The 23rd Discworld novel and the fifth or sixth in the Witches Theme, depending on whether Equal Rites is counted.King Verence and Queen Magrat of Lancre have had their first child, a daughter, and have invited all the nearby rulers to her naming ceremony. Unfortunately, this includes the de Magpyr family of vampires from neighboring Überwald, and now that they've been invited to Lancre, they have no intention of leaving. It's up to the witches, along with a drippy Omnian priest called Mightily Oats, to defeat them and save the kingdom from its new vampire overlords.Preceded by The Last Continent, followed by The Fifth Elephant. Preceded in the Witches series by Maskerade, followed by The Wee Free Men.
Acquired Garlic Immunity: The de Magpyrs have built up a tolerance to, among other things, garlic, holy water, sunlight, and OCD.
Acrofatic: Whenever Perdita takes over Agnes' body. Agnes has a quite a lot of muscle she never knows how to use.
Affably Evil: Count de Magpyr insists that he is Affably Evil and talks like a self help guru - but in actuality his attempts at being friendly and affable lead to him being a far greater horror than his genuinely Affably Evil uncle.
And I Must Scream: Used as a threat by Granny. While (presumably) there's no way to permanently kill off a vampire, it's entirely possible to, say, trap said vampire in gaseous form in a bottle and then drop the bottle from the edge of the Disc.
Assimilation Backfire: The Magpyrs suck Granny Weatherwax's blood and attempt to turn her. She survives the experience without becoming a vampire; the Magpyrs aren't so lucky, however, as feeding on Granny Weatherwax has allowed her to turn them. By the end, they're craving tea instead of blood and even talking like her.
Awesome McCoolname: Inverted, the vampire teenagers all have "Goth" birth names like Lacrimosa, so they think calling themselves "Wendy" or "Susan" is edgy and rebellious.
A key moment comes when he's alone with Granny in a wet, cold forest at night, afraid she's going to freeze to death, and the only dry material he has that could start a fire to warm her up is the paper his Bible... er, Book of Om is printed on. He recalls a passage that says, "Where there is darkness we will make a great light..." He takes out the Book again... and makes a great light.
Importantly, the whole book Oats had tried to gain faith by reading random passages from the Book of Om. When he meets Granny she stresses that he has the ability to make his own faith...and in the end, he does.
Batman Gambit: Granny getting the vampires to bite her so that she could control the blood inside them.
Battle in the Center of the Mind: Many. Granny resists being turned into a vampire, Oats and questioning his faith, Agnes fights the allure of Vlad and becoming a beautiful, powerful, eternally-young vampire.
Oats is something of an update to Small Gods. He laments that his faith's new direction of spending their time arguing points of dogma and comparative religion studies lacks the passion they had in earlier times. This proves Brutha's reforms worked well; when they had that fire, they were a terrible force that focused more on the monolithic church than on Om, resulting in only a single believer of Om within an enormous institution believing in nothing except itself that declared terrible holy wars in its own name. Now the church is less militant, it has spread across the continent. Ultimately Oats ends up striking a balance between pre-Brutha Omnianism and post-Brutha Omnianism that eliminates the worst aspects of both. It seems to be working pretty well.
There are also a lot of continuity nods to Lords and Ladies, in particular the reappearance of many minor characters.
For example, it is shortly mentioned that one of the would-be-witches from Lords and Ladies now has a baby. But to actually recognize her, you have to have read Maskerade too (because she took her husband's last name). The references in this book and Maskerade are both well hidden in lists of random names used as examples for a recent topic.
Convenient Weakness Placement: Deliberate on the part of the Old Count, who kept a flowing moat, easily-opened curtains, and objects that could be bent into religious symbols lying around to give his victims a fighting chance.
And to encourage his killers not to take extreme efforts. Be easily dispatched, and it'll be called a day once you're dust. Be hard to kill, and they'll make certain you stay dead for a long time.
Covert Pervert: Magrat. This shocks even Nanny. Magrat reminds her that she is a married woman and a mother now.
Daywalking Vampire: The vampires have gotten rid of their sunlight problems with the power of positive thinking.
Decon-Recon Switch: Of the Classical Movie Vampire, especially Dracula himself. The Magpyrs are the deconstruction, having overcome their various weaknesses and dropped the Villain Ball so that they can be effective monsters and rule over humanity. Granny presents the reconstruction, and this is demonstrated by the Old Count, who is just enough of a threat that his victims get to have a fun adventure without anybody getting seriously hurt.
Dirty Business: Granny doesn't like having to make all decisions that she's had to make.
Early Installment Weirdness: The Nac Mac Feegle are pretty similar to their later portrayal in the Tiffany Aching books, but their accent is quite stronger. This could, of course, be chalked up to differences between the Uberwald Feegles and the Chalk Feegles. Also, Terry stated that childrens' books are "...written with the knob turned down a level, so it will be more accessible to the younger market." This was probably deliberate "de-obfuscation" so that young readers wouldn't be going "Mummy, what's he saying there?" every other line.
Eat Me: Granny letting the vampires suck her blood.
Genre Savvy: The Magpyr vampires. They train themselves to overcome vampire weaknesses, and mock the old count for his Hammer Horror style Genre Blindness - easily-opened curtains, objects easily broken into holy symbols and stakes, copious holy water, etc. Turns out the old count is far more Genre Savvy than his offspring. He deliberately allows humans to exploit his weaknesses so that, being an easily dispatched villain and giving the village boys something to feel good about, he is never Killed Off for Real.
Good Old Ways: Everyone agrees that the old fashioned vampires were better.
Hate At First Sight: When Agnes meets Lacrimosa the description is simply 'There is such a thing as hate at first sight'.
Heart In The Wrong Place: The Old Count turns out to have an anatomical chart showing where the heart is to help would-be heroes, otherwise he might end up leaky as a colander.
Heel Realization: The Count outright asks the villagers of Escrow to look at him, and then at the newly-resurrected previous Count, believing that the comparison will convince them that he's the better of the two. But Villainous Breakdown ensues when he realizes that being Dangerously Genre Savvy is considered far, far worse than the old Count's intentional use of the Villain Ball. Vlad gets this, too, presumably, since he genuinely believes that the alternative for Escrow that his father offers is better than what it used to be.
Heroic BSOD: Granny Weatherwax, when she thinks she's becoming unnecessary.
Living Shadow: Played straight, when King Verence's (second) shadow has to be removed and "killed" by the Nac Mac Feegle (with a well-aimed crossbow bolt) because its presence allows the vampires to control Verence.
Mercy Kill: Granny sometimes did something similar; she didn't actually kill people, but she helped them to die. "There was no need for desperate stuff with a pillow, or deliberate mistakes with the medicine. You didn't push them out of the world, you just stopped the world pulling them back. You just reached in, and... showed them the way."
Our Vampires Are Different: Notably, thanks to the Count training them with a little exposure at a time, the Magpyrs are not affected by traditional vampire weaknesses such as garlic, holy symbols, holy water, and sunlight.
Also, the vampires of de Magpyr family turn into flocks of magpies instead of bats.
The trope is also invoked in the story, since the method for disposing a vampire depends on which village he's from.
Goth: Completely turned on its head: Lacrimosa and her vampire friends partake in a subculture that has them wearing bright colours, pretending to drink wine, staying up well past Midday, and adopting names like "Henry" and "Freda".
Countess: And we met such lovely people. Do you remember Mr and Mrs Harker? Count: Very fondly. I recall they lasted nearly all week.
Reverse Psychology: The Magpyr's castle is named Don'tGoNearThe Castle, and route is regularly marked by signs like "Don't take this quickest route to the Castle". According to Igor, it was always full of guests.
Also Mightily Oats, to a much lesser extent - he just hasn't named it. At least not formally. He does have a habit of calling his "two selves" Good Oats and Bad Oats. Both his pious and skeptical sides agree with the terms, but have different interpretations of who is who.
Too Dumb to Fool: More like, Too Singleminded To Fool. Hodgesaargh reckons a bird is a bird is a bird, even if it's a phoenix, and goes hunting for it like he would any other.
Took A Level In Bad Ass: With a little coaching from Granny, Mightily Oats goes from a wishy-washy priest wracked with doubt and inner turmoil to chopping off the head of the evil Count Magpyr with a single axe blow.
Vampire Invitation: A significant plot point. Verence sends a formal invitation to the Magpyrs for the naming ceremony, failing to consider what a very bad idea this might be.
Vampire Vannabe: Inverted. Normal rebellious teenagers start dressing in black and giving themselves elaborate names. Vampire rebellious teenagers, apparently, try to act like ordinary people for the same reason.
More traditionally, the first thing the Magpyrs do is beat Granny in psychic battle.
The Count was wrong about this, the witches never defeated the villains themselves, they just meddled so a secondary protagonist could get the cojones/chance/abilities to do so. He fails to understand this, and he gets taken out by the secondary protagonist.
Wine Is Classy: Played with. Where the human subculture of vampires are considered freaks because they file down their teeth, wear bright colors, stay up past noon, and drink... wine.