In Terry Pratchett’s, Witches Abroad, the witches in this story are not like our everyday fairytale witches. The witches aren’t the typical kinds of witches although the one thing they do resemble to the all the other witches is that sometimes they can be pretty rude and they seem to speak out of turn a lot. Although as witches, I suppose it makes sense for them to do that considering they expect everyone to respect them regardless of anything. It’s interesting how Terry Pratchett makes a lot of references to a few other fairytales, although when he does make references to them, it is in an ironic way.
The first fairytale that Terry Pratchett makes reference to is Cinderella. When Margrat receives a package delivered by Hurker sent from Desiderata, the package turns out to be a wand that makes her a fairy godmother (Witches Abroad 33-34) Earlier in the text it is mentioned that Desiderata wanted to be a fairy godmother and as we know, for a witch that is not common at all. The interesting thing is that after Desiderata dies, everyone else is looking for it. But since Magrat receives the wand that makes her a fairy godmother. Magrat’s task was to go to Genua so that “Ella Saturday must NOTTE marry the prins.” (Witches Abroad 34) What’s really ironic about this is that fairy godmothers are supposed to help young ladies find there prince, but instead, this fairy godmother has to break p this marriage. By doing so, this makes one think back at all the fairy tales that we’ve read that involve fairy godmothers and think of how the characters are portrayed and if marrying a prince will really solve all of your problems.
The next fairy tale that Terry Pratchett makes a reference to is Little Red Riding Hood. This happens when “Nanny raised the hem of her skirt. She was wearing red boots” (Witches Abroad 47). The red boots makes reference to Little Red Riding Hood’s red cloak. When Granny see’s this, she does not approve of it and she says, “You know what they say about women who wear red boots” (Witches Abroad 47). For those who have read the original Little Red Riding Hood story, and then we know that Little Red Riding Hood was portrayed as a hoe because of how she basically performs a strip tease and she dies in one of the many versions of the story. And because she was wearing a red cloak, the color red is perceived as a seductive color and it is also means blood.
By making references to other fairy tales, this helps add humor to the story and it also helps see the witches in another light. The reference to the other stories goes along with what Terry Pratchett begins the tale with by saying that “Stories don’t care who takes part in them. All that matters is that the story gets told, that the story repeats” (Witches Abroad 9).
In The Golden Compass, Phillip Pullman makes it clear that everything happens for a reason. Nothing in the story happens by mere coincidence. So the fact that Iorek Byrinson was a prince and was suppose to be king, but of course was exiled from his land, and Iofur Rankinson took over as king and changed everything, all of this was part of a big plan that would lead Lyra, who would eventually lead Roger to Lord Asriel, but of course no one knew that would happen.
Iorek Byrinson was a very powerful bear. Unlike all the others, he was basically kicked out of his land and his armor was taken from him. Even though his armor was taken from him, he didn’t let that stop him; he went ahead and made himself another. For you see he was a very skillful bear and a bear without his armor is nothing because a “bear’s armor is his soul” (172). Once he regained his armor he was fiercer than ever. Iorek Byrinson was one of the few good bears left and he was able to gain the trust of the humans because he was a good listener as did what he was told.
Iofur Rankinson was very different from Iorek Byrinson. He was very greedy and in fact he didn’t want to be a bear. “His face was much more mobile and expressive, with a kind of humanness in it” (294). He wanted to be like a human so bad because he really wanted a daemon. When Lyra went to see him, he “was holding something on his knee, as a human might let a cat sit there-or a daemon” (295). He tried so hard to get one that he even pretended to have one, he even did everything Mrs. Coulter told him to do in hope of one day getting one. Iofur Rankinson was very easily fooled, which isn’t very common amongst bears, his greed got the best of him.
Iofur Rankinson and Iorek Byrinson were both very powerful and wise. They were both fooled at one point in their lives, and even though they were both princes, there is only one true king. Yes, Iofur Rankinson was king at first, he wasn’t supposed to be, he got there by cheating and betraying his own; and because he did so, Iorek Byrinson came back and defeated him in the battle that they had and took what was rightfully his.
Throughout the story Bilbo develops and changes so much during his adventure with the dwarves. In the beginning Bilbo was more worried about his home and his possessions than the adventure, but in the end he realized there was more to life and himself than the things he thought were important. In the book it says, “Already he was a very different hobbit from the one that had run out without a pocket-handkerchief from Bag-End long ago.” (232) This passage shows that others had noticed the change that Bilbo had gone through, for it was a significant one.
Bilbo’s title was a burglar, but the dwarves did not see that and they did not understand why Gandalf had chosen him of all people. To the dwarves, Bilbo was just a burden. They always had to carry him and feed, which is something they did not like. It took some time for Bilbo to prove to them and himself that he really did belong on this adventure. It is pretty obvious that Bilbo’s courage and strength did not build up until after he had found the ring. The sense of being invisible made him feel invincible.
When Bilbo defeats the spiders, he does it while he is invisible because he has the ring on. Although at first he hesitates because he is not sure whether or not he should reveal the existence of the ring to the dwarves, but at the same time he has to in order to save them. While he has the ring on, he feels more powerful. I’m sure that since he is a hobbit, and as we know hobbits are quite small compared to the other creatures in the story, I’m sure that he might get intimidated sometimes and I’m sure others don’t see him as a challenge, so while the ring is on, it might make him feel like he a whole other person, one that is not afraid to step up and defend his friends and defeat others.
After Bilbo defeats the spiders, the change in him is clearer. He feels a sense of empowerment that no one can take away and the dwarves see him as another person as well. Bilbo definitely matures throughout the story. In t end, I feel as if he is seen as a real man. He has gone out and experienced the real world, he had the courage to step out of his hobbit hole and take on a big life changing adventure that had its ups and downs, but in the end it was worth it. He transformed into a new person, someone like his ancestors.
In both stories, Bluebeard and Fitcher’s Bird, each story has at least two heroines. In Bluebeard, the two heroines are Bluebeard and the young sister which is Bluebeard’s wife. In Fitcher’s Bird, the heroines are the Sorcerer and the third daughter, who later disguises herself as fitcher’s feathered bird. The heroines in both of these fairy tales are similar in many ways, but yet there are a few things that make them different from one another.
The heroines in Bluebeard are both active heroines. Although at first his wife, the young sister starts off as passive character. Once Bluebeard goes away on his trip that is when she becomes an active heroine because now all the attention is mainly focused on her and her actions. Her main action that gets the story going is when she becomes so “anxious to get into that room on the lower floor. The roles of both Bluebeard and his wife start to heat up when Bluebeard discovers that his wife has gone against his wishes and has entered the forbidden room. Bluebeard’s character is a dominant one. He becomes very infuriated at the disobedience of his wife. His wife’s character although quiet, begins to show that she is somewhat smart. Before bluebeard is going to kill her, she begins to stall him by praying and begging him, but in reality she is waiting on her brothers to come save her. A lot of the wife’s qualities aren’t shown, we don’t know much about her, but in the end she proves to not just be a pretty face and let herself get killed.
In Fitcher’s Bird, the heroines are both active, but the only thing is that the sorcerers wife doesn’t come into the picture until about halfway through. But from the start she knows she cannot commit the same mistakes her sisters made. We know that the wife is not only beautiful, but she was also “clever and cunning”. She is clever enough not to walk around holding the egg that is not allowed to fall onto the ground; instead she “puts the egg in a safe place”. The sorcerer pretends to be a poor man to get his wife, which is something new that I have not seen in any of the other fairy tales so far. Since the wife is so smart, she out wits the sorcerer and makes him believe she has not entered the forbidden room. Now that he trusts her, she tricks him into a trap and she is the one that ends up killing him and also she saves her two other sisters.
As we can see, there are a few similarities between the heroines in Bluebeard and in Fitcher’s Bird. Both the main male characters, Bluebeard and the Sorcerer have forbidden rooms that no one is allowed to enter and if they do enter there are major consequences. And for the both female heroines in the stories, they are both beautiful, smart, and they manage to escape there terrible husbands.