It’s time for week two of the read-along of Terry Pratchett’s Wintersmith! This week’s reading is chapters 5 through 7, and questions have been provided by Lisa of the blog Over the Effing Rainbow. I actually decided to travel to London this weekend, just to get more in the mood of British fantasy while writing my answers! (Okay, not entirely true, I went to actually went London to see friends, and it just happened to coincide with the Wintersmith reading ^_^.)
1. "I'm not here..." At Miss Treason's funeral, we see Tiffany get the better of the Feegles, sneaky though they are! What do you think of the way Tiffany's 'witching' is getting better here?
I think it’s kind of interesting that the types of “witching” Tiffany is best at involve manipulating herself, more than her surroundings. In the previous books, her “See Me” trick was her most advanced skill (though it turned out to be pretty dangerous), and here we see her able to render herself effectively invisible. Even the warmth magic we see at the beginning of the book primarily involved her holding herself in balance, rather than tossing elemental energy around randomly. I think it’s a pretty cool take on “witchery”, and it’s also pretty impressive that she can out-hide pictsies.
2. It's decided that Annagramma gets the cottage, at the meeting of witches - but we learn that Mistress Weatherwax put Tiffany forward for it. Do you think Tiffany should have gotten the cottage?
No, I don’t think so. For one thing, she didn’t want it. She wants to go home to the Chalk. For another, while she is probably skilled enough at this point to take on a cottage, it would not help her in the witch network. A lot of witchery seems to be social-network influenced, and having a young girl promoted over all the older, more experienced contenders, just because she was a pet of Mistress Weatherwax’s, would not do wonders for Tiffany’s reputation. So, I think Mistress Weatherwax would be right to say Tiffany was ready for it, but I don't think everyone else would see it that way. I tend to agree with Tiffany that the whole situation was a designed by Mistress Weatherwax to show everyone that Mrs. Earwig is a lousy witch teacher.
3. Nanny Ogg appears at last, to take Tiffany in while the wintersmith's about. Next to Mistress Weatherwax, she's my favourite of the witches! What do you think of her so far?
She seems pretty great. All of the witches we’ve seen so far have been very solitary, so it’s nice to see that this is not necessarily the rule. It’s also nice to see that women can have magic and families in Discworld. I like that we have both a very stereotypical witch (Miss Treason) and a very non-stereotypical witch (Nanny Ogg) in the same story.
4. We learn a little more about "the dance" that Tiffany interrupted, now - and I love the summer-winter mythology that's explained to her here. What's your take on the effect it's having on Tiffany (and her feet)? And do you think we'll be seeing more of the Summer Lady as well as the Wintersmith?
I think we’ll be seeing more of the Summer Lady in Tiffany, and possibly more minor gods like Anoia. I think we will definitely see more of the Wintersmith, in a literal sense, because he seems quite determined to construct himself a human body.
5. Poor Annagramma ... I'm starting to have a little more sympathy for her now, as she turns up desperately seeking skulls! Do you think she's got what it takes to be a good witch, when it counts? Or is her case as hopeless as it seems?
I think it is as hopeless as it seems. It’s not that she’s a bad person, but she just really isn’t cut out for this. And as Nanny Ogg says, Tiffany is not going to get any thanks for helping her. I’m actually wondering if Annagramma is going to realize this really isn’t her calling, and end up going to University to become a female wizard.
6. Oh, dear. Rob Anybody has a Plan ... With all of the seriousness surrounding what Tiffany's gotten herself into, do you think the Feegles can help her this time? Or are even they in over their heads?
I am pretty amazed as to how well their plan seems to be working. They said, “Tiffany will read anything put in front of her,” and they were so right. I did like that Tiffany’s initial reaction to the romance novel was that the author didn’t seem to know much about raising and caring for sheep. I have no idea if this will help her with her feelings about Roland (the Feegles are really not equipped to help her with that), but maybe she can get more used to the idea of romance from the books. Then again, she is only just thirteen, so she has plenty of time to figure out what the feelings she has about Roland mean.