Iron enough to make a nail
Lime enough to paint a wall
Water enough to drown a dog
Sulphur enough to stop the fleas
Potash enough to was a shirt
Gold enough to buy a bean
Silver enough to coat a pin
Lead enough to ballast a bird
Phosphor enough to light the town..
These are the things that make a man.
Not literally of course. It was merely a nursery rhyme, a poem. One of those poems you don’t actually remember being taught.
But the Wintersmith didn’t know that. He wasn’t a man, after all. No, he was a far simpler being, albeit in a far more complicated situation. See, the Wintersmith was an elemental. King Winter, if you will. He’s essentially the spirit of winter.
And now he’s gone and fallen in love with a mortal.
Okay so I might have gotten ahead of myself there. I know, I know. I’d better do some of the ol’ Explainin’*.
The story I’m about to tell revolves almost entirely around young Tiffany Aching.
I say young because she turns no less than thirteen in the first half of the book.
This young girl is, apart from an excellent cheese maker, descendent from Granny Aching and a (former) inhabitant of the Chalk, also a witch. And not just any witch, mind you. Tiffany is a very bright, promising witch who has had her fair share of trouble and danger already.
She possesses First sight, Second, Third and Fourth thoughts, abilities quite rare even amongst witches.
But, throughout the story she gets aided by countless other characters. The most prominent being a handful of Witches (e.g. Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Miss Treason) Roland (a boy she writes but most definitely absolutely one-hundred-percent-ly does not have a crush on. At all.) and last but not least a particular Clan of the Nac Mac Feegle.
While training to be a witch at Miss Treason’s cottage there comes a day where the 113 year old hag** takes Tiffany along to witness the dance of the Dark Morris under the condition that she looks at the dancers and the dancers alone.
Needless to say this is not what happened.
Not in the slightest.
What did happen was this: Tiffany, engrossed in the music, realized there was a free space amongst the dancers. She then came to the conclusion that it would be okay if she filled it.
This ended up with her dancing with the Wintersmith.
Who then proceeded to fall in love with her, thinking she was The Summer Lady***
And that’s really when all the bad things start to happen. He crafts snowflakes of her, writes her name over and over in frost and even fashions gigantic Tiffany-shaped Icebergs!
Not to mention that she starts taking on the Summer Lady’s abilities (complete with Ped Fecundus and a Cornucopia)
Now the question remains, while she be able to stop winter from reigning forever?
I squealed in delight more times than I would care to admit, I laughed and chortled out loud, I even cried a little.
In short: I really really really really really liked Wintersmith.
It was to be expected as I’ve read it’s predecessors, and it contains my very favourite bunch of thievin’, fightin’ and drinkin’ rascals, the Nac Mac Feegles.
That being said, it does help that (in my eyes at least) Terry Pratchett is an outright genius. That’s right, I said it.
I’ve ready many a’ Discworld novel in my time and this was just as delightfully hilarious**** as any other.
I have fallen for Pratchett’s unique and witty writing, the original way of descripting characters and locations alike and of course his wonderful sense of humour- evident on every page.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone I know (though I’d also mention they’d best be startin’ at the beginning of the series) or as Ron Anybody would put it:
Aye, this be a’ really guid book re-gard’less of all the many wurdies on them page-thingies. Ye should all re’d it or somethin’.
*Which is, of course, one of the more admired and feared skills of Husbandry (the act of being a husband, under the Nac Mac Feegles) and is in fact exactly what it sounds like.
** Feegle word for witch.
*** The spirit of Summer, the natural counterpart of the Wintersmith, though they haven’t met before.
**** of course merely my opinion but come on, the book contains a living cheese for crying out loud! This is pure comedic gold. Gold I tell you!