Wyrd Sisters is the first book in the Discworld series to involve the witches of Lancre, a small kingdom whose king has just been killed (or clumsily fell down the stairs to his death, depending on who is telling the story). This means that you can easily read this book without having read any other Discworld book. Granny Weatherwax is a formidable witch who doesn’t trust what she can’t see with her eyes and, frankly, doesn’t trust many people either. Nanny Ogg is a mother and grandmother of so many I doubt even she can keep count. But you can always count on her for a dirty joke or two, at which Granny will scoff. Magrat Garlick is a new-age witch, who likes her crystals and candles, but still has a lot to learn as far as the other two (more traditional) witches are concerned. What’s concerning them right now is the baby that’s been left at their feet, a royal baby who father is now dead. They do the proper thing and hide the child and the crown and settle back into normal life in Lancre. Except Lancre itself is no longer normal. What does one do when the very country itself (more than just the people within it) rejects the usurper to the throne? What does the usurper do to rewrite history? Should the witches even involve themselves in the matter?
As with all Pratchett novels, this one is very funny. The footnotes are often the best part, explaining, for instance just why the Thieves have a Guild and why guild members must therefore give receipts to those they rob. The story involves many references to Shakepeare’s plays, including Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, and others. The characters are by turns endearing, intriguing, and in some cases horrifying. Death makes his usual cameo appearance and steals the show, literally.
This is my favorite series, and I’m eagerly rereading the whole set. It just happened that I was ready to read this one in time for the SPOOKY TALES meeting of the Page Turners Book Club on October 13th at 6PM. (Too bad I won’t get to Hogfather in time for our December meeting on the 8th: Winter Holidays.)
Review by Jessica A.