Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett Read Along: Week 1

If you haven't read the book, why not join in and read along with the rest of us? Of course, you would need to read The Wee Free Men first, but that’s a short book and you could finish it a few minutes!

You can find links to everyone else’s thoughts at the Little Red Reviewer.

This week we read the prologue through to the end of Chapter 3

1. What do you think of Miss Level and her housemate Oswald?  Did you guess the secret about her identity before she told Tiffany the truth?

Oswald is hilarious, but I am quite sure that I would find him terribly irritating to live with. I know that it sounds great to have someone who will tidy up after you all the time, but only if that person put things where you wanted them. Perhaps if you could train him where to put things it would work reasonably well . . . possibly.

I did not guess what Miss Level’s ‘disability’ was, but it is rather unusual so I do not feel too stupid for not having a clue before it was revealed. I can imagine that it would be rather difficult for some people to cope with the idea of a person with two bodies, but I think it would be very useful. Obviously, I am morally outraged by her deception about being a pair of mind-reading twins, but most circus acts contain a good dose of deception so I can overlook it. I am looking forward to learning more about how she functions and I hope that Tiffany will ask her lots of useful questions, such as:

“What happens if one gets injured: does the other feel or suffer the same effects?”

2. Why kind of witchy stuff do you think Miss Level will start teaching Tiffany?

I guess that she will probably not teach anything to do with cleaning or tidying up. Although Tiffany will need to know how to cope without Oswald when she leaves, I imagine that it would be difficult persuading him to leave things untidy long enough for her to learn to fix them.

I have no idea where Witching 101 would begin, as it could involve anything. However, witching seems to be very practical, so I assume that they will begin with magic that is helpful in lots of everyday situations. I imagine that goat-wrestling, bee-herding and herbology would be a good starting point. However, I fear that the Hiver is going to interrupt any educational pursuits, so this might be a moot point.

3. What do you think of Jeannie? Do you think she'll get in the way of the Feegle continuing to help Tiffany?

It seems that she has got past her bought of jealousy and has finally realized that they have a moral responsibility to protect their wee hag, if only because she is responsible for maintaining the land. At first I thought that Jeannie was going to continue in her opposition to helping her ‘rival’, so I was very glad when she changed her mind and ordered Rob Anybody to go and save her. However, it could be that being pregnant with a girl means that Rob has fulfilled his duty towards her and is a little redundant now . . .

I did think it was very strange that she was jealous of Tiffany, especially as there seemed to be a possessive, physical component to it regarding Rob. Given the size difference, this seems totally preposterous!

4. Have your feelings for Roland changed any?

As we thought, it looks like Roland is going to be the ‘love interest’ of this series. He seems mostly harmless to me, and he certainly spent a lot of money getting the horse necklace made for her. It seems like Tiffany has now grown up enough to find his attention both gratifying and irritating at the same time: she certainly seems to be taking great delight in torturing the poor lad! :D

5. Which is creepier? a Hiver or a Drome?

I was not wildly concerned about the Hiver at first, as it seemed fairly bumbling, but now that we have seen its effect on a human being I am getting quite worried. I suppose I should have been more worried by the dog’s reaction to it.

As to its creepiness factor, I think it is worse than a Drome because it is still relatively unknown to us, but also because we know that it is stalking Tiffany. Whilst I am confident that she can handle almost any crisis, I am worried that she is particularly vulnerable at the moment because she is homesick. I fear that her normal resilience is somewhat reduced at the moment and will make her more susceptible to the Hiver.

Extra Thoughts

I loved the scene with Jeannie making Rob write, although I am not sure how much use he will get from his new-found skill . . . especially as it led to his bout of excessive thinking, which seemed quite debilitating! :D


  1. Oh I don't know if Rob is redundant... she doesn't just need a daughter, but hundreds of wee babies, right? :D I agree her jealousy of Tiffany was irrational. I think it came more from feelings of loneliness and uncertainty about her place than any actual mean feelings towards Tiffany.

    1. I agree that her feelings towards Tiffany are more about her own uncertainty than anything else. As for Rob, I wondered if she had her eye on one of his many brothers . . . :D

  2. I must admit that the whole idea of Miss Level having two bodies is a bit baffling to me. I know it's been explained so I'll just have to hold my hands up and confess - I'm a big dunce! There. Now it's out in the open I can just be myself which is much better! Where did that second body come from. They're not twins. But, what, Pfft. I give up, my tiny brain can't take it!
    I thought there was some really amusing sidelines in this story so far in fact to be honest I think I'm probably enjoying it more than the first! But I think that's because you're getting to know the characters now.
    Lynn :D

    1. I agree that I really cannot imagine how she deals with having two bodies: my brain would explode! :D

      I always find Discworld to be like an old pair of comfortable slippers: so warm and inviting that I enjoy returning to it. I know that many people talk about problems with second books, but I almost invariable enjoy the later books in a series more than the first as they take what we already know and expand upon it.

  3. I am so late catching up on all this!

    it does look like Roland is being set up to be a love interest of sorts, but I don't think Tiffany is interested in boys yet. she's too busy learning how to be a witch, and learning all these things her Granny was aware of, and learning about the wide world. when you have that, boys look boring. Roland could be very useful as a friend in high places, tho.

    I didn't mind that Miss Level lied about her predicament, she saw it as a way to survive without being seen as a freak (even though she worked as a circus freak, so it is kinda funny!).

    Oswald can come live at my place anytime he wants. I don't care if he puts things away not where i want them. to have someone else clean up my clutter? they can put it anywhere they want! However, i think even Oswald would have a tough time finding homes for all my books that are all over the place.

  4. Why do I feel like tiffany is a forty year old brain in a girl's body? I do think that she likes the attention that she gets from Roland at the moment but doesn't really know why . . . just wait until her hormones wake up! :D

    I know what you mean about finding places to find books . . . over 2/3 of the boxes we brought over from the UK were books . . . and half the furniture was bookcases. A house with two bibliophiles is a crowded place! I would love Oswald to sort and alphabetize them though . . . :D


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