In the fifteenth chapter of I Shall Wear Midnight, Tiffany fulfills her promises. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
I wasn’t ready. I WASN’T READY.
Hi, he and Tiffany are so damn adorable. CAN THIS BE A THING??? Please??? I just love that he’s always ready to meet Tiffany on her level, that he’s so funny, and that he is bursting with goodness. He seems so devoted to just making everyone around him laugh and be happy? PURE CINNAMON ROLL, Y’ALL.
Hi, this wedding was a million times more emotional than I expected it to be, and I have WORDS for Terry Pratchett, who REPEATEDLY punched me IN MY HEART during these scenes. First of all: they got the money back from the Nurse, who DID steal it, but even more important??? They recovered the leather folder with Roland’s father’s crayon drawing of the hare and the fire. HELP ME. And yes, Roland really needs to open that when he’s alone because he will certainly be destroyed by emotions. (Like me. I just want everyone to be like me.)
But then Tiffany had to go and break me even further. With the money now returned to her, she insists that Roland keep it, but instead grant her some favors. In this, Tiffany is the witch of the Chalk, and it’s so beautiful to see her keep her promises to each of the people she came across in I Shall Wear Midnight. She secures a dowry for Amber, one that will help the boy she loves “buy his indenture to a master craftsman.” OH, ALSO, HE SEWED LETITIA’S GOWN. Noooooooo I wasn’t ready for that detail???
And then, she reveals why she was so interested in cleaning out the barn. Y’all, Tiffany’s love for her steading is so incredible, and I realize now just how much this book basically told me what Tiffany was going to do with it. How much education has occurred in the pages of I Shall Wear Midnight? And where it doesn’t exist, we see the ill-effects of people without an education of sorts. How many people acted out of ignorance, both unintentionally or maliciously? Tiffany understands the power of simply knowing, and she wants to empower the people of the Chalk. She wants to stop the rough music, she wants to stop the picking up of stones, she wants to stop violence committed out of not knowing. And what better way than a school? BUT THIS PART!!!
“Learning is about finding out who you are, what you are, where you are and what you are standing on and what you are good at and what’s over the horizon and, well, everything. It’s about finding the place where you fit. I found the place where I fit, and I would like everybody else to find theirs.”
It’s true that Tiffany found her place through education. She apprenticed with multiple witches, all who helped her determine just what kind of witch she could be. And in the end? She still got to choose it. Like Eskarina said, she wasn’t born into being a witch, but she sure as hell found out what kind of witch she would be. Also??? Can we collectively appreciate how incredible it is that after all this, she wants to make sure that Preston’s salary for being the first teacher will be enough to pay for him to become a doctor???
There’s one final act, though, that wraps up the previous plotline concerning the Feegles. Maybe Roland won’t always remember his experiences with them, but Tiffany successfully lobbies to have the Nac Mac Feegle given “all the downland above Home Farm, that it should be theirs forever in law as well as in justice.” She made a promise to protect the Feegles, and here she is, making that promise come true, and in a way that’ll protect them and their land for generations to come. Which is so clever! Even if future Barons are not fans of the Feegles (how could you not be???), they will still be safe from harm and they will still have their own home.
Bless you, Tiffany Aching.
The Mysterious Witch
I mean, Eskarina did say that she had the power to travel through time, so I SHOULD HAVE FIGURED THIS OUT. Alas, I did not, and I was knocked on my ass by the reveal that the strange witch who has been appearing and watching Tiffany was a version of herself from the future. (Also of note: Eskarina has a son????) I love that she reminded Tiffany of both Nanny and Granny, two of the most influential witches in her life. I mistakenly thought the helping one’s self clue was about Tiffany’s plan to burn down the King field, and while it fits a little bit, this makes more sense. Tiffany literally helped herself with Eskarina’s time travel ability. I love that this is invoked in a way that doesn’t really bother with an explanation of the logistics. On top of that, Younger Tiffany’s work is not negated or ignored. She had help, but she did practically everything by herself.
This all feeds into the emotional character arc of Tiffany Aching. She really does have a fantastic grasp on stories, and Granny is right to point out how the Chalk now spins around Tiffany. She has a knack for endings, for stories, for knowing what it is her steading needs. So it’s not lost on me that after the gathered witches honor Tiffany with their respect, she spends the night alone. It’s an introspective moment at the end of an incredibly eventful and terrifying set of days, but it was necessary. After everything Tiffany struggled with, she finally felt at home. The Chalk was where she belonged, and her steading was beginning to truly appreciate her.
So that night, she wears midnight. She is old. And not in the sense of age, but in maturity and wisdom and in knowing exactly where her place is. This is where she belongs. Tiffany Aching is the witch of the Chalk.
Mark Links Stuff
– The paperback edition of my debut, ANGER IS A GIFT, is now OUT! If you’d like to stay up-to-date on all announcements regarding my books, sign up for my newsletter! DO IT.