16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 1 – Calan Gaeaf
Nemo Granny & Greebo Impune Lacessit*
Well, I guess that’s what happens if you p*$$ off Granny Weatherwax (however unintentionally) and make her take to a cave in the Lancrastian mountains … next thing you know, you have vampires moving into the castle, and into the kingdom as such. And since they were foolishly invited in to begin with, they’re near impossible to get rid off again; and let’s face it, Nanny Ogg, Magrat and Agnes between them might be witches; they might even meet the requirements of a coven now that Magrat is a mother, but they aren’t Granny, not even with all their forces combined. (Perdita, now …)
So all of Lancre and the reader have to jointly suffer for well over half a book before Granny decides she’s let things go on for long enough and finally makes an appearance. And of course she ultimately saves the day, even if only by the skin of her neck and with the assistance of inner voices, a few drops of blood, the general and specific allure of tea, and a meak priest discovering his inner Brutha just in time. (Of course it also comes in handy that somebody thought of bringing a double-edged axe, and that some vampires of the older generation still have a sense of tradition left.)
Nice going, at any rate, on the debunking of what “everybody knows who knows anything about vampires” (including the vampires themselves, who however just don’t learn … or didn’t until this new breed came around, that is), and big grins all around for the co-starring Wee Free Men. My favorite moment, however, came courtesy of Greebo — who by the way also has decidedly too little stage time — with the incidental appearance of an otherwise entirely negligable vampire named Vargo:
“As the eye of narrative drew back from the coffin on its stand, two things happened. One happened comparatively slowly, and this was Vargo’s realization that he never recalled the coffin having a pillow before.
The other was Greebo deciding that he was as mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it any more. He’d been shaken around in the wheely thing, and then sat on by Nanny, and he was angry about that because he knew, in a dim, animal way, that scratching Nanny might be the single most stupid thing he could do in the whole world, since no one else was prepared to feed him. This hadn’t helped his temper.
Then he’d encountered a dog, which had triled to lick him. He’d scratched and bitten it a few times, but this had had no effect apart from encouraging it to try to be more friendly.
He’d finally found a comfy resting place and had curled up into a ball, and now someone was using him as a cushion —
There wasn’t a great deal of noise. The coffin rocked a few times, and then pivoted around.
Greebo sheathed his claws and went back to sleep.”
(I think someone else included this in their review recently, too, but it’s just too good not to do it again — all the more since Greebo, overall, really is as woefully long absent as Granny in this one.)
Read for Square 1 of the 16 Tasks of the Festive Season, Calan Gaeaf: “Read any of your planned Halloween Bingo books that you didn’t end up reading after all, involving witches, hags, or various types of witchcraft.”
* “Don’t mess with Granny and Greebo.” Or somewhat more literally: “Nobody messes with Granny and Greebo unpunished.”