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.
Also, I read this book when I was little (and have read it again about 100 times since) called The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes. Little Witch Girl is one of my favorite characters from my "back in the day" books.
Posted by: michele | December 28, 2006 8:03 AM
Sabrina cause she only uses her powers to get into fun mishaps!
and she has got a great rack!
Posted by: turtle | December 28, 2006 8:05 AM
Always been partial toward Sabrina, too -- the old archie comics version
Posted by: Kory | December 29, 2006 10:29 AM
I'd have to say my favorite witches are Farulza Balk in The Worst Witch. It showed me that even witches screw up too and can still be a hero. I still laugh about the snob-girl being turned into a pig by accident. THAT was funny.
I'm also a big fan of Professor McGonagal from Harry Potter. She is a fine example of what a witch can aspire to be. If I could learn that shape-shifting trick, I'd be a very happy witch. I've heard it takes a lot of practice though. ;)
Not to mention Miss H. Granger. A fine example of a young witch trying to be her best and trying to find strong friendships in the mess. Its got to be tough hanging out with two cute boys all day and still try to be interesting to them.
Posted by: Jo | December 29, 2006 1:24 PM
I forgot one witch I like. Her name is Tiffany. She's the granddaughter of a Shepharding witch, called Granny Aching. Tiffany is found in Terry Prachett's books. She comes of age, after her grandmother passes away, and suddenly finds herself needing to know about what it is to be a witch. She soon finds herself the "big wee-hag" of a tribe of small, blue, redhaired Scotsmen called the "Mac-Nac Feegles". They pledge to honor, protect and fight for her no matter what she asks. At one point in her story she ends up their clan leader and must marry one of the Feegles. She sets her price of marriage at "I will marry him when the mountains have turned to rubble.", which the frightened Feegle, Rob Anybody, happily accepts - knowing that day will not come in his lifetime.
Tiffany goes through many adventures finding herself, rescuing people, friends, her brother, the Baron's son, and discovers through her adventures that she doesn't, in fact, know everything and if she's going to get through her life as a witch, she's got a lot to learn about people.
She reminds me a lot of myself and I think thats why I like it so much. The Feegles, they kinda remind me of my friends.
Posted by: Jo | December 29, 2006 1:31 PM