Mark Reads ‘Witches Abroad’: Part 2

In the second part of Witches Abroad, THIS ALREADY HAS THE BEST DEVELOPMENT FOR A SPECIFIC CHARACTER AND I’M SO EXCITED. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.

AHHHHHH I AM SO THRILLED ABOUT THIS BOOK, EVERYONE. I adore Magrat Garlick, and I can’t imagine disliking the chance to see her become A FAIRY GODMOTHER. Let’s discuss many things.

Albert Hurker

I’m not imagining that I’m going to get some super elaborate character in Hurker, but I did want to comment on how funny his piece is here. Not only do we learn just how dedicated Desiderata is to getting shit done, but this is demonstrated to us through her procrastination. She does not mess around here, hiding the package Hurker must deliver to Magrat while also testing his curiosity. In doing so, she guarantees that Hurker does not peek inside the package. Oh, the enraged wolf helps. A lot. And thus, we find out that Desiderata was very thorough as a witch, except for the thing she should have been thorough about when she was alive. Whoops.


I still don’t understand her character or her motivations beyond what little I know of her love for happy endings. (So, she’s kind of like this book’s version of Drosselmeyer or Metatron, right?) Pratchett is, however, establishing her as an antagonist really early on. Her creepy surveillance methods unsettle the reader and, later, disturb Granny Weatherwax. I’m guessing, then, that Lady Lilith wants the princess to end up with the prince, granting her the happy ending she craves. But how is that a bad thing? Had Desiderata been denying Lilith happy endings prior to this? Why were they opposed to each other?

Granny and Nanny

So, let’s ask an obvious question here: What exactly would Nanny Ogg or Granny Weatherwax done if they had found Desiderata’s magic wand? There’s a huge joke made out of their open denial of their purpose in her house. No, they’re definitely not looking for that thing that they didn’t even know existed! But what does one do? Do they work like wizard wands, or can only its intended user wield it? I mean, I was entertained by the idea that Granny Weatherwax, who had always been morally opposed to wands prior to this, suddenly had a keen interest in utilizing a wand. So I assume it’s got some sort of power, right? What can it do that a regular witch – a non-fairy godmother – cannot? I know that Granny swears she just wanted to hold it for a while, but I suspect that’s not the case.

Magrat the Fairy Godmother

I’M JUST SO UTTERLY INTO THIS DEVELOPMENT. I am!!! Magrat was always the odd one out of the trio of witches, and part of that was because she was so different. She couldn’t ever be the kind of witch that was expected of her, and Granny Weatherwax gave her a lot of grief over that, especially in Wyrd Sisters. Her personality was, simply put, unlike everyone else’s:

Magrat wold be the first to admit that she had an open mind. It was open as a field, as open as the sky. No mind could be more open without special surgical implements. And she was always waiting for something to fill it up.

That thirst for more is an integral part of Magrat’s characterization, and that’s certainly a reason I’m so excited to see what she’ll do with her new job and her new powers. She’s already my favorite out of the three witches, but that bias is also not the main reason this made me so excited. As Granny and Nanny start to struggle with the shocking development involving Magrat, I noticed the same dynamic from Wyrd Sisters popping up again:

“There’s probably some mistake,” said Nanny Ogg kindly. “She probably wanted you to give it to one of us.”

“That’ll be it, right enough,” said Granny. “She knew you were good at running errands and so on. Let’s have a look at it.”

Both Nanny and Granny don’t even consider that Desiderata knew what she was doing. It is, frankly, condescending and rude, especially once Granny starts ordering Magrat to hand the wand over to her. I mean, how passive aggressive is that moment where Nanny lists out all the responsibilities a fairy godmother has, heavily implying that Magrat possesses none of the qualities needed to complete those tasks?

That’s why I’m thrilled. I want to see Magrat come into her own, to become her own sort of witch without having to subscribe to the rules or standards that both of the elder witches try to get her to follow. Even at the end of this scene, Granny uses her intimidation skills to get Magrat to lie about the contents of Desiderata’s letter, all so that they can come along. It’s selfish, no? But I want Magrat to get the skills and the confidence so that she can tell Granny Weatherwax NO and have Granny actually listen to her. (Not that it’s Magrat’s responsibility to be treated with respect.)

The original text contains use of the word “madness.”

Mark Links Stuff

Please help book/finalize the Mark Does Stuff European Tour!
– The Mark Does Stuff Tour 2015 is now live and includes dates across the U.S., Canada, Europe, the U.K., and Ireland. Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be the remainder of The Legend of Korra, series 8 of Doctor Who, and Kings. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
– Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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