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Literature / The Witches of Bailiwick

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The Witches of Bailiwick is a Low Fantasy Young Adult series by Sandra Forrester concerning the adventures of twelve-year-old witch Beatrice Bailey. She and each of her three friends (Teddy, Ollie, and Cyrus) live in the ordinary world, blending in with non-magical people with relative success. Although some of their classmates are (rightly) suspicious, in fact Beatrice and her friends are just "Everyday Witches", capable of only mundane magic, as opposed to the prestigious "Classical Witches".

But on Beatrice's twelfth birthday, as she is about to officially receive her classification, she instead is given a quest and learns some family history: many years ago in the Witches' Sphere, her ancestor Bromwich Bailiwick and his four daughters were imprisoned by the evil sorcerer Dally Rumpe, who then cast a curse on the land of Bailiwick. Since then each Bailiwick female was traditionally given the task of attempting to free their ancestor, and now it's Beatrice's turn.


Over the course of five books, Beatrice and her three friends journey through the Witches' Sphere, freeing the five realms of Bailiwick one at a time. Typically they spend time preparing for the mission of the book and exploring backstory details while staying with magical allies, and also dealing with Dally Rumpe's treachery.

This series provides examples of:

  • Alpha Bitch: She stalks Beatrice, trying to prove that there's something "wrong" with her.
  • As You Know: The Witches' Executive Committee is legally required to explain the quest to Beatrice and company before they set off on each part.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Wolf Duvall, Aura Featherstone, Leopold Meadowmouse, Thaddeus Thigpin, Peregrine, and others.
  • Beta Baddie: Rumpe is said to be motivated by jealousy of Bromwich.
  • Big Eater: Cyrus, but only human food. He hates witch food, though he'll stomach it if he really needs to. He gets teased for this.
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  • Blow You Away: A subset of Beatrice's abilities, as she controls weather.
  • Boring, but Practical: Ollie can boil water, and Teddy can detect enemies.
  • Cain and Abel: Bromwich and Dally Rumpe.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: Played straight with Winter Wood, but the curse manifests differently in the other parts of Bailiwick.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: In the third book Ollie uses his power to boil some sea monsters alive.
  • Fisher King: Enforced, since the terrible weather/monster infestations are caused by Rumpe's curse.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Cyrus' specialty.
  • Kid Hero: The task of defeating a powerful, evil sorcerer is given to a gang of 12-year-olds.
  • The Masquerade: "Reform witches" live among mortals.
  • Medieval Stasis: The central region of Bailiwick stayed how it was when it was cursed.
  • The Mole: Seems to be the standard to have at least one person the heroes encounter per book be Dally Rumpe in disguise, or suspected of being a spy on Dally Rumpe's side.
  • Nonhuman Sidekick: Cayenne, Beatrice's cat.
  • Ominous Fog: Werewolf Close.
  • Out of Focus: There are thirteen witches on the Witches' Executive Committee, but only three get names and dialogue.
  • Pun: The "Ghost Guard".
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Beatrice's ability to control the weather is always treated as mundane and relatively useless, but even our trope page points out a good use for her ability. Maybe justified in that she can't always travel to whatever part of the world with weather-related problems, but why does no one think of the potential?
  • The Resenter: Dally Rumpe, as noted above. On the other side, Miranda Pengilly.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: The Executive Committee, and most Traditional witches.
  • Sequel: The Witches of Widdershins Academy.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Played with. Spells tend to be very wordy.
  • Wild West: Winged-Horse Mountain.
  • Worthy Opponent: Bromwich Bailiwick and Ebenezer Duvall.


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