The Maids, 'Mother and The Other One' of the Discworld

Jacquelyn Bent, Helen Gavin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Fantasy novelist Terry Pratchetts Discworld is inhabited by a very diverse group of characters ranging from Death and his horse Binky, Cut-Me-Own-Throat-Dibbler, purveyor of the pork pie, the Wizard faculty of the Unseen University and an unofficial coven of three witches. Because three was the right number for witches providing they are the right sort of type, according to Nanny Ogg.1 Magic features prominently on the Discworld; so much so that there are a host of long term side effects the inhabitants of the Discworld have come to expect from being in proximity to this powerful force. Phenomena that to others might seem strange or unusual are typical, even expected on the Discworld. The use of magic, for good or ill, is often a prominent theme in Pratchetts Discworld novels. This chapter focuses on the Pratchetts portrayal of magic as used by resident witches Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Magrat Garlick and eventually Agnes Nitt who replaces Magrat when she assumes the title of queen. This will include the role each witch assumes as the Maiden, Mother and Crone, as well as the unique relationship each witch has forged with magic. The witches use of headology, which bears a striking similarity to the magic we know as psychology, will similarly be explored. Finally, the consequences of magic use are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMagic and the Supernatural
EditorsScott E. Hendrix, Timothy J. Shannon
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781848880955
ISBN (Print)9789004403079
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2012


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