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YMMV / I Shall Wear Midnight

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  • Anvilicious:
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  • Complete Monster: The Cunning Man was a witch-finder in life, but persisted as a spirit of pure hatred after his original body disappeared, and resurfaces every few decades to target new witches after each defeat, killing them if they lose. Cunning Man targets the Chalk with his Hate Plague, turning them against Tiffany Aching and framing her for the death of the previous Baron, while also making the Baron's son, Roland, turn against her and engineering a situation so a drunken cook falls to her death and Tiffany is blamed. Upon discovering Roland's fiancée Letitia is also a witch, Cunning Man attempts to murder them both multiple times, then possesses a criminal and has it kill its canary for no reason, before making a final attempt on Tiffany, Letitia, Roland and Preston's lives. Seeking to end witchcraft once and for all and uncaring of whose lives he ruins in the process, the Cunning Man is fueled by sheer malice unmatched by any other foe Tiffany faces.
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  • Die for Our Ship: Preston is the latecomer to the party who disrupts the quiet, implied romance building between Tiffany and Roland. Of course the fandom retaliates.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The Cunning Man crosses it in the readers' eyes (in case you didn't realize how bad he was) with the canary. More importantly, that's when he crosses it for Tiffany. It's the reason she accepts that he's beyond redemption, and no longer human enough for her to hesitate about vanquishing.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Cunning Man. He is the personification of blind hate and lynch mobs.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: You would think the existence of a human girl with kelda abilities would be a big deal, but it has absolutely zero effect on the plot.
    • Kelda abilities are implied to be another form of witchcraft, closer to Nanny Ogg's methods than the Granny Weatherwax form Tiffany uses. Combined with Letitia's bookish magic (more like Magrat's), it serves to make the Chalk coven a mirror of the original Lancre coven.
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    • It's also probable that Pratchett intended Amber's abilities as plot fodder for a later Tiffany Aching book.
    • Indeed, between Amber's kelda abilities, Letitia's self-taught skills, Annagramma's fireballs from Wintersmith, and the return of Eskarina, this book may be implying that magic has no clear boundaries between what's "wizard magic", what's "witch magic", what's "Feegle magic", etc: that such limits are imposed by magic-users' own assumptions, not inherent in magic itself.
    • Mr. Petty seems to be set up to become the Cunning Man's host. Instead, he makes a sort of vague Heel–Face Turn and the host is instead some random escaped convict. Did Pratchett feel sorry for the guy and decide to give him a stay of execution or something?

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