Tuesday, November 12, 2013
GDR Book Club. Equal Rites
As I continue to rifle through my personal library, I picked up another book that has become a personal favourite simply because of the topic as well as the execution of its contents. It's a very worn book, but it looks well loved. Equal Rites was written by Terry Pratchett, and it's about the eighth daughter of an eighth son who is visited by a dying wizard. And this is a problem as in his final moments, as there is a lore against women being wizards. Did you not know? Well, it's all very interesting how little that all means in the end.
Typically, being a witch is tied to a woman, and a wizard is tied to a man with little regards to what the actual words mean. The words aren't gendered, or rather they shouldn't be; being a witch or wizard is and should be tied to the craft and the source of their magical use, the execution of their divination and so on. While a witch might apologize to nature while crushing up its flowers, a wizard might will fire to move hither and thither at every needed whim.
But in Equal Rites, the words are gendered, and the wizards are a gaggle (, a coven? an order? a conspiracy? a circle?) of stuffy, hard-headed men who seemed adamant on preserving their unwritten lore that men must be wizards and women must be witches if the fate falls on them.
They never take into account the adventure that one little Eskarina would take with her grandmother Granny Ms./Mistress Esmeralda Weatherwax to help her become a wizard. Despite what the unwritten lore "says". It's an amazing book, and I grew up with the occult, both with the study and the practice, and I love the story through and through. Once you're introduced to Drum Billet, the dying wizard, you're introduced to everything! The nature of Discworld, the way the sunlight filters in through the magical atmosphere slowly and lazily, the act of Borrowing and Wandering, witch magic (and headology), the different towns, the flippant, curious, aggressive moods of a nine year old witch-wizard, and so, so, so much more.
It's an interesting book as it's written completely without chapters, only breaks separate each scene and mood. I adore it. The writing isn't too serious. Since there are no chapters, it's a constant flow of energy and close calls and whimsical uses of metaphors and outstanding vocabulary. This book gets me excited again to write and to study the Unknown and Unnatural Arts. It makes me want to flex my mind and reach deep into every tangible, nondescript space and just... breathe.
Reading about the tales of one Esk from a little village called Bad Ass and her witchy Granny who has a presence that demands respect and attention without words is a good palette cleanser from everything I've been facing. The best thing about Equal Rites is that it focuses on the journey, the world, and the different worlds and misadventures that it feels like it's more about Esk's youthfully deranged desire to be a wizard. Somehow, the journey is a world of its own and is almost as consuming as her want.
It's something you should definitely read and experience for yourself.