Monday, June 3, 2013

Why I Love a Good Witch

I've been reading The Witches by Roald Dahl to my children.
TheWitches.jpg
(Good Mom Medal)

Rereading it has reminded me of how much I love this little book.

There's the Grand High Witch with the mask on a hinge, and moldy worm pocked face hidden behind, who can shoot white hot lasers from her eyes, and talk in rhymes when she's angry.

This cunning tiny woman with the Delayed Action Mouse Maker plan who laughs and sings as she talks about snapping up the stinking children and snapping their necks.

(Good Mom Medal revoked)

My children, in case you're wondering, have started praying that they won't have nightmares. I'd worry and stop reading, except I'm afraid that stopping will fuel their imaginations, and that the only way through it is to finish, and then read a book about fluffy bunnies.


I've had a thing for witches my whole life. The witches of Tar Valon, the Aes Sedai, represent wisdom and power to me.

Hermione Granger, and Mrs. Weasley wrote "How to be good" inside my soul, and I want to be more like them.

Granny Weatherwax, and her...friends taught me about headology, and that what you know isn't nearly as important as what people think you know.

Witch of all witches, Baba Yaga, is one of my favorites. She is a creature of folklore and mythology who lives in a home that stands with chicken legs. She lives outside of fairy tales, like a neighbor that doesn't belong. I love them all.

Evil, good, crazy, ugly, or beautiful I love them all.


Growing up, I noticed that female characters often fell into two categories; Princess or Witch.

The princess was good and kind, but mostly beautiful. She gained all her power through her beauty, and through marriage. And while many stories about princesses try to hijack that thought, still there are so many beautiful girls, who are redeemable, precisely because they are bed-able.

File:Stacie Morgain Lewis & Kristy Cates in Wicked in Chicago.jpg
The Cast of the Chicago
 cast of Wicked the Musical
Witches live outside that paradigm.

They're often unattractive. They are often hated. But always they are respected.

They are treated as a real person, possibly because of the fact that they aren't attractive. It's kind of a 'I won't sleep with you, and I can't ignore you, so I guess I'll listen to you. Or maybe I'll burn you at a stake for not being usable.'

In a story, a witch gets to set her own worth outside of how a man sees her, or outside of how she can be used. For thousand of years, up to this one we're living in right now, female characters are often viewed only as proprietary to a man use for her.

As a girl who was taught to see my worth outside of how I looked, is it any wonder what category I most connected to?

That's the reason why I wrote FUNNY TRAGIC CRAZY MAGIC. Larissa is a girl who only see's her worth by how she looks. She's a witch who thinks she's a princess. But worse, she's a witch who is unsure of herself because she's trying so hard to be princess and not succeeding. Throughout the story her experiences teach her to own the witch inside, and to take her own power as someone who defines herself.

And there's a witch hiding behind a mask, just like the Grand High Witch.  There's Grandmothers who know more than they're saying, (like Weatherwax) and Larissa who is trying so hard to be good ( like Hermione).

Because those witches I read made Larissa who she is, and who she'll be in the future.

She'll be a witch on her own terms.
~Sheena

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