Wyrd Sisters: Fun and Endearing

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsWyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett fantasy book reviewsWyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

Wyrd Sisters is a fun, lively book. It’s definitely a bit on the light side compared to some of Pratchett’s later works – more parody and less satire, if you like – but there’s nothing wrong with a jocular, easy-going read. Indeed, while it perhaps lacks something of the punch one might find in Mort or Small Gods, this installment is probably one of the better entry points for DISCWORLD, readable and endearing.

This is of course especially true if you’re a Shakespeare fan, in which case Wyrd Sisters easily eclipses Guards! Guards! as the definitive Square One for the series. As hinted by the title, Wyrd Sisters is basically Pratchett’s parody of Shakespearean theater (specifically MacBeth, but there are prominent references to Hamlet, King Lear, and As You Like It as well). In Pratchett’s retelling, we see the story from the points of view of the three witches, who are mostly just minding their own business when they’re embroiled in a struggle for the kingdom of Lancre. The king has been murdered by a treacherous duke and his overbearing duchess, and the land suffers under the new leadership. The fate of Lancre ends up, one way or another, in the hands of our witches: crotchety force-of-nature Granny Weatherwax, gregarious matriarch Nanny Ogg, and innocent hippie Magrat Garlick. Hilarity ensues.

While I feel positive overall, I should say that this is a novel that probably wouldn’t work as well as it does without such strong central characters. Pratchett doesn’t seem to have much of an axe to grind or point to make here, mostly just contenting himself with referential humor and honest goofiness, and though the plot mostly clips along in good order, it can occasionally get a bit clumsy. For instance, while comedy authors get a pass on a lot of overused tropes on the assumption that any cliché in evidence has to be a send-up, there’s a time skip in here that’s probably just a mechanical weak point. Fortunately, our protagonists conjure all of the potential from the text, turning what could have been a fairly prosaic comedy into something special by sheer force of personality. When our heroines are on the page, I find it difficult to criticize anything. They’re that fun. In fact, I’d have to say Granny Weatherwax joins Death as one of my favorite DISCWORLD characters, so much so that I’m thinking of moving on to Witches Abroad next. This is quite a big deal for me given my usual pattern of reading a comedy novel, exceeding my tolerance for hijinks, and lurching toward a stack of “serious” books to cleanse my palate.

Some of the secondary characters – the Fool, for instance – don’t come off quite as well, largely because Pratchett made them a little too ridiculous and pathetic for my tastes, but on the whole that’s a very nit-picky concern given the wealth of fun characters already jostling for attention. Most of the jokes land about where they’re supposed to, and although it’s been quite some time since the novel was published, it’s not noticeably dated. Also, I just have to say that everything involving Greebo the cat made me at least snort out loud, and occasionally even burst out into a real laugh. For all of our lols in cyberspace, in the real world I’ve found that happens fairly rarely, and it’s worth treasuring when it does. Thanks, Greebo.

There’s not much else to say about this one. It’s a good comedy, especially hilarious for a Shakespeare aficionado but thoroughly enjoyable for just about everyone. It’s disarming and witty and a little bit sweet. Recommended.

Publisher: Terry Pratchett’s fantasy classic Wyrd Sisters, a novel in the Discworld series, is the story of Granny Weatherwax, the most highly regarded non-leader a coven of non-social witches could ever have. Generally, these loners don’t get involved in anything, mush less royal intrigue. but then there are those times they can’t help it. As Granny Weatherwax is about to discover, though, it’s a lot harder to stir up trouble in the castle than some theatrical types would have you think. Even when you’ve got a few unexpected spells up your sleeve. Granny Weatherwax teams with two other witches — Nanny Ogg and Margat Garlick – as an unlikely alliance to save a prince and restore him to the throne of Lancre, in a tale that borrows — or is it parodies — some of William Shakespeare’s best-loved works.

Discworld — (1983-2015) Discworld is a satirical fantasy world created by Terry Pratchett to poke fun at 1980s fantasy novels. Since then, they’ve evolved so that they now make fun of everything. Mr. Pratchett explains Discworld: “The world rides through space on the back of a turtle. This is one of the great ancient world myths, found wherever men and turtles are gathered together; the four elephants were an indo-European sophistication. The idea has been lying in the lumber room of legend for centuries. All I had to do was grab it and run away before the alarms went off… There are no maps. You can’t map a sense of humor. Anyway, what is a fantasy map but a space beyond which There Be Dragons? On the Discworld we know There Be Dragons Everywhere. They might not all have scales and forked tongues, but they Be Here all right, grinning and jostling and trying to sell you souvenirs.” The Discworld novels are presented here in publication order. To read more about the Discworld “arcs” and reading order, see this Wikipedia article.

Terry Pratchett Discworld: 1. The Color of Magic 2. The Light Fantastic 3. Equal Rites 4. Mort 5. Sourcery 6. Wyrd Sisters 7. Pyramids 8. Guards Guards! 9. EricTerry Pratchett Discworld: 1. The Color of Magic 2. The Light Fantastic 3. Equal Rites 4. Mort 5. Sourcery 6. Wyrd Sisters 7. Pyramids 8. Guards Guards! 9. EricTerry Pratchett Discworld: 1. The Color of Magic 2. The Light Fantastic 3. Equal Rites 4. Mort 5. Sourcery 6. Wyrd Sisters 7. Pyramids 8. Guards Guards! 9. EricTerry Pratchett Discworld: 1. The Color of Magic 2. The Light Fantastic 3. Equal Rites 4. Mort 5. Sourcery 6. Wyrd Sisters 7. Pyramids 8. Guards Guards! 9. EricTerry Pratchett Discworld: 1. The Color of Magic 2. The Light Fantastic 3. Equal Rites 4. Mort 5. Sourcery 6. Wyrd Sisters 7. Pyramids 8. Guards Guards! 9. EricTerry Pratchett Discworld: 1. The Color of Magic 2. The Light Fantastic 3. Equal Rites 4. Mort 5. Sourcery 6. Wyrd Sisters 7. Pyramids 8. Guards Guards! 9. EricTerry Pratchett Discworld: 1. The Color of Magic 2. The Light Fantastic 3. Equal Rites 4. Mort 5. Sourcery 6. Wyrd Sisters 7. Pyramids 8. Guards Guards! 9. EricTerry Pratchett Discworld: 1. The Color of Magic 2. The Light Fantastic 3. Equal Rites 4. Mort 5. Sourcery 6. Wyrd Sisters 7. Pyramids 8. Guards Guards! 9. EricTerry Pratchett Discworld: 1. The Color of Magic 2. The Light Fantastic 3. Equal Rites 4. Mort 5. Sourcery 6. Wyrd Sisters 7. Pyramids 8. Guards Guards! 9. Ericbook review Terry Pratchett Discworld Moving PicturesReaper Manbook review Terry Pratchett Discworld Witches Abroadbook review Terry Pratchett Discworld Small Godsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsbook review Terry Pratchett Discworld Men at Armsbook review Terry Pratchett Discworld Soul Musicfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsbook review Terry Pratchett Discworld Maskeradebook review Terry Pratchett Discworld Feet of Claybook review Terry Pratchett Discworld Hog FatherJingobook review Terry Pratchett Discworld The Last Continentbook review Terry Pratchett Discworld Carpe Jugulumbook review Terry Pratchett Discworld Carpe Jugulum, The Fifth Elephantbook review Terry Pratchett Discworld The Truthbook review Terry Pratchett Discworld Thief of Timebook review Terry Pratchett Discworld The Last Herofantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsbook review Terry Pratchett Discworld Thud!book review Terry Pratchett Discworld Making MoneyTerry Pratchett Unseen Academicals DiscworldTerry Pratchett Unseen Academicals Discworld, Snufffantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Discworld for Kids:

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TIM SCHEIDLER, who's been with us since June 2011, holds a Master's Degree in Popular Literature from Trinity College Dublin. Tim enjoys many authors, but particularly loves J.R.R. Tolkien, Robin Hobb, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Susanna Clarke. When he’s not reading, Tim enjoys traveling, playing music, writing in any shape or form, and pretending he's an athlete.

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One comment

  1. I like the idea of this book being a good entry into Pratchett’s work for readers who, also, are Shakespeare enthusiasts. More of Pratchett’s work needs that kind of easy identification! Thanks, Tim!

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