This time, I’ve tackled challenged Challenge #23, “A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60.” Of course, as soon as I thought about that challenge for even a moment, I knew there was only one protagonist to look to for this challenge: Granny Weatherwax.
Yes, that is truly the cover of the copy I read. (Meaning it would also have counted for Challenge #20, “A book with a cover you hate.”) When you borrow a book from your father, you usually end up with an old edition.
Aaaaanyway, the book technically has three protagonists: the three witches Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick. Although Magrat (the only one who isn’t an old crone) is a bit at the center of the story, Granny Weatherwax is still the most important of them, though why in the world this cover has fused her with Nanny Ogg I cannot imagine. (Seriously, she’s wearing Nanny’s red boots and Nanny’s cat Greebo is sitting on her head, but that’s definitely supposed to be Granny. And the one in the back with the mirror is the villainess, so…yeah, lousy cover.)
So, what’s the book about? Well, it starts out with Death. Who, on the Disc, SPEAKS IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. In this particular instance, Death has come for Desiderata Hollow, a witch who’s also a fairy godmother. Wait, no, actually, that’s not where it starts. Where it starts is
This is the Discworld, which travels through space on the back of four elephants which themselves stand on the shell of Great A’Tuin, the sky turtle.
Things on the Discworld are both like and unlike things on other, more likely worlds. For example, Genua, the home of Desiderata’s goddaughter Ella Saturday (nicknamed Embers, or Emberella for not-short, because of the meager fire she cooks over), at first seems to be based on a Renaissance Italian city-state (any of them will do), until you get there and discover that yes, it’s rather like a Renaissance Italian city-state, but it’s also definitely like New Orleans. (It might also be part of the inspiration for the land of Far Far Away in Shrek 2, but I can’t be sure of that.)
And what brings our witches three to Genua? Well, when Death escorts Desiderata off the Disc, she leaves her magic wand (and job as fairy godmother) to Magrat, and specifically orders Magrat not to allow Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg to accompany her to Genua, because she knows that’s the only way to ensure that all three of them go. Because, of course, something is afoot in Genua, which requires the witches three to set it right. Though they have quite a few adventures in foreign parts on the way there. (They rarely leave the Ramtop Mountains…and only Nanny Ogg has even the slightest grasp of foreign languages…and it’s very slight…)
There’s more to it than that, of course, but that gives you a good idea of the premise.
And what’s the book like?
Well, it’s a Discworld book. So it’s clever, funny, and well-written. I’m not sure what else to say, y’know?
Except this: I suddenly noticed at one point that Pratchett almost never used any dialog tag other than “said.” I mean, he even used “said” when “asked” would typically be the tag of choice. That flummoxed me a bit. (The “said” instead of “asked” part, I mean.) The advice people often give about said being invisible is both true and wrong: you don’t notice it until you happen to notice that it’s the only thing being used, and then you can’t stop noticing it. Just an odd observation.
Well, it’s not much of a report, I realize, but…well, among other things, I still have a lot of work to do for next week. I’ve only written two of my April A-to-Z posts so far, and since I’ll also be doing Camp NaNo’s April session, I need to have a lot more of a headstart than that!
Oh, but I have decided on (and even started) the next challenge I’ll take for Read Harder: it’ll be Challenge #14, “A book of social science.” It just felt so fitting after this. (For reasons that will make sense after I finish it and post about it.)