Review: Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett

‘If you really want to upset a witch, do her a favor which she has no means of repaying. The unfulfilled obligation will nag at her like a hangnail.’

Welcome back to the Discworld project! So I intended to get to this one last month and even started it in the last few days of April but time as usual ran away from me. Here we are now, back in Lancre, back on the Ramtops and even more important, back with our favourite, dysfunctional coven.

The fairies are back – but this time they don’t just want your teeth.

It’s Midsummer Night – no time for dreaming. Because sometimes, when there’s more than one reality at play, too much dreaming can make the walls between them come tumbling down. Unfortunately there’s usually a damned good reason for there being walls between them in the first place – to keep things out. Things who want to make mischief and play havoc with the natural order.

Granny Weatherwax and her tiny coven are up against real elves. And even in a world of dwarfs, wizards, trolls, Morris dancers and the odd orang-utan, this is going to cause real trouble. With lots of hey-nonny-nonny and blood all over the place

This is a bit of a different book and really marks the highest point of Sir Terry’s writing. There is even something in the book that sets it apart from the previous entries to the Discworld; an authors note on the continuity. Lords and Ladies picks up directly after the events of Witches Abroad. The witches are back in Lancre and things are not normal as usual.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I definitely enjoyed Witches Abroad more but I think for the moment that will remain my favourite of the Witches books. The book also follows on from Wyrd Sisters since this is where Magrat and newly crowned Verence become engaged, making her Queen of Lancre. This goes as well as you can imagine between Granny Weatherwax and Magrat. I feel this was coming for many books now where Magrat just hangs up her broom and tells Granny what she really thinks. Granted there are moments of it in each book but the conflict comes to a head here.

Lancre get’s built upon even further in this one and more added to it with the inclusion of “The Dancers”. A circle of ancient standing stones where the weather inside them differing to the actual weather, people waking up with no memories of what they were doing up there and just some very powerful magic, really enforces the forces behind them as something highly sinister. As the story rolls along and we learn what the stones are there for. I really admire the skill Pratchett has with pulling the humour of the story back to something that can genuinely unsettle the reader for a while. It shows the true power of his writing.

So I love Granny. She is one of my favourite characters in all of SFF but this book definitely felt more like a standout moment for the other witches of the coven. But Nanny Ogg and Magrat definitely stand out that little bit more in this book. Out of the two, it is safe to say that Nanny has had a lot more significant moments in the earlier books. Her postcards home are part of the framing of Witches Abroad, her advice to Magrat in Wyrd Sisters does lead to her and Verence finally making a go of it and she just is generally always the bawdy motherly type. However, there is a moment where she confronts a character directly and just to give you a bit of a taste of it, she says;

‘….I’ve always had a soft spot for you. But I’ve got kiddies, y’see, and they don’t hide under the stairs because they’re frit of the thunder, and they don’t put milk out…and they don’t hurry home because of the night and before we go back to them dark old ways I’ll see you nailed.

Nanny Ogg, calling out an ancient and powerful being. Nanny Ogg, the woman who has an endless line of children, grandchildren and daughter in laws she doesn’t know the names of, stands on front of an old, old soul and threatens them for the sheer fact they didn’t take her seriously. Nanny Ogg is just another kind of badass.

Coming back to Magrat, I was very happy to see her standing up to Granny, questioning some of the standards around her and just growing further and further. Her relationship with Verence was never so straightforward but then again nothing she ended up working with ever was. I see a lot of my teenage self in her in this one, despite her being in her mid to late thirties, and especially when she does come into herself later in the book. I had a similar moment of telling the world “FUCK OFF” and going off to do something in a temper.

Something this book does well is to bring the scale of the Discworld into the small world of Lancre. We see some of the big players from Unseen University; Arch chancellor Munstrum Ridcully, the Bursar and of course my favourite orangutan and yours, the Librarian. Death makes the obligatory appearance as well, apparently blacksmiths are just as vital as witches on the Disc. Something that makes the world where belief is power, you pay thieves to get a receipt to prove it’s happened and there is a Death of Rats that little bit more wonderful.

Overall, I feel like I’m really getting into the thickest part of the Disworld series. This is the 15th book I’ve read in the whole series and according to percentages, roughly 37% way through the series. I honestly just fall in love more and more with Terry Pratchett’s work and just begin to miss him as a person. Thanks for checking in guys and happy reading to you all.

★★★★/5

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