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The Wee Free Men - Week 1 Chapters 1 -3 Debating whether to read this all in one go,or just read the allocated chapters every week. The issue with reading it in one go is that I would probably finish in a day, and my thoughts would be in one big dollop rather than split into 4 digestible parts.

Anyhow.  I am glad we chose the Wee Free Men, as when Pratchett wrote for the Young Adult audience he was at most tightly plotted.  Some of his adult books famously go on quite lengthy diversions!  Also the Wee Free Men is a great introduction to two of the most interesting themes of Pratchett's writings : Headology, and Pratchett as the feminist. 

Headology is Pratchett's own version of psychology, used foremostly by the Witches, but Commander Vimes of the City Watch, and Susan Sto Helit are also practitioners.  Headology rests on the principle that what people believe is real.   Therefore vampires can be defeated by garlic and holy symbols, a million to one chance will always work, and a Jenny Green-Teeth can only be defeated by an iron frying pan (not a branch.)   

A witch in the Discworld is not someone who uses magic (as Miss Tick explains magic is the very last resort, though we do see her scrying) but someone who uses headology.  Miss Tick wear a straw hat with flowers on, but which can turn into a pointed hat when she needs to impress that she is a witch,(with a talking familiar by her side.)   Though already I wonder if Miss Tick has fallen victim to headology, she claims she can't do 'magic' as she is on chalk, and chalk doesn't grow witches, but yet the chalk has produced Granny and Tiffany Aching as witches. Can she only not do magic on chalk, because she has always been led to believe she can't do magic on chalk?  And yes, perceptions are vital in this novel.  Mrs Snapperly is not a witch, merely an old woman who lives alone with no teeth, yet her house is burned down, and she is left to die out in the cold. Granny Aching is clearly a witch, yet she was revered and love by all in the community.   

I also think of 'headology' as operating by pure, sheer bloody minded common sense.  There is a monster in the river with eyes as big as saucers?  Well find some bait (even if it is your annoying little brother), and whack it around the head with something bigger than a saucer.  Granny Aching never does magic per se, yet she knows the remedy for every sheep ailment, and has built up an almost telepathic understanding with her sheep dogs, and knows exactly where a young lamb might have ended up on a stormy night by knowing the land like the palm of her hand.  Which is of course one of the ways that Pratchett playfully twists the traditions of the genre.  In most fantasy novels our characters collect magical items, and level up in order to defeat the evil threats to the magical kingdom,yet in the Discworld (a flat world on the back of 4 elephants on the back of a giant turtle), logic, common sense, and psychologically manipulating people will win the day.

And yes, Pratchett as a feminist.  This is a male writer who wrote fantastic female characters.  Hands up who can name a single male character so far in the book?  (The brother who wants 'toilet' and the Dad with the bad jokes?)  yet we have already met a really well drawn and intelligent 9 year old girl, and two very different witches in Miss Tick and Granny Aching.  And not a love triangle in sight. The females in his books had agency, and were living breathing and believable characters.  I tip my fedora to your, Sir Terry. 

March 30, 2015, 09:57:53 AM
Re: What are you currently reading?
How many of us are reading or have just finished The Copper Promise? If I count myself I think there's 4 of us at present: me, @Jmacyk, @xiagan and @Lady Ty. Is that some sort of a record for something that isn't a book club read?
It's the Copper Promise movement, and it's sweeping the nation, er, forum.  ;D

Do I eventually get my own army? That would be sweet ...
What, you don't already have one in a hidden citadel somewhere, Jen? I thought The Copper Promise was an autobiography.

With me as the All Powerful Dragon God of Destruction? Actually, that sounds pretty good...

*considers rewriting the books from the POV of Y'Ruen*

Oh, I finally finished The Iron Goat.  Not sure why it took so long, as all very exciting, and the characters all so well drawn. Just term time tiredness.  Well done, and highly recommended to everyone. 

March 30, 2015, 10:01:25 AM
Re: What are you currently reading?
Oh, I finally finished The Iron Goat. 
That's Jen's brand new book ;D Requires very strong jaws ;D

Oh bugger. Ghost. Ghost. Iron ghost. As in holy ghost not holy goat!

March 30, 2015, 10:09:02 AM
Re: The Wee Free Men - First Impressions The major difference between the YA Tiffany Aching books and the rest of the series is how much tighter plotted this is than a regular Discworld book where Sir Terry could often go on lengthy diversions (and it has chapters!)

And like a lot of the latter Discworld novels - it is a mix of the poignant and the comic (think an episode of Scrubs)  -  as you are reading think about how this novel is a comment on grief, and how it often hits you not at the time, but months or years later when you suddenly realise you need a lost one, and they are no longer there.   

March 30, 2015, 02:44:50 PM
Re: Say Hi, I'm new thread
Hi.  I am new here. Big fan of Robin Hobb. Looking forward to reading Wee Free Men with the Book Club.
Here, @Nighteyes. Here, Nighteyes. Good boy. Want some spam?

Don't tease a dog.  They can bite.   :P

March 30, 2015, 02:45:58 PM
Re: Miscellaneous Musings
I lived half a year in Stockholm, does that count? ;) But I've been to Helsinki and other parts of Finland too, hiking in the woods, canoing on the lakes... :)
Just a general invasion of Scandinavia?

March 30, 2015, 07:33:27 PM
Peter Jackson to film new Middle Earth film It seems Peter Jackson is not finished with Middle Earth quite yet.  News from New Line Cinema is that Jackson is to return to New Zealand later this year to film a seventh Middle Earth film tentatively titled 'The Fatty Bolger chronicles.'  The film will be a sidequal to Lord of the Rings and tell the tale of the Battle for Middle Earth from the perspective of the  beloved 5th hobbit, Fatty Bolger.  An insider has revealed that this will be the chance to put on film much loved moments from the original trilogy such as the barrow wights, Tom Bombaldil and the razing of the Shire.  For years fans have grumbled about these scenes not being included in the original films and now finally they will be seen on the big screen.  Currently it is rumoured that popular British comedian and actor James Corden will play Fatty Bolger.

Anyone else excited about this?

April 01, 2015, 02:45:51 AM
Re: Peter Jackson to film new Middle Earth film
I woke up today prepared for this. Nice try, though, Nighteyes. ;D

It would appear you've managed to hook at least one.
In Jmacyk's defence, I think he was still living in the past (meaning yesterday) when he replied. It's hard to do things like this when there are people from widely different timezones around. :)

I persona?ly think J-Mack was being a good sport and playing along in hope we might entrap a few unwary souls.
You might be right. And if that is the case (and even if not), I'm truly sorry for my part in ruining the trap. :(

Awww. That's all right. You weren't the one who ruined the trap.

April 01, 2015, 10:56:23 AM
Re: The Wee Free Men - First Impressions Yes. The Chalk is based on Wiltshire where he grew up - where the soil is chalky and people breed sheep! It can also stand in for a lot of places such as my childhood home - the North Downs in Kent.
April 04, 2015, 02:40:18 PM
Re: Furious 7 This is rather snooty people.  How would you like it if you came across a post on a social networking site being snooty about the latest fantasy film dismissing it as 'swashbuckling and dragons.'? 

I haven't seen it, Ultimate Killer, or any of the series but must admit to being intrigued as seems one of those rare series which have actually improved and become more popular as it has gone on.  How often is film 7 the most successful and best reviewed?

April 06, 2015, 06:42:24 PM