This week’s Top 5 called for favourite books featuring a paranormal creature of your choosing. Because witches are my absolute favourite thing in the world I have gone for them.
Honestly, I love them. In all their versions. And believe me fiction and real life have assigned them many roles and many guises.
I love witches so much that I’m trying to write a novel about them.
*Sighs wistfully at wishing she could pull her finger out and get on and write the darn thing*
But here are some actual books written by actual authors that are actually awesome.
Did you think that because it’s a book for children that The Witches by Roald Dahl couldn’t possibly be terrifying?
Never have anyone tell you that children’s books can’t be scary. Maybe it’s because I read this as a child and not as an adult that this remains a very creepy story for me. I had nightmares for ages after watching the movie version and I’m still unsettled about it all now. The painting, the treehouse, the conference room.
As a child your parent(s) should love you unfathomably. If you are fed on that love you end up feeling that you are wonderful and special and that everyone loves you. This book takes that belief and smashes it into pieces. The witches in this story hate children. They hate children so much that they dedicate their entire existence into finding new and more inventive ways to get rid of them. And they are quite good at it too.
It’s a good book. I recommend you read it. To your children.
I’m hoping to get my review of this posted up in November. It’s a 4 star review by the way. You’d hope I rated it highly due to this being a Top 5 favourite post.
I was forewarned that Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman is not like the movie. It isn’t. But it isn’t worse. It’s different. In a way it feels like the movie is the books cousin rather than its sister.
Speaking of sisters…
It’s very common for witches in fiction to be sisters/ have sisters. It’s because witches and covens are very much linked to the concept of ‘the sisterhood of women’ even if no one is blood related.
Practical Magic is very much about sisters (three generations of pairs of sisters) and the sisterhood. It’s a gentle witch book with an undercurrent of something sharp. Like lemonade with just a little much lemon. We follow Sally (the sensible, practical one) and Gillian (the free spirit), their two aunts (who are awesome) and Sally’s two daughters.
They all have magic. Sally doesn’t want it. They also yearn for love. Sally believes love ends in disaster. Gillian has a nasty boyfriend. Sally helps bury his body in her garden.
It goes wrong before it goes right because as Sally learns, you can’t keep magic or love away however hard you try.
Another book that I desperately need to post my review for. What is wrong with me? I read all these good books and don’t tell anyone about it. Sheesh.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik is a recent addition to the coven of witch books where we follow a recently discovered witch, Agnieszka. What is learnt quite quickly is that her magic works slightly differently than what is known in her world. Magic is indeed known and familiar and Agnieszka’s story starts when her village’s wizard, known as ‘The Dragon’ comes to take the most beautiful girl to his tower.
He ends up with Agnieszka instead.
Agnieszka’s magic is unpolished and unrefined but it is from her heart and the spells and magic that The Dragon thought were useless work for Agnieszka when they didn’t work for him.
Uprooted is a tale about being yourself. And it has witches. And really creepy forests.
(Artist: Paul Kidby)
The Discworld series by Sir. Terry Pratchett is not a series about witches. But it does have witches in it. And what witches they are. We have the maiden (Magrat), the mother (Nanny Ogg) and the er… other one (Granny Weatherwax).
Granny makes her appearance in Equal Rites but the Lancre coven isn’t introduced until Wyrd Sisters. Sir. Terry Pratchett has combined folklore, superstition, pop culture and literature (as he usually does) when creating this coven and in creating this coven he has created an interesting and weird (boom boom) group of women.
They may get themselves into a pickle trying to get you out of one but they are very good at what they do and what they do is a whole bunch.
Also there’s awesome cats.
We go from the wyrd to meet The Weird Sisters of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Yes, I know it’s not a book but a play but I can’t do a post about witches and not include these three.
These are not like the witches above. They don’t get you out of a pickle but instead get you into double, double toil and trouble.
Their powers are originally doubted but when their visions of Macbeth come to fruition he seeks them out again and again. But the question is – are they truly seeing what Macbeth will become or are they causing it? Maybe the causation is via getting Macbeth to instigate a self-fulfilling prophecy. But the power they hold could be magical or it could be that they hold the magic of persuasion.
Either way, they are instigators of the plot (to what benefit to them, no one knows) and they should not be taken at face value.
So here is my Top 5 for this week. Which witch is your favourite? It doesn’t have to be one on this list but please let me know. I love reading books about witches so will gladly and greedily take your recommendations.
Until next time, wehatch.