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A Hat Full of Sky: The Continuing Adventures…

A Hat Full of Sky: The Continuing Adventures of Tiffany Aching and the Wee… (original 2004; edition 2005)

by Terry Pratchett

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6,453112930 (4.19)209
Title:A Hat Full of Sky: The Continuing Adventures of Tiffany Aching and the Wee Free Men
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Info:Harper Trophy (2005), Mass Market Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett (2004)

  1. 100
    Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett (bibliovermis)
    bibliovermis: The third Tiffany Aching book. Even better than the first two.
  2. 60
    Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett (bostonian71)
  3. 40
    Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Similar style of writing - whimsical and magical
  4. 10
    The New Policeman by Kate Thompson (Bitter_Grace)

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» See also 209 mentions

English (107)  German (3)  Polish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (112)
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colours. And the people see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
I’d seen this quote attributed to Terry Pratchett in another book Three Things You Need to Know About Rockets and decided I had to read A Hat Full of Sky. I found it in the final paragraphs, which was appropriate because you need to read the whole book to really grasp what TP was philosophically alluding to. There were several droll pieces of creative writing, nuggets of wisdom and philosophical insights on how live imaginatively and well.

The book was interesting, imaginative and yes, sometimes boring. I enjoyed it as much as I liked Colour of Magic and more than Equal Rites. The Nac Mac Feegles (Pictsies) got a little tedious at times, but perhaps you have to read TP just when you’re in the mood for that kind of characterization. There were certainly many laugh-out-loud moments. I recommend the book especially to those who embrace the light-hearted comic fantasy that only TP does with any panache. And grab hold of the nuggets. They’re golden. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Feb 24, 2019 |
Pratchett's second Tiffany Aching adventure does what a good sequel should: it quickly reestablishes our hero(ine) and moves them forward. Pratchett's real-time aging of his characters really shows through on Tiffany, now 11, and her grasp on the world has grown considerably. In some ways I miss the more impulsive Tiffany of 'The Wee Free Men', but with Pratchett no character is static. Except maybe Rincewind, in a purely metaphorical sense of course, unless he's found a really, really good place to hide....

Anyway, for the first time Tiffany must leave the Chalk to apprentice to another witch, Miss Level, so that she can learn the 'how' of her craft. Apprenticeship and learning magic is not what Tiffany expected it to be, and her meeting with other apprentice witches leaves her doubting herself, making her all the more vulnerable to an entity that has been slowly hunting her down.

There were funny bits, but I can't say I laughed out loud at all, I was more caught up in the story and what solutions Tiffany was going to come up with. That's the important thing with Tiffany Aching, she is responsible and resourceful enough to face her difficulties alone, but she is not too proud to ask for, or accept, help when she needs it.

For Tiffany, next we have 'Wintersmith' and someday, 'I Shall Wear Midnight'. Discworld is finishing up its third decade in the next couple of years, hard to believe!


Next: 'Going Postal'

Previous: 'Monstrous Regiment' ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Pratchett is brilliant an witty, as usual. Tiffany is the most talented young witch - teaming up with the greatest old witch, my personal favorite, Granny Weatherwax. Deep, mystical, sandy, and very human lessons are learned. The Nac Mac Feegle never abandon Tiffany, nor Special Sheep Liniment. The quirky side characters are fun: Miss Level with her two bodies and circus past, along with Oswald, the obsessively tidy poltergeist. We also get a much more jovial version of Witch Trials than in history. Fun as always :) ( )
  Gezemice | Oct 29, 2018 |
A new favorite in Pratchett's Discworld series. ( )
  wandaly | Mar 17, 2018 |
We're all familiar with Alice going through the looking-glass into a topsy-turvy world, a world where she is able to look at things in a different way. Unexpectedly, Alice makes no attempt to find her own reflection: "The very first thing she did was to look whether there was a fire in the fireplace, and she was quite pleased to find that there was a real one." For a child who could make the observation "Curiouser and curiouser!" she is singularly incurious about her own reflection; perhaps she is not as prone to self-reflection as we have thought.

This is not the case however with the heroine of this Terry Pratchett novel when she finds that she has no mirror in which to check her appearance, for when she devises a way to observe herself without one she finds she has to indulge in self-reflection of a different kind. A Hat Full of Sky is the second of the Tiffany Aching novels, set on Discworld. We not only get to meet the Nac Mac Feegles, Granny Weatherwax and lesser witch Miss Tick all over again but also to encounter new characters, especially Miss Level and her neighbours. But really the focus is Tiffany herself, how she is growing into her powers and how she's becoming more mature (although, to be sure, she has already shown herself to the equal of many adults in maturity).

Tiffany we learn is a very self-possessed eleven-year-old witch. Except when she's possessed by another entity with a preternatural greed for power. This entity, this hiver, waits for Tiffany to, as it were, stand outside herself so that it can take over the body that she has left empty -- and then what is she to do, what can she do? Initially she can count on friends to help her to regain some control, but to finally banish this Beelzebub she has to draw on all her courage and not a little compassion. In amongst all the expected humour (the doubly enigmatic Miss Level, Oswald the helpful poltergeist, and of course the Nac Mac Feegles) Pratchett is as is his wont revealing deep human truths to us.

The first is that we should be respectful to people who appear to lack ambition, or gumption, or self-awareness, indeed anything that might suggest they are not worthy of much respect: principally because they are fellow humans, but also because they may yet offer you a pleasant surprise. Tiffany is initially confused that she isn't learning formal magic but is expected to help minister to her sometimes ungrateful neighbours; she then, under the influence of the parasitic hiver, gives in to rudeness, blunt speaking and showing-off, a path not guaranteed to win people over. Expunging such promptings -- uncharitable thoughts, words and deeds -- comes with banishing the hiver, a uphill struggle for the youngster but one she has to largely face on her own.

The second lesson she has to learn is how to deal with the negative aspects that arise in her, aspects that many of us have to face up to at stages in our lives. Pratchett deals with this in a typically vivid way: Tiffany is able to observe herself from outside her body with the simple command See me. This is the mechanism by which the hiver infests her body and mind but it's also the way that Pratchett alludes to philosophical conundrums. Can we stand apart from ourselves? Does that allow us to gain or lose control? Can we really see ourselves as others see us? (Can I really believe that person I can see in the CCTV monitor is truly me?) And how does that affect the process of individuation -- does it encourage alienation instead?

Hard lessons for anyone to learn, let alone an eleven-year-old away from home. For Tiffany that means the chalk downs, with their sheep and their shepherds, and the ancient chalk figure of a horse cut into the green turf, echoed in the necklet that young Roland gives her at the beginning of the novel. As with all the Discworld novels I've so far read, A Hat Full of Sky is crammed full of ideas, fizzing and popping out of the pages, too many for me to allude to in a short review. Here instead are a few things that I particularly enjoyed.

The hiver is an interesting literary construct: originally a term for a beekeeper, this particular hiver is like a swarm of insects looking for an empty vessel to be contained in. We talk about a 'hive mentality' and so it is with this entity, its only concern being to survive; until Tiffany realises it is frightened, and can summon up compassion for it, she will never be free of its fears feeding her own. In a way (as I've argued elsewhere) Tiffany's experience is like that of young wizard Ged in Ursula Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea: as a result of a costly mistake -- comparable to that of the apprentice in the Sorcerer's Apprentice story -- each protagonist has conjured up a shadow creature that pursues them and threatens to take over them. Until they turn and face the pursuer they are unable to achieve the peace of mind or even the life that they earnestly seek; in this they show themselves to be unlike Victor who fails to properly address both his culpability and his responsibilities in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

Another theme that has struck me is how Pratchett incorporates the concept of witch trials. In reality these were in the High Middle Ages horrific persecutions of innocent victims for the crime of appearing different; in A Hat Full of Sky it is a relief to find that these horrors are appropriately transmuted into the equivalent of sheepdog trials and given a more rustic character like that of a village fair or folk festival. Fortunately for Tiffany she is able to 'prove' herself against the accusations laid against her by her contemporaries.

"What exactly happened just then?" Tiffany asks Granny Weatherwax near the end of the novel. "What do you think happened?" is the answer, although that is no real answer. There is of course no simple reply, we realise, in a tale that encourages us to contemplate deep philosophical issues. If at times A Hat Full of Sky seems too full of unanswered questions then that paradoxically seems to be to its advantage, for without wonder where would we be? We can console ourselves with the thought that Pratchett's enigmatic titles reflect the wonder that feeds our imagination (a later novel I Shall Wear Midnight is actually anticipated in a offhand statement in these pages) -- for what exactly is a hat full of sky?

https://wp.me/s2oNj1-hat ( )
  ed.pendragon | Mar 3, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bartocci, MaurizioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Briggs, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gall, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidby, PaulIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidby, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It came crackling over the hills, like an invisible fog.
"Your eyes are not in possession of all the facts."
"There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do.”
Joy is to fun what the deep sea is to a puddle.
Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too.
She [Mistress Weatherwax] knew about silence.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060586621, Mass Market Paperback)

Something is coming after Tiffany ...

Tiffany Aching is ready to begin her apprenticeship in magic. She expects spells and magic -- not chores and ill-tempered nanny goats! Surely there must be more to witchcraft than this!

What Tiffany doesn't know is that an insidious, disembodied creature is pursuing her. This time, neither Mistress Weatherwax (the greatest witch in the world) nor the fierce, six-inch-high Wee Free Men can protect her. In the end, it will take all of Tiffany's inner strength to save herself ... if it can be done at all.

A Story of Discworld

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:44 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Tiffany Aching, a young witch-in-training, learns about magic and responsibility as she battles a disembodied monster with the assistance of the six-inch-high Wee Free Men and Mistress Weatherwax, the greatest witch in the world.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 12 descriptions

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