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Greenwitch by Susan Cooper

Greenwitch (original 1974; edition 1974)

by Susan Cooper

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3,468581,534 (3.9)144
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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The third book in Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising trilogy follows from the first book, in which the three Drew children; Simon, Jane and Barney, get together on holiday with their mysterious Great-uncle Merriman, commonly called Gumerry. Out in an ancient boating village in Cornwall, an age-old custom of building an offering to the sea goddess made of twigs and rocks called the Greenwitch is followed every year, the creation of which only the local women can assist. Many strange events take place this year, as the ancient forces of light and evil battle it out. A truly fascinating series which draws on Arthurian legends and ancient myths. ( )
  Smiler69 | Nov 17, 2014 |
This one was better than the previous. The story seems more well written than the first two. ( )
  learn2laugh | Sep 14, 2014 |
Barney and Simon are such big babies compared to Will, though I do like Jane and the fact that she has a nice role in this book. Still, my heart belongs to Will and Merriman, as always. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 6, 2014 |
And thus ends the third book in the Dark is Rising series: Greenwitch. In a way, although this is the shortest book out of the five in the series, this book is also one of the books that I enjoy the most and have always remembered the most. It smooths into the gaping space and distance the first two books had from each other and melds them simultaneously and with such naturalness that you barely even notice that it's done before you've gotten to the end of the book and are wishing--eagerly and impatiently--for more. I tell you: with each book I read of this series, I gain more and more respect for the author, Susan Cooper. The difficulty of doing what she accomplishes in this series with the naturalness of breathing is hard to take for granted when you're reading this series the second time around and have the chance to actually sit back and look over its progression in awe of how well it's all put together. Her writing, if it was to be described in a few of words, would be multilayered, intricate, and seamless. If you've even dabbled in the series' first two books so far, you'd absolutely have picked up on that before even coming to Greenwitch. Her talent, like her creativity, speaks for itself.

To change the subject a little bit, lets move on to the characters. This time around, we've got probably one of the MOST exciting things yet! This is the first time in this series that our first two books MIX! We get not only Simon, Jane, and Barney Drew--our heroes from Over Sea, Under Stone--but we ALSO have Will Stanton from The Dark is Rising join us as well! ...all... in one... book!!! I don't know how thrilled you are with that, but I was PSYCHED!!!! I flipped out! I was so eager! AUGH!
Continuing on though, I still find it surprising to me that each time I read more of this series, the amount that I enjoy reading things from Simon, Jane, and Barney's perspectives is probably one of the things that sticks out to me most. In the midst of all this magical element, they're the one constant that I can rely on, and I can't deny that I love each and every single one of those three. Their reactions, their efforts, their thoughts and opinions are a constant delight to me! It's not that I don't like Will. I find him a reassurance, and a constant source of insight throughout any book that he's involved in. But there's a charm that comes with normal people being involved with supernatural things that really draws me close to the other three children. Just reading their conversations and the way their minds work both together and apart is a pleasure in and of itself. Few things can beat that, in my opinion. Reading their interactions is a part of the books that I relish! I hope I'm not the only one who feels that way. *Chuckles* But if I am, that won't change a thing of how I feel about them.

I don't have much else to say about this little bridge of a book. I am happy that it was included in the series, because it's more necessary than anyone can quite imagine at first glance. It bridges book one and book two, and it connects the first part of this epic quest with the second part that we're about to move into in the reading of The Grey King. Without this book here, everything would be in discord, and a lot of what's to happen next wouldn't be half as much fun or as exciting as it's going to get. And if the entire point is to enjoy what you read, then thank you, Susan Cooper, for this interlude!

On a final note, Greenwitch also did a spectacular job of portraying the personalities even further of the kids that we've come to love and look forward to adventuring with. Will was seen a lot more from an outside perspective, and his eager, good-willed, but gentle and kind nature showed through in a way that we perhaps didn't get a chance to really see in the midst of all the chaos in The Dark is Rising. Likewise, we got to see another side of Simon and Barney in Greenwitch, when for the first time they have someone else introduced into their midst--not a girl, but a boy to challenge their superiority as the men in the group of kids on this quest. In addition to that, we're beginning to see the parts of importance that everyone played is also going 'round to Barney, the youngest, who played a bigger role this time around and developed or showed us gifts that we didn't think we'd be seeing in him. I think it was Jane, however, who won me over with her understanding and empathy in this book. She shows more of it later on, I believe, if I'm remembering correctly across the decade I haven't read this series. But it was her selfless and loving desires, even in the midst of strange and frightening wonders, that won my heart in a way few do. She was amazing, even though what she did might seem so very small or simple. But isn't that the greatest part? How she, just a girl, normal and magicless, was able to change the path of this quest with just her own smallest actions. That is what makes this book so magical, and perhaps why I love the Drew kids even more than I can say.

With all these thoughts done, I think I'll wrap it up just about now, and continue on with the reading. *Smiles and waves curtly* I'll see you all in The Grey King. I'm rushing forward to it... to meet someone I've dreamed about for ten long years, and who has never quite left me... since the first time I met him. And that... is enough to sway any man.

I hope you join me. ( )
  N.T.Embe | Dec 31, 2013 |
Greenwitch isn't really my favourite book of the series, though it is the one with the most mystery -- I wonder a lot about the background mythology, the legends of Cornwall that the Greenwitch brings to life and what lies behind each glimpse of part of a story. It occurred to me last night while reading that maybe Susan Cooper has come closer than Tolkien to a "mythology for England". Granted, he's closer if you're looking at England as "the land under the rule of the Anglo-Saxons", but Cooper has touched on the legends of the land, the real stories that matter, rather than inventing a quest and a ring. Her quests come organically out of the mythology she's using, and the places where she joins on her own are pretty seamless.

(Tolkien has created a world of his own, I think, and people often put too much emphasis on the "mythology for England" stuff. I don't mean to do that: whether or not he meant to achieve that, what he achieved in the end was great. I just think the idea of a mythology for England is maybe actually achieved by Cooper.)

Greenwitch also features one of the things I love most about this series -- the characters. They're people. Simon and Barney are good-hearted boys who get jealous and possessive when another boy of a similar age seems to encroach on their time and their friends. Captain Toms, an Old One of the Light, gets laid low by gout. And I liked that the Dark is personified in a single character, this one time -- not as the tide of the Dark, but as a single man of the Dark. We see hints of individuality there; his bitterness when he says "I have no friends", his genuine artistic talent. It's another of those moments where I think the black/white Dark/Light dichotomy cracks a little.

There are also some gorgeous passages in this book about the beauty and danger of the sea, the amoral and uncaring world of the Wild magic (and then, again, that hint of the Greenwitch as a child, as a lonely creation in need of something to hold on to, of kindness). ( )
2 vote shanaqui | Dec 22, 2013 |
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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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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.
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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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