The third Tiffany Aching book in the Discworld series.It's been two years since the previous Tiffany Aching book. Tiffany has moved on to study under a new witch - this time Miss Treason, who is ancient (she claims to be 113 years old) and creepy as heck. Miss Treason takes Tiffany to see the Dark Morris, a tradition to welcome the winter. Tiffany, unfortunately, feels compelled to step in and join the dance, attracting the attention of the titular Wintersmith, the embodiment of Winter itself, in the process.This is the only Discworld novel to have its own soundtrack, produced by English folk band Steeleye Span.
Alpha Bitch: Annagramma, though Tiffany is actually quite a bit well more liked and respected. However, she's not all bad such as when she instantly launches a fireball at the Wintersmith when she thinks he's attacking Tiffany.
Ambiguous Gender: One of the snowman-building kids is so heavily wrapped up in coats, scarf and bobble hat that it's anyone's guess if there's a girl or a boy underneath it all.
Batman Gambit: Granny manipulates the situation so that Mrs Earwig gets her student into Miss Treason's steading. If it works out, fine; but if she's dreadful it will show how poor a teacher Mrs. Earwig is, requiring Tiffany's help for Annagramma to shape up, thus proving that Granny's witchcraft is superior.
Call Back: The Feegles have to dress up as a human again, first seen in A Hat Full of Sky. Big Yan refuses to be a knee this time.
Calling the Old Man Out: More Old Woman, but after leading a private campaign of defiance against his usurping, embezzling aunts for most of the book, Roland finally stops even pretending to be polite when they threaten to involve his sick father.
The Chessmaster: Granny, by letting Mrs. Earwig's choice win the cottage but Granny's way of witchcraft win the war. Even better, she had set this up well before the story begins by ensuring that the only contender to the spot is Tiffany, the only young witch guaranteed to turn it down if offered since she already had her own territory.
Dan Browned: In-story example, when Tiffany reads a romance novel that purports to take place on a sheep farm, and is more concerned with the writer's wrong-headed belief that The Simple Life Is Simple.
Endless Winter: The eponymous Wintersmith creates an unnaturally long winter (although his opposite number, the Summer Lady, would have created an endless summer). Tiffany tries to balance nature again.
Grim Up North and The Savage South: Although the Discworld doesn't strictly have a concept of north and south, the corresponding tropes are invoked when we see the places where winter and summer never die.
Heroic Sacrifice: Tiffany's father nearly throws himself onto the bonfire when there's nothing else left to burn, as he's convinced Tiffany and Wentworth will both freeze to death if her frost-to-fire spell fails. Subverted by the other Chalk shepherds, who are Genre Savvy enough to grab him first.
Hilarity Sues: The Feegles, though they're not just light relief, either...
How We Got Here: The first scene of the story takes place at what is basically thirty pages from the end of the book. However, it's stated that this is more sort of like something that could happen rather than something that absolutely definitely will. It doesn't turn out quite like it, but it mostly does.
Humanoid Abomination: The Wintersmith becomes more human over time, but it's not really supposed to. Note the 'it.' Thus, it never quite makes it.
Invisibility: There's a trick witches can pull on others where they drastically tone down their presence and become unnoticeable. They're still there, and you can still see them, but you tend to be absolutely sure they're not and completely overlook them. Tiffany learns it by observing Granny Weatherwax and some of the younger witches are jealous about it.
Keep the Reward: Played with. After Tiffany and Anagramma spend the night watching over a corpse in a farmhouse, Anagramma instinctively refuses breakfast. Tiffany tells her that it's important for the family to give them something in return and that refusing it would be an insult. When Summer offers Tiffany a reward for stopping the Wintersmith's rampage, Tiffany does refuse, since she was cleaning up her own mistake (and also as an insult).
In particular her disturbingly inhuman eyes (remember the Discworld rule that no supernatural being can hide the nature of its eyes) are explained as being those of snakes, because the place where summer never dies is in the heart of snake-infested deserts.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Tiffany is repeatedly reminded that this entire trouble was caused her feet wanting to dance and not thinking first.
Not So Different: Annagramma snubs Tiffany and her own steading constantly, but when she looks down on some shepherds and notes that Tiffany is the daughter of one herself, Tiffany has finally had enough. She figures out through the observation skills that Annagramma doesn't use that not only is Annagramma's father not a major land owner, he's not even a farmer. He just works for one. Annagramma is a nobody just like her.
Mrs. Treason's use of two ravens as her eyes and ears is a clear reference to Odin.
They re also a continuity nod: Discworld's Odin/Zeus analogue Blind Io kept two ravens for a while, but there was an unfortunate incident with one of Io's floating eye balls and he got rid of them. The Folklore Of Discworld tells us they are the same two birds as Miss Treason's pair.
The traveling librarians, who get stranded in the freezing snow without even thinking of burning their wagonloads of books to keep warm, could be a reference to the keepers of the Vavilov Institute's seed bank, who rode out the famine during the WWII Siege of Leningrad while guarding a storehouse of precious (and edible) seeds. Knowing their country would need every last seed to restore agricultural productivity after the war's end, nine of these dedicated Soviet botanists died of starvation rather than consume or abandon their irreplaceable specimens.
The Talk : Delivered by Nanny Ogg. Sort of. Tiffany keeps on expecting it, and eventually bluntly tells Nanny Ogg that having grown up on a farm with a bunch of older sisters she knows about sex already. It turns out Nanny Ogg knows that, and gives her a talk on relationships instead.