Characters: Discworld Witches
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Esmerelda "Granny" Weatherwax
I can't be having with this.A stern, skinny old woman who walks just on the "good" side of the thin line between good witch and bad witch. Thinks she knows what's best for people, and is usually right. Not well-liked, but well-respected, and that's usually good enough for her. Lives in the mountain kingdom of Lancre, and as far as she's concerned she and her fellow witches are the ones who really run the place. Tends to avoid using actual witch-magic unless she actually has to, preferring to use "headology" - her own personal version of psychology - something she is very, very, very good at. She is widely considered to be the most powerful witch on the Disc — even the Feegles call her "The Hag O' Hags."
- All Witches Have Cats: Averted for several books, as Granny dislikes cats — then played straight in Wintersmith and beyond, as Tiffany presents her with a white kitten. So she's now the owner of a white cat named You, as in "Get down from there, You!" or "Stop that, You!"
- Anti-Hero: Custom made to be bad, but when her sister left she was forced to be the good one.
- Anti-Villain: In her own opinion.
- Batman Gambit: More often than not she'll solve a problem by careful manipulation of people and events while keeping her magic in reserve until it is absolutely needed.
- Being Good Sucks: Was born to be the bad witch from every story but is too proud to ever become it.
- Body Surf: She practices a relatively benign version of this called "Borrowing", where she rides the mind of an animal, steering it and seeing through its eyes. This is her most commonly used technique, and she is regarded as the indisputable master of the skill.
- In case you think it's not a particularly useful power, she can intimidate people into thinking that she's spying on them through any animal, possess just about anything (plants, buildings, bee swarms), and once Out-Gambitted a group of vampires by Borrowing her blood and tricking them into drinking it.
- Brainwash Residue: The shapeshifting variety. For example, she stopped using owls to see at night because "You ends up for days trying to twist your head right round," and after she's borrowed an entire beehive, she declares, "I wantzzz a bunzzch of flowerzz, a pot of honey, and someone to szzzting."
- Cannot Tell a Joke: "Get me an alligator sandwich and make it quick!" note
- Catch Phrase: "Blessings be upon this house!", "I can't be having with this.", "I (still) aten't dead."
- Celibate Eccentric Genius: Though it would be hard to call her eccentric - perhaps her eccentricity is that she is very, very sane - she's a type of genius, and she is celibate. See below.
- Child Hater: Combined with Wouldn't Hurt a Child. Yes, she has that combination. She will loudly (and repeatedly) complain about children and threaten them with over-the-top punishments, but she would never act on any of them.
- Interestingly, children confronted with Granny Weatherwax (barring Early Installment Weirdness) seem to realize this on an instinctive level and are not afraid of her as a result.
- Celibate Hero: This amazes her former suitor Ridcully when he finds out.
- Cuteness Proximity: With You the kitten.
- The Dreaded: Trolls call her "Aaoograha hoa" ("She who must be avoided"). Dwarves name her "K'ez'rek d'b'duz" ("Go Around the Other Side of the Mountain"). You'd be an idiot (or an uppity vampire lord) to ignore her deserved reputation.
- The Fettered: Besides her fellow witches, the main thing stopping her from going bad is her own self-discipline.
- Genre Savvy: This, and not her magical abilities, is what makes her truly powerful.
- Good Is Not Nice: She never wanted to be the good one, and is somewhat grumpy as a result.
- Grumpy Old Woman: She doesn't hold with this newfangled "making your own entertainment".
- Hard Work Hardly Works: Subverted. Though it's seldom openly stated, Granny is actually not the most powerful witch around, and doesn't have the raw talent of, say, Nanny Ogg. However, she works so hard at being a witch and has become so skilled at using what she's got that she's more than earned her reputation as the greatest witch on the Disc.
- Hijacking Cthulhu:
- Granny Weatherwax has the ability to "borrow" the minds of living things. Among other more normal targets, she has used this ability on an entire swarm of bees, and a building (Unseen University, to be precise, which is a bit of a Genius Loci due to all the magic). Her pupil Eskarina Smith considered trying it on Great A'Tuin, the turtle that carries the world on its back, but decided against it at the last moment because she didn't think she'd be able to get back.
- In Carpe Jugulum, she manages to place her "self" into her own blood. Which causes the vampires to become like her, instead of the other way around.
- Icy Blue Eyes: Much attention is given to her piercing, diamond-blue eyes.
- I Have Many Names: At one point, Nanny brings up that her name among the trolls translates as "She Who Must Be Avoided" and the dwarfs know her as "Go Around The Other Side Of The Mountain".
- In-Series Nickname: Nanny Ogg calls her "Esme".
- Insufferable Genius: But they suffer her anyway, because it's way better than the alternatives.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite her best efforts.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Insists she "ain't got no romance in her soul." (Though that suspiciously dramatic streak persists.)
- Memetic Badass: In-universe, Sam Vimes is the only one who comes close to her in this territory. They are, to a degree, astonishingly similar people.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast/Red Baron: For anyone who knows her even by sheer reputation. Not being concerned with her reputation is really not advised.
- Nay-Theist: The quote at the top of the trope page belongs to her.
- Never Mess with Granny: Ever.
- Nice Hat: Comes with being a witch. If she doesn't have a hat how would people know she's a witch?
- Nice Mean And Inbetween: The mean one along with Nanny (inbetween) and Magrat (nice).
- No Sense of Humor: Is famed for it.
- Pimped-Out Dress: She's forced into one in Witches Abroad, and again in Maskerade, in order to pose as an upper-class lady. She would never admit to liking it, of course, or the midnight black velvet cloak Tiffany gifts her.
- Pride: Nanny Ogg describes her as 'proud' in the same sense that 'the sea is full of water'. She isn't a proud person, her existence is pride.
- Prim and Proper Bun: She wears her hair in a "tight bun that could crack rocks."
- Running Gag: Her broomstick is old, made of spare parts, and requires bump-starting. This involves holding it and running around like an idiot until the magic "catches."
- Or JUMPING OFF A ROOF.
- Another one: Granny is such an expert at "Borrowing" (or casting her mind into animals while in a trance) that she has to carry a card with the words "I ATEN'T DEAD" on it to stop people from burying her. This turns out to be an astonishingly long range Running Gag that pays off in Carpe Jugulum where after fighting off vampires for the entire book she ends the book lying on her bed clutching a card saying I STILL ATEN'T DEAD.
- Screw Politeness Im A Senior: Although, she wasn't much different when she was young...
- Terror Hero: Although her reputation never seems to daunt the villains, she is commonly known to dwarfs as "Go around the other side of the mountain" and trolls as "She who must be avoided". In another book, Nanny tries to get the citizens of Lancre to go looking for her by saying that Granny's all alone in the woods with monsters...and the crowd wonder why they should care what happens to monsters.
- Transplant, Mentor and (arguably) one-woman Spotlight-Stealing Squad: In the Tiffany Aching books.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: She can't talk to Nanny for more than a few minutes without them starting to fight.
- As said in Witches Abroad, Granny "really couldn't be having at all with Nanny Ogg, who was her best friend."
- And in Maskerade Nanny Ogg muses how they need to have a third, younger girl in the group to boss around or they'll just end up getting on each other's nerves, while as a trio they can get on the nerves of the rest of the world, which is much more fun.
- Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: Despite the abundance of witches, they don't have spelling in the mountains.
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child: To the degree that when she ends up infecting a clan of vampires with herself, they become unable to harm children as well. She insists this isn't the case, though.Nanny: But they know you wouldn't do those things either, Esme.Granny: No, they just know I ain't done it yet.
Gytha "Nanny" Ogg
A fat, likeable old woman with a fondness for free food, strong drink, dirty jokes, and dirtier songs. Easygoing, bends the rules
all the time when reality gets too boring, gets on well with nearly everyone, given timenote to get to know them. Has been married three times ("and that's only the official score") and had fifteen children, and is thus the absolute ruler of a massive extended family. Owns an ill-tempered tomcat named Greebo who, despite Nanny's insistence that he's "an old softy," is practically the poster child for Cats Are Mean and sires his own expansive (Granny's kitten You is the only feline in Lancre who is not descended from Greebo from at least one - and usually several - line of descent) clan (though once she admits "just between you and me, he's a fiend from hell"). Nanny has been best friends with Granny Weatherwax for decades, with the result that the two argue frequently. Despite her facade of a dim-but-lovable old lady, she hides "a mind like a buzzsaw behind a face like an elderly apple", and may be even more powerful than Granny.
- All Witches Have Cats: Greebo.
- Bawdy Song: The dreaded "Hedgehog Song" and "A Wizard's Staff Has A Knob On The End".
- Beware the Nice Ones: Nanny is the friendliest, most affable witch you can imagine — but don't imagine for a moment that this means she's soft.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Perhaps shown clearest in the climax to Wyrd Sisters. Granny Weatherwax tries to use Headology to force Lady Felmet into a Villainous Breakdown. When this doesn't work, Nanny Ogg just knocks the lady unconscious by hitting her on the head with a cauldron.
- Brilliant but Lazy: Has a natural knack for witchcraft and magic, and may secretly just be more powerful than Granny Weatherwax, but she tends to eschew hard work and usually goes for the quickest, easiest solution — which often turns out to be "get someone else to do the entire job for me."
- Cool Old Lady: She's been described as "the grandmother you didn't mind visiting when you were little, and who told you dirty jokes when you got older."
- Dirty Old Woman: Formerly a Loveable Sex Maniac.
- Evil Matriarch: Her poor, poor daughters-in-law certainly think so. Nanny Ogg sees their primary purpose in life as being to keep her content by cleaning her house — and she's very demanding about that — and providing her with all the food and drink she asks for.
- First Name Basis: She calls Granny Weatherwax "Esme", who in turn calls her "Gytha". Everyone else calls them Granny and Nanny.
- Fluffy Tamer: Where Greebo is concerned, anyway.
- And possibly the Nac Mac Feegle. Then again, this isn't a difficult trick for Nanny, considering she brews an incredibly strong drink known as scumble or "suicider," one drink of which is typically enough to lay someone out flat; Feegles will do a lot of favors for a drink of that stuff.
- Good Is Not Dumb: She's smart enough to keep Granny Weatherwax in check.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: She smokes a pipe.
- Granny Classic: Outwardly, at least. And whenever she's around children.
- Hard Head: According to Maskerade, where an attempt by Mrs. Plinge to lay her out cold with a full bottle of champagne to the skull merely leaves her woozy for a few seconds. Apparently, there's Dwarf in the Ogg ancestry and that means "a skull you could go mining with".
- Hidden Depths: Terry Pratchett has hinted that she may be more powerful than Granny. This is rarely noticeable, but briefly comes up in Maskerade.
- The short story The Sea And The Little Fishes directly states that of the two, Nanny is the more naturally talented witch and probably has more raw power, but is still less formidable because she doesn't work as hard as Granny at using what she has. Her highly developed ability to get along with people does make her the better witch in most everyday situations (for example she is the best midwife in the entire history of the world), and both recognize that they are strongest as a team.
- Interspecies Romance: The dwarf Casanunda hits on Nanny Ogg shamelessly whenever they cross paths, which Nanny Ogg regards with a mixture of amusement and pride. It's mentioned in passing it's not the first time an Ogg caught the eye of a dwarf; at least one married into the family (or had a child with an Ogg ancestor), giving Nanny Ogg and her descendants very tough skulls.
- I Was Quite a Looker: She may be a wrinkly, implicitly somewhat portly old lady now, but in her youth she was a very attractive (and very sexually liberated) woman. The "Mona Ogg" suggests she and Leonard of Quirm were very taken with each other, for instance. She held onto it enough that she had at least one child in her 50s.
- Mundane Solution: At least once a book she will get by a problem she can't handle herself by just asking someone for help, which would explicitly never even occur to the other witches (especially when it's a man).
- My Beloved Smother: Nanny Ogg is a loving, doting, and very controlling matriarch to all her family. Her daughters-in-law, however, tend to more view her as an Evil Matriarch, as mentioned above.
- Nice Mean And Inbetween: The inbetween with Granny (mean) and Magrat (nice)
- Obfuscating Stupidity: So much so that she's even got Granny fooled. You expect Granny to "happen to people," as Magrat puts it, but the rare occasions when Nanny is really mad about something are truly scary.
- Really Gets Around: Her son, Shawn, was born 20 years previous. His father died thirty years previous. Shawn hasn't noticed, and Ridcully stops Stibbons from pointing it out.Ridcully: They do things differently in the mountains. And more often.
- Shawn knows of the time-shift during Wyrd Sisters, but the Wizards probably don't. Of course, since she's had three husbands, plus who knows how many other liaisons...
- Supreme Chef: With a speciality in aphrodisiac dishes, the effectiveness of which, as Maskerade reveals, is unquestionable.
- Technician vs. Performer: The performer to Granny's technician. She's the life of the party, can get to know people instantly and is suggested to have more raw power, but Granny works harder. At the Witch Trials, Granny wins and Nanny gets drinks from people saying "It was a good try."
- Through His Stomach: Publicly disdains this saying, commenting that it's lousy advice unless the context is instructions for stabbing someone to death (in which case, it's up and under the ribcage). Despite this, she knows enough aphrodisiac or libido-boosting dishes to publish a cookbook devoted to them.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: with Granny. The third member of their trio tends to end up as The Chew Toy as a method of defusing this.
Third witch in a small coven consisting of herself ("The Maiden"), Nanny Ogg ("The Mother") and Granny Weatherwax ("The... Other One"). Initially a naive young woman who tries a little too hard to be nice to everyone, and who believes in the healing power of nature and all that other hippie rubbish. Magrat is a romantic soul with an open mind... so open, in fact, she's always letting in ideas before she can really think about them. However, she's quite skilled and quite dangerous when she gets her act together. She eventually goes on to marry Verence II, the King of Lancre.
- A-Cup Angst: Is noted to have a very small bust, and is rather insecure about this.
- Beware the Nice Ones: People often overlook her, making her Let's Get Dangerous moments that much more effective.
- Breast Plate: In Lords and Ladies, while wearing the armor of the fictional queen Ynci.
- Granola Girl: "Magrat Garlick, you are a wet hen!"
- Hypocritical Humor: Her response to the accusation that witches are cruel, sadistic, murdering hags:Witches just aren't like that. We live in harmony with the great cycles of Nature, and do no harm to anyone, and it's wicked of them to say we don't. We ought to fill their bones with hot lead.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Magrat usually turns badass at least one time per book where she appears. It tends to be spectacular.
- Mama Bear: After becoming a mother, she's notably become this. Agnes/Perdita comment on it, and Perdita isn't at all sure she likes the new "mother" Magrat.
- Shrinking Violet: Can come across as one, especially in Wyrd Sisters, though over the course of the books she gains a lot of self-confidence.
- Nice Mean And Inbetween: The nice one along with Granny (mean) and Nanny (inbetween).
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: In I Shall Wear Midnight, it's revealed that she's gone back to making potions after initially giving it up to marry King Verence.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Her unfortunate name is due to the fact that her mother couldn't spell "Margaret" on her birth certificate. When Magrat names her own daughter Esmerelda, she adds a "Note Spelling" to the christening card. This doesn't turn out all that well.
- Strawman Emotional: Makes situations worse by thinking along traditional fairy-tale lines (e.g. elves are good, magic can solve all problems...) in contrast to Granny's pragmatism.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Towards Granny.
AKA "that Agnes who calls herself Perditax", Agnes is the third witch after Magrat leaves, and indeed Maskerade is about Nanny and Granny coming to Ankh-Morpork specifically to get her. Agnes is a shy, helpful, insecure fat girl who's sick and tired of being a shy, helpful, insecure fat girl (and people trying to reassure her by saying she's got good hair and a wonderful personality), and has thus developed a bit of an edge to her personality. She's able to sing in harmony with herself, thanks to a little quirk in her psychology that's exacerbated by her natural leanings towards witchcraft: she has a complete alternate personality that she unknowingly created herself. Naming it Perdita X Dream, it's the snarky inner monologue that comes out to make a mess of Agnes' life when she least expects it, but also helps her out a few times. She eventually learns to control Perdita, and falls in (and out) of love with a handsome young vampire in her second starring book.
- Brawn Hilda: Especially since her appearance in Maskerade has her play the part of the large operatic singer.
- Brother Chuck: Has not been seen since Carpe Jugulum, and most of the young witch-in-training focus has shifted to Tiffany Aching.
- Butt Monkey: Poor girl never seems to catch a break. The end of Maskerade is something close to a Humiliation Conga. Her life gets a bit better after she becomes an official witch.
- Deadpan Snarker: Perdita, who in Carpe Jugulum has taken to provide a running commentary inside Agnes's head... and sometimes through Agnes's voice, causing everyone to get angry at Agnes for it.
- Extreme Doormat: Fears becoming this in Maskerade; fortunately something about taking up witchery distils doormat-hood out of you.
- Fat Girl: She struggles a lot with this trope, particularly in Maskerade. A bit of a Deconstruction, though, as a large part of her personality is how annoying she finds the stereotype and how hard she works on avoiding it.
- Gainaxing: She's so fat she does it with her entire body. This is one of those things that's either massive Fan Disservice or Fetish Fuel with little room for middle ground.
- Gentle Giant: Perdita puts it best when she points out that Agnes "has all these muscles she's afraid of using."
- Meaningful Name: "Agnes" means "lamb," but "Perdita" means "lost."
- Musical Assassin: The top of her impressive vocal range has occasionally been used for tricks such as breaking glass, while the bottom end affects people's bowels.
- Perdita X Dream: (Former) Trope Namer.
- Split Personality: Agnes basically created her "Perdita" persona in order to get away from herself, which turns out to be a bad idea for a girl with natural magical abilities. The result was that she got stuck with a separate, annoying voice in her head who complains about everything, wants to rebel against everything, and occasionally takes over the body to say or do something nasty, leaving Agnes to deal with the consequences.
- Stout Strength: Perdita, when in control of the body, demonstrates that Agnes is actually extremely strong but is afraid of using her muscles.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Invoked in-story, as she's deliberately brought in by Nanny and Granny to take Magrat's role in the witches' coven. Agnes is actually quite unlike Magrat, though.
Verence of Lancre
He'd always slept in front of the door to his master. And now he was king, he slept in front of the door to his kingdom.His initial appearance in Wyrd Sisters was as the court Fool, and his name was unknown until Magrat used magic to find it out. He ended up on the throne of Lancre after the usurper Duke Felmet, more or less because no one else was better qualified or interested in the job, and possibly something to do with that mysterious droit de signeur business. Verence is small, shy and unassuming, and his subjects are amiably indifferent to him, provided he looks appropriately kingly at ceremonies and doesn't interfere with their lives too much. He eventually married Magrat in Lords and Ladies.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Normally Verence is a wimp, but watch what happens when the Pictsies give him some of their brew...
- Does Not Like Spam: Because of his background from the Fool's Guild, he hates custard pie. He even made custard illegal in Lancre.
- Extreme Doormat: He's an intelligent and well-meaning person, but he shares Magrat's dangerously broad mind. He's also trying so desperately to be a kindly, just king that he misses the points where it might have been wise to exert some authority.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: As a Fool, he keeps his head down and tries acting stupid. It's fairly obvious that he's a lot smarter than he pretends.
- Rags to Royalty: He was the royal Fool before being made king by Granny.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: He desperately wants to be one, and is trying to improve the country through political and social reforms. The people of Lancre politely listen to his suggestions and then ignore him and keep doing what they've always done.
- Sad Clown: Of the literal kind, in Wyrd Sisters. He's a court jester whose main moods are depression and paranoia, and who doesn't really do a very good job of hiding it because he's terrible at the clowning business.
- Straight Man: Though initially a Fool, he literally Cannot Tell a Joke.
- The Wise Prince: Tries very hard to be one. The problem is that while a lot of his ideas and reasoning are actually quite sound, he can't really get anyone to listen to them.
Nanny Ogg's eldest son, a blacksmith and master farrier. A big gentle soul, he's slow of thought, but it's best not to get him annoyed, because he's quite capable of picking up a pair of struggling men by the scruffs of their necks. And as he's Nanny Ogg's son, he knows more about what magical fol-de-rol should and shouldn't be messed with than your typical Lancre peasant.
- Gentle Giant: Probably one of the physically strongest human characters in the series (in Lords and Ladies, he attacks the elves with the nearest blunt object he could find — another elf), but nice as all get out, if a bit slow.
- Ultimate Blacksmith: The greatest blacksmith in the world, he can shoe anything, even an ant. The catch is, he must shoe anything people bring him to be shod, or else he loses the ability to do so. One of the odd things he has to shoe on a semi-regular basis is Death's horse, Binky. Jason, for his part, takes this in stride, doing the job blindfolded, working very hard not to think about what's going on, and never, ever using the metal from the horseshoes he replaces for another living creature.
Nanny Ogg's youngest son, a helper at Lancre Castle with a multitude of roles including captain of the guard, the guard, and about a dozen other jobs, including the butler on occasion.
- Jack-of-All-Trades: He does every job around the castle that doesn't demand special training, and does them all fairly competently and with roughly the same amount of enthusiasm. He does sometimes get carried away, though.
- One-Man Army: He is the entirety of Lancre's standing army.
- Except when he's lying down.