Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Tiffany Aching

Want to know one of my weaknesses? Kick-ass strong women. I have a few favourite female fictional characters, but Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching and Granny Weatherwax should be right near the top of that list.

Pratchett books get devoured over here. I savour every last drop, give a big sigh, feel slightly bereft, then leave them for a few months. I recently finished re-reading 'I Shall Wear Midnight' then went on to populate my Kindle with far too many a few more Discworld favourites that I don't have in paperback. 

The Tiffany novels* could almost be textbook pieces of feminist-inspired 'empowered' female stories. Tiffany's coming-of-age seems to have come full circle in 'I Shall Wear Midnight', when she returns home to take up her Witchy role. Did I mention I LOVE Coming of Age Stories. About Women. Who Kick Ass?

I'm not entirely certain why I adore these kinds of stories. I think it's to do with the 'overcoming' aspect. Tiffany has to get over herself to develop. She makes a sh*t load of mistakes. She's selfish, she shows off, she makes a big f*cking mess then goes and cleans it up, taking responsibility for herself. Styling herself after Granny Weatherwax (I mean, who wouldn't?) 

What I was really taken by, both times I read this book, was the support of the other Witches. TIffany has two places she depends on for emotional support, her Dad and the Witches†. The interesting thing about the witches is that it's not exactly them who support her; they serve as a means for her to remember to rely on herself. They are so unwaveringly THERE, reminding her of who she is, making her determined to succeed; they are the ultimate role models, idols and friends.

Those are the kind of people everyone should have in their lives.

Anyone else have a favourite female character? What makes them special?

*(four in total, The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith and I Shall Wear Midnight)**
**You have to have footnotes if you're talking about Pratchett.
† Well, there's actually three I suppose. Her own Granny is the third, but I like to think of her more as Tiffany's inner strength, as Granny Aching passed away before the Wee Free Men, she's a bit of a totem for what Tiffany aspires to be, and is probably the reason why she likes Granny Weatherwax so much. Damn I could write so much about this!


  1. Just like to mention that I still have that extremely battered copy of Small Gods that we (you, me, LIz B) found in a random cupboard in the English classroom in yr11 and subsequently each read. I am sentimentally attached to it and even though I keep telling myself I should get a nice crisp copy I never had... the thought of parting from those battered yellow pages is too much.

    Incidentally, have only read the most recent Tiffany book, will have to get my hands on the other ones first. Most remiss of me to have not read a Pratchett!

  2. Ahh there's a real joy about a lovely old book, and about good school memories :)