Monday, September 30, 2013

Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett Read Along Part 3

If you haven't read the book, or the whole series, why not join in and read along with the rest of us? This week the links to the other posts can be found at Dab of Darkness.

This week we read through to the end of the book.

1) What did you think of Annagramma's blunderings and then her reveal to Tiffany about her parentage?

Anna is a perfect example of someone who is so chronically insecure that they can only feel good about themselves by putting everyone else down. She is obviously very embarrassed about her lowly background and now suffers from being a terrible snob. I have met quite a few people like that and I am afraid to say that learning of her background does not make me feel anymore sympathetic towards her because she is such an unpleasant person.

2) Lady Summer makes herself known in this section of the book. How did your impressions change with each time we saw her?

At first I thought that she was going to be vindictive and aggressive towards Tiffany, but that would have been a far too human response to the situation. I really liked the way that we came to understand her as we followed the Wintersmith on his journey towards being human. In the end we came to understand that they were both incapable of understanding the human condition, which made it much easier to relate to their mindset.

3) Ah, the Cornucopia, the Horn of Plenty. Was it all you expected? What would you ask from the Cornucopia if you had it for a day?

I had never expected a Cornucopia to be quite so useful as a weapon, but it did pretty much what I expected. I loved the way that it could learn languages and the scene with You and the chickens was pure genius: at least it did not splat out tons of cat food!

As for what I would ask for . . . I have a favorite restaurant, which is in Rome, Italy, and I have not been there for three years now, which is a crying shame. I would love to have some of my favorite dishes from their menu – the marinated anchovies, spaghetti alla carbonara, pasta with chickpeas, baked lamb, calf liver, roasted porchini, zucchini, seasonal greens, gelato and various desserts. All washed down with a jug of the house red . . . sigh . . .

Ok, total geek out moment – I stuck the restaurante’s name into Google and they now have their own website!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so happy I could almost cry!!!!!! Take a look at Antica Boheme and you will see some of the food that I dream about! The opera music is because they are just across the street from the Teatro Dell’Opera and it is a favorite eating spot for the artists that appear there.

4) Werk, werk, werk. So many chickens! Which is worse: 5 kilted Feegles hiding under your bed or a house full of chickens? What would you do with so many of the feathered egg-laying manure factories?

I cannot imagine that just five Feegles would be much trouble, but this is a tough decision . . . at least they could get themselves out of the house and I assume that they do not poo all over the place at random. On the other hand, the chickens are useful and tasty: I have friends who keep chickens already, so I could probably find homes for them and enjoy lots of fresh eggs in the future.  However, on balance I would take the Feegles, because chicken poo is horribly smelly and would do terrible things to my hardwood flooring! :D

5) The winter was a harsh one, with wolves in the ice tunnels. However, Mistress Weatherwax put a stop to the wolves but never said how. What do you think she did?

I imagine that she just gave them a long, hard stare, which was enough to make them slink back to wherever they came from. My other suggestion is even more terrifying: perhaps she simply let You have ago at them . . .

6) The immortal who tried to make himself into a man: did you enjoy the Wintersmith's attempts to make himself a man?

As always, Sir Terry takes traditional themes and turns them on their heads or rewrites the usual ending. So often we see elementals like the Wintersmith anthropomorphized and made into a very human character but here we see that this is an impossible outcome. It is such a joy to see gods and other mystical creatures or forces of nature as truly inhuman and unable to think as we do. It also allows quite a lot of humor: I particularly loved the scene related by the barmaid of him eating a sausage. In many ways, the Wintersmith was somewhat similar to the Hiver in his desire to be human and also in his total inability to understand what that meant.

7) Granny Weatherwax tests Rob Anybody's spelling and then sets him a heroic task. Do you think she was right to set that in motion or do you think someone else would have come up with the same idea?

I thought it was fairly obvious that Roland was going to be the Hero in this story, although I was not sure what he would be needed to do. It was also obvious that Tiffany was too fixated with the Wintersmith to even think about releasing the Summer Lady, and the Lady’s taunts did not exactly help with that. Without Roland and the Feegles, the Lady would have remained dormant and the balance would not have been restored, so it made perfect sense that she had to be rescued.

I loved the scene where Rob called the book on accountancy – I cannot imagine a book that would require more of an heroic effort to read it all the way through! :D

8) Finally, did you applaud Tiffany's solution to the Wintersmith dilemma? Did you find the ending satisfactory?

As with the Hiver, Tiffany made the Wintersmith finally understand that it could never really be human, so that was a satisfying ending. I also enjoyed Roland’s transformation into a proper Hero and the brave decision to show that Tiffany could not handle everything by herself. The fact that she was totally blind to everything except the Wintersmith was appropriate because she was more than a little in love with him. It also fits into Sir Terry’s usual template, where his heroes are not perfect, all-powerful beings, but simply humans with some extra talents.

However, I was a little disappointed by the ending because it was over too quickly. There was so much build up that I would have liked to see it drawn out a bit longer. This was possibly more of a problem because Sir Terry did not choose to repeat the beginning of the book in any way. Roland’s journey through the Underworld was excellent and atmospheric, but seemed a little rushed, as did the final confrontation with the Wintersmith. I suppose that it did not help that I felt no real fear for Tiffany. Having seen her defeat the Hiver and travel through the world of Death, it was very difficult to imagine that she could ever be in true danger. Ultimately this reduced the impact of the ending because it did not carry the emotional rollercoaster ride that was needed.


  1. 1. Yeah, I don't think I could ever enjoy being around someone like Annagramma. I don't think I really feel more sympathetic towards her either. I guess knowing why someone is a jerk doesn't make them less of a jerk, but it can make them easier to handle in some ways.

    3. That restaurant sounds amazing. I want to go to Rome now! :D

    1. I think Anna is there to be the anti-Tiffany in many ways, but that doesn't mean I have to like her! :D

  2. Ah yes, Annagramma does have an inferiority complex, doesn't she? Too bad she reacts to this by being such a snob.

    Wow! Your favorite restaurant is over a hundred years old. I bet the atmosphere is just as good as the food. Hmmm... Now I really want Italian food. Like real Italian. Not chain restaurant Italian. I may be cooking up some great food this coming week!

    Yes! I too loved how Pratchett kept the Wintersmith an elemental, despite all his efforts to be human. Just can't happen for the dude.

    I totally see what you are saying about never really feeling that Tiffany was in true danger. With the Hiver, I was completely drawn into that story and did worry for her. But, yes, in this book, I never worried for her like I did with Book 2.

    1. That lack of real fear reduced this book to only 4.5 stars in my estimation - but I suppose I am perhaps judging it a little harshly because of how good his work normally is . . . sorry, Sir Terry! :D

  3. No.1 - spot on, although I wound up feeling a little (a tiny speck) less harshly of her towards the end! Maybe I'm getting soft in the head - or had I been drinking wine!
    OMG that restaurant sounds amazing and now I have to go back to Rome - there are of course plenty of other reasons for going back!
    No.2 - I felt like the way the elementals behaved was almost like a reflection on the season they reflected. The Wintersmith could be terrible cold and a bit chilling in his actions. The Summer Lady was a bit more passionate and heated.
    No.4 - it seems like we've all opted for the Feegles - they've grown on us havent' they!
    No.6 - good point about the Hiver - I never even considered about both wanting to become human.
    No.8 - I never even considered that but yes, the ending was rather abrupt now I think back. I'm in such a rush to get on and catch up that I didn't give that a seconds thought which is a bit unusual for me.
    Lynn :D


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