Follow TV Tropes


Widow Witch

Go To

"So every old woman who lives in the forest alone is a witch?"
Märchen von Friedhof, Märchen

When a woman is mysterious and solitary, at least in terms of a husband. The town community will probably shun her, calling her a witch. In a fantasy story it might be true as she is a Wicked Witch who wanted to get rid of her husband so she cast a spell to help things get going or perhaps there is a curse on her family that makes it so they lose men. If the story is not a fantasy story, the witch impression might just be the vibe the old woman gives off, as she is in mourning for her late husband.

The whole thing exists because of the Unfortunate Implications of the similarities between widows and witches. It is understandable that the neighborhood would feel that she's creepy if the woman still dresses in black and her only friends are women or she only lives with women. Although her lack of interaction with men might be because she's not actually interested or they aren't interested in her because she's as ugly as a witch. Other similarities include tending to the herb garden that reminds her of all that is living and healthful, having a cat because it's easy to take care of and will keep her company, being very old and unwell, being bitter towards people as the widow is old and lonely and laughing wickedly because she's out of touch with reality.

There's also speculation that some widows (such as Sarah Osborne in Salem) were accused of witchcraft by relatives of their husbands who believed themselves more deserving of their inheritance.

Contrast Cute Witch and Hot Witch. When actually a witch, a Subtrope of Witch Classic.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Board Games 
  • In Witch Trials, one of the available suspects is a widow who, according to the flavor text, "has buried three husbands and is working on the fourth". Not that this means much in terms of her supposed witchiness; two other suspects have "uncharacteristically nice for his age" and "is suspiciously persistent in her claims for innocence" on their cards.

    Fan Works 
  • Misery Loves Company: Hecate is an old witch who still mourns for her late husband. She has various powers including potion-making, teleportation, Magic Music, and spells that alter a person's appearance. The one thing that seems to be beyond her power is a cure for her infertility. Which is why she wipes Gaz's memories and adopts her as her new daughter.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Practical Magic has Sandra Bullock playing the part of a Widow Witch... same curse as below.
  • In Eve's Bayou, Mozelle is a fortuneteller and hoodoo practitioner whose husbands have a tendency to die. This isn't always the result of a curse, however. One husband was murdered by her secret lover when they fought over her.
  • In The Naked Witch, the witch was a haughty widow who was accused of witchcraft by her married lover and put to death when she demanded he put aside his wife and marry her. Just before her execution, she swore vengeance upon him and his entire line. It is this vow that seems to have transformed her into an actual witch.

  • Discworld:
    • Nanny Ogg. She's had three husbands, "and that's only the official score." A jolly old woman with a lot of children, mostly by said husbands, it's unlikely she did anything to get rid of them. (It's also not clear how many of them are dead. Sobriety Ogg is, but in Thief of Time, Death comments that witches are matrilinear because they find it easier to change men than change names, possibly suggesting the traditions of witchcraft include quickie divorces.)
    • Also heavily discussed in the Young Witch series, where the main character decides to become a witch because this happened to an old lady fitting the description. She was thought to be a witch (and persecuted for it) but she turned out just to be a confused old lady who lived alone and had a cat. There was an actual old lady witch as well, but she was lonely by choice, as her family lives close by.
  • The Widow Arden in Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede.
  • In The Sun Witch, the Fyne sisters are cursed so that their husbands die.
  • In John Updike's The Witches of Eastwick, the women of the village of Eastwick only gain powers after their husbands/significant others either die or divorce them.
  • In Sweet Valley Twins #3 The Haunted House they think a witch lives in the neighborhood who keeps her husband chained up in the attic.
  • Another series for young girls is Babysitters Little Sister, spin off to The Baby-Sitters Club where in the first book, Karen's Witch, she is sure that the neighbor, Mrs. Porter, who dresses all in black is a witch. It's never stated what her marital status is but the girl never considers that the black might be for mourning, not being wicked. In fact, Mrs. Porter is actually very kind, hosting a Halloween party for the neighborhood kids, and letting Karen pick a goldfish out of her pond.
  • Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is this, using a chest of potions (left by her late Pirate husband), as well as Reverse Psychology, to cure children of bad habits. She's a bit of a subversion, as she is most certainly a good witch.
  • The witches of His Dark Materials are members of an all female Mage Species. They sometimes marry mortal men. By the time the story reaches them, all of the major witch characters have been widowed many, many times. While a witch is technically immortal, the grief of mourning over all those husbands will eventually kill her.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In El Chavo del ocho, this is played with La bruja del 71 ("The Witch from the [Apartment] 71"), whose appearance, antics and bad judgment on pet naming makes everyone in the neighborhood (especially the children) think she is a witch; however, she has been presented as an old spinster. Averted with Doña Florinda, who is a widow, only much younger and just bitchy.
  • Grams of Charmed is a widow for at least her first husband, Allen, who was killed by a warlock they'd trusted as a friend. The circumstances of his death turned her from a pacifist hippie into a take-no-prisoners evil-fighting witch. She's said to have remarried several times but none of the relationships worked out and she views them all as inferior to Allen.
  • In The White Queen, Jacquetta Woodville, Lady Rivers, the mother of Elizabeth Woodville, who becomes consort to King Edward IV and the eponymous white queen, is revealed in the first episode to be a witch, and becomes a widow after Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, kills her husband. Elizabeth is also a witch (it runs in the family), and is a widow even at the start of the show because her first husband, Thomas Grey, had died. She becomes a widow again when her second husband, King Edward IV, dies. Note that in Real Life, both Jacquetta and Elizabeth were in fact accused of witchcraft at different times, but no real historian takes the accusations seriously. They surely did not have actual supernatural powers, as they are shown having in this series!

    Video Games 
  • In City of Heroes, every member of The Cabal (except for Kattie Hannon, who was a child at the time) is a widow because their enemies the Red Caps killed all of the men in their village.
  • Widow Greenpaw in World of Warcraft is an old pandaren woman who is sometimes reffered to as "The Jade Witch" because of the lifelike jade statues in her yard. However, it's quickly revealed she uses magic to turn people into jade, plus being guarded by magical tigers made of stone.

    Western Animation 
  • Witch Widow, who is a teacher of a little witches' school in The Smurfs (1981) episode "Sassette's Bewitching Friendship".
  • The episode "A Clue for Scooby-Doo" from the original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! series has Widow Cuttler, a creepy old lady who lives by the seashore and claims to have used witchcraft to summon the ghost of her husband, who was killed at sea. Of course, as it turns out she isn't really a widow, as her husband is still alive and helping her run a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax.