Discworld/Wintersmith

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The third Tiffany Aching book in the Discworld series.

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.


Tropes[edit | hide | hide all]

"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!"

  • Badass Bookworm: Tiffany and Roland.
  • Blind Seer: Miss Treason.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Not the "old man" actually; 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.
  • The Cameo: Tolliver Groat and the goddess Anoia, from the contemporaneously-written Going Postal.
  • The Chessmaster: Granny, by letting Mrs. Earwig's choice win the cottage but Granny's way of witchcraft win the war.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: Tiffany's horse necklace.
  • Clown Car Base: Cornucopia.
  • 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-moving trick she was last seen using in Maskerade.
    • At the end of the book, Rob Anybody is seen reading "Where's My Cow?" to his children.
  • Cool Old Lady: Nanny Ogg.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Granny, of all people, albeit reluctantly, with You the kitten.
  • Dan Browned: Referenced when Tiffany reads a romance novel that purports to take place on a sheep farm.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Miss Treason.
  • David Versus Goliath: You and Greebo.
  • Defictionalization: Some fans danced an actual Dark Morris (sans magic) for Pterry at a Chicago bookshop, which he described in this novel's 'Author's Note' as beautifully done, but a bit creepy. Although this actually happened quite a while before this book was written. It was mentioned years before it was given focus.
  • 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

  • Elemental Powers: The Wintersmith and the Summer Lady.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Well, surname, anyway: Roland de Chumsfanleigh "(pronounced Chuffley - it's not his fault)".
  • Evil Uncle: Distaff Counterpart with Roland's aunts.
  • Faux Horrific: There are few things Feegles fear more than such feminine tricks as "the foldin' o' the arms n' the pursin' o' the lips n' the tappin' o' the feets!"
  • Fertile Feet: Trope Namer.
  • Fallen Princess: Annagramma, partially.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: People keep asking Tiffany questions about Roland that she'd rather not answer.
  • 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. Averted by the other Chalk shepherds, who are Genre Savvy enough to grab him first.
  • Sued for Superheroics: The Feegles, though they're not just light relief, either...
  • How We Got Here: 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.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The Wintersmith becomes more human over time, but it's not really supposed to. Note the 'it.' Thus, it never quite makes it.
  • 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.
  • It Was a Gift
  • Keep the Reward: Played with. After Tiffany and Anagramma spend the night watching over a corpse in a farmhouse, Anagramma 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.
    • 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.
  • Mayfly-December Romance: Tiffany and the Wintersmith.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Rob Anybody spelling "marmalade". Not very well, but Granny Weatherwax admits it was "an heroic effort".
  • My Girl Back Home: Roland is a rare male example.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Tiffany is repeatedly reminded that this entire trouble was caused her feet wanting to dance and not thinking first.
  • Not So Different: Annagramma snubs Tiffany and her own steading constantly, but when she looks down on some shephards 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 just works for one. Annagramma is a nobody just like her.
  • One-Scene Wonder (doubling as Continuity Nod): Anoia
  • Pride: Annagramma's biggest failing. Beneath the rather large amount of arrogance/snobbery she's more lost than anything.
  • Punny Name: Annagramma, who is basically the complete opposite of what a witch is supposed to be.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Miss Tick.
  • Shout-Out: When the Wintersmith possesses a snowman to interrogate to some kids about the rhyme in Ankh-Morpork, one of them asks if he's going to take them flying. Unsurprisingly, no.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The Wintersmith.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: Death really dislikes the Nac Mac Feegle. The Ferry Man hates them even more.

OH NO, NOT YOU PEOPLE AGAIN.

  • 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.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Annagramma and Mrs. Earwig, and - to her serious annoyance - Tiffany.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?
  • Will They or Won't They?: Tiffany and Roland.
  • Woman in White: You is a small, white kitten. Who, upon meeting him, makes it so Greebo will never even think of bothering her.
  • The Worf Effect: Greebo of all things suffers it.
  • 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.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Either Granny gets her student appointed as witch and people see how good Tiffany (and by extension Granny's style of teaching) can be, or Mrs Earwig gets her student in, who'll be dreadful, showing how poor a teacher she is, and requiring Tiffany's help to shape up proving that Granny's witchcraft is superior.