“She was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don’t apply to you.”
Day Sixteen: Favourite Female Character
Granny Weatherwax, from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.
Why? Precisely because she’s not a Female Character – that is, the kind of character who is notable only for being female.
Granny Weatherwax is a witch, which in Discworld-land means not chanting mystical runes at midnight but doing actual, practical stuff to help the needy: cutting old people’s toenails, giving practical healthcare advice, with an occasional sideline in Saving the Kingdom/City/World.
Of course, all of this is dressed up in Derren Brown-style psychological manipulation to make it look like magic, because otherwise people won’t listen. Occasionally there’s some actual magic, too, but not the showy fireworky stuff that the wizards at the university favour; the best witches’ spells never get noticed.
What’s so interesting about Granny Weatherwax is that we’re never actually sure if she’s really, at heart, a good person. Granny Weatherwax is controlling, deceitful, arrogant, jealous, hidebound, and angry…
…but she uses those traits, acknowledges them, even, always and only in the service of good. She is determined to be a Good Person in spite of herself. Like all of my favourite characters, Granny Weatherwax is charismatic and conflicted, and there is no other way to imagine her. Granny Weatherwax is not female just because the stories in which she features need extra female characters; she’s female because, well, she just is.