Discworld/I Shall Wear Midnight/Headscratchers

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  • Why does Tiffany tell Roland she will marry him? I get that she does as the officiant, but why did she say it in the first place? I wasn't aware that First Sight and Second Thoughts led to rattling out prophecies.
  • Why was Tiffany so dismayed when she realized Granny and the others showed up as a failsafe in case the Cunning Man got her? Granny and Miss Tick told her pretty much the same thing after she fought the Hiver and she took that with far less dismay.
    • That was after. It's one thing to be told that if you hadn't succeeded your friends would have had to kill you. It's another to be told that if you don't succeed your friends are going to kill you. Especially when you don't actually have a plan yet.
  • When The Kelda tells Tiffany that Amber should receive witch training, Tiffany protests that Amber's too old for it. This would've been a perfect opportunity to bring in Agnes as a rebuttal. Not only does Terry Pratchett not do this, she's absent when the other Lancre witches show up. What the hell, Terry Pratchett?
    • The books actually seem a bit confused about this. Thief of Time suggests Gytha Ogg started in the craft at about sixteen, and Esme doesn't appear to be a witch in the flashback sequence in Lords and Ladies. And when Tiffany gets introduced, it's suggested that a nine year old witch is a bit unusual, before A Hat Full of Sky introduces an entire coven the same age. Agnes's backstory appears to have disappeared into this gap, but either way, Tiff should surely realise that a girl with Talent needs to be trained, or she might become anything?
    • This is Tiffany's steading, so they will hold back on stuff like this. Her area, her rules, let her make her own mistakes and be ready to haul her out if she asks for it (or truly needs it). Plus, so a witch that is opinionated and bit prejudiced. Totally unprecedented that. Also Thief of Time raises those questions and answers them. Time got shattered (twice) and all the bits got jammed back in any old how, some of that must have included witch training ages. Most people would only really remember that there was nearly always a pointy hat bobbing around, the exact age of the wearer and number of them is probably a bit extraneous when you've just chopped off your own thumb, or the prize pig is coughing up the green wobbly bit. Bit of room for nicking a couple of years there, surely.
    • Does Agnes even own a broomstick? Magrat didn't entirely swear off witchcraft, she just took up Queening along with it, so she may not have left Agnes a means to travel to the Chalk with the others.
    • Perhaps the other Witches thought Agnes wouldn't be able to bring herself to kill Tiffany, and didn't tell her they were going?
      • I think there's the implication that Agnes is off with Oats in Uberwald somewhere, especially in the latest main novels dealing with the goblins.
  • I can't remember very well the first book he appeared in, but was it ever mentioned before that Wee Mad Arthur was blue?
    • Feegles are blue from tattoos and paint, so he probably wouldn't be.
      • Actually isn't it said they just *look* like they've been tattooed blue? I'm pretty sure I've never read that their skin isn't blue naturally, only phrases like the one just mentioned (or, for even more confusion, that the skin is blue and has been tattooed - apparently in a different shade of blue). I've reread the Tiffany Aching books many times and every time I watched like a hellhound for clearing up the question "Are they blue? Are they not blue and just tattooed in blue ink? Are they tattooed in blue ink and have blue skin? Or are they tatooed with another color and have blue skin) - it gets... confusing. Terry Pratchett would probably tell me to just relax :)
      • They're tattoos. Wee Free Men mentions the old Kelda being the color of a walnut. So unless walnuts regularly grow blue, I'm going with tattoos.
    • Miss Tick's description in Fairies and How to Avoid Them says that their skin is turned blue by a combination of woad and tattoos. Check the introduction to A Hat Full Of Sky, it's right there.
  • The Duchess not being an actual Duchess - in fact, being a dance hall girl - seemed like a bit of a cop-out, too easy of a way to deal with the character. It's also very redundant of Monstrous Regiment.
    1. It was pretty heavily implied that The Duchess got her title via marriage. Therefore, she is an "actual" duchess.
    2. I'm sure what the second complaint is all about? There's not exactly a One Steve Limit in Discworld. That would be like saying that The Old Barron was ripping off from Witches Abroad
      • I know she's an actual Duchess by marriage, but it was building up to a sense of "Yes, she's infuriatingly blue-blooded, but even so she has her good qualities," and "She's completely faking her aristocracy as far as her bloodline is concerned" feels like a cop-out. And this is not about the One Steve Limit, this is the fact that in both Monstrous Regiment and Midnight, a big plot resolution is solved with "Blackmail the people who would get in your way! Here's some convenient blackmail."
      • Well, Terry has cited the Rule of Fun many times, and just doing the same conclusion twice doesn't seem particularly fun, so...
      • In the afterward of the book, Terry Pratchett reminds us of the importance of remembering your roots, and I feel this applies here. The Duchess is reminded of her roots in the end, and becomes noticable... softer, for lack of a better word. Let's not forget how insistent she is on her servants being taken care of, now! Part of it is blackmail, yes, but not out of (much) malice, and done to pull people out of bad states rather than knock them down. It's controlling people, but not in a bad way, more like a shepard. That's part of witchcraft.
      • Also, she was softening a bit even before Mrs. Proust got a hold of her, crying and talking about how Letitia is all she has and that she hopes Letitia will think her mother gave her what she needed to manage safely through the world. Mrs. Proust just gave a firm nudge to help keep her that way after the tears and wine wore off.
      • I thought the Duchess *was* nobility, but that her whole family died, along with her fortune, and she was forced to become a dancing girl until she married her Duke. Letitia mentions it when she's in the library with Tiffany.
      • Parents do lie sometimes.
    • I kind of get the point about "too easy of a way to deal with the character." I had expected a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Just how old is Granny Weatherwax anyway? She was there when Eskarina was born in Equal Rites, middle-aged at least at the time. Esk turns up white-haired in I Shall Wear Midnight and Granny's still kicking - and even allowing that Esk's been mucking around with time, her legend has certainly spread among the younger generation. Is Granny just that determined not to die?
    • Time Monks.
    • There is something floating around about Black Alyss Weatherwax, who is hinted at never dying, despite being over 120 years old. Perhaps the Weatherwax women have a habit of not dying until they are killed?
      • Black Aliss wasn't a Weatherwax. Her last name was Demurrage. You're probably getting her confused with Alison Weatherwax, whose age and ultimate fate remains unknown. Also, reference Miss Treason who was 111 113. For a witch as powerful as Granny, living a long time should be nothing, but in any event, it's pretty clear that it's not a matter of Granny living a long time, it's a matter of Eskarina "mucking around with time". Maybe she spent all her time in the past learning about the Cunning Man and suchlike.
    • For all we know, Esk's hair grew in white after her close encounter with the Dungeon Things. It's the kind of thing that happens in Discworld, particularly when tons of magic are involved. And some people just go gray early; the Miss Smith whom Tiffany meets could've still been in her 40s, chronologically.
    • Don't forget Granny Weatherwax has done her own share of mucking around with time, particularly in Wyrd Sisters.
  • I understand that it is necessary for a Witch Hunt metaphor that is the Important Lesson of the book, but why would witch hunts go exactly the same way in the Disc as in our world? For example, here in our world witches are generally trafficking with the devil and such-like, explaining their malevolent intent, but why would "travelling preachers" have any more reason to hate witches than, say, wizards, when witches don't actually do anything? Yes, the book talks about how witches are feared and set apart as much as they are respected, admired, and consulted, and yes people can be small-minded and prejudiced against those that are different, but the fact remains that in a world where magic is a talent rather than something you sell your soul for, why are there Puritan Witchfinders running about acting exactly the way you'd expect them to? When did you last see a Discworld witch hiding what she was among the people? Do Witchfinders only crop up where there aren't any witches and no one knows jack about them? I think I'm sounding more vitriolic and angry than I actually feel, and I apologize. It didn't ruin the book or anything, but this Just Bugged Me.
    • Because, as it was said, people fear what they don't know. And they hate how witches seems to be so above it all, instead of seeing it as them simply using their talent.
      • But why would there be a concerted effort to ferret them out from among the populace when Discworld witches never make the least effort to hide what they are?
        • Because they used to. It's explicitly stated in Carpe Jugulum that there had been times when it was wiser for a witch not to advertise the fact. Presumably the Cunning Man is inspiring the sort of witch hunts he was familiar with, and that the people would have heard of.
        • Because the witches still hide what they really are in areas where they are unpopular but needed. Miss Tick goes around the Sto Plains disguised as a teaacher because witches are held with suspicion there, and sometimes even actively persecuted. Likewise, there are officially no witches in Ankh-Morpork, because as cosmopolitan as the city is, it still doesn't feel quite at home with the profession. As such, the witches in the city pretend to be pretenders. The one place where witches are highly respected and revered are the Ramtop Mountains, where coincidentally most witch-stories have taken place, so it's understandable that the readers might not understand that this isn't the common state of affairs elsewhere, but reading the Tiffany Aching-books really should teach you otherwise.
        • Because no matter where you are in the multiverse, this is the way the stories have always gone.
        • I understand the complaint, but Small Gods already introduce the idea of religious inquisition, so we know that happens on Discworld too. The above-mentioned narrative imperative should also be taken into account. But, personally I think it's natural that it would be the preachers objecting to witches. Note that witches have a huge power over the people in their steadings, which is something the priests aim at, and therefore they are direct rivals. Plus, a witch isn't usually religious, her power comes from herself, her devotion to duty and knowing what's right and wrong - which is undermining the preachers' point that you need gods. Of course they want to get rid of them, at least some religions.
  • What I don't understand - or rather, I do, but I wish it was otherwise - is why it was Granny who defeated the Cunning Man previously. I know she is the Wonder Witch of the Disc, and usually I'm happy so see her as such, but this particular enemy seems tailored for Nanny Ogg to defeat : he is (was) just a mortal man, twisted with hatred and rejection and feelings he didn't know how to cope with, and he was destroyed by a beautiful witch. Now, Terry Pratchett is not the kind of man to throw beauty around where it does not belong, and it's indicative of the Cunning Man's shallowness that he only fell for a pretty witch (while young Mustrum Ridcully, for example, very explicitly didn't.) So it seems to me that it should have been young Gytha, a looker who knew what she wanted, had the strength to get it and could wrap men around her little fingers, who should have disposed of him. (I can't believe I'm second-guessing Terry!)
    • Doesn't the fact that the Cunning Man was awakened by Tiffany kissing the Wintersmith imply he is awakened by certain magics? In that case it's far more likely that Granny Weatherwax did something that drew the Cunning Man's attention.