Book:Wyrd Sisters/Annotations

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(Roc pb, page 298) Speaking of rain on Lancre Castle: "It poured in torrents over the castle roofs, and somehow seemed to go right through the tiles and fill the Great Hall with a warm, uncomfortable moistness.*"

And the footnote at the bottom of the page says "Like Bognor."

When asked about this on afp in April of 1998, Pterry replied: "Dear me...and we're expected to know that New Jersey is funny...Bognor has always meant to me the quintessential English seaside experience (before all this global warming stuff): driving in the rain to get there, walking around in the rain looking for something to do when you're there, and driving home in the rain again..."

And of course, largely for the benefit of non-British readers, the classic Bognor reference involves British royalty... on his death-bed in 1935, King George V was subjected to flattery from a brown-nosing courtier seeking to hide the worst from the King (which he already knew). The courtier lightly said that before long, the King might be fit and well enough again to take the bracing sea airs at Bognor, ha, ha, ha. Knowing he was dying, King George impatiently cut through the flannel with a curt "Oh, bugger Bognor!"

(p102) "Pull up a chair and call the cat a bastard." This greeting was adopted frequently in It suggests that TP included Australian writer A. Bertram Chandler in his voracious reading of sci-fi in his youth. Chandler used the greeting "Come In. This is Liberty Hall; you can spit on the mat and call the cat a bastard!"

Terry often parodies rock songs and slips in veiled homages to lyrics. He apparently does this to see if anyone notices the really obscure ones. Here's one.

The Moody Blues wrote an epic hymn of praise to counter-cultural drug guru Dr Timothy Leary, who advocated that LSD and similar potions were key not only to mental health but also to the next stage in the evolution of humanity. Legend Of A Mind contains lyrics such as

Timothy Leary's dead....
No, no, no, no, He's outside, looking in.
Timothy Leary's dead.
No, no, no, no, He's outside, looking in.
He'll fly his astral plane....

Of course, an old witch called Mistress Weatherwax goes on, er, "trips", passing out of her body and riding in the minds of animals. People finding her in a very deep trance have leapt to unfortunate and erroneous conclusions, going as far as to lay her out in a coffin. To prevent misunderstandings, when Mistress Weatherwax pilots her own personal Astral Plane, she now wears a card around her neck reading "I ATEN'T DEAD!" (Spelling is optional on the Disc). She is often to be found outside, looking in. Often in the body of the animal whose mind she has "borrowed", wondering which idiot shut all the doors and closed all the windows, so as to make it difficult for her to get back to her body.

  • Direct Shakespeare references:
    • "When shall we three meet again?'" - much of this book (including this quote) parodies, references, or directly quotes MacBeth and other Shakespeare plays.
    • "Can you tell by the pricking of your thumbs?" parodies "By the pricking of my thumbs" from Macbeth. (something wicked, this way comes)

Death notes that "close relatives" will be able to see Verence's ghost. The fact that The Fool can sense (not see) him hints that they're related, though we later learn this isn't true.
"'Godmothers,' said Nanny Ogg promptly." - Here, Nanny mentions she's a godmother to avoid saying she's a witch. In Witches Abroad, Magrat says she's a fairy to avoid admitting she's a godmother!
"'Spinning wheels and pumpkins and pricking your finger on rose thorns and similar' [...] That was Magrat for you. Head full of pumpkins. Everyone's fairy godmother, for two pins." - much of this book foreshadows Witches Abroad


Wyrd Sisters Annotations - The Annotated Pratchett File