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The Characterisation of The Witches in Terry Pratchett’s Witches Abroad

Info: 7588 words (30 pages) Dissertation
Published: 11th Dec 2019

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Tags: English Literature

Literature Review

This literature review is split into three parts, the first describing the data examined in the dissertation, the second and third the models and tools of analysis.

Witches Abroad

Terry Pratchett is one of the UK’s most successful and bestselling authors, publishing his first book, The Carpet People in 1971 at the age of 23. 10 years later, Pratchett published The Colour of Magic, the first in the phenomenally successful Discworld series (Priest, 2015). The Discworld series went on to become one of the bestselling series of books of all time (Moore, 2017), and generated a multitude of novels – the last of which being the 41st, published shortly after Pratchett’s death.

Through the fathomless deeps of space swims the start turtle Great A’Tuin, bearing on its back the four giant elephants who carry on their shoulders the mass of the Discworld. (Pratchett, 1988a, p. 1)

Discworld is a series of books set on the fictional world described above. The series is well known for its fantastical wit and parallelism of the real world, often parodying other books or fairy tales[1] in order ‘to satirise human society’ (Bryant, 1997). Throughout his novels, there are several reoccurring characters which develop over the series, some of the most frequent being The Witches.

The Witches are a coven of three – Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick, and are the focal pointof six Discworld novels[2]. They reside in the Kingdom of Lancre, in the Ramtop Mountains; a place so magical that ‘even the land […] seems alive’ (Pratchett, 1988a, p. 2). The witches appear to be a twist of the prototypical expectations one would have of them; Pratchett frequently takes what the reader would expect from his characters and then goes the opposite way – or takes it to great extremes. The Witches appear to be based on the Neopagan myth of the Triple Goddess – The Maiden, the Mother and the Crone[3]. He uses this stereotype in his novels ‘by making the characters aware of the role they play and how they are to fulfil it’ (Gylfaóttir, 2012, p. 1).

The Maiden is Magrat Garlick, the junior of the coven. Magrat is a timid character who is often supressed and ridiculed by the others for her belief in ‘Nature’s wisdom and elves and the healing powers of colours and they cycle of the seasons’ (Pratchett, 1988a, p. 23). She is the character that most tries to be like the mythological witches that readers expect, and identifies vastly with the occult; according to Gylfóttir, her youth and naivety about her role is what makes her the Maiden[4] (2012). By the twelfth novel in the Discworld series, she has however begun to take an interest in boys, and is in fact courting King Verence II of Lancre – although their relationship consists mainly of awkward silences.

Nanny Ogg, the Mother, is the antithesis of everything that Granny stands for, and her best friend. Nanny does not believe in the traditional ideas that Granny does, she has a complicated sexual history[5] and enjoys getting drunk, talking to strangers and singing songs such as The Hedgehog Can Never be Buggered at All (Pratchett, 1988a). It seems that Nanny Ogg goes against what one would have as the typical ‘mother’ stereotype, however she still fits the category because she often takes responsibility for coven (Gylfaóttir, 2012).

The Crone, Granny Weatherwax, is the most powerful of the three, and although ‘Witches are not by nature gregarious [and] don’t have leaders. Granny Weatherwax was the most highly-regarded of the leaders they didn’t have.’ (Pratchett, 1988a, p. 4). Granny is often considered to be imperious, mistrusting and takes the idea that because she leads she knows everything – she is often disapproving of Nanny and Magrat, as they often do not fit her idea of a ‘traditional’ witch. According to Gylfaóttir, she is the character that least fits the stereotype and ‘seemed to fall into the role that best suited her’ (2012, p. 20) – this is because she is the character which develops the most in the series, redefining the role of the Crone so that it suits her.

The novel Witches Abroad was published in 1991; the twelfth in the Discworld series and the second to feature the coven of Lancre (and the third to feature Granny Weatherwax) – a brief synopsis of the story is available in appendix 2. This novel was chosen for the analysis as it is a prime example of the reader having a good understanding of the characters; by this point in the Discworld series the reader (theoretically) should have a good understanding of the characters. What makes this novel so fascinating in terms of its characterisation is that the Witches are taken out of their comfort zones[6], and new aspects of their characters manifest themselves as they attempt to adapt to the new world around them[7].

This allows us to see how well Pratchett as a narrator has characterised the witches – as good characters surprise us in a convincing way (Forster, 1987). As the storyline expands, the characters’ personas come across and overpower the stereotype[8].

Models of Analysis

Forster’s Flat and Round Theory

When looking at characterisation in literature, it is important to consider the different approaches that exist – one of these is Forster’s Flat and Round Theory.

The test of a round character is whether it is capable of surprising in a convincing way. If it never surprises, it is flat. If it does not convince, it is flat pretending to be round. (1987, p. 81)

One thing that Flat and Round theory distinguishes is the difference between characters in a novel and people in real life; he believes it is important to see that ‘characters are not real people; rather they are like real people’ (Briggs, 2001), as in a novel, we see only that which is relevant and can understand a character completely.

In his work which was published under the title Aspects of the Novel, Forster states that characters that are not flat are pretending to be round – that a character must be one or the other, but then also suggests ‘a curve towards the round’ (1987, p. 73). This contradicts his original statement as he also suggests that being flat and round is not scalar; and even if it is there is no way to measure this, and no way to account for character development (Culpeper, 2001).

Because of this, Flat and Round theory is not suitable for a detailed analysis of characterisation, there is far too much detail which it does not account for and therefore it is unsuitable for this essay. However, despite the many criticisms of this theory, it has been said that Aspects of the Novel has earned Foster many merits, due to its incredible artistry (St-Jacques, 1993); in my view, despite the limitations of his approach, Forster is responsible for instigating the discussion of characterisation in literature.

 

Culpeper’s Control System

Jonathan Culpeper was a heavy critic of Forster’s Flat and Round theory, describing it as ‘notoriously problematic’ (2001, p. 52); as an alternative, he created his own model of characterisation, which addresses many aspects of the character – rather than simply defining them as ‘flat’ or ‘not flat’.

Figure 1: Bousfield’s (2014, p. 131) slightly ammended copy of Culpeper’s Control system (2001, p. 35)

This model is known as Culpeper’s Control System (see figure 1), and it is designed to show how characterisation works in drama, and to be an ‘idealised and simplified’ (2001, p. 35) model of how the human mind processes and understands characters. According to Culpeper (2001), the model consists of three elements – Prior Knowledge, which is any schematic information related to the character the audience has; Textbase, that which the character says (or Character Propositions); and Surface Structure, which refers to how they say it (or Character Speech Forms). These three elements then feed into the situation model, which gives the audience the overall impression of the character.

The model contains two structures that can be applied to characterisation – Top-down processing, and Bottom-up Processing.

Top-down Processing

Top Down Processing begins with the prior knowledge section – this means that our views on the world are brought into the context of the character, and our understanding of them is based around shared characteristics in society. According to Bousfield ‘reference to these [characteristics] is […] an efficient way of a dramatic storyteller [to portray] what type of person you’re dealing with’ (2014, p. 131). This can be described as a conceptually-driven process (Eysenck & Keane, 1990), as it relies on the audience’s concept of the character rather than the facts which are presented to them. This then leads the audience to search for textual elements to understand the character further (Culpeper, 2001), and develop our schematic knowledge.

Bottom-up Processing

Bottom-up Processing refers to how the audience understands the textual elements (Textbase and Surface Structure); described as data-driven (Eysenck & Keane, 1990), Bottom-up Processing relies on the data within the text to communicate the image of the character to the audience. According to Bousfield (2014), this data allows for the activation of knowledge structures, meaning that the audience use their prior knowledge, adding to their schematic knowledge of the character.

Culpeper’s control system uses this process to successfully show characterisation in drama, and although he was more successful than Forster, his model has several limitations regarding analysing prose[9]. This is due to one key difference between drama and prose: Drama lacks narration. The narrator adds many key elements into how we understand the character, conveying to the reader what they would usually be able to see as an audience.

The narrator manipulates the reader’s perception of the characters through a variety of ways, just a small example of these are their use of speech and thought presentation, focalisation and its use of modality and modal choices.

Tools of Analysis

This section address the limitations Culpeper’s model has when applied to prose. Three different literary tools are criticised and explained for use in the analysis of Witches Abroad to demonstrate a fuller understanding of how characterisation works. This section uses examples to explain how these tools work, however these examples are from other Pratchett novels and are unrelated to the analysis of Witches Abroad.

Focalisation and Point of View

Point of view in novels refers to the angle of vision that is presented to the to the reader (Wales, 2001); what differentiates point of view between novels and plays is that the reader sees the literary world through the point of view that the author intends – rather than seeing the stage from an objective angle[10]. One way the author does this is using focalisation.

Toolan states that ‘discourse is […] grounded, or anchored, coming from a particular speaker’ (1988, p. 67) and that this can also be applied to narrative. This means that the focaliser often differs from the narrator, allowing (or sometimes forcing) the reader to see visualise the scene via a different set of ‘cognitive, emotive and ideological perspectives’ (1988, p. 68).

Following Simpson (1993) and Genette (1980), there are three main types of focalisation: Zero Focalisation, where the narrator is omniscient and impersonal; External Focalisation, where the focaliser knows less than the characters and does not mention their viewpoints; and Internal Focalisation, where the focaliser lives in the text universe – this does not necessarily have to be in first person. These types of focalisation are often used interchangeably for different narratorial purposes as the narrative unfolds for different effects.

Focalisation is consequently important when looking at characterisation because it is a vital part of how the character construct is created, it adds to the overall character impression within the textbase, and builds on their schematic knowledge. The original model does not consider focalisation because it is not necessarily a part of drama, but it needs to be considered when looking at characterisation prose fiction because it is a vital part of how the text is read; without focalisation, everything would be written from the narrator’s point of view without any direction through the characters, limiting how much of the character the reader is exposed to.

Modality

Modality is a grammatical system in which we ‘attach expressions of belief, attitude and obligation to what we say and write’ (Simpson, 2004, p. 131). In narrative, this constitutes to the focalisers’ own persona becoming a part of the narration; the way they view the world around them and describe it to the reader by ‘draw[ing] inferences from external appearances [allowing them to] understand the narrative universe they inhabit’ (McIntyre & Busse, 2010, p. 296).

According to Simpson (1993) there are 4 types of modality: Deontic, which expresses a requirement/obligation to do something, or the giving of permission; Boulomaic, the expression of wish and desire; Epistemic, which relates to the confidence of what is being said; and perception, which is relevant to how true a statement is, and how that is marked as such. These are explained more thoroughly with examples in the Analysis section of this dissertation

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Figure 2: Simpson’s Summary of Modal Functions (1993, p. 47).

In terms of focalisation, modality is one of the ways the reader understands how the character views the world, rather than simply what they are viewing. In internal focalisation, the text is an extension of the focaliser’s consciousness, and therefore expresses their opinions and feelings ‘through evaluative adjectives and adverbs’ (Simpson, 1993, p. 40). External focalisation does the same but with the narrator’s perspective on the text world – the narrator obviously has a ‘privileged access to the consciousness of the characters’ (1993, p. 40), meaning that their own perspectives of the text world are expressed in their narration through modality[11].

Modality in text is an extremely important factor to consider when looking at characterisation in prose; modality is something which is possible in drama of course, but usually only coming directly from a character’s mouth and therefore is not always treated as fact – unlike when it is presented as part of the narration (Craig, 2000). How the focaliser sees the world is incredibly integral to who they are as a character.

Speech and Thought Presentation

The final tool of analysis that this essay uses to study characterisation is Speech and Thought presentation.

Speech Presentation

Speech presentation can be divided into two main categories – Direct and Indirect[12]. Direct Speech (DS)occurs when a character’s speech is directly represented in quotation marks such as: ‘’I’ve got a couple of hairgrips,’ she said out of the corner of her mouth’ (Pratchett, 1988b, p. 110). According to Short, all speech represented in quotations is known as the reported clause, and ‘must be related to the speaker’s viewpoint’ (Short, 1996, p. 299) – meaning that what is in the reported clause is unbiased and true. How the speech is then described is known as the reporting clause (Simpson, 1993), which is integral to how the text is read because the narrator’s description of what has been said influences how the reader interprets it.

Free Direct Speech (FDS)is the ‘removal […] of the authorial and orthographic clues which accompany a straightforward Direct presentation’ (Simpson, 1993, p. 25) – essentially Direct Speech without a reporting clause. Continuing from the last example:

‘Any good?’
‘Don’t know. Never tried.’
‘You got us into this!’
‘Relax, I think they’ll just take us prisoner.’
‘Oh, that’s fine for you to say. You’re not marked down as this week’s special offer.’
– from Sourcery (Pratchett, 1988b, p. 110)

As it can be seen, the lack of a reporting clause means that the reader is presented with the reported clause and no reporting clauses/interference from the narrator[13]. This allows for a much more open interpretation of the text, as according to Simpson this means it is ‘liberated from narratorial control’ (1993, p. 25).

Speech presentation is vital to characterisation in novels as it how they say things represents their personas, and adds to our schematic knowledge of the character. In drama, speech presentation is equivalent to ‘how they perform […] speech acts’ (Culpeper, 2001, p. 236), making it equivalent to the Character Speech Forms in Culpeper’s model.

Thought Presentation

Thought Presentation and Speech Presentation are similar in that they can both be divided into Direct and Indirect categories. Direct thought is the representation of the character’s exact thoughts in the same way as Direct Speech (Leech & Short, 2007), in quotation marks. Free Direct Thought is represented as thought outside of quotations, presented as narration, but with very little narratorial input or manipulation:

“If he works it out himself I’m done for, he thought. This is a chance in a million. If I get it wrong, it’s back to a life where happiness is a leaf you can reach.”
– from Small Gods (Pratchett, 1992, p. 150)

This serves the purpose of allowing the text to be unbiased, and represent thought without the narrator’s influence, but without disruption the flow of narration, and allows it to be distinguished more easily from speech.

Indirect Thought (IT) occurs when the narrator represents the thoughts of the character but under the guise of their own narration (Simpson, 2004; Leech & Short, 2007); this is one way in which an author focalises the narration through a character –a character’s thought exposes their viewpoint. This is evident in:

Teppic had a suspicion that unpunctuality was unforgivable. But surely Mericet would have to be at the tower ahead of him? {…] Mind you, he couldn’t possibly have got to the bridge in the alley first…
– from Pyramids (Pratchett, 1989, p. 33)

Although Pratchett describes Teppic’s from the narrator’s perspective – the reader’s focalisation shifts from the narrator’s to Teppic’s. This paragraph shows the two different types of thought presentation used in this analysis: Indirect (IT) and Free Indirect Thought (FIT). The first occurs in ‘Teppic had a suspicion that…’, and is merely the representation of what the character is thinking. The latter occurs in the rest of the paragraph, where the focalisation has shifted entirely to Teppic’s point of view, and the narrator is reporting the character’s train of thought, to go from a more direct to indirect free thought brings us closer to the character’s origo allowing us to understand their motivations and therefore is a characterisation device.

We cannot see inside the minds of other people, but if the motivations for the actions and attitudes of characters are to be made clear to the reader, the representation of their thoughts, like the use of soliloquy on stage, is a necessary license. (Leech & Short, 2007, p. 270)

Thought representation is therefore an essential part of characterisation in prose as it allows us to fully form our schematic knowledge of the character. It expands on speech presentation and allows the reader to see an extra layer of the character that is exclusive to prose and soliloquys. In terms of Culpeper’s model, thought presentation is part of the Surface Structure, as the presentation of thought is completely controlled by the narrator, and is a part of the overall structure of what is being said.

Analysis

This section of the dissertation consists of a stylistic analysis of an extract from Witches Abroad, which can be found in Appendix 1, and is referred to in the analysis by line number.

The Analysis focuses on the characterisation of Magrat and, to a lesser extent, Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax. The extract explains characterisation using Culpeper’s model to test how successful it is at analysing characterisation in prose. This is used in collaboration with a demonstration of the tools of analysis discussed, to obtain a greater understanding of how the witches have been characterised. This allows for a better comprehension of how characterisation is formed and how it is analysed.

Introduction to the Scene

The scene takes place in a cheerless and empty remote village where the witches decide to rest on their journey to Genua. They seek accommodation in a dismal inn, which the narrator describes as miserable and solemn, yet crowded, and full of garlic. This, combined with the narrator’s previous description of the town appears to be intended to lead the reader to understand (through their schematic knowledge of vampire films and novels and their presence in popular culture) that this town appears to be under terrorisation by a vampire.

The narrator describes the villagers in the inn as “staring at [the witches] intently, with a look […] of hopeful sadness” whilst they discuss that they would like three rooms for the night, and that one even ‘laid her hand on Magrat’s shoulder […] shook her head sadly and looked away” (Pratchett, 1991, p. 66), before they are led to their lodgings for the night. The reader understands through prior knowledge of how small villages are portrayed in horror films[14], that the villagers are plotting together against the witches, and leading them to danger, this is where the scene of discussion begins.

Analysis of the Scene

The scene switches its focalisation intermittently between Magrat and the Narrator. Based on their schematic knowledge of Magrat the reader can clearly read the narration as it is focalised through her. Take for instance the following:

In fact there were only two rooms [[15]], up a long, winding and creaky stairway. And Magrat got one to herself. Even the landlord seemed to want it that way. He’d been very attentive. (1-2)

The first part of this paragraph is externally focalised through the narrator – this serves the purpose of setting up the scene itself from a more objective viewpoint. The reason for objectivity in this scene seems to relate to what has previously been mentioned about the witches’ current predicament; they currently are unaware of the gravity of the situation they are in, but the reader should have by now worked this out. Therefore, the narrator’s description of the stairway as ‘long, winding and creaky’, is understood through the reader’s schematic knowledge of horror stories to be describing a rather ominous setting – and from this the reader probably understands the witches are probably about to enter trouble.

The focalisation then becomes internal as it immediately shifts to Magrat and, in contrast to the narrator’s emphasis on the surroundings, focuses on what is relevant to her. This is interesting because as the focalisation happens, there is no more mention of the danger that the narrator has been hinting prior to this. The reader understands through their prior knowledge of Magrat (as mentioned in the Literature Review), that Magrat is unconfident and quite naïve – which, according to Culpeper’s system makes inferences on our overall character impression and leads us to search for more information (or Textual Elements) in the text to expand our schematic knowledge of the character.

According to Culpeper (2001), in drama these textual elements merely consist of what the character says (or Character Prepositions) as the Textbase and how they say it (Character Speech Forms) as the Surface Structure. In prose however, characterisation is also influenced by the Narration; when used in this analysis to describe characterisation, Narration is an umbrella term consisting of the Narrator’s Description and Evaluation of events, the Character’s Propositions, the use of Focalisation, and the Narrator’s Modality, and therefore replaces the Textbase Section of the Control System.

The Surface Structure which influences characterisation consists of the character speech forms, which Bousfield (2014) summarised as the way in which a proposition is said. In prose, the way something is said or thought must be represented by a description, and therefore when used in Prose, Surface Structure consists of Speech and Thought Presentation and Character’s Modality.

These are the textual elements which the reader searches for to substantiate the inferences implied from their prior knowledge, and the textual clues which also prompt them to search their schematic knowledge to construct their overall character impression.

Therefore, continuing the analysis of Narration in lines 1-2, the narration is focalised through Magrat (evident as mentioned, in the focus on her perspective of the scene). ‘Magrat got one to herself. Even the landlord seemed to want it that way. He’d been very attentive’, is an example of Indirect Thought, as it is presented by the Narrator, but is still a clear example of Magrat’s thoughts. According to Kreiswirth (1992), a reader will trust the narrative of a novel where they do not trust the characters; therefore, by presenting these thoughts indirectly, the Narrator represents them as fact, and the reader allows their characterisation of Magrat to be affected by her opinions, as thought presentation allows us to see an extra layer of the character.

Similarly, what must next be considered is the modality of the text which is focalised through Magrat, or Character’s Modality[16]. Her thoughts regarding the landlord are a clear example of Epistemic Modality (the reflection of confidence in propositions). This is evident with the phrase ‘seemed to want it that way’, expressing Magrat’s uncertainty as to whether he did; this uncertainty activates the bottom-up search for prior knowledge of Magrat, and then schematically they are able to understand that this confidence relates to her youth and lack of confidence (she has had very little confidence with men), but also to her naivety – she is unaware that the reason she is getting a room to herself away from the two more experienced witches is because she has been picked out as a weak target for the vampire. Therefore, this epistemic expression represented as thought influences how the reader views Magrat by expressing her level of confidence.

She wished he hadn’t been so keen to bar the shutters, though. Magrat liked to sleep with a window open. As it was, it was too dark and stuffy. (3-4)

The narration in this paragraph further explains the significance of the grave situation that Magrat is in by referring to how she has effectively been locked in a dark room. It is focalised through Magrat as Indirect Thought, and shows her naivety, as she ‘wished he hadn’t been so keen to bar the shutters’ – an expression of Boulomaic modality, evident through the word ‘wished’, and showing she thinks that the landlord locked the shutters simply because he liked it that way. The reader understands that this is due to her innocence because they are compelled to search for their prior schematic knowledge of Magrat through bottom-up processing, leading them to the conclusion that Magrat has not seen the danger in the situation because she is the junior of the coven with the least life experience and the most naivety. This further develops the reader’s schematic knowledge, and therefore their overall impression of Magrat.

Anyway, she thought, I am the fairy godmother. The others are just accompanying me. (5)

This is an example of Free Direct Thought, it shows Magrat’s thoughts as they are and not under the guise of the Narrator describing it. This allows for an insight directly into what Magrat is thinking, without narratorial manipulation or influence, giving the reader a strong idea of her thought process. ‘I am the fairy godmother’ (along with her belief that the landlord seemed to want to give her the room) proves to the reader that Magrat is starting to see herself as more than she used to and is becoming more confident. This, along with the Perception Modality used in ‘the others are just accompanying me’, (just implies that somehow Magrat perceives the others as less important than her) shows that Magrat’s new-found confidence is fraught with problems – through their Prior Knowledge of Magrat, the reader understands that the reason Desiderata entrusted this role to Magrat was so the others, believing her incapable of the job, would go with her. Therefore, this confidence further enforces the idea that Magrat is gullible, as she believes that she was given it because she could do the job well.

She peered hopelessly at herself in the room’s tiny cracked mirror and then lay and listened to them on the far side of the paper-thin wall. (6-7)

This is an externally focalised description of the room from the Narrator, which describes the room in a negative way, using the reader’s schematic knowledge of horror to add to the severity of Magrat’s situation. This is shown through how the Narrator has chosen to describe the room – two negative details are pointed out, ‘the tiny cracked mirror’ and the ‘paper-thin wall’.

Magrat is described as looking at herself ‘hopelessly’, which the reader understands from their schematic knowledge of Magrat is because of her negative image of herself – although this could also be down to her hopeless attitude towards the dilapidated state of the room, her unhappiness in her position in the coven, or even that she can hear Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax through the wall[17].

“What’re you turning the mirror to the wall for, Esme?”

“I just don’t like ‘em, staring like that.”

“They only stares if you’re staring at ‘em, Esme.” (8-9)

The reader understands

Works Cited

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Appendix 1

Appendix 2

Witches Abroad begins with the death of Desiderata Hallow, a Fairy Godmother, who leaves her magic wand and position to Magrat – making her the Fairy Godmother to Emberella[18]; a young witch who lives in Genua (a country on the other side of the Discworld).

Magrat begins her long journey, and the other witches (and Nanny Ogg’s cat Greebo) accompany her because they don’t trust her abilities, which Desiderata knew would happen. They stop in a village threatened by a vampire, but they do not realise this because of their inability to speak the language. They stay at a hotel there (see Appendix 1); during the night Greebo catches the vampire as a bat and eats him. Later in the journey, they encounter a real-life Little Red Riding Hood, and a farmhouse falls on Nanny Ogg[19].

When they arrive in Genua, Magrat learns that Emberella has another Godmother, Lilith, who is trying to force her to marry the Duke of Genua. Lilith was the one who influenced the stories the witches travelled through, and is also manipulating Emberella’s life to reflect the tale of Cinderella. At the same time, Nanny and Granny meet with Erzulie Gogol, a Voodoo witch (and her zombie servant Saturday, who used to be the old Duke before he was murdered) in the swamp, where they learn that Lilith is controlling the city.

Later, Granny hypnotises Magrat into attending a masked ball disguised as Emberella (wearing her dress and glass slippers), and Greebo is turned into a human so that he can help the witches. Mrs Gogol, Emberella and Saturday arrive at the ball as the Witches are discovered; this high concentration of magic causes the Duke to turn into a frog (his true form, as Lilith enchanted him into a human).  Granny follows Lilith, who it is revealed is her sister, and traps her inside a mirror that she used as a source of her powers to bend everyone to her will (and to spy on Granny, who had been seeing her in every mirror she came across). Emberella is then made ruler of Genua, as it is revealed she is the daughter of the old Duke Saturday, and they celebrate by throwing a Mardi Gras parade. The witches then return home. (Pratchett, 1991)


[1] Examples of which include William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, parodied in Pratchett’s novel Wyrd Sisters (Bryant, 1997) (Pratchett, 1988).

[2] These being Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade and Carpe Jugulum, although only Granny Weatherwax appears in Equal Rites (Pratchett, 1987).

[3] Which is only one of many ways the myth of the triple goddess can be interpreted, and stem from the main stages in life: ‘youth and puberty, parenthood and maturity, old age and wisdom’ (Conway, 2004, p. 4)

[4] She also lacks a title like the others, which puts her at the bottom of the hierarchy (Lewis, 2015).

[5] Something unusual for a witch, as traditionally they live conservative and withdrawn lives. Nanny Ogg however has had three different husbands and fifteen children (Pratchett, 2004).

[6] Something which Pratchett does frequently with his characters, particularly in the Discworld series – the adaptation to a new environment and uncomfortable situations is how he shows the character’s true personality. In his first Discworld Novel, The Colour of Magic (1983), he sends the two main characters on a trip of the Discworld, and throws them from one precarious situation to the next.

[7] The term Abroad usually refers to them being at large – almost as an ominous warning – take for example, ‘there’s villainy abroad’, from Love’s Labour’s Lost (Shakespeare, 1990).  The title plays on this in the respect that not only are they at large, but they are also in a foreign country.

[8] This has been noted as being apparent in the second witches novel, Wyrd Sisters, where Nanny Ogg throws a party on Hogswatch Eve – this plays against the reader’s previous schematic knowledge of what a witch should do as they know that they should firstly be a figure of society, and also that this is a night for a Witch to be at home in solitude (Lewis, 2015).

[9] In the Further Directions section of his book, Culpeper states Narrative as something which he wishes to investigate further (2001).

[10] Of course, drama often finds ways to direct the point of view of the author in a certain direction, or to influence their viewpoints and ideologies in other ways (using narration, for example), but these techniques are not as complex as that of literature (Richardson, 1988).

[11] Zero focalisation does not express any modality, as it simply states fact (Simpson, 1993), and therefore will not be considered any further in this essay.

[12] Indirect speech occurs when the author describes what has been said, with more interference (Short, 1996), however there are no instances of this in the chosen extract (see Appendix 1) and so it has been omitted for clarity.

[13] it could be argued that the lack of a reporting clause allows the text to flow more easily, and therefore creates the illusion of a fast-flowing conversation.

[14] Take for example the villagers of Frankenstein (Shelley, 1822), who plot together in an attempt to destroy him and his monster; the reader is aware that these kinds of villages often possess an unstoppable force.

[15] This refers to the previous scene, in which the witches asked for three rooms, or at least attempted to: “I said, “Hey mister, jigajig toot sweet all same No. 3″,” said Nanny Ogg.” (Pratchett, 1991, p. 68)

[16] This term refers to the Modality used to represent a character’s thoughts, and is separate from Narrator’s modality, which will be explained later.

[17] Understanding that because she can hear them, she is not likely to sleep well that night.

[18] Emberella is based on Cinderella, Embers for short (Bryant, 1997) (Breebart & Kew, 2016).

[19] This appears to be a reference to The Wizard of Oz (1939), during which a tornado causes a farmhouse to land on the Wicked Witch of the East.

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