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.
- Being Good Sucks: Practically the postergirl for this trope.
- 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.
- 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!"
- Catch Phrase: "Blessings be upon this house!", "I can't be having with this.", "I (still) aten't dead."
- Celibate Eccentric Genius: a Rare Female Example.
- 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.
- Celibate Hero: This amazes her former suitor Ridcully when he finds out.
- Cuteness Proximity: With You the kitten.
- 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.
- 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 In-between: 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, I'm 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. The crowd asks why they should be so concerned about 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 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.
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.
- Nice, Mean and In-between: The nice one along with Granny (mean) and Nanny (inbetween).
- 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, though it gets a bit better after she becomes an official witch.
- Deadpan Snarker: Perdita
- Extreme Doormat: Fears becoming this in Maskerade; fortunately something about taking up witchery distills 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
- 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 this separate, annoying voice in her head who complains about everything, wants to rebel against everything, and occasionally takes over their 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.
Nanny Ogg's eldest son, a blacksmith and master farrier (And we mean 'Master'
). 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.
- 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, there are certain obligations attached to the distinction... most especially, that Death himself is a regular customer. 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 pretty much 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.