Follow TV Tropes

Following

Literature / Wintersmith

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/n158106a_1049.jpg
At nine, Tiffany Aching defeated the cruel Queen of Fairyland. At eleven, she battled an ancient body-stealing evil. At thirteen, Tiffany faces a new challenge: a boy. And boys can be a bit of a problem when you're thirteen...But the Wintersmith isn't "exactly" a boy. He is Winter itself-snow, gales, icicles-all of it. When he has a crush on Tiffany, he may make her roses out of ice, but his nature is blizzards and avalanches. And he wants Tiffany to stay in his gleaming, frozen world. Forever. Tiffany will need all her cunning to make it to Spring. She'll also need her friends, from junior witches to the legendary Granny Weatherwax. "Crivens!" Tiffany will need the Wee Free Men too! She'll have the help of the bravest, toughest, smelliest pictsies ever to be banished from Fairyland-whether she wants it or not. It's going to be a cold, cold season, because if Tiffany doesn't survive until Spring...Spring won't come.
The 35th
Advertisement:
Discworld novel and the third in the Tiffany Aching theme.

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.

Preceded by Thud!, followed by Making Money. Preceded in the Tiffany Aching series by A Hat Full of Sky, followed by I Shall Wear Midnight.


Advertisement:

Tropes:

  • A Birthday, Not a Break: Tiffany only realizes that the day Miss Treason dies is also her birthday once it's all over and she's cleaning up. Then she realizes Death called her Tiffany Aching, aged thirteen.
  • Absurd Cutting Power: Roland uses a sword to kill the bogles is literally made out of sharpness.
    • To explain he brought a normal sword on his katabasis to retrieve the Summer Lady only he threw it away for being to heavy. But since imagined things in the Underworld can become real he calls up his idea of a sword from all his practising, creating the platonic ideal of a sword.
  • Age Is Relative: Subverted, Tiffany tells Annagramma that just because a woman is old and toothless doesn't mean she's wise or a competent midwife, just that she's been stupid for longer.
  • Agony Beam: Played With Granny Weatherwax shows that very skilled witches like her can take the pain of an ailing patient out of their body and transfer it to somewhere else. She warns Tiffany that it can kill the user if they aren't careful.
  • Advertisement:
  • 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.
  • Ambiguous Situation: It's unclear if The Ferryman and Death are different entities, related entities or if Death is pulling double shifts.
  • An Ice Person: What with being the arch spirit of winter and all, The Wintersmith showcases all kinds of ice and related seasonal magic. Were takings person-shaped icebergs and worse.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Horace the cheese. See he's a wheel of Lancre Blue, which is noted below in Continuity Nod to be abnormally lively for cheese when made normally. Since Tiffany Aching, who is very good with cheese, made Horace, he apparently achieved sapience and started hanging out with the Nac Mac Feegle, who are also small, blue, and belligerent.
    • They even give him his own kilt.
  • Antagonist Title: The titular Wintersmith is the main obstacle that Tiffany must overcome in the year the book chronicles.
  • Anti-Intellectualism: Apparently somewhat of a driving force behind hostility to witches; after all, "witch" basically means "someone who knows more than you". This process feeds on itself — the stupider a region's inhabitants get, the more suspicious they are of witches (and intelligence in general), so they keep on driving them out and decreasing the average local intellect. The inhabitants of Dogbend are now so stupid that, in Miss Tick's opinion, they'll soon be throwing rocks at pigs for being too smart, but this also makes them incredibly easy to fool — she's planted a book called Magavenatio Obtusis in the town, and they follow its instructions to the letter, meaning that whenever she's caught they give her a hot meal and a comfortable room for the night, stuff two sixpences in her boots and then dump her in the river with easily-untied ropes round her arms and legs.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Awfully Wee Billy's description of the kelda's prophetic dreams:
    "She saw a green tree growing in a land o' ice! She saw a ring o' iron! She saw a man with a nail in his heart! She saw a plague o' chickens and a cheese that walks like a man!"
  • As You Know: How Tiffany deals with Know-Nothing Know-It-All Anagramma, because just asking her to show you how to do something just results in a lot of stalling until she says she has a migraine.
  • The Backwards Я: When the story, and the titular character touches on a place where bitter cold is seen as normal and murderously violent blizzards are commonplace. When the elemental spirit goes riding through the snowstorm, one a horse that is essentially an extension of itself, and singing in the region's native tongue, which is rendered in the text as Russian Cyrillic.
  • Badass Bookworm: Tiffany and Roland, which really helps them here with understanding them and navigating the underworld.
  • Badass Creed: Tiffany gives an awesome one: "This I choose to do. If there is a price, this I choose to pay. If it is my death, then I choose to die. Where this takes me, there I choose to go. I choose. This I choose to do."
  • Auto-Kitchen: The Cornucopia that arrives for Tiffany can miraculously produce anything harvested during the growing season, including all sorts of fruits, vegetables, nuts, or beverages such as milk or juice. You have to be careful what you say, as edible animals like chickens are provided while still raw, intact and living (werk), unless you specify how you want them prepared (Nanny Ogg's ham sandwiches) and even then, it will still produce far too much. Apparently the material is distilled out of firmament rather then taken from somewhere else. See also Bigger on the Inside, if you happen to be a kitten or Feegle.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: Between the seasons, mainly Summer and Winter. See just like England in our world, there are morris dancers who perform their ritualistic dance in spring with bells and colourful costumes to welcome in the summer. However, in order to balance this, there are also Dark morris dancers who use silent bells and black costumes, dancing in the autumn to welcome in the winter. Then Tiffany disrupts the dance and disturbs the equilibrium.
  • 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.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Tiffany doesn't want the newly awakened Wintersmith to continue making her name in frost, or icebergs that look like her, but feels sorry and lets him make all the snowflake portraits of her that he wishes. As the story opens with a Flash Forward of the entire Chalk covered in tens of feet of snow, you can see where this is going.
  • Beneath the Mask: Up to Eleven. Not only do Miss Treason and Annagramma use literal masks to hide their true selves, but also green gloves, fake teeth, fake skulls, a ginormous fake booger, a loom that is said to seal the fates of people, anything they can use to make their Boffo even stronger.
  • Berserk Button: Roland snaps when his horrible aunts threaten to bother his sick father, and later on in the Underworld, Daft Wullie reminding him of them makes him furious enough to fight his way out.
  • Blind Seer: Miss Treason, she gets around this be "borrowing" the eyes of mice and ravens.
  • Book Burning: When a cart of travelling librarians stuck in deep snow and deeper cold. When the Nac Mac Feegle rescuing them point out that there were plenty of books in the cart, the librarians concur, followed by the silence of two people who can't understand each other's point of view.
  • Bookcase Passage: Roland reflects that one of the advantages of living in a castle is that when he barricades himself in his bedroom to escape his aunts, it stays barricaded. When the aunts shout through the door that they'll starve him out, he glances at the far wall, where there's a patch of lighter stone with a slightly crooked candlestick next to it, and thinks that there's many advantages to living in a castle.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Annagramma claims to hate shepherds and claims to know nothing about the shepherd life, and Tiffany, a shephard's daughter, calls her out on this and gets the truth out. Annagramma's ashamed about being a daughter of a landless peasant. She never expresses actual hate towards people who work with their hands, but tends to be extremely condescending towards them.
  • Briar Patching: Showcases a particularly elaborate version where travelling witch Miss Tick has written a book (Witchhunting for Dumb People) for would-be witch-hunters, explaining that burning a witch just makes her angry, and the best plan is to rob her of her powers by giving her soup (not tomato, as that would make her ''more'' powerful), then providing pillows and blankets to trick her into going to sleep, and later waking her quietly with a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit (a ginger biscuit may also work, plain would be a very bad idea), tying her hands with a bosun's knot and throwing her in the river. The knot is easily undone, and Miss Tick was a swimming champion at school and keeps in form.
  • Break the Haughty: Granny Weatherwax got to break two haughties for the price of one in a Xanatos Gambit that forms the story's B-plot. Annagramma Hawkin is Alpha Bitch to the new generation of witches, and because Granny suggested Tiffany Aching to take over an open spot, Annagramma got it instead. Mrs. Earwig's tutelage by that point left Annagramma ill-prepared for real-world witchcraft; she has no idea how to take care of the steading. So Tiffany needs to step up and rally their generation to help Annagramma once she admits she needs it. This served to teach Annagramma what witchcraft was and prove that her teacher Mrs. Earwig doesn't teach witchcraft properly.
  • Breakfast in Bed: When Tiffany is staying at Nanny Ogg's cottage, she's brought breakfast in bed by one of Nanny's daughters-in-law, who also does so for Nanny herself. Tiffany, who grew up on a farm where everyone starts work at dawn, has never previously heard of anyone eating in bed unless they were ill.
  • Brick Joke: Daft Wullie repeatedly thinking a Geas is a bird is the return of a running gag from Sourcery (which, incidentally, ended by revealing that there is an actual bird on the Discworld called a geas).
    • Nanny Ogg's remarks after the Cornucopia buries her in ham sandwiches are a double example: not only does she complain about the lack of mustard, which Miss Treason had done posthumously, but she also says she'll have to make a whole lot of soup. Her recipe for Leftover Sandwiches Soup was mentioned earlier, when all the witches at the going-away party were squirreling away free grub.
  • But I Read a Book About It: Roland believes that he will be an expert swordsman because he has read the fencing manuals and fought many imaginary swordfights in his mind. The traveling librarians have roughly the same issue when trying to survive in a blizzard.
  • By the Eyes of the Blind: The Bogles (weird humanoid demon-animals that inhabit the Underworld) can only be seen by people who have their eyes shut at the time. This might be a deliberate parody of the Blind Seer trope.
  • 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 Woman Out: 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. Countering that he will tell his father about the missing silver candlesticks and monies that have gone missing from the strong boxes.
    • There is a more minor one towards the end, where Tiffany chastises Granny Weatherwax for her entry under The Chessmaster below.
  • The Cameo: Tolliver Groat and the goddess Anoia, from the contemporaneously-written Going Postal.
  • The Cat Came Back: Done with Tiffany's silver horse pendant which finds its way back to her even after she tosses it away.
  • Central Theme: Beneath the Mask. The way that people hide who they truly are, so they can be accepted by people who can't understand them. The way that pride and hatred are used to conceal shame and fear. And that you should never forget that people are more than the masks they choose to wear.
  • Cheerful Funeral: As is common with a Discworld magic-user, Miss Treason calls in all her colleagues and gets a lot of food for everyone and there's a lot conviviality, also politicking which many witches find amusing.
  • 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.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Tiffany and Roland's relationship continues to develop. She's surprised to find she's jealous of him spending time with other girls and their watercolors, and Roland risks his life to help Tiffany stop the Wintersmith. There are signs though that they're pulling apart.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Agnes Nitt continues with her absence from Lancre witch gatherings.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: Tiffany's silver horse necklace, she lost it in the morris dance only for the inchoate Wintersmith to return it to her. Granny later has her get rid of it near later start to keep the Wintersmith from finding her, and near the end of the book finds it in the guts of a pike caught by her little brother. Later still, Granny Weatherwax makes some remarks hinting she anticipated something like this might happen, even asking what kind of fish Tiffany found the necklace in.
  • Clown Car Base: Cornucopia for a flock of chickens.
  • Clucking Funny: A mishap with the Summer Lady's cornucopia leads to Nanny Ogg's house being filled with hundreds of live chickens. Werk... Not a bad thing, as Rincewind in ''The Science of Discworld II'' has accurately observed that the chicken is Lancre's standard unit of currency.
  • Continuity Nod: The Dark Morris, as Pterry mentioned in the author's note, first came up in Reaper Man, and is now an important plot point.
    • Granny Weatherwax demonstrates the heat/pain-moving trick she was last seen using in Carpe Jugulum.
    • At the end of the book, Rob Anybody is seen reading "Where's My Cow?" to his children.
    • Way back in Lords and Ladies, there's a passing reference to how some of the cheeses at an inn put up a bit of a struggle when the elves invaded Lancre. This seemed like a joke, but Horace the cheese (who is Tiffany's rendition of a Lancre Blue) implies otherwise.
    • Speaking of Lords and Ladies, the Morris dancers who perform in Lancre village at the story's end are men whom Tiffany vaguely recalls working as smiths, cart-drivers, etc. She may not recognize them by name, but avid Discworld readers will recall their role in Lancre's recent elf incursion.
    • Possibly Dibbler has gone into book promotion, as the blurbs on the romance novel the Feegles leave for Tiffany are exactly the same as the ones he came up with for a chick-click in Moving Pictures. note 
    • Anoia, the goddess of things stuck in drawers, makes a personal appearance for the first time in the series, and it's revealed that she used to be Lela, the ancient volcano goddess spoken of by Anghammarad in Going Postal (the first book in which she played a significant role), who smoked all the time because the god of rain had rained on her lava. ("That's men for you, dear. They rain on your lava.") Even thousands of years later, she still constantly smokes.
  • Cool Old Lady: Nanny Ogg, as always. Here it shows her from tiffany's point of view. The tyrannical matriarch of a large family who's also The Social Expert that has been able to put up and keep up with Granny Weatherwax for decades.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Granny, of all people, albeit reluctantly, with a kitten.
  • Cute Kitten: You (yes, that's her name), softens Granny Weatherwax. Slightly. Deny it though she may. Nanny Ogg's angelically challenged tomcat Greebo (he's a big softy, really), on the other hand, found an encounter with her somewhat disquieting, to say the least.
  • 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.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Miss Treason.
  • David Versus Goliath: You and Greebo.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Equipped with the Element-of-Surprise™ and a fireball, Annagramma temporarily melts the anthropomorphic personification of all of winter.
  • Disability Superpower: Miss Treason from Wintersmith sees and hears through her animal companions, and advanced form of borrowing that only "the girl, Weatherwax" has been seen doing while remaining in her own body.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Witch-Hunting for Dumb People, an instruction book carefully written by Miss Tick as a massive exercise in Briar Patching, says that giving a suspected witch a good vegetable soup will rob her of her powers, but tomato will make her even more powerful. Presumably, this is because Miss Tick doesn't like tomato soup.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: Interestingly, when put into this situation by his katabasis Roland himself objects: Roland is reluctant to kiss the sleeping Summer Lady even if he needs her to wake up so he can complete his quest. Rob Anybody insists that the narrative traditions demand the Hero to wake up the unconscious maiden with a kiss. Luckily, a little peck on the cheek does the job.
  • Dramatic Irony: The Wintersmith builds himself a human body based on an old rhyme about "the things that make up a man", but fails to understand that the last three parts, which he couldn't find because they aren't physical elements, are the most important:
    Strength enough to build a home,
    Time enough to hold a child,
    Love enough to break a heart
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: An interesting case as the candidate himself objects: Reaching the Underworld, Roland is reluctant to kiss the Summer Lady who is deeply asleep. Rob Anybody insists that the narrative traditions demand for the Hero to wake up the unconscious maiden with a kiss. Luckily, a little peck on the cheek does the job.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Roland has to fight these in the Underworld to fulfill his role as the Hero.
  • Elemental Powers: The Wintersmith and the Summer Lady.
  • Embarrassing Last Name: Roland de Chumsfanleigh "(pronounced Chuffley - it's not his fault)".
  • 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.
  • Evil Uncle: Distaff Counterpart with Roland's aunts, who definitely qualify.
  • Expy: Within the same universe by the same author. Anoia the Goddess of Things that Get Stuck in Drawers has exactly the same personality (and chain-smoking habit) as Adora Belle Dearheart in the books about Moist. She's also heavily implied to be the deity formerly known as Lela the Volcano Goddess ("the Storm God keeps raining on her lava"), who was explicitly compared with Adora Belle by Anghammarad in Going Postal.
    • Seems like Rincwind's theory of a limited number of real people being transposed across the Discworld (pondered in The Last Continent) might even applies to deities.
  • Fallen Princess: Annagramma, partially.
  • Faux Horrific: There are few things Feegles fear more than such feminine tricks as "the foldin' o' the arms an' the pursin' o' the lips an' the tappin' o' the feets!"
  • Faux-To Guide: The Book Within A Book Witchhunting for Dumb People is actually a very useful and helpful book… if you're a witch who wants a village full of dumb people to let you have a good night's sleep and wake you with a cup of tea in the belief this will rob you of your powers, rather than burning you.
  • Fearless Fool: Granny is tactful enough to not Name Drop this trope on the Nac Mac Feegle when she tells the them that they need The Hero to go to the underworld, because they themselves would not be afraid of doing it, and The Hero needs to be — so she sends them after the Baron's son Roland, who would be afraid.
  • The Ferryman: A archetypal version shows up in the Underworld to take Roland and the Feegles across the river of the dead to look for the Summer Lady. He seems to strongly resemble Death and even uses the same unique manner of speech.
  • Fertile Feet: Trope Namer; since she interfered with the Dark Morris dance which got the Wintersmith to mistake her for the Summer Lady, Tiffany Aching started gaining her powers. Being Discworld it's a known and measured phenomenon (and the Latinized "Ped Fecundis") and played for laughs. Nanny Ogg uses it to get some fresh vegetables in winter.
  • Fire/Ice Duo: The eternal dance of the Wintersmith and the Summer Lady, although they're not supposed to actually meet.
  • Flying Broomstick: Tiffany Aching starts riding a broomstick in this book, it has two smaller brooms attached to the back to keep her stable. These get removed as she gets more comfortable.
  • Forgot to Feed the Monster: Roland and the Nac Mac Feegle travel to a disused Underworld to rescue the Summer Lady, and find the skeleton of a three-headed dog that had apparently starved to death.
  • Geas: Rob Anybody is put under a Geas by his wife Jeannie to protect Tiffany Aching. It becomes a Running Gag that Daft Wullie keeps thinking Rob means an actual goose.
  • The Gentleman or the Scoundrel: Conversational Troping, when Tiffany reads a romance novel in which the heroine must choose if she wants to marry William, an honest man with two and a half cows, or Roger, who rides a black stallion and calls her "My proud beauty". Tiffany isn't sure why the character needs to marry either of them.
  • Girl Posse: Returned and expanded from A Hat Full of Sky. Now they've come to hate Annagramma to the extent that Tiff has to persuade them to help Annagramma when the girl gets her own cottage and is woefully unprepared for it.
  • Giving Up on Logic: When Daft Wullie claims that Horace the cheese told him his name, Rob Anybody just shrugs it off by saying "I wouldna argue with a cheese."
  • God Couple: Played With; the Wintersmith and the Summer Lady have been in a dance for eternity never quite meeting but going on none the less. When the Wintersmith mistakes tiffany for the Summer Lady he acts like an obsessed stalker, when the Summer Lady chimes in she comes across as more possessive then actually in love.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Most witches, but especially Miss Treason and Granny.
  • 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.
  • Head Pet: Granny Weatherwax carries You the kitten under her witch hat to keep her head warm — or so she says.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: People keep asking Tiffany questions about Roland that she'd rather not answer.
  • He's Dead, Jim: Tiffany was so scared after being called to a logging accident she did everything to make sure the person had died, even though the man's head was several feet from his body at that point.
  • 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 wise enough to grab him first.
  • Hidden Depths: In relation to the other books in the series. We hadn't seen much of Roland beyond the first book where he was spoiled, bratty and kind of useless. This book shows that he was just out of his depth with the elf queen, and that he can be brave, knowledgeable, resourceful and a hero in his own right.
  • How We Got Here: A heterodox example; 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.
  • Human Mail: Subverted by Miss Tick, who insists that the two stamps on her lapel mean that the mail coach has to carry her, but travels as a passenger.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The Wintersmith becomes more human over time, but it's not really supposed to. Note the use of "it", not "he". Thus, it never quite makes it.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Annagramma may treat Tiffany like a spot of dirt that happened to be beneath her nose, but when the anthropomorphic personification of all of winter, who is powerful enough to create an avalanche or snowstorm in a spilt second, harasses Tiffany, she stomps up to him as if he were no-one more than Bob from the coffee shop, yells at him to leave her alone, and chucks a fireball at him. She succeeds in melting him, albeit temporarily.
    • Granted, she didn't exactly know it was the anthropomorphic personification of winter, but being willing to stand up to a sentient being made completely out of ice with snowflakes swirling around him just so you could stop your ally from being harassed is commendable.
  • Ice Magic Is Water: Averted, while incredibly flexible with the use of Ice the Wintersmith is Never shown manipulating liquid water.
  • Ice Palace: Once the title character has become capable of understanding why it would, it creates an ice palace for it (well "him") and the Summer Lady to live in.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Tiffany becomes the owner of a Cornucopia, which produces food on command and can also be used as a weapon...
    One big pumpkin, her Second Thoughts urged. They get really hard at this time of year. Shoot him now!
  • Inflationary Dialogue: Tiffany's little brother Wentworth is so excited about catching a pike that its weight increases every time he mentions it.
  • In Medias Res: Played with. The first chapter has Tiffany, in full witch mode, fighting tooth and nail to keep her family, their precious livestock and the rest of the townsfolk alive as the Wintersmith freezes the world, all the while internally blaming herself for everything that is happening. It then ends with a paragraph explaining that none of this has happened yet, and that the future is fluid and, depending on how events play out, it may never happen at all. It doesn't, although it does come pretty close.
  • Insubstantial Ingredients: The Wintersmith's inability to understand the last three ingredients that make a man doom its attempt to become human as they are not physical substances.
    "Strength enough to build a home, Time enough to hold a child, Love enough to break a heart."
  • 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.
  • Invisible to Adults: By the rules of Discworld, only children could hear the Wintersmith questions since adults "knew" that invisible creatures don't talk from out of thin air, or in this case through snowmen. The only other humans who could are the ones with pointy hats, who have trained themselves to "see what's really there".
  • It Was a Gift: The silver necklace that Roland gave Tiffany again features significantly in the plots though now as a Clingy MacGuffin.
  • It's All Junk: Initially played straight when Granny Weatherwax makes Tiffany get rid of her precious silver horse pendant to stop the Wintersmith from following her. Of course, it finds its way back to her. Later averted; once the danger is over, Granny offers to teach Tiffany all her magical secrets if she'll throw it away. She refuses, which is the right answernote 
  • It's Not Porn, It's Art: While observing a "classical" illustration of the Summer Lady and the Wintersmith Nanny Ogg says the presence of cupids shows it's Art, and not just the Lady in a state of undress, Granny Weatherwax sniffs, "Well, they're not foolin' me."
    • Later at the Wintersmith's Ice Palace Tiffany checks the fig leaves on all the classical statuary are firmly fixed in place, in a spirit of inquiry.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As always Granny, who makes very, very sure that Tiffany is out of sight before she takes in the kitten Tiffany left on her doorstep. She has a reputation to maintain.
  • Keep the Reward: Played with. After Tiffany and Annagramma spend the night watching over a corpse in a farmhouse, Annagramma 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).
  • Light Is Not Good: The Summer Lady, whose land is the deep, deep desert, so bright and hot that nothing can survive.
    • 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.
  • Living Legend: Miss Treason is in line for this, albeit for a small section of the country, a few people. She even quizzes Tiffany on a few of the stories and is 'delighted'' when it turns out Tiffany heard one she didn't make.
  • Love Triangle: Set up to be Betty and Veronica, but fails spectacularly. The hometown love interest develops a crush on someone else, and the exotic love interest is an innocent menace who can't understand why death is a bad thing, and would do anything, anything, to be with his crush. It's not convenient that he is the anthropomorphic personification of winter, meaning that he has the power to kill thousands of people via a snowstorm, avalanche or the like within a matter of seconds.
    • Ridiculed when Tiffany reads a romance novel:
    Should Megs marry sulky dark-eyed William, who already owned two and a half cows, or should she be swayed by Roger, who called her "my proud beauty" but was clearly a bad man because he rode a black stallion and had a moustache?
    Why did she think she had to marry either of them? Tiffany wondered. Anyway, she spent too much of her time leaning meaningfully against things and pouting.
  • Man in a Kilt: The Nac Mac Feegle, are about six inches high, but have enough muscle to lift oxen by the feet, they shouldn't even look human let alone have attractive legs, at least the artwork here reflects this. Roland finally asks the perennial question if anything is worn underneath...
    Rob Anybody: ...not necessarily.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Tiffany and the Wintersmith.
  • Meaningful Name: Eumenides Treason, Tiffany's Mentor has made herself into a symbol of harsh judgement, interesting that she shares her first name with the Furies, isn't it?
  • Monster-Shaped Mountain: Girl-shaped icebergs, rather. The Wintersmith thought tiffany would like them and didn't consider the danger to shipping which horrifies Tiffany.
  • Most Definitely Not a Villain: The Wintersmith makes himself a human form, and then goes into an inn. He announces, excitedly, 'I am a human, just like you!' (The Wintersmith never denied he was the Wintersmith, though; he just wanted to be human so Tiffany would love him.)
  • Mood Whiplash: Lighthearted example, Tiffany Aching talks to the Wintersmith, personification of winter (obviously), the guy behind snowflakes, hurricanes, avalanches and the like, while Annagramma Hawkin snores in the background.
    Gnh gnh gnh!
    "Let me show you my world, Flower Lady. Let me show you all the colours of ice."
    BLOOOOOOORRRRT
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: This book gives a second canonical glimpse of "Far Überwald", a place where Winter is rather severe and you do need to wrap up warm when venturing out.
  • Muggle-and-Magical Love Triangle: The focus of the A-plot. Tiffany's dancing feet attract a supernatural Stalker with a Crush in the form of the titular Wintersmith, and everyone knows that she's got an arrangement with the Baron's son, who's very much a Muggle. She chooses neither. She rejects the Wintersmith and he returns to his discorporate form, and she and Roland are just friends.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Rob Anybody spelling "marmalade". Not very well, but Granny Weatherwax admits it was "a heroic effort" especially given the feegle is both semi-literate and Sesquipedalophobic enough that even short words give him trouble.
  • Must Make Amends: Granny Weatherwax invokes this trope by name, telling Tiffany that she has to deal with the mess she caused. Though Tiffany insists that she's sorry for her mistake, the ever-blunt Granny Weatherwax informs her that sorry won't cut it, invoking this trope by name. She does eventually manage to fix things.
  • My Girl Back Home: Roland is a rare male example.
  • My Nayme Is: We finally learn that Roland's last name "Chumsfanleigh". A footnote tells us that it's "Pronounced Chuffley" and that "it wasn't his fault".
  • Never Mess with Granny: As always; Granny Weatherwax, here we see her intersect with the Wintersmith and cause him to discorporate. Another one shows up too Miss Treason. Granny is Mistress Weatherwax to other people and witches who have not earned the right to call her Granny yet. Miss Treason refers to her as "the girl Weatherwax". Possibly because she's 113 years old and is herself a respected witch.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Tiffany is repeatedly reminded that this entire trouble was caused her feet wanting to dance and not thinking first.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: The people of Miss Treason's steading are so used to her Boffo that they see her demons, skulls, and terrifying trappings as marks of a good witch. Annagramma has trouble fitting in due to this, and the townspeople only fully accept her when they see her (supposedly) turn into a grotesque monster.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: 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's just a farmhand. Annagramma is even more of a nobody than her.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: How the Baron's guards prefer to avoid carrying out the aunts' more-objectionable orders.
  • Obliviously Evil: Think of a person in the snow about to take their last breath, leaning against a dead tree, just because they didn't have anything to protect them against the cold. Think of how winter didn't come to kill that person, but came because it's the only thing it can do, and how it will never feel the agony it caused them. That's how the Wintersmith is evil. He isn't evil because he enjoys seeing people suffer, he is evil because he can't understand suffering at all.
    Tiffany: "Millions of people will die!"
    Wintersmith: "But only once. That's what makes it so wonderful. After that, no more death!"
  • One-Word Vocabulary: In a dream sequence Tiffany meets the "Jolly Sailor" who appears on her grandmother's tobacco packets. He can only say "A Good Smoke in Any Weather!" because that's what's written in his speech bubble on the packet.
  • Orphean Rescue: Invoked almost by name. Actually goes back to the Etruscan version where the summer must be personally retrieved, this time by Roland.
  • Painting the Frost on Windows: The titular {Wintersmith and his counterpart the Summer Lady, who bring and end the seasons. Spring and Fall aren't mentioned. It seems that they're the highest form of this in Discworld as Jack Frost has shown up before painting the forst on windows, guess they're the boss.
  • Parodies for Dummies: Magavenatio Obtusis, which a footnote helpfully translates as Witch-Hunting for Dumb People. For bonus points, it's the work of Miss Tick who included exacting instructions on which breakfast vittles need to be include to keep the witch "powerless" before she's dumped in the lake.
  • Percussive Prevention: In the climax of the book Tiffany's father is prevented from throwing himself into a bonfire by bystanders, who'd been watching him in case the fuel ran out, as he thought it would mean both his daughter and her patient would freeze.
  • Pet the Dog: Getting a kitten from Tiffany gives Granny Weatherwax many opportunities for this. She promptly names her You (as in: "Stop that, You!") and makes a show of not caring for it... but then cares for it when no-one's looking. By the end of the book You is found curled up on top of Granny Weatherwax's head, under her hat (Granny gives the lame excuse that it keeps her head warm).
  • Pity the Kidnapper: The Feegles are such bad guests that the underworld doesn't want to keep them there.
  • Preppy Name: Played With as Roland's literal nobility but his full name is Roland de Chumfansleigh, which is pronounced: "Chuffley." The narrator sympathetically notes that it isn't his fault.
  • Pride: Annagramma's biggest failing. Beneath the rather large amount of arrogance/snobbery she's more lost than anything.
  • Promoted to Scapegoat: At Miss Treason's the witches, and presumably Miss Treason too as she held the funeral the day before she died, agreed to give it to Mrs Earwig's apprentice Annagramma[[note]]A cottage in Discworld witchcraft isn't just a cottage; it's more like taking over a medical practice. Tiffany, who was Miss Treason's apprentice, protests that this is unfair ... on Annagramma who is clearly being set up to fail to prove a point about Mrs Earwig's brand of witchcraft.
  • Prophet Eyes: The centenarian Miss Treason has eyes like this, likely due to cataracts.
  • Punny Name: Annagramma, whose ideas of what a witch is supposed to be and do are (initially) completely mixed-up.
  • Purgatory and Limbo: Parodies this trope as the Nac Mac Feegle help Roland visit the (or rather, an) underworld during their Orphean Rescue of The Summer Lady and explain "This one used tae be called Limbo, ye ken, 'cuz the door was verra low."
    • It's populated by a few people and even wildlife, most prominently the Bogles, essentially living nightmares.
  • Put Them All Out of My Misery: the Wintersmith thinks it, at this point her, can win Tiffany's heart by saving people from their constant fear of death... forever.
  • Rejected Apology: Tiffany insists that she's really very sorry about interfering with the dance, but Granny tells her that an apology won't cut it, she's got to put it right.
  • Rescued from the Underworld: Invoked Roland has to descend into "an" underworld to rescue the Summer Lady, because that sort of thing is expected in these situations.
  • Returning the Wedding Ring: After Tiffany defeats the Wintersmith, he leaves behind the iron nail he'd collected to be human, she has it fashioned into a ring. When the Morris dancers drop by for the year, she gives the ring back to a man with the Wintersmith's eyes as a way to say that it would never work out since she's a human and the Wintersmith is basically a force of nature.
  • Running Gag: After You accidentally summons a massive flock of chickens from inside the Cornucopia, the word Werk (the sound the chickens make) is randomly inserted into the narrative for quite a while after.
  • Secret Diary: The Nac Mac Feegle have a great problem with the idea of a secret diary. Why would Tiffany write her thoughts down in a book with a lock on it which she keeps hidden at the back of a drawer if she didn't want anyone to read it?
  • Self-Made Myth: Tiffany discovers that her mentor for this book, Miss Treason relies heavily on cultivating an air of witchy mystique in order to impress those in her steading. This includes buying props like fake skulls and a cobweb-making machine from a novelty company, or making up stories about herself, stories like that she keeps a demon in her basement or that her crude iron pocket watch is a clockwork replacement heart. She's disappointed to hear some of the older stories are dying out, like the bit about her cutting people's bellies open with her thumbnail on Hogswatchnight if they've been bad.
  • The Simple Life is Simple: Discussed Trope when Tiffany gets given a romance novel, and thus bad, by the Nac Mac Feegle and completely misses the point of the story, mostly concerned with how the portrayal of farm life is all wrong.
  • Single-Season Country: Explored with the sections of the dick hubwards and rim wards. The Wintersmith goes flying over a landscape of snow-covered trees in a blizzard, singing in Russian about the glories of snow in one of them. The book also shows this trope is but the start of a slippery slop into a World of Silence.
  • Snowed-In: The Chalk, and possibly the whole of Lancre is too thanks to the Wintersmith's antics. The witches show themselves as emergency services housing everyone up to keep from freezing. The Cornucopia Tiffany got dropped on her is essential in keeping the population from starving.
  • Snowlems: Since the Wintersmith wants to be a man so he can be closer to our heroine, he keeps on creating more and more realistic versions of this trope over the course of the story. We're talking about full digestion here!
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Miss Tick, as always.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When the Wintersmith possesses a snowman to interrogate some kids about the rhyme in Ankh-Morpork, one of them asks if he's going to take them flying. Unsurprisingly, no.
    • 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.
    • Annagramma hurls a fireball at the Wintersmith's pseudo-body, a feat that's more typical of Discworld wizards than Discworld witches. Considering that she's wearing the full set of green Boffo witch mask and hands when she does so, it is a feat one might expect of a very famous non-Discworld witch.
    • Tiffany contemplates the awful reality of a very high (ice) statue of herself, created in tribute to her. She notes, with resignation, the head and shoulders are already dripping with the tribute of bird-poo. Later, wearing a dressing-gown, she goes in search of a cup of tea
  • Snowlem: The Wintersmith's attempts to create a man ends up with this. He has the various elements (Iron enough to make a nail, etc.), but they are stuck together haphazardly into a mostly-snow body.
  • Soulful Plant Story: The witch Tiffany Aching evokes the power of the Summer Lady in the middle of an unseasonal winter. She notes that her imperfectly-understood powers have awakened an acorn and caused it to germinate. She feels vaguely guilty about it and eventually decides to bury it in leaf mulch, hoping it would give it a chance to survive. A while later, the older witch Granny Weatherwax shows up and notices the green shoot in the middle of the snow. She sculpts a protective wall of snow around it to shield it from the winter weather. This plot also relates to the symbolism of the rest of the novel.
  • Spring Is Late: Having the spirit of winter up and walking around causes this, literally refusing to leave. Interestingly, the book does point out that Autumn is Late would have been just as bad; it just isn't what happened.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The Wintersmith, a unique example given it, arguably he, is a Sentient Cosmic Force that's supposed to be Painting the Frost on Windows.
  • Stealth Insult: Petulia remarks that when Annagramma calls her "the pig witch" there's too much "pig" and not enough "witch".
  • Stealth Pun: Nanny Ogg's cottage is occasionally referred to as "Tir Nanny Ogg." Move a syllable over and you have "Tir Nan nyOgg" or "Tír na nÓg," a mystical location from Irish Mythology.
  • Student and Master Team: Granny Weatherwax and Tiffany again, but also Nanny Ogg and Tiffany, with the younger witch being an extended house guest of Nanny.
  • 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.
  • They Just Don't Get It: The Feegles encounter the caravan of travelling librarians who have just run out of firewood in the middle of winter. They try to hint that they could use their books, but the librarians are simply unable to understand the connection between books and lighting a fire. The Feegles in turn can't understand the librarians' befuddlement over something so simple.
  • Thinks Like a Romance Novel: Subverted, a Nac Mac Feegle provided romance novel, in part for the purposes of education to help Tiffany with the Wintersmith... and she thinks all the characters should just be more sensible.
  • To Hell and Back: Roland and the Nac Mac Feegle rescue the Summer Lady from Limbo (so called because the door's very low). The Ferryman talks in ALL CAPS, and may therefore be a certain recurring character, who incidentally also shows up. Roland compares it to the story of Orpheo and Euniphon.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Roland learns pretty fast once he finds out he's the Designated Hero. And figures out that his imaginary sword can hurt the creatures of the underworld.
    • Annagramma gets one too, her use of wizard magic comes into play when she directly fireballs the Wintersmith, and she manages to get Tiffany evacuated despite her being in complete shock.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: Death really dislikes the Nac Mac Feegle. The Ferryman hates them even more.
    OH NO, NOT YOU PEOPLE AGAIN.
  • Totem Pole Trench: The Feegles try to pull this off again, badly. Helped by the fact that, like last time, whenever someone tells them to get lost they just start waving around scads of money.
  • Translator Microbes: The remains of Dr. Bustle in Tiffany's head translate any language for her.
  • Tsundere: Nanny Ogg suggests that Tiffany be this to the Wintersmith to keep him friendly, but not make any promises.
  • Two of Your Earth Minutes: the Wintersmith makes itself a human body, goes into an inn, and orders dinner. It then triumphantly declares "I have eaten the human sausages", and the waitress informs him that they're pork, thank you very much.
  • Unequal Rites: The steading plot is a proxy fight between Granny Weatherwax and Mrs. Earwig's philosophies of witchcraft. Of particular interest is that Annagramma has mastered a few wizard spells despite being very much a witch; the other young witches are suitably impressed at the technical skill, but don't see any point to fireball spells (witch conflicts traditionally favoring Cruel Mercy).
  • Unwitting Pawn: Annagramma and Mrs. Earwig, and - to her serious annoyance - Tiffany.
  • Utility Magic: Discussed, the problem with wielding a force capable of doing anything is telling it what not to do. Otherwise trying to remove dirt from the floor will cause it to strip the floorboards.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?:
  • Will They or Won't They?: Tiffany and Roland, still unresolved.
  • The Worf Effect: Greebo of all things suffers it, courtesy of You, the kitten.
  • World of Silence: Tiffany receives visions of the Wintersmith's version of this (and the Summer Lady's), seeing what happens when there is no balance to nature.
  • Wicked Witch: Miss Treason, Tiffany's new mentor, cultivates this image more than most. When asked why, Treason revels that if given a good look she'll be revealed as just a blind, deaf, and extremely old woman.
  • The Worm That Walks: Returning for an encore performance is the Nac Mac Feegles disguising themselves as a human (singular) by stacking themselves up inside several stolen items of clothing. It can't be a Totem Pole Trench when you have upwards of 30 individuals working together, even with complaining knees.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Granny Weatherwax pulls one when Miss Treason dies and there's an opening for her cottage. She backs Tiffany for the cottage and turns it into a choice between Tiffany or Annagramma. If Tiffany gets the position, she'll do a good job and showcase to all the witches how well Granny's methods work. If Annagramma gets the position, she'll fail and make Tiffany help her, showing the other witches that Annagramma's methods don't work and how well Granny's methods work by helping her back on her feet. Tiffany sees through the first half of Granny's plan, so she organizes a campaign to assist Annagramma, so that she at least doesn't fail. Then at the end Tiffany realizes the full plan; get Annagramma the cottage, because the responsibility will do her good, let the trainee witches assist Annagramma, because she could do with humility and sense, and then let it be known that Annagramma's teacher, Miss Earwig, is no good, Granny's the best, and Annagramma's on her way to being a competent witch. The only one who suffers anything is Miss Earwig, everybody else gains.
  • You Will Be Spared: The titular Anthropomorphic Personification offered to spare Tiffany and the Chalk (where she came from); the rest of the Disc would remain frozen. Forever.
    Werk
Top