Mark Reads ‘Wyrd Sisters’: Part 1

In the first part of Wyrd Sisters, the witches are handed a new member of their coven. Sort of. AND GHOSTS, OH MY GOD. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.YES. YES, THIS MIGHT BE MY FAVORITE OPENING SECTION OF A DISCWORLD BOOK SO FAR BECAUSE

Witches and ghosts.

Witches and ghosts.


Wyrd Sisters opens with a couple familiar characters (Granny Weatherwax and Death), which helps root me in this world immediately, but simultaneously throws in at least four new ones who are clearly going to play a significant part in the story to come. And I like that I never know what I’m in for with these books because I’m reading them in publication order. I had lunch with a friend today and reveled in the excitement I experience every time I start a new Discworld book. I know that with Wyrd Sisters particularly, there are plenty of folks who are eager to see me read this. (It was actually the most common book that was recommended to me to be read first if I wasn’t going to follow publication order.) So, with five Discworld books under my belt, I was definitely interested to see what Wyrd Sisters was going to cover.

While I don’t think I could make any substantial predictions at this point, I think that this first section does a fine job of setting up a mystery and a main plot thrust, all while introducing me to two separate sets of characters. The narrative is split between the coven in the Ramtops (WHERE IS ESK I NEED TO SEE ESK AGAIN) and Lancre, which is located… somewhere. Apparently, it’s close enough to the Ramtops that the Ramtops is part of the kingdom of Lancre, so there’s that? That’s not quite important to me, so let’s talk about both sets of characters.

King Verence

I suppose I should say ex-king Verence? That’s more correct statement. He’s got one hell of an introduction:

And, like most people since the dawn of time, he was now dead.

He was in fact lying at the bottom of one of his own stairways in Lancre Castle, with a dagger in his back.

Despite that I was biased to love this because it meant that Death was soon to show up, I’m actually quite excited to see what Pratchett is going to do with this character. King Verence dies tragically, and it’s obvious by the end of this section that his two-year-old son has been kidnapped by Felmet’s allies. But this tragedy is… funny. Look, I don’t know how Pratchett finds humor in everything, but somehow, a story that would seem grim on the surface is pretty damn humorous. Through Death, Verence discovers that the fates have made it so that he will become a ghost. We get a ghost narrator, y’all. DO YOU KNOW HOW COOL THIS IS? I guess I’d never thought about the existence of ghosts in the Discworld universe, so now I get to find out what that experience is like.

Mostly, it involves thinking a lot.

Death reveals a few parameters of Verences new anti-life, though he’s deliberately ambiguous because it’s not his job to coach ghosts. That’s Fate’s job. Or maybe Destiny’s job. All he tells Verence is that he’s stuck being a ghost until he fulfills his “destiny” (whatever that might be) and that he is a being of pure thought and nothing else. No physical ailments or interactions. No emotions, no hunger, no pain… well, all those things do still linger for Verence, but they’re just his imagination. They’re like ghost feelings. Well, wait, not ghost feelings, but ghost feelings. AH MY BRAIN.

So what’s the perfect thing to help Verence adjust to his new life? Well, a ghost companion, of course! Not just any companion, but a past king of Lancre! Well, “past” does not properly describe how long Champot has been a ghost, so let me state it outright: Nearly a thousand years. I don’t imagine that Wyrd Sisters is going to cover ten centuries worth of time, but still, that’s not a comforting thing for Verence to hear. Actually, nothing that Verence learns from Champot is comforting. Granted, Champot has been a ghost for a dreadfully long time, so he’s used to it. For Verence, this is all new, and it’s frightening. But worst of all? He can’t eat breakfast anymore. Death and kidnapping isn’t tragic; the inability to eat breakfast is.

The Three Witches

I imagine, then, that Verence’s destiny will involve returning his son to Lancre, since the child is his heir. I realize that I could be very, very wrong about who that kid is, but I’M BEING ADVENTUROUS. I shall not regret this, even though I will probably regret this.

BUT WITCHES. WITCHES. Granny Weatherwax is back, and she’s got two more witches in her brand new coven: Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick. I got the sense that the POV focused more on Magrat than anyone else, and I like the idea that she’s the newest witch out of the trio. She’s still getting her bearings alongside two very experienced witches, which is intimidating!

Magrat’s hands shook slightly as they made the tea. Of course, it was all very gratifying, but it was a bit nerve-wracking to start one’s working life as village witch between Granny and, on the other side of the forest, Nanny Ogg.

But she made scones with bats on them and they had currants for eyes. I am pretty sure that makes Magrat perfectly qualified for anything.

I’m ready to learn more about Nanny Ogg and Magrat, but like I said before, this section mostly introduces a mystery to us: Why did that driver give Granny Weatherwax that child? Why were the three figures so desperate to get that child back? I did note that the other men were terrified of the idea of assaulting a witch, and it made me laugh. Did wizards ever have this sort of reputation? WITCHES FOREVER. Okay, maybe the other men weren’t intimidated by the witches so much as aware that killing these women was a terrible thing to do, given that one of them stabs the man who tries to strike Granny with his sword.

But why is this happening? Why was the crown sent along with that child? Did someone know that Verence was about to die and they wanted to save the kid’s life? I NEED TO KNOW THESE THINGS.

The video contains multiple uses of the word “mad.” This is also the lovely debut of SINGLE VIDEO READINGS. YouTube has graciously lifted my 15 minute limit on my videos, meaning I can now read things in one go. So no, you’re not imagining things. From here on out, as best as I can make it happen, all readings will be in a single video instead of split up. HUZZAH.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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