Pop Culture Care Package Pt. 12: Discworld

Specifically, Young Witch Tiffany Aching

Darling Dames Nation! Hello and Happy Tuesday! (I’m pretty sure it’s still Tuesday.) Dame Sophie here, with some thoughts on the comforting, yet bracing, delights of revisiting Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld:

He was a friend to birds (starlings?) and his dainty white beard paired beautifully with his jet-black attire

When faced with dire circumstances, I turn to favorite authors. The late Sir Terry Pratchett had a thing or two to say about power, class, and gender in his sprawling Discworld series of books, and these ten quotes could be a doorway for you into (or back into?) The Disc. Over the course of more than 70 books, he explored the many flaws and foibles of humanity, with a keen sense of how to skewer the worst in people while acknowledging that just being a person, in this world or on the Discworld, is hard work.

I’ve been re-re-re-listening to the audiobooks of his series about Tiffany Aching, a flinty young Witch of The Chalk. Tiffany discovers at about age 9 that she’s a witch, thanks to her annoying, spoiled, and unrelentingly sticky little brother Wentworth getting stolen by the Queen of the Fairies, necessitating a daring rescue mission in the company of The Nac Mac Feegle, a group of recklessly brave binge-drinking 6-inch tall blue pictsies speaking in faux-Scottish (Scott-ish?) accents. Things escalate from there, and Tiffany gradually learns the limits of her powers, learns what she needs to to push past them, does the work in front of her, protects the vulnerable & speaks truth to power. Surprise! I love her! One of my role models is a pre-adolescent witch!

One of my favorite quotes is from The Wee Free Men, about Tiffany’s first adventure. Tiffany’s grandmother, Granny Aching, delivers this stunner: “Them as can has to do for them as can’t. And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.” I hope Granny Aching wouldn’t mind the friendly amendment of “And also someone has to lift up the voices of them as has been marginalized by structural racism.”

One of my favorites from Tiffany herself is from the penultimate book in the series, When I Am Old, I Shall Wear Midnight: “Sometimes what is legal isn’t right, and sometimes it takes a witch to know the difference.”

Who are the authors you re-re-re-read, whether to find solace, guidance, levity, or other feelings you need to access to get through these days? Please do @ me, I would love to know!


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