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Greenwitch by Susan Cooper

Greenwitch (original 1974; edition 1974)

by Susan Cooper

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3,570601,480 (3.9)145
Authors:Susan Cooper
Info:New York, Atheneum, 1974.
Collections:Audio Book, Calibre, Your library

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Greenwitch by Susan Cooper (1974)


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Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
The Drews meet Will Stanton.
Wild Magic meets the Dark and the Light and it all happens back in Cornwall.
Just as good as the others - really enjoyed it. ( )
  Laurochka | Feb 6, 2016 |
In this, the third book of the Dark is Rising cycle, Susan Cooper merges the world of that eponymous novel and her earlier children's mystery, Over Sea, Under Stone. To a large degree, in fact, it feels as if that's the main motivation for the book. At times, it's a bit of an uncomfortable collaboration; Greenwitch has the lighter, younger reader-friendly narrative voice of Stone, with the mysticism and occasional high speech of Dark. The result comes off, at times, like a Scooby Doo mystery with occasional scenes written by Alan Garner. That's not to say it's a bad book - not at all. There's some wonderful imagery here, and the Greenwitch herself is a powerful and mysterious visual symbol. It doesn't have the startling otherworldliness of The Dark is Rising, though, and what it adds to the mythos of Cooper's reality feels as if it's designed for this book only, to be quickly disposed of once its purpose is served, instead of furthering and widening the scope of the fight between the Light and the Dark. (It's a little telling that, at the midst of a conflict between Will, his friends, and the an agent of the Dark, the new and powerful forces Cooper introduces are totally ambivalent to the ongoing struggle outside their own primal interests.) The whole work is simply more superficial than its predecessor, with a story that's only about half as long. An educated guess would suggest that Cooper is setting her pieces in place for much deeper and more complicated adventures in the final two books of the cycle. As such, Greenwitch is probably a necessary step in reconciling two earlier works of very, very different tones, but it's definitely a "middle book" and doesn't stand especially well as a standalone read. ( )
  saroz | Dec 22, 2015 |
"In Greenwitch, book 3 of Cooper’s The Dark is Rising sequence, Simon, Jane, and Barney Drew meet Will Stanton. However, they resent Will’s bond with their great uncle Merry, not realizing that both are immortal Old Ones. By the end of the book, though, the Drews and Will achieve a tentative collaboration. Even though I enjoyed reading this book, I liked the previous one better. Nothing changed regarding writing style, which means that the author still shows the same inability to write good combat scenes. As this book has a little bit more action, it means that there were a few more scenes which I found slightly disappointing.

It all begins with the theft of an ancient Arthurian grail. On the previous book, Simon, Jane, and Barney Drew had found the grail in a cave in the seaside town of Truwissick in Cornwall and given it to the British Museum. Agents of the Dark, who covet this magical object, repeatedly threatened the siblings. Though the Drews gained possession of the grail, they were forced to throw into the sea the container with the manuscript that decodes its cryptic inscription. In Greenwitch, the Drews, Will, and Merriman (mentor to all the child heroes) converge on Trewissick to search for it. Also seeking the grail and accompanying manuscript is the main villain, allied with the Dark, a violently angry painter of creepy, glowing pictures.

Unfortunately, Will is a far less sympathetic figure than he was on the second book. He has become kind of a self-possessed superman. At one point, Will and Merriman jump off a cliff and, without needing to breathe, swim for many miles through the ocean to confer with Tethys, Goddess of the Sea. I liked Will better as a vulnerable child, and I preferred Merriman to take a less active role in the struggle between Dark and Light. In the other books, he is a loving mentor to Will and the Drews.

The Drews, stereotyped child detectives, have, however, developed a lot. By far the book’s most interesting character is Jane, who, at the threshold of womanhood, is learning to trust her intuition. In Greenwitch, she is initiated into female magic. Jane joins the women of Trewissick in a yearly ritual: construction of the Green Witch, a giant female figure of hawthorn, hazel, and rowan branches, which, the women believe, will grant wishes before being cast into the sea. Jane, sensing the creature’s sadness, impulsively wishes that she be happy. The bond formed between the Green Witch and Jane is decisive to how the outcome of the events in the end of the book.

All things considered, Greenwitch is a far more satisfying book than the first book, but inferior to The Dark is Rising, in my opinion. Regardless, it is entertaining enough to get yu through the story and onto the next installments.

Interesting quotes that I didn't include in the review:
Never dismiss anyone's value until you know him." ( )
  AdemilsonM | Sep 2, 2015 |
The Drew children, Simon, Jane and Barney, are united with Will Stanton in a quest to draw magic from the Greenwitch, an image of leaves and branches that for centuries has been cast into the sea for good luck. Really enjoyed this installment because the characters get to be real people who get jealous and angry at things that children get jealous and angry about, rather than being idealized and uber-clever children as happens quite often in YA of this kind. I also really liked that unassuming Jane gets to play such a huge part - girl power! ( )
  -Eva- | Jul 25, 2015 |
At the vernal equinox, women in a Cornish fishing village pass the night on an ancient tradition, the creation of the Greenwitch. As Will explains: "'They make a leaf image and chuck it into the sea. Sometimes they call it the Greenwitch and sometimes King Mark's Bride. Old custom.'" (18)

Jane is invited to join the secret, female festivities:
"... the women set to working, in a curiously ordered way in small groups. Some would take up a branch, strip it of leaves and twigs, and test it for flexibility; others then would take the branch, and in some swift practised way weave it together with others into what began very slowly to emerge as a kind of frame.
"After a while the frame began to show signs of becoming a great cylinder. The cleaning and bending and tying went on for a long time...." (27)
"'Hazel for the framework,' the woman said. 'Rowen for the head. Then the body is of hawthorn boughs, and hawthorn blossoms. With the stones within, for the sinking. And those who are crossed, or barren, or who would make any wish, must touch the Greenwitch then before she be put to cliff.'" (28)

"When [Jane] turned back again towards the sea, the Greenwitch was finished. The women had drawn away from the great figure; they sat by the fire, eating sandwiches, and laughing, and drinking tea. As Jane looked at the huge image that they had made, out of leaves and branches, she could not understand their lightness. For she knew suddenly, out there in the cold dawn, that this silent image somehow held within it more power than she had ever sensed before in any creature or thing. Thunder and storms and earthquakes were there, and all the force of the earth and sea. It was outside Time, boundless, ageless, beyond any line drawn between good and evil. Jane stared at it, horrified, and from its sightless head the Greenwitch stared back. It would not move, or seem to come alive, she knew that. Her horror came not from fear, but from the awareness she suddenly felt from the image of an appalling, endless loneliness. Great power was held only in great isolation. Looking at the Greenwitch, she felt a terrible awe, and a kind of pity as well." (29-30)

"... As [Jane] came close to the Greenwitch she felt again the unimaginable force it seemed to represent, but again the great loneliness too. Melancholy seemed to hover about it like a mist. She put out her hand to grasp a hawthorn bough, and paused. 'Oh, dear," she said impulsively, 'I wish you could be happy.'" (31)
  maryoverton | Jul 6, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susan Cooperprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jennings, AlexNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pekkanen, PanuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rikman, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Westrup, Jadwiga P.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Kate
First words
Only one newspaper carried the story in detail, under the headline: Treasures Stolen From Museum.
When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back;
Three from the circle, three from the track;
Wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone;
Five will return, and one go alone.

Iron for the birthday, bronze carried long;
Wood from the burning, stone out of song;
Fire in the candle-ring, water from the thaw;
Six Signs the circle, and the grail gone before.

Fire on the mountain shall find the harp of gold
Played to wake the Sleepers, oldest of the old;
Power from the green witch, lost beneath the sea;
All shall find the light at last, silver on the tree.
On the day of the dead, when the year too dies,
Must the youngest open the oldest hills
Through the door of the birds, where the breeze breaks.
There fire shall fly from the raven boy,
And the silver eyes that see the wind,
And the light shall have the harp of gold.

By the pleasant lake the Sleepers lie,
On Cadfan’s Way where the kestrels call;
Though grim from the Grey King shadows fall,
Yet singing the golden harp shall guide
To break their sleep and bid them ride.

When light from the lost land shall return,
Six Sleepers shall ride, six Signs shall burn,
And where the midsummer tree grows tall
By Pendragon’s sword the Dark shall fall.

Y maent yr mynyddoedd yn canu,
ac y mae’r arglwyddes yn dod.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This LT work, Greenwitch, is Book 3 (of 5 Books) in Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising Sequence. Please distinguish it from other single titles in the series, and from any combination(s) of part or all of the series. Thank you.
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Book description
Simon, Jane and Barney, enlisted by their mysterious great-uncle, arrive in a small coastal town to help recover a priceless golden grail stolen by the forces of evil, the Dark. they are not at first aware of the strange powers of another boy brought to help, Will Stanton - nor of the sinister significance of the Greenwitch, an image of leaves and branches that for centuries has been cast into the sea for good luck in fishing and harvest.

Their search for the grail sets into motion a series of disturbing sometimes dangerous events that, at their climax, bring forth a gift that, for a time at least, will keep the Dark from rising.
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Jane's invitation to witness the making of the Greenwitch begins a series of sinister events in which she and her two brothers help the Old Ones recover the grail stolen by the Dark.

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