My Favorite Fictional Witches
by Pat Carbonell
Greetings! Hope you all survived the midwinter holiday of your choice! As we bring 2006 to a close, I thought I'd share with all of you my favorite fictional witches.
I grew up with "The Wonderful World of Disney" on Sunday nights (much more fun than "60 Minutes", although Andy Rooney can be a hoot sometimes), so of course my earliest exposure to witches was Disney...
Malificent (Sleeping Beauty): I LOVE her! How cool to be tall, slender, elegant and able to turn into a dragon! I wanted her robes, her horned headdress and her raven. Of course, being a dumpy kid may have had something to do with that... but she was so deliciously evil! (Okay, so I had 2 older sisters and I WANTED to be able to toast their asses.)
Mad Madam Mim (The Sword in the Stone): Another shape-changer (and what insane shapes!). She's crazy as a loon, gives Merlin a pain in his behind and looks like a walking rag bag. Sure, she's another "bad" witch, but she's so much fun!
Then there was the classic "Wizard of Oz". I still prefer The Wicked Witch of the West to Glinda. Come on, she's got the hat, the broom and oh, her flying monkeys! I had a sticker on my computer at my last job that said "Don't make me get my flying monkeys!". Sure, she was green, and obviously hadn't taken a bath EVER, but she had so much more character than Glinda... Glinda was all frills and lace and glitter and she smiled all the time! Borrrring!
When I got a bit older I started reading mythology and folklore. Ran into a lot of the "bake the kiddies" sorts, but my fave was Baba Yaga. Who wouldn't want a self-propelled cottage on chicken legs? Much cooler than an RV.
A couple of years ago my niece got me hooked on the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett. He's a British satirist who I SWEAR must be a hereditary witch, 'cause this man knows waaaay too much truth to be floundering around in his imagination. He has five primary character lines in the books, although they do overlap sometimes. He's up to nine books (that I know of) about witches, and there are two who stand out:
Granny (Esmerelda) Weatherwax: She is the premier witch in Lancre (a small country with more vertical land than horizontal). She lives alone (until acquiring a kitten in "Wintersmith") outside of and serves the village of Bad Ass (named for a stubborn donkey). Her sister grew up to be a "bad" witch, so Granny had to be the "good" witch, which she's never forgiven her sister for - goes against all her instincts. She's tough as old boot leather, and swears that most witchcraft is "headology" - telling people the stories they want to hear to justify doing the common sense right thing... like goblins being drawn to foul a well because the privy's too close. She's got no patience for the witches that go in for all the occult jewelry, candles, crystal balls and ritual circles - she knows it's just set dressing.
Nanny (Gytha) Ogg: She lives in Lancre Town, surrounded by her extended clan of sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. She's as old as the hills, as big around as she is tall, has had multiple husbands, and is a thorough hedonist. She loves men, sex, alcohol and her vicious tomcat Greebo. She wears red boots, and makes no apology for them. She's also the best midwife in Lancre, and very, very wise about what makes people tick.
I want to be a combination of Granny and Nanny when I grow up - I've already got the hedonist part down!
So that's my list. Anybody got any others? Tell me about them.
And have a Happy New Year! If you're going to be celebrating on the Eve, please remember that there are people who love you and play safe... we want you around for 2007!
Pat will be the Uber Witch.