Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Witches and Wizards

If you're looking for a good read that is guaranteed to make you laugh, pick up a Terry Pratchett book. Equal Rites is a good one, though, I must admit, not as funny as some of his other Discworld books. In Equal Rites a powerful wizard shows up at the town of Bad Ass to pass on his staff and power to the in-the-process-of-being-born eighth son of an eighth son. Unfortunately, the wizard realizes too late that he was wrong and the baby is a girl. But girls can't be wizards, though no one knows why. All anyone knows is that a girl has never been a wizard before. So the family tries to forget anything ever happened. The local witch, Granny Weatherwax, present at Esk's birth realizes when Esk is still quite young, that she does indeed have magic powers. So she takes her in and starts training her in how to be a witch. But Esk has more power than Granny knows what to do with and so they set off to Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork. They have an eventful journey and arrive at the University only to be turned away because girls aren't allowed. But as Granny knows, and Esk finds out, there is more than one way to get into the University. And now, some excerpts to tickle your fancy:

For the first time in her life Granny wondered whether there might be something important in all those books people were setting such store by these days, although she was opposed to books on strict moral grounds, since she had heard that many of them were written by dead people and therefore stood to reason reading them would be as bad as necromancy. Among the many things in the infinitely varied universe with which Granny did not hold was talking to dead people, who by all accounts had enough troubles of their own. --- "I look at it all like this," he said. "Before I heard him talk, I was like everyone else. You know what I mean? I was confused and uncertain about all the little details of life. But now," he brightened up, "while I'm still confused and uncertain it's on a much higher plane, d'you see, and at least I know I'm bewildered about the really fundamental and important facts of the universe." Treatle nodded. "I hadn't looked at it like that," he said, "but you're absolutely right. He's really pushed back the boundaries of ignorance. There's so much about the universe we don't know." They both savored the strange warm glow of being much more ignorant than ordinary people, who were ignorant of only ordinary things.
Is your fancy tickled? If you have never read Pratchett before it doesn't matter where you start in the Discworld books. They are not a series, they are just stories that all take place in the same world. So treat yourself to some brain candy, it's low carb and fat free.