She looks like one!
As Kermit so aptly put it, witches have had it rough. I’m sure that was what he referred to with his comment. Always looking out for others, that one.
Witches have always had a bit of a bad rap. If you go searching through the history books, you’ll find whole heaps of instances where a drought or famine or rash of cattle deaths — or a rash in general — prompted the good townspeople to fear a witch in their midst. One might even call them the scapegoats of humanity throughout the centuries. It resulted in not a few bogus trials and torture and death sentences. It also happened to be one of those guilt by association things. You know nice little Esther Pemberley down the street?
You do know her?!! You must be a witch too!!!! [Insert torches and angry mob with pitchforks here.]
Needless to say, the witches who were accused and inevitably found guilty met rather ignominious fates. And instead of being witches, they were mostly just…you know. Women. Sometimes old, quirky, or wealthy (magistrates loved to accuse wealthy widows because when they offed them in the “justice” system, they got to keep the
spoils estates), sometimes young and into some kind of mundane trouble.
Makes me rather happy that I not only live in a land where women are mostly equal, but I live here in the 21st century. Four hundred years ago, there is probably a stake with my name on it.
Like vampires and horror, witches were one of my childhood staples. I loved magic. I loved magic so much that I begged Santa for a real magic wand and figured he had just forgotten or ran out of time on Christmas Day that year. I subsequently looked under my bed every day for over a year. I contented myself with reading about witches or magic. Books like the Chronicles of Prydain made me yearn to be Eilonwy. Whenever I played Candy Land with friends, we fought over who got to be the magical blue witch (because as children, this is a never-ending and vital argument).
I was never afraid of witches, even the really bad ones like the WWW (Wicked Witch of the West) or Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty. I thought Glinda was a wee bit dumb. I loved the idea of witches who had power within them, wand or no wand.
It didn’t take me long to fall in love with urban fantasy. The Night World witches came first and had me hunting through herb shops wanting to try Thea’s spells. Then I discovered the Secret Circle, and I was hooked like magic was crack. When I got older, it was the sorcerers from the Belgariad and the Aes Sedai of the Wheel of Time (I know, I know, not “witches” and not urban fantasy). Then came Kim Harrison‘s Rachel Morgan. Her witches fall into either the “earth witch” category or the “ley line” witch category. Magic has defined lines, though as Rachel of course finds out, where the line is tends to move. I liked that, but I still loved the idea of magic coming from within the character, like the Will and the Word used by Eddings, or being able to channel the One Power.
Little did I know that all of those ideas and preferences were beginning to culminate in the germination of my own witches, the ones who populate my trilogy. To me, nature is the essence of magic, and witches, if you will, are nothing more than conduits of that essence. They can change things and get nature to do things for them, but it all comes from the same place. Nature, science, that type of power that is bigger than humanity. Magic in this sense is never “good” or “evil” — it is the user that gives it the intent and meaning, for good or ill.
My question for all you fantasy readers out there — and writers — is this: how do you know she’s a witch? What gives witches their powers? Where does magic come from?
You can make it up — that’s what this is all about. But show me your magic.
How do I know she’s a witch? Well, I’ll tell you, gentle viewers.
If she weighs the same as a duck, she is made of wood! And therefore…a witch!
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