Author Archives: rosetaylor

Nanny Ogg vs. Granny Weatherwax

­Granny Weatherwax is obviously the more assertive character and casts a shadow of the more levelheaded Nanny Ogg, but Nanny’s powers are not to be overlooked. Granny is stubborn, formidable, and more than forthright about her opinions. Many seek out Granny’s advice when necessary but more often people seek Nanny’s advice because she is the more friendly and motherly character. Granny Weatherwax is a more intimidating figure because of her outgoing nature, but Nanny makes people feel at ease because she is wise yet soft spoken. Nanny appears to be fine with Granny’s reputation as the greatest witch in Discworld whereas if the roles were reversed, Granny would be jealous and petty about Nanny’s higher social status. Granny Weatherwax is as traditional as it gets in Discworld, and resides in a stereotypical witch’s cottage. Nanny on the other hand, lives in a more modern town house full of various trinkets she collects.

Nanny and Granny both aid Magrat on her journey to Genua and in fulfilling her Fairy Godmother duties. They fully come together as a team to fight Lilith as she tries to create a perfect “happily ever after” for Ella. Nanny employs her wit by getting the coachmen drunk so they cannot take Ella to the ball and also speeds up time to the spell wears off Magrat faster. In the final scene with Lilith and the mirrors, Granny proves her wisdom when she is able to find her true reflection and trap Lilith in the mirror. Although Granny got the credit for trapping Lilith, this would not have been possible without the aid of Nanny Ogg.

Female Archetypes in Narnia

The female figures in Lewis Carroll’s “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” all adhere to the traditional ideas of femininity in literature. Lucy is the figure of female curiosity and youth, Susan and Mrs. Beaver take on the roles of the good mothers, and the White Witch is symbolic of the bad mother archetype.

Lucy is the curious sibling. Her inquisitive nature prompts her to explore further into the wardrobe. When Lucy entered Narnia, she “felt a little frightened, but she felt very inquisitive and excited as well” (Carroll 7). Lucy is the embodiment of the traditional image of female youth- trusting, naïve, and innocent. She is quick to befriend the Narnians and always sees the best in others. She was eager to befriend Mr. Tumnus and even after he nearly sold her out to the White Witch, still believed in his good character. The gifts Father Christmas gave the girls is also suggestive of the traditional female roles. Father Christmas gave Lucy a dagger and healing potion, the dagger to aid in self-defense, but not for battles, and the healing potion because women are typically nurturers.

Susan is one of the two “good mother” figures. She is the elder of the female Pevensie children and assumes a maternal role amongst her siblings in the absence of their own mother. “And anyway- it’s time you were in bed,” she tells Edmund while trying to act like their mother on the children’s first night without one (Carroll 2). Susan behaves the way traditional females should behave. She prefers comfort to adventure and looks after her siblings. Often times, Susan complains about the uncomfortable situations the Pevensie children get into on their Narnian quest. Father Christmas gave Susan a bow and arrows, removing her from the thicket of hand-to-hand combat in battle, and a horn, to call for help.

Mrs. Beaver, wife of Mr. Beaver, also falls into the “good mother” archetype. She is warm, caring, and hospitable. When Mr. Beaver brings the Pevensie children to their home, she immediately got to work preparing a meal for them. Lucy and Susan also helped prepare the meal while Mr. Beaver and Peter caught the fish. The roles they played during the preparation of dinner also fell into typical gender roles.

The White Witch is the embodiment of the “bad mother” archetype. She is cruel, but beautiful, queen of Narnia. Unlike Mrs. Beaver, during the White Witch’s first encounter with Edmund Pevensie, she gives him false nourishment in the form of enchanted Turkish delight; the more Edmund ate, the more he craved. She then promises him more Turkish delight in a trick to get the Pevensies to her castle. Like the typical “bad mother” character, the White Witch seeks to dispose of the Pevensie children because they threaten her position in Narnia.

 

 

Selfishness vs. Selflessness: A Bittersweet Ever After?

 

In Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Little Mermaid”, the heroine is not passive in the slightest about achieving her goals. She is highly motivated and employs any means necessary to get what she wants, even if “any means necessary” meant seeking help from the dreaded Sea Witch, cutting off her tongue, never seeing her home again, and potential death by transformation into sea foam. The Little Mermaid could be seen as selfless in her love for the Prince, but abandons her family and sovereignty on her quest for the Prince and an eternal soul. After the whole ordeal, she is faced with the decision to kill the Prince to save her own life or ending her life to preserve the Prince’s.

The dual heroes in Oscar Wilde’s “Happy Prince” are the Happy Prince statue and the Sparrow. The Happy Prince previously enjoyed a lavish life of pleasure, inhabiting the “Palace of Sans-Souci” without a care in the world (Wilde 225). In his afterlife as a statue however, he discovers how much misery the world possesses and enlists the help of the Sparrow to ameliorate some of the pain and suffering in his home city. The Happy Prince is selfless in his afterlife and he and the Sparrow do good deeds throughout the town aiding those in need.

The Sparrow, the Happy Prince, and the Little Mermaid, despite selfish or selfless motives, all have one key characteristic in common- they all sacrificed their own lives for the benefit of others. The Sparrow, while aiding the happy prince, flies around delivering the Prince’s jewels to aid townspeople in need. He continues his duties even in the cold winter months when he realizes his inevitable death. The Happy Prince literally gave his body to help others. He asks the Sparrow to deliver the jewels and gold leaves from his statue form to those who need help. In the end, he is stripped of all his embellishments until he is “no better than a beggar” (Wilde 260). After he gives away all his decorations, he is deemed worthless by the townspeople and his lead core is smelted down to make a new statue. The Little Mermaid gave up her family, voice, and tail for the Prince’s love, marriage, and sharing of an eternal soul. When she was faced with the decision to “stab [a knife] through the Prince’s heart to save herself and once again become a mermaid, she chose to end her own life rather than the Prince’s (Anderson 231).

Although all three main characters gave up their lives for another, more direct parallels can be drawn between the Little Mermaid and the Happy Prince. They both sacrificed their lives for those who were too selfish to give anything in return and entirely lose their earthly forms. When the Little Mermaid gave up her entire world to be with the Prince, he did not reciprocate her feelings. Rather, he treated her like a “dumb child” and married the false bride which proved to be the death of the Little Mermaid (Anderson 229). This is analogous to Wilde’s Happy Prince character. The Happy Prince gave up everything that was beautiful about his body for the betterment of the town, only to be deemed ugly and smelted down by the very same townspeople whom he had aided.

In the end, the Sparrow, the Happy Prince, and the Little Mermaid each reach some form of heavenly afterlife. The Sparrow’s dead body and the Happy Prince’s broken heard are deemed the “most precious things in the city” and are sent to reside in God’s “garden of paradise” and “city of gold” (Wilde 260). The Little Mermaid becomes a daughter of the air and can win her own eternal soul and entry into the kingdom of heaven after a lifetime of good deeds. Although neither of these stories culminate in that oh-so-satisfying “happily ever after” moment, a “bittersweet ever after” can be just as fulfilling.