Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett Read Along: Week 4

If you haven't read the book, then you’ve missed out on a great read, ya’ scunner!

You can find links to everyone else’s thoughts at Dab of Darkness.

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

1) Mistress Weatherwax has a philosophy of her job is to make sure everyone today can get to tomorrow - such as letting people believe in water sprites and goblins if it lets them lead a better life. Do you see yourself somewhere in this philosophy?

I am a firm believer in the importance of honesty and telling the truth. However, I can see the logic in creating a truth that a person is willing to believe in order to make them alter their behavior in a way that solves their problem. I know that some people might see this as patronizing, but if it works then it certainly has some merit in my book. After all that is precisely what fairy tales are: ways of making children fear certain things in order to keep them safe.

2) Do you think Mr. Weavall will be successful with the Widow Tussy? Do you think Tiffany got off light concerning Mr. Weavall's stash?

They got married, so that seems fairly successful! I do not think that she got off lightly, because she was so ashamed of what ‘she’ had done that she does not need a punishment to avoid repeating the theft. I was genuinely surprised that the Feegles had replaced the money for her, but as Mr Weavall came out of the incident considerably richer, it seems like a win-win solution.

3) What was your favorite part of Mistress Weatherwax's and Tiffany's bonding time in the mountains with the little picnic and the owls and such?

I would have to choose the snoring. My husband is a terrible snorer, so I am very familiar with the multitude of terrible noises that people can make when they are asleep. Of course, the very worst is when they seem to stop breathing completely and you lie there in a panic waiting for the next breath . . .

Plus, the whole issue of how voles taste was funny! :D

4) Petulia Gristle heard Tiffany was going to face something nasty and went out to see if she could use some help. Have you ever had an awkward situation like that?

I cannot think of any situation like that in my life, unless you count the million and one times that my dog wants to protect me from the evil post man! :D

I was very impressed by Petulia’s determination to help out her friend, especially after ‘Tiffany’ had been so rude to her. I hope this marks the beginning of a strong friendship, because Tiffany could certainly use a good friend.

5) Tiffany has her first and last conversation with the Hiver/Arthur. Did you see Tiffany's answer to the Hiver dilemma coming or were you taken by surprise?

I had no idea how she was going to deal with it, but then I am pretty hopeless at predicting what will happen next in story. However, I have found that Mr Pratchett does produce elegant solutions to the problems he creates for his characters, so I was not surprised in that sense. It was also a surprisingly humane solution, which depended upon both cleverness and emotional intelligence, so it was particularly gratifying.

6) The Witch Trials are almost like a county fair, a happy outing for the entire family, or so Granny Weatherwax was grumbling about. What about the affair caught your attention?

I like the way that everyone was so adamant that there was no competition when there so obviously was. That kind of thing reminds me very much of the flower and produce shows that are so common in British villages: everyone talks about the joys of ‘just taking part’ and yet the competition is incredibly fierce! :D

7) In the final chapter, we learn the meaning of the title of the book. Did you feel this was a good wrap up to the novel?

Absolutely! Yet again we were brought back to Granny Aching and her legacy. Not only does this remind me of the circular nature of the very best in oral storytelling, but it keeps increasing Granny’s influence over the world. We now see Tiffany beginning to accept what kind of witch she is and move beyond being what other people want or expect. I loved that she chose to copy Granny Aching’s ‘hat’ as it seems so symbolic of her deep connection to the land and nature.


  1. Voles don't taste funny - they taste disgusting! They eat other dead mammals, so you can imagine how that flavors the meat.

    Great choice of words - emotional intelligence - and so true. Tiffany knew intimately what the Hiver had done and was capable of. Yet, she had to set that all aside in order to help the Hiver to an ending.

    Haha! Yes, this is not a competition, but it so totally is. While I haven't really experienced that myself, I have experienced it's close cousin - we aren't punishing you, we're just saying you are completely incompetent and need to be retrained and treated like an imbecile. This happens every time we reorganize at work, to some extent, and the reorgs happen on average every 6-12 months. Sigh.....

  2. OMG!!! Voles eat dead things!?!??! I did not know that . . . and I always thought they were kind of cute little herbivores . . . no wonder they taste bad . . .

    I love Tiffany because she is so mature and thoughtful. I just hope that she survives adolescence without too much hormone-induced stupidity! :D

    Ah yes, the constant need for training . . . I used to teach in the UK and we were constantly encouraged to train. I remember sitting through one particularly brain-dissolving session with some woman who spent a whole morning making us doing stupid and embarrassing things so that she could eventually say "and this is how your students feel in class!" . . . like it was supposed to be a HUGE revelation to us because we couldn't remember what it was like to be at school! I always had such a tough time controlling myself in such sessions because I would develop an ever increasing urge to stand up and shout "Arse!" before collapsing into a puddle of hysterical laughter. I think that might have been one of the reasons I stopped teaching . . .

  3. As much as I'm a fan of the Miss Level style of education, i can see that in some situations what someone believes can be way more important than what the truth is. what they believe is their personal truth, so that is what's going to motivate them.

    I loved loved loved the end of the book, where the title is explained. Screw what a witch is supposed to be, or what a witch hat is supposed to look like. Witch is like the White Horse. Ain't what a witch is, it's what a witch be.

    pretty gratifying for all us nerds who ever felt like we didn't stack up to what we thought other people wanted us to be.

    1. I love your analogy with the White Horse: it is great that these stories are about being true to your self and not just conforming. I speak as a non-conforming nerd-type as well! :D

  4. I picked the snoring as my favorite part, too :). Also, the Feegles sure spread wealth around during this novel. It seems they were flinging gold to people everywhere they went! I guess the townspeople (Mr. Weavall included) might end up having an unnaturally high opinion of the Feegle, if they figure out where the gold came from.

    1. I find it really hilarious that they use the gold coins as plates and don't care about their value: after all they steal everything they really need! :D


Please let me know what you think, because comments make me happy!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Link Within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...