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Greenwitch (1974)

by Susan Cooper

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Dark is Rising Sequence (3)

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5,093722,163 (3.92)203
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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English (69)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  All languages (71)
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
Simon, Jane and Barney Drew, the three siblings who found King Arthur's lost chalice and saved it from the Dark in Over Sea, Under Stone, and Will Stanton, the youngest of the Old Ones whose quest to assemble the six signs of power was told in The Dark Is Rising, come together in this third installment of Susan Cooper's five volume The Dark Is Rising sequence. Once more in the small Cornish fishing village of Trewissick, the Drew siblings adjust to Will's presence, which they find unwelcome, and all four, along with Merriman, search for the chalice found in the first book, which has now been stolen by agents of the Dark. As Simon and Barney contend with a nasty painter who is talented, but clearly of the Dark, Jane witnesses the creation of the Greenwitch—a figure made at night by the women of the village, created by bonfire out of branches, and launched into the sea at dawn by the fisherman of the village. An offering to Tethys, the ruler of the sea, the Greenwitch is a creature of the Wild Magic, and although neither of the Light nor Dark, it has a role to play in their struggle, a role shaped by Jane's compassion, and an unexpected wish...

A slim 147 pages, this middle point in Cooper's series is a brief but powerful turning point in the story, and has always had a special charm for me. The characters from the first two books are brought together, creating some interesting tension, but the real focus here is on the eponymous Greenwitch, and on the forces of the Wild Magic, which are powerful, but which stand outside the struggle between Light and Dark, good and evil. It has always seemed to me that the Wild Magic is meant to represent the power and enchantment of nature—chaotic, sometimes destructive, sometimes nourishing—and that, of all the kinds of magic presented in the series, it is most closely associated with humanity. While Old Ones are presented as predestined champions of the Light, just as the agents of the Dark are predestined partisans for their side, humans can go either way, depending upon their choices. Not possessing magic of their own, they are nevertheless part of nature, and therefore part of the Wild Magic. It is this, I think, that gives Jane the ability to connect with the Greenwitch, and to win from it the needed manuscript, when the far more powerful Old Ones cannot do so. She is able to show compassion, and (most importantly) fellow-feeling—she identifies with the Greenwitch, and wishes it well, rather than demanding something of it—and this works a magic of its own.

Whether this interpretation is the one Cooper intended, I could not say, but it has always made The Greenwitch a most powerful book for me, despite its brevity, and the fact that less seems to happen in it, than in previous installments of the series. Of course, I also love it because it has that strong sense of place to be found in Cooper's other books, and an eldritch sense of enchantment that is very gripping. I recommend it strongly to fantasy fans, although the first two books must be read first, I think, for a proper appreciation of the story. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Mar 31, 2024 |
This third book in the Dark is Rising series is more interesting than the previous, probably because there's much less exposition and the addition of Wild Magic to the plain old Light vs Dark spiced up the storytelling. And the connection between the little girl and the Greenwitch is far more engaging than the main conflict. ( )
  Doodlebug34 | Jan 1, 2024 |
Box a
  edurell | Aug 20, 2023 |
I liked ‘Greenwitch’ but not as much as the first two novels in the series. I was glad to see the three Drew siblings return. Although I like Will, I find the sister and two brothers more endearing and entertaining. They’re vivid and believable characters.

So, like with Book One, the plot revolves around the Holy Grail, which is stolen at the beginning of this story, and a parchment needed to understand the Grail’s secret. The Drews, Will, and Merriman set out to reclaim the Grail and thwart the Dark who try to stop them. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Nov 2, 2021 |
Susan Cooper writes a wonderful story and The Dark is Rising series is among her best work. I find the characters relatable and engaging but she truly shines in her storytelling which draws you into both the current story and all the back story too. ( )
  KateKat11 | Sep 24, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susan Cooperprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dillon, JulieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jennings, AlexNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pekkanen, PanuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rikman, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Westrup, Jadwiga P.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Kate
First words
Only one newspaper carried the story in detail, under the headline: Treasures Stolen From Museum.
Quotations
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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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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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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