The Thirty Day Book Challenge: Day Sixteen

“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.”

Terry Pratchett

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.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s