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Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett
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Wintersmith (original 2006; edition 2009)

by Terry Pratchett

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6,390127927 (4.13)258
Member:paulmorriss
Title:Wintersmith
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Info:Corgi Books (2009), Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett (2006)

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Oh waily, waily, waily!


This will be the last Terry Pratchett I read in a while, at least until I Shall Wear Midnight comes out in paperback this fall and Snuff gets published. Discworld is an incredible amount of fun and Pratchett has once again blurred the lines between his regular novels and those featuring the adventures of an increasingly grown-up Tiffany Aching. Wintersmith does not disappoint.

Pratchett perhaps took a cue from [a:J.K. Rowling|1077326|J.K. Rowling|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1300499098p2/1077326.jpg] by ramping up the complexity of the story and the characters as the series goes on and the characters grow older. Correct me if I'm wrong, please, but this is pretty rare isn't it for children's books? There is always growth of character and new stories but the writing style and reading level remains static. This is true from classics such as [a:Gertrude Chandler Warner|10665|Gertrude Chandler Warner|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1206731348p2/10665.jpg]'s The Boxcar Children (who did age in the books she wrote herself, but after her death the children's ages reverse a couple years and freeze) to [a:Beverly Cleary|403|Beverly Cleary|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1197935108p2/403.jpg]'s Ramona, and [a:John Bellairs|101070|John Bellairs|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1197854239p2/101070.jpg]' Lewis Barnevelt as it is for the more modern [Diana Wynne Jones]'s Chrestomanci stories and [a:Phillip Pullman|4703546|Phillip Pullman|http://www.goodreads.com/images/nophoto/nophoto-U-50x66.jpg]'s Lyra Belacqua. The stories can be sophisticated and growth happens, but the writing style and tone and material stays the same throughout the series. The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew only entered darker territory in completely separate series with canons that were strictly separate from the main books, and Encyclopedia Brown certainly never showed more than a passing interest in Sally and Bugs Meaney made plenty of fists but never did anything with them.

There are obvious benefits to keeping everything on the same level certainly, a child who goes into a spate of reading everything by an author they can get their hands on will find more of exactly what they're looking for. The kid can gain more proficiency because reading is reading, but won't become confused or challenged by more unexplained complex language and darker themes than they might be prepared for. It's hard to explain the drawbacks I see in what Rowling or Pratchett did without somehow advocating that children shouldn't be challenged or should be limited to books "within their age group," an injustice I struggled against with some teachers when I was in grade school.

The only examples aside from Rowling and Pratchett is maybe the differences between [a:Susan Cooper|7308|Susan Cooper|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1274806220p2/7308.jpg]'s Over Sea, Under Stone and The Dark is Rising and, another stretch, [a:J.R.R. Tolkien|656983|J.R.R. Tolkien|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1199863358p2/656983.jpg]'s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Is it a coincidence that these are works of fantasy? Were those differences more accidental than planned? Because I could believe that of those examples, but never of Rowling or Pratchett.

I was an almost perfect contemporary of Harry Potter (though I outstripped him in age the last few books) so it was perfect for me and reading Tiffany Aching as an adult proved no hardship either. But will a ten-year-old fresh off of The Wee Free Men and A Hat Full of Sky be able to make the leap to Wintersmith easily? I don't know. I'm not going to try and stop her, but I'd hate to see someone discouraged after going out of their depth. Maybe I'm not giving ten-year-olds enough credit. I probably should be more worried about the type of parents that will see the word S-E-X in print and panic.

The whole idea of books growing up along with their readers is brave, innovative and risky; its something I'm curious to know more about. Children's authors are usually quite scrupulous about keeping their work within certain boundaries, helped along by editors and publishers I'm sure. Which isn't a bad thing, how would I have felt if Omri's parents' marriage in the Indian in the Cupboard series began dissolving just as he began to notice girls ([a:Lynne Reid Banks|72237|Lynne Reid Banks|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1202838464p2/72237.jpg] was a successful novelist for adults first), or if [a:Brian Jacques|5329|Brian Jacques|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1206731099p2/5329.jpg] had started using a post-modern narrative for his Redwall books and introduced more shades of grey into his moral scheme? They might have been better. I might have stopped reading them. Who knows?

Maybe I'm just over-thinking, maybe none of this makes any sense to anyone but me. But I think it's a great experiment and I wonder if anyone else will pick up on it.

One more thing, considering Pratchett's fight with Alzheimer's, I found one quote particularly poignant:

"And, as always happens, and happens far too soon, the strange and wonderful becomes a memory and a memory becomes a dream. Tomorrow it's gone." ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
"Humans were made up of nearly all of [the Lesser Elements] but also contained a lot of narrativium, the basic element of stories..."

Sir Terry puts Tiffany into the ancient tale of summer and winter, and she makes it her own. She has copious help from the inimitable Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, also the Nac Mac Feegles and Roland. I greatly enjoyed the addition of Miss Treason, and You, the white kitten in whom Granny Weatherwax (and Greebo) finally met their match. Annagramma's story was classic witching. The Wintersmith's story was bittersweet, steeped in a wonderful magical sadness but also hope. ( )
1 vote Gezemice | Oct 29, 2018 |
I love Pratchett's Discworld books, and I particularly love the Tiffany Aching books, so it was a surprise to me that I apparently missed noticing Wintersmith for ten years. Well, at least it means a new-for-me Pratchett when I thought that opportunity was gone.

Tiffany Aching is an apprentice witch, currently living with a witch in the mountains, far from her beloved chalk hills. She's taken as part of her training to watch a dance she didn't know existed, the Dark Morris, which brings the beginning of winter as the Morris Dance we know brings the beginning of summer.

Since this is the Discworld, the dances really do bring the starts of those seasons.

Tiffany's feet, unfortunately, get the better of her. She steps into the dance, and dances with the Wintersmith, and gets some of the traits and powers of Lady Summer tangled up in herself. The Wintersmith thinks he has fallen in love with her.

This is, of course, is a problem for everyone, especially when the Wintersmith wants to marry her and cause Summer to never come again. The Wintersmith has no real idea what being a person is all about, or why Tiffany is upset about the lambs dying when a blizzard hits too late in what should be spring, or why she doesn't love the ice palace he's made to lure her.

The second half is a Discworld take on Orpheus and Eurydice, and both Tiffany and the local lord's son she rescued from the elf queen's court previously, take a few more steps toward adulthood.

It's a fine taste of Pratchett, and a nice surprise for me to find it, when I thought there wasn't anything more.

Recommended.

I bought this audiobook. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
Must have read this one before but couldn't remember a thing about it. Have an extra half star. A comfortable and familiar world, entertaining and interesting. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | May 27, 2018 |
I love Terry Pratchett. I especially love all of the Wee Free Men series. I mean, come on, how can you beat a bunch of little blue men who are a cross between leprechauns, smurfs, and gremlins? Tiffany Aching is a lovable heroine, as well. And the way she describes witching, I almost believe I could do it myself, if only I had a pointy hat... ( )
  SoubhiKiewiet | Mar 20, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Briggs, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidby, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matthews, RobinAuthor photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mayer, BillCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paracchini, FabioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stengel, ChristopherCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When the storm came, it hit the hills like a hammer.
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'And he won her freedom by playing beautiful music,' Roland added. 'I think he played a lute, or maybe it was a lyre.' 'Ach, wheel, that'll soot us fine,' said Daft Wullie. 'We're experts at looting and then lying aboot it.'
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060890339, Paperback)

When the Spirit of Winter takes a fancy to Tiffany Aching, he wants her to stay in his gleaming, frozen world. Forever. It will take the young witch's skill and cunning, as well as help from the legendary Granny Weatherwax and the irrepressible Wee Free Men, to survive until Spring. Because if Tiffany doesn't make it to Spring—

—Spring won't come.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:06 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When witch-in-training Tiffany Aching accidentally interrupts the Dance of the Seasons and awakens the interest of the elemental spirit of Winter, she requires the help of the six-inch-high, sword-wielding, sheep-stealing Wee Free Men to put the seasons aright.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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