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Discworld #35


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Tiffany Aching is a trainee witch — now working for the seriously scary Miss Treason. But when Tiffany witnesses the Dark Dance — the crossover from summer to winter — she does what no one has ever done before and leaps into the dance. Into the oldest story there ever is. And draws the attention of the Wintersmith himself.

As Tiffany-shaped snowflakes hammer down on the land, can Tiffany deal with the consequences of her actions? Even with the help of Granny Weatherwax and the Nac Mac Feegle — the fightin’, thievin’ pictsies who are prepared to lay down their lives for their “big wee hag.”

Wintersmith is the third title in an exuberant series crackling with energy and humour. It follows The Wee Free Men and Hat Full of Sky.

325 pages, Hardcover

First published September 21, 2006

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About the author

Terry Pratchett

613 books41.4k followers
Born Terence David John Pratchett, Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe.

Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, including his first Discworld novel, The Color of Magic, in 1983. In 1987, he turned to writing full time.

There are over 40 books in the Discworld series, of which four are written for children. The first of these, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, won the Carnegie Medal.

A non-Discworld book, Good Omens, his 1990 collaboration with Neil Gaiman, has been a longtime bestseller and was reissued in hardcover by William Morrow in early 2006 (it is also available as a mass market paperback - Harper Torch, 2006 - and trade paperback - Harper Paperbacks, 2006).

In 2008, Harper Children's published Terry's standalone non-Discworld YA novel, Nation. Terry published Snuff in October 2011.

Regarded as one of the most significant contemporary English-language satirists, Pratchett has won numerous literary awards, was named an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) “for services to literature” in 1998, and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Warwick in 1999, the University of Portsmouth in 2001, the University of Bath in 2003, the University of Bristol in 2004, Buckinghamshire New University in 2008, the University of Dublin in 2008, Bradford University in 2009, the University of Winchester in 2009, and The Open University in 2013 for his contribution to Public Service.

In Dec. of 2007, Pratchett disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. On 18 Feb, 2009, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

He was awarded the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award in 2010.

Sir Terry Pratchett passed away on 12th March 2015.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,156 reviews
Profile Image for Nicholas Karpuk.
Author 4 books65 followers
September 14, 2009
I physically twitch in the presence of cheap irony. You know the sort of lazy humor, like saying it's weird that a cop hates donuts, or acting surprised that a jock is smart. The sort of glib, lazy attempts at humor and cleverness that usually make it on to bumper stickers just makes me cringe. It's the same school of humor as people who put, "My other car is a broomstick" on their bumpers.

When Terry Pratchett started the witch series in the Discworld universe I considered that as close as the witty, funny man would ever get to that sort of humor. Turning the fairytale villain into the shamans of the mountain towns had that vibe of lazy irony (I'm looking squarely at you, Wicked the Musical), but being Pratchett, he made a good story out of it just the same.

The reason the witch books never grabbed me had a lot to do with the main characters. They were very interesting but poor entry point for the reader. One main witch, Granny Weatherwax, is probably one of my favorite characters in Discworld, but she's smart, brutal, and rather unknowable, making her a poor protagonist in many ways. Nanny Ogg isn't much better, though her character is amusing.

Through the earlier books Pratchett tried more than one third witch (because that how it works, Macbeth style), but he never seemed satisfied enough with the dynamic to keep using it.

The fact that three Tiffany Aching stories have already been written indicate something that's clearly working for him, and I personally think it's some of his best writing to date.

Tiffany is a pretty astute choice in protagonist. She's bright, inquisitive, and annoyed when people don't give her the information she's asking for. I imagine this is highly relatable to many of Pratchett's fans, myself included.

What really impresses me is how the stakes keep getting raised over the books. In "Wintersmith" Tiffany makes a mistake that draws the attention of the elemental who controls winter. The beauty in this is that it's not the sort of plot motivating accidents and serendipity guiding series like Harry Potter, where characters are essentially powerless and shuttled through circumstances beyond their control. This entire story comes about because Tiffany screws up and must deal with the consequences.

The atmosphere in this story is some of Pratchett's best, with a depiction of the mountain towns so vivid you can almost feel the cold and the rustling of wind through leaves. Having a antagonist who freezes everything to the point of collapse works quite well with this, giving the book a truly powerful sense of dread.

What I like best about the Aching books as a whole is that they're a seldom talked about discussion of responsibility. The witches are essentially the last line of defense when things go wrong for these people, they're the justice in a cruel world, so for them saying, "it's not fair," is unnacceptable. Having control means fighting for fairness and losing the ability to whine about it.

Few young adult books address themes as deep and meaningful as this, and almost none with such humor and warmth. Though, come to think of it, most books in general don't, making it a truly rare accomplishment.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
September 10, 2021
A very original Discworld story, this one the third in the Tiffany Aching sub-series.

First published in 2006 and the 35th in the Discworld bibliography, Terry Pratchett describes Tiffany as a young witch still in training but coming into herself and setting her sights on the kind of witch she will be (and not always in serviceable black.) As in others in this sub-series, the juxtaposition between Tiffany and the other witches (particularly Granny Weatherwax) makes this fun. Old Miss Treason (who refers to Granny as “the girl Weatherwax”) gives them all a run for their money as Pratchett has crafted a gem of a witch character in her.

“Waily, waily, waily!”

And the Nac Mac Feegles. Sir Terry’s Wee Free Men are again on riotous display and their antics make up the lions share of pings on the Pratchett-smile-O-meter.

This time around Tiffany has an encounter with the Wintersmith, a kind of spirit of winter or an elemental. This kind of story would go one very predictable way in many made for TV movies, but of course Pratchett gives this one a life of it’s own and the reader will be pleasantly surprised by his treatment.

While this one seems to me to be more on the YA scale of reading than the earlier two Tiffany Aching books, this is still another excellent Discworld adventure.

*** 2021 reread -

I'm having a great time revisiting the Discworld and this reread of Wintersmith reminded me of how much I enjoy the Tiffany Aching series.

Tiffany is a worker, a farm girl who rolls up her sleeves and gets things done. Add to that the practical responsibilities of being a witch and she is a character who, in Sir Terry's able writing, is simply a pleasure to read.

Thirteen year old Tiffany watches a mystical Morris Dance, this one for the coming winter, and she gets caught up in the action, dances with the winter elemental, he thinks she is the Summer Lady, the cosmic balance gets a kilter and we're off on another fun Discworld adventure.

Tiffany is guided by Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Og and of course we also get to spend time with the Wee Free Men.

Great times!

Profile Image for Trish.
2,018 reviews3,436 followers
April 30, 2020
It could be a nice spring day, here as well as on the Discworld ... if it wasn't for the Wintersmith (Winter personified) being in love with our favourite teenage witch. Why? Because she danced with him. And it turns out the Wintersmith is a romantic.

Tiffany is 13 years old by now and Miss Treason’s apprentice witch for now. The book is therefore not just about Tiffany and the whole romantic-gestures-killing-people-coldly bit but also about Tiffany's lessons and her relationship with other witches such as Miss Tick or Granny or ...
So we have The Chalk and Tiffany's family and village treating the girl like, well, their witch. We have the other young / apprentice witches. We have the adult witches (Nanny, too, yay!). We have the Nac Mac Feegles and their loyalty to the "Young Hag", which often isn't what you might expect loyalty to look like. *lol* We have Horace, who was a fantastic and hilarious addition to the cast, as well as a white kitten adorable enough to melt even Granny's heart (she'll deny that, of course).
And then, yes, there is a romance bit because this is a bit YoungAdult-ish by heart and therefore depicts a girl's way of growing up and the feelings that might awaken - especially in spring. I didn't mind that at all though as it was very uniquely done what with the special snowflakes (BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA) and other gifts. Who would have thought that Winter would try to impress and melt someone's heart like that.

Then there are the lessons in magic and headology that were once again Sir Terry's enchanting take on witchcraft that always makes me sigh contently as well as some bits of our world’s mythology strewn in for good measure (Discworld-style, of course).

No need to further elaborate on the impeccable writing, I guess, but that has never stopped me from pointing out that it simultaneously delights and makes you laugh and points to all the annoying real-life issues, holding up a cold mirror to society. Here, we thus get a good long look at human emotions, superstition, sheep-mentality vs. self-reliance, cats, taking responsibility for one’s actions and choices and facing the consequences, age and, ultimately, dying.
Moreover, in this sub-series, it’s also obvious that Sir Terry knew about the problems in most books of the YA genre and liked to make fun of and play around with them (see my earlier comment about special snowflakes). *lol*
Most importantly, though, it’s the author coming to terms with his diagnosis of early-onset-Alzheimer’s ahead of him going public with it and it was heartbreaking to read in hindsight.

I knew this would be a wonderful addition to the series, but I wasn't prepared for just how hard-hitting it would turn out to be despite it not being as strong as some other volumes in the social commentary. Moreover, it more than made up for it with the warm feeling I always get when Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax are around and here, they were greatly accompanied by Greebo and the Nac Mac Feels. Besides, I REALLY like the witch Tiffany is turning into though I know where it’ll lead.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews33 followers
April 2, 2021
Wintersmith (Discworld, #35; Tiffany Aching, #3), Terry Pratchett

Wintersmith is a comic fantasy novel by British writer Terry Pratchett, set in the Discworld and written with younger readers in mind. Published on 21 September 2006.

Tiffany Aching, now 13 years old, is training with the witch Miss Treason. But when she takes Tiffany to witness the secret "dark morris", the morris dance (performed wearing black clothes and octiron bells) that welcomes in the winter, Tiffany finds herself drawn into the dance and joins in, despite being warned earlier by Miss Treason not to do so.

She finds herself face to face with the Wintersmith—the personification of winter—who mistakes her for the Summer Lady—the personification of summer. He is enchanted by Tiffany, mystified by her presence.

Unknowingly, Tiffany drops her silver horse pendant (a gift from Roland, the Baron's son) during the Dance. The Wintersmith uses the pendant to find Tiffany and give her back the pendant during their second encounter.

From then on, he uses the pendant to find her and deliver his gifts.

The elder witches, including Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, discover that the Wintersmith has been tracking her.

Granny Weatherwax demands that she throw her silver horse pendant into Lancre Gorge.

Things get trickier for Tiffany when she discovers she has some of the Summer Lady's powers—plants start to grow where she walks barefooted, and the Cornucopia appears, causing problems by spurting out food and animals.

Before the problem with Tiffany and the Wintersmith is resolved, Miss Treason dies. The young witch Annagramma acquires Miss Treason's cottage, but she needs help from Tiffany and the other young witches before she can learn to cope on her own. Tiffany goes to live with Nanny Ogg.

The Wintersmith decides that the reason Tiffany will not be his is that he is not human. Learning a simple rhyme from some children about what basic elements comprise a human body, he sets off to gather the correct ingredients. He makes himself a body out of these elements and pursues Tiffany, but without truly understanding what it is to be human.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز پنجم ماه مارس سال 2020میلادی

عنوان: دیسک ورلد (جهان صفحه) کتاب سی و پنجم: وینتراسمیت؛ نویسنده تری پرچت؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیایی - سده 20م

دیسک ورلد (جهان صفجه)، یک سری از کتابهای فانتزی هستند، که روانشاد «تری پرچت»، نویسنده ی «انگلیسی»، نگاشته ‌اند؛ داستان‌های این سری در جهانی با نام «دیسک‌ ورلد (جهان صفحه)» می‌گذرند؛ که صفحه‌ ای تخت است، و بر شانه‌ های «چهار فیل»، با هیکلهای بزرگ، قرار دارد؛ این فیل‌ها نیز، به نوبه ی خود، بر روی پشت یک «لاک‌پشت غول‌آسا»، با نام «آتوئین بزرگ» قرار دارند؛ در این سری از کتابها، بارها از سوژه های کتاب‌های نویسندگانی همچون «جی.آر.آر تالکین»، «رابرت هاوارد»، «اچ پی لاوکرافت»، و «ویلیام شکسپیر»، به گونه ای خنده دار، استفاده شده ‌است؛

از سری «دیسک ‌ورلد» بیشتر از هشتاد میلیون نسخه، در سی و هفت زبان، به فروش رفته‌ است؛ این سری در برگیرنده ی بیش از چهل رمان (تاکنون چهل و یک رمان)، یازده داستان کوتاه، چهار کتاب علمی، و چندین کتاب مرجع، و مکمل است؛ از این سری، چندین رمان تصویری، با��ی کامپیوتری، نمایش تئاتر، سریالهای تلویزیونی اقتباس شده ‌است؛ روزنامه ی «ساندی تایمز» چاپ «انگلستان» از این سری به عنوان یکی از پرفروش‌ترین سری کتاب‌ها نام برده، و «تری پرچت» را، به عنوان پرفروش‌ترین نویسنده ی «انگلستان»، در دهه ی نود میلادی دانسته است؛

رمان‌های «دیسک‌ورلد» جوایز بسیاری از جمله جایزه «پرومتئوس»، و مدال ادبی «کارنگی» را، از آن خود کرده ‌اند؛ در نظرسنجی «بیگ رید»، که «بی‌بی‌سی» در سال 2003میلادی، در «انگلستان» انجام داد، چهار رمان سری «دیسک‌ورلد»؛ در فهرست یکصد کتاب برتر قرار گرفتند؛ همچن��ن مردمان «انگلیس»، در این نظرسنجی، چهارده رمان «دیسک‌ورلد» را، در شمار دویست کتاب برتر، دانستند؛ تا کنون، از این سری، چهل و یک رمان، به چاپ رسیده است؛ «تری پرچت» که پیش از درگذشتش؛ در ابتدای سال 2015میلادی، از بیماری «آلزایمر» رنج می‌بردند، اعلام کردند که خوشحال می‌شوند که دخترشان، «ریانا پرچت»، به جای ایشان، به ادامه ی این سری بپردازند؛ تا جلد بیست و ششم رمان این سری، رمان «دزد زمان (2001میلادی)» به دست «جاش کربی»، به تصویر کشیده شده ‌اند، اما نسخه ‌های «آمریکایی»، که انتشارات «هارپرکالینز» آن‌ها را، منتشر کرده، دارای تصاویر روی جلد متفاوتی هستند؛ پس از درگذشت «جاش کربی»، در سال 2001میلادی، نقاشی‌های روی جلد کتاب‌های بعدی این سری، بدست «پائول کربی» کشیده‌ شدند

کتابهای اول و دوم: «رنگ جادو»؛ کتاب سوم: «زنان جادوگر»؛ کتاب چهارم: «مرگ»؛ کتاب پنجم: «سورسری (برگردان فارسی جادوی مرجع)»؛ کتاب ششم: «خواهران ویرد»؛ کتاب هفتم: «هرم ها»؛ کتاب هشتم: «نگهبانان! نگهبانان»؛ کتاب نهم: «اریک»؛ کتاب دهم: «تصاویر متحرک»؛ کتاب یازدهم: «مرد دروگر»؛ کتاب دوازدهم: «جادوگران خارج»؛ کتاب سیزدهم: «ایزدان خرد (خدایان کوچک)»؛ کتاب چهاردهم: «لردها و بانوان»؛ کتاب پانزدهم: «مردان مسلح»؛ کتاب شانزدهم: «موسیقی روح»؛ کتاب هفدهم: «اوقات جالب»؛ کتاب هجدهم: «ماسکراد»؛ کتاب نوزدهم: «پاهای خشت (فیت آو کلی)»؛ کتاب بیستم: «هاگفادر»؛ کتاب بیست و یکم: «جینگو»؛ کتاب بیست و دوم: «آخرین قاره»؛ کتاب بیست و سوم: «کارپه جوگلوم»؛ کتاب بیست و چهارم: «فیل پنجم»؛ کتاب بیست و پنجم: «حقیقت»؛ کتاب بیست و ششم: «دزد زمان»؛ کتاب بیست و هفتم: «آخرین قهرمان»؛ کتاب بیست و هشتم: «ماوریس شگفت‌انگیز و موش‌های آموزش‌دیده‌اش»؛ کتاب بیست و نهم: «ساعت شب»؛ کتاب سی ام: «مردان آزاد وی»؛ کتاب سی و یکم: «هنگ بزرگ»؛ کتاب سی و دوم: «کلاهی پُر از آسمان»؛ کتاب سی و سوم: «گوینگ پوستال»؛ کتاب سی و چهارم: «تود!»؛ کتاب سی و پنجم: «وینتراسمیت»؛ کتاب سی و ششم: «بدست آوردن پول»؛ کتاب سی و هفتم: «دانشگاهی‌های نادیدنی»؛ کتاب سی و هشتم: «نیمه‌شب بایست بپوشم»؛ کتاب سی و نهم: «اسنوف»؛ کتاب چهلم: «بالا آمدن مه»؛ کتاب چهل و یکم: «تاج چوپان»؛

در کتاب سی و پنجم: کتاب «وینتراسمیت» دنباله ای بر کتاب سی و دوم با عنوان «کلاهی پر از آسمان (ستارگان)» است و داستان شاگرد سال دوم «تیفانی وه»، جادوگر است؛ معلم وی خانم «ورات»، یکصد و سیزده ساله جادوگری نابینا، و متخصص درعدالت است؛ وی برای اطمینان از درست بودن احترام به مشتریان خود، مجموعه چشمگیری از لوازم جانبی ترسناک را گرد هم آورده است؛ از جمجمه هایی که محل اعدام آنها را قاب مرده، تا شمع های بسیار قطره چکان، تا ساعت جیبی جعلی دستی، صدای تیک تیک آنچنان بلند است که اهالی روستا ادعا میکنند قلب جادوگر در آن پنهان شده است؛ در یک صندلی شبیه تخت، کنار دستگاه بافندگی او نشسته است - دو کلاغ پشت صندلی، که مراقبت از او را بر عهده دارند - او به سخنان مشاجره کنندگان گوش میدهد و تصمیم نهایی را میگیرد؛ فضای رعب آور - خانم تریسون آن را بوفو مینامد - تأثیر میگذارد و هیچ کس جرات اعتراض به حکمی را ندارد که او خیانت اعلام کرده است

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 12/01/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Sarah.
237 reviews1,114 followers
May 18, 2018
Tiffany Aching is nearly thirteen years old and enduring her toughest apprenticeship yet. Miss Treason lives in a lonely cottage on the forested mountainside; she’s blind and deaf and 113 years old, and “borrows” the eyes and ears of the creatures around her to see and hear better than those who rely on their own senses. She decorates her house with gruesome, stereotypical witch memorabilia to intimidate her visitors. Most girls don’t last a day serving Miss Treason. Tiffany has been there over a month.

Tiffany has been her sensible self all this time, but she is also a teenager now, and inevitably even she will have moments when good sense eludes her. One of these is fateful.

Miss Treason takes her young apprentice to watch the Dark Morris dancers on the mountain. This troupe of men dance a jig on each equinox to welcome the coming summer or winter. The superstitious believe that the cycle of the year is disrupted should anything unplanned occur during this ritual.

The music gets into Tiffany’s blood and she leaps among the dancers. She leaves her body, flying into deep space, and only returns to her corporeal form when she hears two voices ask her “Who are you?” one of them hostile, the other intrigued.

She has collided with the Summer Lady and the Wintersmith. She and the goddess have (to an extent) merged, and now the god of snow and ice is obsessed with her.

As the lovesick Wintersmith scatters unseasonable snow across the land and wonders why this strange human girl flees his advances, Tiffany struggles to reconcile her sense of duty, which commands her to drive him away and save the farms, with her newly awakened curiosity about this awkward, clueless creature who is blizzard and boy in one.

But Tiffany is not alone. She has allies in the senior witches, particularly Granny Weatherwax, Miss Tick, and Nanny Ogg. She has her friend Roland, back on the Chalk, who writes content-free letters that are just an excuse to communicate with her. She has the ferocious Feegles who will charge into Hell itself for her—and promptly get kicked out for boozing up the place and/or singing. And she has Horace the cheese. Don’t mess with Horace.

Content Advisory
Violence: The Feegles attack things. The Wintersmith unleashes snowstorms and brings about the deaths of humans or animals who can’t find shelter, but it must be understood that he doesn’t do this maliciously (more details later). Some of the casualties are lambs, whom Tiffany and the other Chalk-dwellers bring inside and try to revive. No gore or suffering shown.

Sex: The Feegles try to help Tiffany deal with the Wintersmith by getting her a romance novel from the travelling library. She figures out that “gathering nuts” is a euphemism and dismisses the book as a silly, inaccurate image of pastoral life.

Her brain tells her to hate the Wintersmith and show him no mercy, but her heart (and hormones) inform her that being ardently pursued by a handsome elemental who can make her bouquets of ice roses is pretty…cool.

Nanny Ogg says that, as a young lass, she convinced a young man not to commit suicide because he had a “cute butt.”

Language: Nothing but “crivens!” from the Feegles.

Substance Abuse: The Feegles are pretty sloshed for most of the book, as per usual. Death warns them not to stay too long in the Underworld because (I quote) WE’RE STILL PICKING UP ALL THE BOTTLES FROM LAST TIME YOU WERE HERE.

Nightmare Fuel: Roland and the Feegles confront some scary critters in the Underworld, including a demon with hundreds of fangs that keeps looking at itself in a shard of glass and whimpering (I see you, Snow Queen reference).

The Wintersmith can be scary by accident. The first time he physically manifests, he doesn’t know what he’s doing and can only make his eyes and hand visible to Tiffany. Even once he gets the hang of a human body, something’s a bit off. He can sing all the parts of an opera (including the orchestra) at once, and if he doesn’t concentrate on his body his limbs might fall off.

Potty Humor: The Wintersmith struggles with the concept of eating. He ingests some sausages at an inn, and then asks the innkeeper’s daughter “Now what do I do with them?” She replies, “That’s not my place to say, sir.”

The adventures of Tiffany Aching and her wee free friends continue to delight. Pratchett added more detail and depth to his concept of witches. This book showcases a milestone for Tiffany and expands the world of the stories, bringing in gods and goddesses and seasonal change. There’s a lot of classical influence here, particularly from the myths of Hades and Persephone, and Orpheus and Eurydice.

This book forms an interesting contrast with Alison Croggon’s The Riddle , second in the Pellinore series, which I recently reviewed. In both, a powerful young woman undergoes a (chastely rendered) sexual awakening with the help of a wintry sorcerer/male spirit who feels possessive of her. She can’t stay with him—she flees his ice palace because it’s the right thing to do—and yet part of her feels terrible for having to do it.

Arkan from The Riddle is ostensibly much closer to being human than the Wintersmith is, but he really seems as cruel and rapacious as a glacier. Yet Croggon seemed to attribute more emotion and humanity to him than he was capable of feeling.

This novel, much as I love it, has the opposite problem. The Wintersmith, while he isn’t human and can’t quite grasp what it is to be one, should get an A for effort. He’s an innocent menace, causing damage and destruction without realizing or understanding it. And Pratchett actually gives the poor creature less sympathy than he deserves. I felt only fleeting pity for Arkan after Maerad fled from him, but I wanted to give the Wintersmith a hug. So did Tiffany, but she had to obey the story she was trapped in—both the in-universe myth and the book containing it.

From Pratchett’s perspective, human and divine, natural and supernatural, cannot mix without bringing disaster. There is no hope of anyone bridging the two worlds. The Wintersmith makes an adorable, earnest effort to become like Tiffany and wed her, but ultimately, according to the book, he is a different substance from her and ne’er the twain shall meet.

This bothers me. I’m not saying that the story should necessarily have ended differently, but it certainly could have. The idea of a god becoming close to human to marry a mortal, and the mortal (against her will at first) taking on more and more attributes of a goddess to level with him, would have been fascinating. Tiffany could have represented a leap in Discworld theology, from abstract and capricious deities with no particular regard for lesser life forms to compassionate gods who loved and cared for humans because they were human, or had been.

Ah well. What else is fanfiction for?

The mythology and symbolism have made this my favorite installment in one of my favorite series. Recommended.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,102 followers
April 30, 2020
How very, very interesting.

When I read these novels the first time, I never paid much attention to anything over and above the worldbuilding or character development going on across all the novels or within individual ones. And honestly, that IS enough, with all the humor, classy fantasy, and heart going on.

In this novel, we have the classic tale of Orpheus and Euridice and/or Persephone and Hades. It's winter and summer, yo! But with Tiffany Aching doing a bit of a dance and having to deal with a pretty nice boy who happens to be an elemental.

But on this read, and having more of Terry Pratchett's life in my sights, and especially how the very last novels brought his decline and saying goodbye to the fore, something snuck up on me and bit me in the ass.

This was published in 2006. Terry Pratchett announced to the world how he had a rare form of Alzheimer’s in 2007. I wasn't expecting ANYTHING hinky as I re-read this book, but damn if it didn't catch me anyway.

This book has many hints in it that he was fully aware of his condition. He even spends a lot of his time working out his position, his feelings, and how he intended to fight. Almost the entire novel lends itself to a very clear personal interpretation, from the obvious elements of going into the underworld to losing one's memory and the even more obvious connection to perception and preoccupation with perception. The diagnosis WAS about his atrophying visual cortex. And of course, he was contemplating his eventual death, coming to grips with it.

So what do we think now about the witch who became a myth of herself?

Ah, yes, indeed, Mr. Terry.

Profile Image for Kalin.
Author 71 books267 followers
June 9, 2020
13 March 2015:

To one of my dads in spirit:

We remember you.

And then one day a traveling teacher (...) talked about how some wizards had once, using very skillful magic, worked out exactly what a human being was made of. It was mostly water, but there were iron and brimstone and soot and a pinch of just about everything else, even a tiny amount of gold, but all cooked up together somehow.

It made as much sense to Tiffany as anything else did. But she was certain of this: If you took all that stuff and put it in a big bowl, it wouldn’t turn into a human no matter how much you shouted at it.

You couldn’t make a picture by pouring a lot of paint into a bucket. If you were human, you knew that.

The Wintersmith wasn’t. The Wintersmith didn’t….

(...) The words went around and around her mind as the borrowed broom plunged onward. At one point Dr. Bustle turned up, with his reedy, self-satisfied voice, and gave her a lecture on the Lesser Elements and how, indeed, humans were made up of nearly all of them but also contained a lot of narrativium, the basic element of stories, which you could detect only by watching the way all the others behaved….

Wintersmith finally brought it home: what sets Terry Pratchett apart from most other contemporary novelists I know. It's compassion; and connectedness. It's his characters reaching to one another, setting their judgments aside and staring at the others, into the others, hard and long--until they see. (This may be one definition of a "witch," in fact.)

The rest is here:

Profile Image for Algernon (Darth Anyan).
1,529 reviews979 followers
September 9, 2019

“Our kelda is havin’ dreams. Dreams o’ the future. Dreams o’ the hills all froze an’ everyone deid an’ the big wee hag wearin’ a crown o’ ice!”
“My goodness!”
“Aye, an’ there wuz more! She saw a green tree growin’ in a land o’ ice! She saw a ring o’ iron! She saw a man with a nail in his heart! She saw a plague o’ chickens an’ a cheese that walks like a man!”

Crivens! I can’t give anything less than five stars for a story about the ‘big wee hag’, Tiffany Aching. She is one of the best characters created by Sir Terry Pratchett in his Discworld universe, and in this episode she wins our hearts all over again. What’s it all about, then? Life, death, love, danger and everything in between.

After winning her pointy hat in a previous episode, Tiffany is still living among the mountain witches, as an apprentice to one of the most difficult old hags, Miss Treason. Tiffany relies on her best abilities to carry her along her chosen path, and makes a pretty good job at learning the ways of witches. First Sight, her natural curiosity, helps her notice what goes on around her. Second Thoughts, her born skepticism, helps her make sense of the information gathered. But her greatest asset is her access to Third Thoughts, call it intuition or common sense, which keeps her grounded, self-aware and strong in moments of crisis. Still, Tiffany is yet a teenage girl and a moment of impulsive behaviour lands her in a sea of trouble.


The Morris men came to the village sometime in May. You could never be sure when, because they had to call at a lot of villages along the Chalk, and every village had a pub, which slowed them down.
They carried sticks with bells on them, to stop them from creeping up on people.

The image I used is from a Romanian dance tradition very similar to the Morris men, called “calusarii” . In the novel, the dance is performed to usher in summer. Few people know that there is a mirror-like dance performed at the end of autumn. When she is invited to witness the second dance, Tiffany accidentally joins in the dance and comes to the attention of the Wintersmith.

You danced into a story, girl, one that tells itself to the world every year. It’s the Story about ice and fire, Summer and Winter. You’ve made it wrong. You’ve got to stay to the end and make sure it turns out right.

Miss Weatherwax is a harsh tutor, she has no need for weaklings. If you’ve made a mistake, it is your responsibility to make things right. Especially is you are dealing with a godlike avatar of winter, who can visit all sorts of cataclysms on the world when he is displeased. But the big wee hag is not one to shirk away from her duties when the going gets tough.

Tiffany is also fortunate in her friends. The Nac Mac Feegle may not be anybody’s idea of guardian angels, but they are devoted to their fair young mistress and utterly fearless. Their speech might be confusing from time to time, and their morals on the loose side of law, they are fond of drinking stealing and brawling, but when their kelda informs Rob Anybody and his gang that the big wee hag is in trouble, they jump right into the fray.

The little blue people (Rob Anybody, Slightly Mad Angus, Big Yan, Daft Wullie, Awf’ly Wee Billy and the new recruit to the feegle gang Horace ) provide a welcome comic relief to a story that goes all the way to the root at what makes us human. My favorite scene with the feegles involves Rob and his gang trying to set up Tiffany romantically, with Rob explaining the bees and the flowers to the others:

“When a bull coo meets a lady coo, he disna have to say, ‘My heart goes bang-bang-bang when I see your wee face,’ ‘cuz it’s kinda built intae their heads. People have it more difficult. Romancin’ is verra important, ye ken. Basically it’s a way the boy can get close to the girl wi’oot her attackin’ him and scratchin’ his eyes oot.”

Intelligence is a great tool to start with, but it needs to be balanced by courage, determination, empathy and love. One of the most important lessons that Tiffany learns from the cranky Miss Treason and from Granny Weatherwax is that people can be led in the right direction, that they need guidance from witches and from other special people whose real magic is just the way they look at the world (First Sight), judge it (Second Thoughts) and take action to improve things. Most of all, people need stories to make sense of their lives and to teach them that change is possible. You can call it Boffo the Clown, or Wintersmith, or Discworld, but what it does is gives a direction and a sense of hope in your journey through life.

People wanted the world to be a story, because stories had to sound right and they had to make sense. People wanted the world to make sense.
Well, her story wasn’t going to be the story of a little girl who got pushed around. There was no sense in that.

There is no shortage of powerful moments in the novel, but I liked in particular two of them. The first is about another teenage witch, Annagramma, who sees her talents as her just prerogative and her passport to a respect she does nothing to earn. She looks upon the villagers she is supposed to help along and guide as a bunch of uncouth morons not worthy of her attention. How can Tiffany and the rest of the young witches set her on the right path, when Annagramma is so willfully blind to careful suggestions and mild criticism?

Tiffany looked at her. Where did you start, apart from banging the girl’s head on the table until the brain started working?

With great power, comes great responsibility. Violence is not a long term solution. Pratchett is not the first one to make this observation, but I loved the way he deals with bullies. Read the novel if you want to learn more about the taming of Annagramma.

The second episode deals with death and our heritage. Tiffany is confronted by it when Miss Treason announces her time is up. Witches are said to be able to predict their demise, and thus be able to prepare for the next journey. The author must have been aware of his own struggles with an incurable disease, and he used his stories as a method of coping and of passing his hard earned insights to the next generation. It is for me what makes his later novels in the Discworld series so much more powerful and moving.

It was lonely on the hill, and cold. And all you could do was keep going. You could scream, cry, and stamp your feet, but apart from making you feel warmer, it wouldn’t do any good. You could say it was unfair, and that was true, but the universe didn’t care because it didn’t know what “fair” meant. That was the big problem about being a witch. It was up to you. It was always up to you.

What can you do, when everything seems to go against you, when you are so scared we are ready to ‘cack yer kecks’ as the feegle so colorfully put it? Think of your friends and loved ones, and give it your best shot. It’s all every one of us can and should do. And always remember stories and songs and ancient nursery rhymes, it’s what teaches us what it means to be human:

Strength enough to build a home,
Time enough to hold a child,
Love enough to break a heart.

Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Thibault Busschots.
Author 3 books80 followers
February 12, 2023
The Wintersmith and the Summer Lady do a little dance every time they need to switch places. But Tiffany Aching unfortunately joins in and dances with the Wintersmith instead, messing things up. The Wintersmith falls in love with Tiffany but his love is a desperate one. Granny Weatherwax steps in and brings Tiffany to Nanny Ogg’s place to keep her out of trouble. But the Wintersmith does not give up so easily.

To make matters worse, Tiffany Aching’s current mentor passes away and Annagramma inherits the witch’s cottage and the village that comes with it. But despite all of Annagramma’s boasting, she’s not at all ready to take on such a daunting task yet. It’s up to Tiffany to help Annagramma out before things get completely out of hand.

This book is the third Tiffany Aching story and it’s easy to see she’s grown here as she’s learned from her experiences in her previous adventures. But now it’s time for puberty to screw things up. The story shows us that Tiffany’s at a certain age where she begins to take notice of boys. Though the story definitely has a lot of layers. Some are quite subtle, others not so much.

Tiffany’s a headstrong character who likes to do things her own way though she knows she still has a lot to learn, which makes her quite a relatable and likeable character. In her previous stories, Tiffany always stumbled into an adventure where she ended up learning something. This time however she is very much the cause of her own problems and she needs to grow as a person to set things right. This is an interesting new premise and direction in the series, which I very much appreciate.

I also really like the Wintersmith as the antagonist as he’s more than just an ordinary villain for Tiffany to beat. He’s not a person, he’s winter. This is a fight Tiffany can simply never win if she takes him head on. The Wintersmith is also not bad. He’s doesn’t even realize that what he’s doing is having a devastating effect on the world around him. And the fact that he wants to become human to be with his love only makes him all the more sympathetic. But he will never become human, no matter how hard he tries.

And as in the other Tiffany Aching stories, the Nac Mac Feegle provide some welcome comic relief.

This is a young adult story done right. It’s not shallow but rather deep and completely in tune to real life aspects of being a teenager, with valuable life lessons about love and taking responsibility for one’s own actions, all wrapped up in a delightful adventure.
Profile Image for Julie.
2,013 reviews38 followers
May 23, 2022
A lighthearted and fun entry in the Discworld series providing several hours of entertaining listening. However, I didn't engage with it in quite the same way as some of the others, and while I loved the narrator's voice, I did not enjoy the unnecessary and odd choice of interval music that played at the beginning and end of each disc.

Update: 5/21/22 - reading this again with my daughter while on a roadtrip to Atlanta, Georgia.

Update 5/23/22 - We arrived late last evening and after a busy morning, we are relaxing with a nice cup of afternoon tea to listen to the last hour of the story. The interval music is still annoying, and while it did take a while to become engrossed in the story, eventually I did, perhaps about one- quarter to one-third of the way in. Here are my favorite quotes from this second-time around reading:

"Dimity Hubbub had brought a huge tray of inside-out cake. It was just the thing to put a coating on your ribs against the cold." This reminds me of British steamed sponge puddings, the kind you make in the depth of fall or winter, such as sticky toffee pudding, they provide inner warmth and comfort.

"Mrs. Earwig and Granny Weatherwax arrived at the same time, and circled in a ballet of careful politeness as each waited for the other to land."

"rumbustious fruits and vegetables." Basically, the kind that are gas producing.

Miss Treason's "clockwork heart" and "seeing eye mouse" truly delighted me!

"Nanny stood up and tried to look haughty, which is hard to do when you have a face like a happy apple." What a delightful description!
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,924 reviews386 followers
March 25, 2022
3.5 stars?

I'm still enjoying this series, but this book was slightly less charming than the first two Tiffany books. It was saved by the entertaining Nac Mac Feegle, who are instrumental in the solving of Tiffany's problems. I also appreciated Granny Weatherwax's approach to problem solving. I can see where the Witches subseries of Discworld will be one of my next Pratchett reading goals.

I grew up on a farm and as a result I loved the plague of chickens, predicted by the kelda of the Nac Mac Feegle. Tiffany ends up with the cornucopia of the Summer Lady, which produces quite a crowd of chickens when left unattended one night. Pratchett's description of chickens was bang on: ”The floor was covered in chickens. So was every room down below. In the kitchen, chickens had overflowed into the sink. They weren't making much noise, just the occasional 'werk' a chicken makes when it's a bit uncertain about things, which is more or less all the time.”

There was also a moment, when Roland, the Baron's son, is in the Underworld with the Feegles, when he states, “When you take away memories, you take away the person. Everything they are.” I have to wonder, as this book was published just before the time that Pratchett was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, if it was a comment on how he was feeling. That he realized that something within himself wasn't quite right. A sad moment in an otherwise playful book.

This was a buddy read with my SRR friends and I thank them once again for helping me find my way into Discworld.
Profile Image for Nataliya Yaneva.
165 reviews330 followers
May 4, 2016
Чудно как на човек му е най-трудно да опише нещата, които са го впечатлили най-много. Като че думите не са точни и не достатъчно силни да предадат усещането. Ако ви попитат защо обичате някого, отговорът ще удовлетвори ли вас самите? Не звучи ли слабо, твърде традиционно? В никакъв случай не описва защо всъщност обичате, няма думи за това.

Понякога се питам как така някой писател сякаш надниква в душата ти, изсмуква всичкото ти внимание и то остава негово. В случая със сигурност не е темата – тя не е нищо нечувано (все пак въпросът „Сега за секс ли ще говорим?“ вероятно ще продължава да вълнува хората дори в някакво футуристично high tech утре, въпреки че написан така откровено при Тери Пратчет си звучи е особено). Дали е хуморът? Сър Тери е ненадминат в това отношение – може би единствените книги, на които се подхилквам на глас – когато издавам подобни звуци, баща ми винаги пита „А, нашия човек ли четеш?“ :).

Това, което мен ме е накарало да заобичам Тери Пратчет (освен безжалостния хумор, който просто няма как да подминеш, дори да си пълно дърво), е начинът, по който пише този човек. Малките откровения, които ти предлага винаги, дори всред най-смешните ситуации, сред най-глуповатите реплики от страна на някой персонаж, неочаквани, истински – като самия живот. Имам чувството, че всяка дума е не просто написана с цел сега да бъде зарадван читателят, защото така се очаква, а че е била почувствана, осмислена, оголена и предложена в най-чистия си вид – така, както е била усетена. Противно на факта, че се числят към някакво пародийно фентъзи и сатира, което не звучи особено като за пораснали, книгите на модерния Гандалф предлагат много по-истински неща от доста „сериозни“ творби.

Друго, което много ме впечатлява – когато Тери Пратчет прави заемки от някоя митология или религия, той винаги ти дава да разбереш това. Най-често нещата са директно взети от съответния източник, без излишни усуквания/разкрасявания/видоизменения и съответно най-често е запазено дори името на нещото (понякога в леко пародиен вид). Без заобикалки, без опити да бъде остроумен и да измисля базирана на митологията, уж различна, а всъщност еднаква ситуация. Когато нещо е негово – негово си е, в противен случай не прави нескопосани опити да го прикрие, претендирайки за оригиналност.

Просто прочетете „Зимоковецът“. А преди това не пропускайте „Волният народец“ и „Шапка, пълна с небе“. За да разберете „защо“.
489 reviews57 followers
May 25, 2007
The third book involving Tiffany Aching and the Nac Mac Feegles -- the one where Tiffany dances with the Wintersmith and gets herself into the middle of the ancient romance of summer and winter.

I love the witches, and I love the Feegles, and I love Tiffany, and it's always a pleasure to spend time with them. And yay for Roland growing up. And I loved the subplot involving Miss Treason and the slight improvement in Annagramma.

Having said that, I had serious problems with this book.

The most critical problem I have is that I didn't understand Tiffany getting involved in the dance in the first place. It was wildly out of character for her to do something like that, five minutes after someone has told her not to, without asking any questions; I couldn't see why she would *want* to; it wasn't well supported; I didn't believe it. And of course all the action of the book depends on that one act.

The second problem is the way he's pulled the climax out of the book and used it as a prologue. When I encountered it for the first time, it was confusing and pointless; it didn't really increase suspense, because I couldn't tell what was going on. And then when I began to approach its right place in the book, it messed up the pacing; once Tiffany went back to the Chalk, I figured she would be fighting the big storm any minute, and so when she sat down to make a watercolor painting, I went, What? Doesn't she have something urgent to do?

The Summer Lady hardly made an appearance until the last two chapters, which seemed odd -- and he never explained how she came to be imprisoned in the underworld in the first place, which made her rescue seem a little less a part of the story.

The eight-year-old has read it, and she thinks it's hilarious.

(2007 Locus poll: #1 YA SFF)
Profile Image for Clouds.
228 reviews633 followers
June 30, 2013

Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my LOCUS Y-A list.

I think I’ll always have a soft-spot for imaginative young-adult speculative fiction and as the good people at Locus did such a grand job with picking their Sci-Fi winners, I’ll trust them to single out some special y-a books too.

I remember reading The Wee Free Men (the first in this Tiff Aching series) and not feeling terribly impressed, but I don’t actually remember much about the book. I find suspicious, as I generally have a better memory for fiction than reality. I don’t know if I had other things on my mind, or read it when I wasn’t sleeping well, or if I was just drunk – but the book didn’t stick. So I’m going to order a new copy to re-read soon.

But whether that initial ‘unimpressed feeling’ was deserved or not, it put me off picking up Wintersmith . My wife owned a copy which I’d been eyeing up ever since our bookcases merged. But it’s the third in the series – surely I should read book two ( A Hat Full of Sky ) first?

But it’s a Locus Young-Adult Award winner, and I needed something light between installments the two halves of Blackout/All Clear , so I grabbed it on the way to work and found myself thoroughly enjoying it!

I don’t know why I was surprised, I love Pratchett’s writing.
I was clearly just being a cynical douche about his y-a works!

Tiff’s encounters with the Wintersmith are vivid and magical, beautifully visually examples of Sir Terry’s imagination at work. But the real gems of the book (for me) are the minor strands that fill out Tiff’s world within the Wintersmith framing device. The Nac Mac Feegles are great characters with an infinite supply of comedy dialogue and perspectives (quote below). Roland’s mission to awaken the Summer Lady in the underworld contained my favourite moment in the book – when he battles the wraiths with his imaginary sword! The interactions between the teenage witches are great, as are Tiff’s reflections on Miss Treason’s ‘Boffo’. And the cameos from Ogg and Weatherwax are a touch of class for us long-standing witches fans.

A quick quote that made me giggle:
“When a bull coo meets a lady coo he disna have tae say, "My hert goes bang-bang-bang when I see your wee face," 'cuz it's kinda built intae their heads. People have it more difficult. Romancin' is verra important ye ken. Basically it's a way the boy can get close to the girl wi'oot her attackin' him and scratchin' his eyes oot.'
It’s a worthy addition to the Discworld canon and it’s encouraged me to re-read The Wee Free Men , and also grab a copy of Hat Full of Sky and I Shall Wear Midnight , but Wintersmith doesn’t quite measure up to the inspirational awesomeness of my favourites.

After this I read: All Clear
Profile Image for [ J o ].
1,950 reviews435 followers
August 8, 2018
First read: 13th June, 2013. 3 stars.
Second read: 30th July, 2018. 3 stars.

Tiffany's third outing in the Discworld series sees her a couple of years older and learning her witchcraft from another old witch, this time one who appears to be a bit more "witch-y" than any of the others. She wears black, has a predominantly black house full of cobwebs and strikes fear in to the hearts of those she helps.

Whilst Tiffany may be older, she's also now a teenager, which brings with it all sorts of complications, not in the least doing what she wants instead of what she's been told. Or, specifically, what she's been told not to do. And she should not dance in the Dark Morris.

But she does anyway, and thus the Wintersmith-the small god of sorts-is now in love with her. It's bad enough been a teenager and a witch, but now she's got little snowflake Tiffanys falling all around her. Teenage embarrassment doesn't go far enough.

Reading through the Tiffany Aching series, it's clear to see that what puts me off to some extent is the amount of the book taken up by the Nac Mac Feegles. I do like them: they're fun, rather novel, a nice take on "faries" and, well, fun. But their involvement always lessens my enjoyment. Their speech gets tiring after a couple of paragraphs and they're very one-dimensional. Whilst that is on purpose, and Rob Anybody may be changing slightly with the influence of his new wife, it still grates on me. I prefer it when they're only there once a chapter at most.

Dismissing that little annoyance (or several thousand little annoyances), Wintersmith is a great book to see the difference between the older witch generations and the younger, up-and-coming jingling-with-much-occult-jewellery witches who are probably five seconds away from calling themselves wiccans.

We view the world through Tiffany's eyes and this is a good way of seeing the other witches. Tiffany isn't perfect which is wonderful and such a breath of fresh air. Usually, any character with great power will probably be portrayed either in first-person perfection ("I am so great, look at what I'm doing with my powers lalalala") or in third-person perfection ("with her lovely mixed coloured eyes, perfect complexion, beauty, ridiculously wonderful hair and probably a perfectly pair of pert buttocks to boot"). Here we have Tiffany, who is a little normal and kind of boring to look at in terms of what other books like to talk about, but she has so much power it's almost written in the books that she'll be better than Granny Weatherwax ever was, is or will be.

The Tiffany and Granny stand-offs make this book. These books show more of Granny than any of the other books do. Even though they're about Tiffany of course, Tiffany could not do anything ever without Granny. The two are inexorably linked, and it makes one wonder if the one is going to turn in to the other at some point...

It's a different kind of peril to the previous books. It's not Tiffany in danger so much as everyone else she knows and loves. And, unlike the previous books as well, it is all Tiffany's fault. Okay, so she's a teenager and has that weird teenage self-belief, but it is still completely her fault. The trick in this one is, can she admit that and fix her own mistakes?

It has the usual Discworld jovial outlook, seriousness and endearing humour. But, as said before, these books were written for "younger readers" and that means the Discworld edge has been taken off slightly. That's a shame, but they're still wonderful and Tiffany is one of the best characters that has ever been invented.
Profile Image for Lindsay.
1,275 reviews227 followers
May 2, 2020
Part of the Pratchett reread with the SpecFic Buddy Reads group in 2020.

Tiffany Aching is now around thirteen and an apprentice witch to the ancient Miss Treason. When Miss Treason takes Tiffany to see the dance that marks the beginning of Winter (the silent Dark Morris), Tiffany feels compelled to join the dance in the hole that seems to be there for her. Which is a terrible mistake, because now the Wintersmith is paying her attention and Tiffany may be now a key part of the oldest story of all.

This is a lot less complicated than the earlier two Tiffany books, but it deals with themes that Pratchett entwined into most of the Witches books. It's about power and responsibility and how knowledge confers both and as always Tiffany excels. There's also quite a lot of Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax in this one which always makes for an entertaining Discworld book.
Profile Image for Nicole.
Author 5 books41 followers
November 22, 2020
Another case of feeling whatever I could write in praise of this would be insufficient, so I'll just be brief in my Pratchett-worship.
This is yet another fantastic Tiffany adventure, deceptively simple in some ways, very complicated and profound in others. The Wintersmith is both frightening and something to feel a bit sorry for. What it really takes to be a witch is the same thing it takes to be a responsible human being of any type--it's just the various embellishments that change people's perceptions.
Tiffany is such a wonderful character. She is very much the product of decent, hardworking people, and she has an excellent moral compass and a formidable mind. But she's human and has her moments of frustration and resentment. She's an old soul but still enough of a young girl to appreciate roses made of ice and a dress made of aurora borealis made just for her. Her interactions with Granny Weatherwax (back in fine form), Nanny Ogg, and Miss Treason are great.
There's a poignancy to the story because of the truths of existence within it, but there are Feegles along for laughs, too. Rob Anybody and the other Feegles are more delightful every time I see them; I love the way Pratchett renders their accents. I also enjoyed Roland's part in the story; he shares Tiffany's innate sense of what's right.
The book left me with a smile on my face and a sigh in my heart.
If you're not reading Terry Pratchett, you're missing out.
I just have one complaint about the cover of this book and of the others in this mini-series: Feegles are not purple; they're blue!
December 3, 2022
I love this series within a series and seemingly can't seem to get enough of Tiffany, Roland, the Wee Free Men, Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and the coven of young witches. The part of me that enjoys a gritty tale almost wants Tiffany to face a more prolonged and challenging battle with the Wintersmith. That same adult part also has to acknowledge that the whole Wintersmith storyline is just a vehicle for the author to weave a story that examines the human psyche, points out how we behave and compares it to how we ought to behave. He also provides lots of drama and laughs along the way.

A witch was just someone who knew a bit more than you did. That's what the name meant. And some people didn't like anyone who knew more than they did, so these days the wandering teachers and the travelling librarians steered clear of the place. The way things were going, if the people of Dogbend wanted to throw stones at anyone who knew more than them, they'd soon have to throw them at the pigs.

You can't help but adore the Nac Mac Feegles, they have such a zest for life, and drinkin', fightin' and stealin'. I'm not sure how politically correct they are, borrowing as they do from "our friends in the north", but they are crazy, loveable rogues. Miss Treason, with her joke skulls and crackpot stories, was also a welcome addition to the series. I think we would all love to grow old as disgracefully as she had!

Yes... perhaps Miss Treason didn't just take the cake, a packet of biscuits with sprinkles on top, and a candle, but also the trifle, the sandwiches and a man who made amusing balloon animals afterwards.

Tiffany continues to grow a touch taller, a little older and a lot wiser, as she continues in her quest to learn to be a witch. It involves a lot of chores, a lot of cups of tea, a lot of gossiping and very little magick of the wizarding variety. She continues to walk to the beat of her own drum, though it's dancing to the beat of another's drum that leads to problems! Thankfully her mulish determination, undeniably strong work ethic and down-to-earth nature make her not only a great witch but also someone who won't be bested by an elemental almost-god.

...the first time she'd had to go out to deal with someone who looked dead - a young man who'd been in a horrible sawmill accident - she'd done every single test, even though she'd had to go and find his head.

Despite having a LOT of books on my kindle, I'll be jumping straight into the next book, I Shall Wear Midnight

"I wasn't going to describe it quite like that," said Nanny Ogg.
"Yes, I suspects you weren't!" said Granny. "I suspects you were going to use Language!"
Tiffany definitely heard the capital "L", which entirely suggested that the language she was thinking of was not to be uttered in polite company.
Nanny stood up and tried to look haughty, which is hard to do when you have a face like a happy apple.
Profile Image for Sophie Narey (Bookreview- aholic) .
1,016 reviews122 followers
January 14, 2020
Well anyone who knows me will know that I absolutely adore Terry Pratchett, his writing style just captures me right from the very first word. With this being a young adult book it does mean that it has chapters (yes!) but it really doesn't feel like a young adult book when reading it, it could very easily be one of the Discworld series without it also being one of the young adult Tiffany Aching series.

I will admit I think that the Wintersmith was incredibly sweet! Oh and the Nac Mac Feegles will have you speaking their language in no time at all! The are sweet and funny. All the characters in the book are very well written and the story flows at a nice gentle pace.

Any fantasy fans this is a must!!
Profile Image for Charity.
Author 20 books115 followers
May 11, 2014
Pratchett is a wordsmith. He creates a divine world into which he spins his stories... stories of magic, where seasons have personalities and can become ... almost human. This is the case of the Wintersmith, when young witch Tiffany Aching leaps into the midst of the winter dance and takes the place of Summer. Wintersmith is captivated by her and wants to become human so as to be with her. He starts courting her with wintery magic, including millions of little Tiffany snowflakes. But as Granny Weatherwax knows, a season becoming a human can be dangerous...

I like these books. They are simple but sweet, profound yet funny, and full of unforgettable characters -- in this case, a witch who digs her own grave (literally). Tiffany is a delightful heroine -- sweet, sincere, intelligent, and kind, with an unusual amount of insight into The World.

As for the rest? Well, what can I say except CRIVENS!!
Profile Image for Narilka.
603 reviews41 followers
July 10, 2022
"You danced into a story, girl, one that tells itself to the world every year. It’s the Story about ice and fire, Summer and Winter. You’ve made it wrong. You’ve got to stay to the end and make sure it turns out right."

Crivens! That was such a good read. Wintersmith is the 35th Discworld book and the 3rd in the Tiffany Aching sub-series. Tiffany is a trainee witch under the scary Miss Treason. Every year the region observes the Dark Dance, where summer transitions to winter, and Tiffany, for reasons she can't explain, joins the dance. Now she's attracted the Wintersmith himself and Tiffany's forced to face the consequences of her actions: the fact that there may never be another springtime.

Of course, the Nac Mac Feegles are right there to help their Wee Big Hag no matter whether she wants them to or not!

I'm always impressed with how much Terry Pratchett can pack into a seemingly simple tale. Wintersmith is about the power of stories and how humans shape the world with the stories we tell ourselves. It is such a deeply profound idea with so many layers to it that I think it's right up there with Small Gods as one of my favorites. As Wee Billy Bigchin says, "A metaphor is a kind o' lie to help people understand what's true." I highly recommend this book, though you'd likely want to read the previous two Tiffany Aching books first.
Profile Image for YouKneeK.
659 reviews80 followers
April 19, 2017
Wintersmith is the third book in the Tiffany Aching subseries of Discworld. In this book, Tiffany has made a mistake that has put not only herself but also everybody she knows, and a whole bunch of people she doesn’t know, in danger.

There really isn’t too much I can say about this book that I haven’t already said about the previous two. I’m still really enjoying the series, and I still really like the characters in it. In this book, two of my favorite characters from previous books got a decent amount of page time, so I was especially happy about that.
Profile Image for Hazal Çamur.
172 reviews213 followers
May 3, 2019
Yazın yakıcı bakışları ve alaycı tavrına karşılık, Kış Ustası'nın buz gibi yüreğinin derinlerinde sakladığı o merak ve paylaşmak istediği aşk...

Tiffany artık 13 yaşında ve onun cadılar dünyası da yaşına göre şekilleniyor. Muhteşemdi. Yine cadılık üzerinden içime işleyen cümlelerle bezeliydi.

Diskdünya'yı çok seviyorum ama Disk içinde Tiffany'nin yeri çok çok başka.
Profile Image for Ieva.
1,050 reviews80 followers
March 30, 2020
Nabaga Tifānijai gan piemīt tieksme pievilkt vēl nebijušas neptikšanas! Kā vienmēr asprātīga grāmata, sevišķi fanoju par viņas rekciju uz fīglu sagādāto mīlas romānu.
Profile Image for Len Evans Jr.
1,463 reviews205 followers
January 23, 2018
What more can one say when your reviewing a book written by a master at the height of his craft? First off I have to say that I have yet to read a Discworld novel that I did not adore. Terry Pratchett was a treasure and has allowed me so so many hours of pleasure, laughing my way through book after book. I have read quite a few of his books more than once and enjoyed them each and ever time. I only have a few left that I have not read and have sorta put off reading all of them just because once I do there will be no more new ones. As for this book, starting with the Wee Free Men I have loved every one of the Tiffany Aching books. I think the feegles are awesome. This book was such an awesome take on the sort of myth that has been around jsut about forever. Told this time in Mr. Pratchett's unique iconic style. Reading it was a rollercosater ride of thrills and fun and one I am sure I will enjoy again and again in the future!
Profile Image for Melissa McShane.
Author 60 books764 followers
November 17, 2021
I'm almost tempted to downgrade this to four stars, primarily because it still, even on this latest read, doesn't feel as powerful as either A Hat Full of Sky or I Shall Wear Midnight. But if I look at it on its own merits, it's still quite solid, and there's a lot of good stuff going on. Tiffany finally starts to interact with the other witches as a witch in her own right, there's plenty of Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax, and the central issue is fun and engaging and feels very much like a Discworld novel.

One of my favorite parts is how Tiffany deals with Annagramma, who is self-absorbed and arrogant and has enough iron-clad certainty for ten witches, but who doesn't bother to listen and has no idea she's been set up to fail. This setup makes Tiffany complicit in Annagramma's success or failure, and it shows the kind of maneuvering the witches engage in all the time in a way I don't think we've seen before.

Anyway, there's a lot going on here, and I almost think the titular character is the least important plot thread--except for the ending. It's a marvelous ending that wraps everything up neatly, and I like it for how it solves the problem Tiffany caused as well as acknowledging that maybe something good came out of it, after all.

Also, Feegles.
Profile Image for Shovelmonkey1.
353 reviews887 followers
November 11, 2011
I read this a long time ago, but not as long ago as I read all the preceding Pratchetts. Yes. I love all things Pratchett (mostly) and have accumulated an extensive Pratchett archive since about the age of thirteen. Sadly most of these books have been tucked away in my parents attic for the last twelve years but the wonder of encountering the Discworld has never been forgotten.

I've read all of the Tiffany Aching series, including the Wee Free Men. Thinking back now, I can't really remember a lot about this story or the wintersmith or the Feegles. To be honest, they're not my favour clutch of Pratchett's characters - I'm more in the camp of Death and Sam Vimes. Not the wizards though. They're a bit annoying and I never had much time for Rincewind. I do love the cover of this book though and admire the person who came up with the genius money spinning idea of printing kids books with adults covers in order to instill some sort of adult gravitas on the reader and make them feel less ashamed to read kiderature rather than literature in a public place like on the bus or the tube. Well done corporate money spinning monkey - you provided the world with a great service. Although that said, the advent of the Kindle hides a multitude of reading sins and guilty pleasures so maybe your glory was short lived?
Profile Image for Sophie Narey (Bookreview- aholic) .
1,016 reviews122 followers
December 13, 2015
Published: 27/09/2007
Author: Terry Pratchett
Recommended for: fans of fantasy novels

This is another amazing book in the Discworld series (number 35), in this book we meet the character Tiffany Aching. She is a really wonderful, likeable and funny character who adds a great amount of fun to the novel. In this book we go on the adventure with her when the spirit of winter (the wintersmith) falls in love with her! If she doesnt figure out a way to deal with him there will never be spring again, however she gets the help of the Nac Mac Feegles (whether she wants it or not!), they are determined to help her out.
Terry Pratchett describes the characters in such great detail that you feel like they are actually real, the Nac Mac Feegles are so funny they will definately have you laughing! The way he describes the setting of the world they are in makes you feel like you are there with them, like it is a real place. It has great depth too it, it is a really good book to read and got lost it. It is one that is classed as 'young adult' but I think it doesn't matter what age you are when reading this book you will still enjoy it just as much!
Profile Image for Althea Ann.
2,233 reviews1,046 followers
March 3, 2013
As with most of Pratchett's books, I found 'Wintersmith' to be extremely entertaining, but not exceptional. Unlike many of the Discworld books, this novel will definitely be helped along if you've read some of the previous books in the series that deal with the same characters (The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky).
I've read the first, but not the second.
The story deals with the teenage apprentice witch, Tiffany Aching, who is helped/hindered by her friends the Nac Mac Feegles (blue, Scottish-flavored 'Pictsies'), when, due to an ill-advised dance, the titular elemental spirit of Winter falls in love with her - with less than salutary effects on the climate.
Engaging characters and witty writing, but a fairly typical coming-of-age-type story.
Profile Image for Martyn Stanley.
Author 14 books186 followers
May 29, 2019
Well I've always been a Pratchett fan and I've always loved Tiffany Aching. I think the same is true for my daughter now too! Before I get stuck into the nitty-gritty of the review, the quick, obligatory plug: I don't just read I write. Mainly fantasy with a bit of old English folklore on the side. Most people who read my books enjoy them. If you're looking for something a bit different to read in the fantasy genre - check them out:-
Lady Death (Deathsworn Arc Book 0) by Martyn Stanley The Last Dragon Slayer (Deathsworn Arc, #1) by Martyn Stanley The Verkreath Horror (Deathsworn Arc, #2) by Martyn Stanley The Blood Queen (Deathsworn Arc, #3) by Martyn Stanley Rise of the Archmage (Deathsworn Arc, #4) by Martyn Stanley The Temple of the Mad God (Deathsworn Arc, #5) by Martyn Stanley The Lambton Worm by Martyn Stanley Return of the Worm Slayer (The Lambton Worm #2) by Martyn Stanley

Right! That's that out of the way. Back to the review. What did I think of this book? Well, I'll be honest, I've read this before a long time ago. This time I read it to my daughter. She's 11 years old currently and could read this herself, however my hilarious voices, particularly my over-the-top scottish impressions for the feegles make 'Dad' reading it much more enjoyable. She loved the other Tiffany books and couldn't wait to start this one.

The thing I like about the Tiffany books is each one is different. They have different themes, they have a different tone and you feel like Tiffany has grown as a person and as a character both in between the books as well as during them. Wintersmith has some true laugh-out-loud moments in it and it also expands a lot on the ideas and themes that Sir Terry Pratchett has dabbled in over and over in his stories about the witches of Lancre.

A good example of this is the slightly terrifying, eccentric 'Miss Treason' she's a blind, old witch, given the task of mentoring Tiffany. At something like 116 years old? She still calls Granny Weatherwax 'Girl'. Having lost her sight a long time ago she's trained two ravens to perch on her shoulders so she can 'see' through their eyes. She's feared in the local area as a powerful witch. Most of what people know about Miss Treason fall somewhere between myth and legend. For example the idea that she has a clockwork heart that she has to keep wound. She also has a pair of skulls which she presents enthusiastically whenever she's doling out justice to the local people - who bring their quarrels to her to be resolved. Whilst Tiffany is working with Miss Treason... Actually, erm, SPOILER WARNING!!! From this point onwards! Whilst Tiffany is working with her, she learns Miss Treason had a history in the circus. Miss Treason is full of clever tricks. She DOES have powers, for example as she uses the ravens to see, she occasionally also (much to Tiffany's annoyance) uses Tiffany's eyes to see. She feeds stories about her and the local people just lap them up. Ultimately though, Tiffany learns that pretty much the entirety of Miss Treason's mystique is trickery. In fact worse than trickery, it's all bought from a joke-shop and once Tiffany learns about this, she starts to refer to things as 'Boffo' after the joke shop.

As deceitful as using 'Boffo' is, it really works for Miss Treason. It serves a purpose. Though the word is never mentioned in this book, I think a lot of what Miss Treason achieves, she achieves through what Granny Weatherwax would refer to as 'Headology' the Disscworld equivalent of our 'psychology'. That's a lot of what witchcraft is really about and Tiffany learns more and more about that in this book.

Sadly Miss Treason dies eventually. Being a magical person she knows when she's going to die and arranges her funeral for the day before - so she can attend. This leaves a cottage with a steading without a witch. This starts one of the major plot points of this book. Granny suggests Tiffany takes on the cottage, knowing full well she's too young. The suggestion is a trick though, to get Annagramma, the protege of Mrs Earwig - a witch that believes in 'High Majick' and spells and all the sort of stuff Granny doesn't approve of. Annagramma starts out pretty much useless at her new job, but Tiffany helps her out and it later all turns out to be a clever scheme by Granny to stick one on Mrs Earwig.

Once Miss Treason has passed away Tiffany is taken under the wing of none other than Gytha Ogg, the jolly, but respected witch who is best known for being good friends with Esmerelda Weatherwax. This obviously presents a new opportunity to learn different things, from a witch who also has a very distinctive style.

The thing about this book though, is that while all this stuff is going on and it's all very interesting, none of it is really much to do with the real plot. The book starts with the Chalk in crisis due to the relentless snow and a good chunk of the book is told as the back story to get you to where you were in the beginning. The problems all began when Tiffany went to watch the Dark Morris, and foolishly leaped into the dace, taking the place of Summer. The Wintersmith, an elemental god of frost, snow and ice was confused by this. He confused Tiffany for Summer. What follows is an ongoing battle of wills between the Wintersmith and Tiffany. He wants to woo her and does so with snowflakes shaped like her and 100 foot icebergs that look exactly like her face. She tries to hide from him and eventually begins taking on the traits of Summer - even been given a Cornucopia (A Horn of Plenty) There's a hilarious scene where they've gone to sleep and Granny's cat 'You' has pressed its head against the Horn and thought of food. What follows is a steady stream of live chickens being expelled into the room at regular intervals, each one saying 'Werk! as it's propelled into the room.

The Wintersmith eventually works out that he needs to become human to woo Tiffany, but that doesn't entirely go to plan. The feegles main role in this story are to hang around while Tiffany is with Miss Treason, whom they seem to actually get on quite well with. Then to train Roland as a hero and lead him into the Underworld to rescue Summer so she can put things right. Between Tiffany and Summer, eventually the natural order is restored and again Tiffany's reputation is boosted, as is the reputation of Granny Weatherwax as Tiffany's mentor. She returns home to the Chalk to become the witch of the Chalk with a large 'steading'.

Spoilers End!

So how was it? Well this book had less Feegles I felt. Which was a bad thing, but it had Miss Treason who is a really amazing character. She is absolutely fantastic. It also has a good chunk of Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg who are always awesome. It's kind of a strange book in that Tiffany isn't battling some big evil out to save the world. The Wintersmith likes her! He just doesn't know what to do about it. When he makes her an ice palace and a dress and crown of ice I could almost hear Elsa crooning in the background 'Let it go! Let it GO! I'm one with the wind and Sky-ai-aaaaaaaaaaaai!' So that was a nice easter egg.

All in all it was a great book. Characters change, they develop, they grow. The story, as fantastical as it is, felt human and real. My daughter MUST have enjoyed it because she immediately wanted to start I Shall Wear Midnight as soon as we'd finished! After that she wants to read Equal Rites to learn a bit more about Esk and a young Granny Weatherwax.

Martyn Stanley
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