Still no sign of my books - my place is 125th out of 185 holds, 45th out of 88 holds and so on - so am not holding my breath or anything...

Following closely on Equal Rites, I wanted to read Wyrd Sisters and Witches Abroad (in that order)... the three form trilogy of sorts (if I don't count Lords and Ladies, that is).

Wyrd Sisters brings back Granny Weatherwax (introduced in Equal Rites), a clever and well-developed character in Terry Pratchett's Discworld books. Along with Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick, Granny Weatherwax roughly establishes a coven-of-sorts, forming the titular Wyrd Sisters.

Terry Pratchett parodies anything and everything, and blends myths, fairy tales and renowned literary works into an engaging plot. Not to mention his take on String Theory and Quantum Mechanics! As a Physics student, I found this masterly and charming.

Wyrd Sisters starts with the unmistakable reference to MacBeth: the three witches (Nanny Ogg, Magrat Garlick, Granny Weatherwax) have convened and a portentious voice asks, "When shall we meet again?", and gets the response "I can do next Tuesday".

Very typically Terry Pratchett, that.

Wyrd Sisters parodies a bit of Hamlet, a bit of King Lear as well, as far as I could keep up. The plot is not terribly convoluted, but, has enough twists and creative elements to keep it interesting till the end. Plus, each character is distinct, engrossing and elemental to the plot.

The king of Lancre is murdered and the throne usurped by this evil tyrant, who of course is driven by his dominating and power-crazy wife. While the murdered king of Lancre haunts his castle, his baby boy is carried away in the dead of the night and dumped unceremoniously on Granny Weatherwax's lap to do the needful.

Sounds familiar?

A-ha! but, you have to read this book with soft carpeting and cushions all around you so you don't hurt yourself when keeling over laughing. Terry Pratchett adds his inimitable touch to the story that even the most jaded reader has to sit up and take notice - even if briefly.

The three witches - young and new-age Magrat, matronly and drunken-sailor-like Nanny Ogg, and tall/sleek no-nonsense and powerful Granny Weatherwax - make for a very interesting coven of witches whose altercations and antics bring out their unique characters and the relationships.

Not to mention Greebo, the cat, who terrorizes anything and everything he comes across, even if they are 4 times his size, but is just a silly/sweet kitty to Nanny Ogg.

One of my favorite characters in this book is The Fool, a mandatory Shakespearean fixture at royal courts, except The Fool is surprisingly profound, astute, and naive at the same time. A wonderful character one has to read, unfold and discover.

All's Well That Ends Well, of course. The throne is restored to the (not-so) rightful heir, good triumphs over evil and what-not. But that is not all. Oh no, that is not all.

I enjoyed Witches Abroad much more than Wyrd Sisters, and am looking forward to recording my take on it soon...

Excerpts I'd like to come back and read here:
This is how Olwyn Vitoller treats Granny to a low bow:
The hat swerved and jerked through a series of complex arcs, ending up at the end of an arm which was now pointing in the direction of the sky. One of his legs, meanwhile, had wandered off behind him. The rest of his body sagged politely until his head was level with Granny's knees.

Magrat liked to be presentable as a witch, with her occult bangles, lined cloak, not to mention her face:
Magrat had used a lot of powder to make her face pale and interesting. It combined with the lavishly applied mascara to give the guard the impression that he was looking at two flies that had crashed into a sugar bowl. He found his fingers wanted to make a sign to ward off the evil eyeshadow.

Magrat and The Fool seem to have taken a liking for each other:
(Magrat) had been in deep conversation with the Fool, although it was the kind of conversation where both the parties spend a lot of time looking at their feet and picking at their fingernails. Ninety percent of true love is acute, ear-burning embarrassment.

It is almost impossible to convey the sudden passage of fifteen years and two months in words.
It's a lot easier in pictures, when you just use a calendar with lots of pages blowing off, or a clock with hands moving faster and faster until they blur, or trees bursting into blossom and fruiting in a matter of seconds...
Well, you know. Or the sun becomes a fiery streak across the sky, and days and nights flicker past jerkily like a bad zoetrope, and the fashions visible in the clothes shop across the road whip on and off faster than a lunchtime stripper with five pubs to do.

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