Granny Weatherwax

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Granny Weatherwax
Granny Weatherwax by Kit Cox
Name Esmerelda Weatherwax
Race Human
Age Dare you ask?
Occupation Greatest Witch on the Discworld (Just ask her)
Physical appearance Tall, thin with a wart-free complexion and good teeth, (despite her best efforts,) and perpetual scowl
Residence Granny's Cottage, Bad Ass
Death begins The Shepherd's Crown
Parents Violet Weatherwax (mother)
Relatives Lily Weatherwax (sister)
Alison Weatherwax (grandmother)
Galder Weatherwax (distant cousin)
Marital Status single (very)
Books Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade, Carpe Jugulum, Nanny Ogg's Cookbook, Wintersmith, I Shall Wear Midnight, The Shepherd's Crown
Cameos Mort, The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, The Science of Discworld II: the Globe, possibly Going Postal

Granny Weatherwax, full name Esmerelda "Esme" Weatherwax, is a witch, who lives in a small cottage outside the village of Bad Ass, in the kingdom of Lancre, on the Sto Plains face of the Ramtops.


She is often nicknamed just "Granny", though she is never mentioned as having any children or grandchildren. She has names in multiple languages, which reflect her reputation. These include the Troll name Aaoograha hoa ("She Who Must Be Avoided"), Dwarf name K'ez'rek d'b'duz ("Go Around the Other Side of the Mountain") and Nac Mac Feegle name The Hag O' Hags ("The High Hag,").


According to Witches Abroad, Esme Weatherwax was born the younger of two daughters. While it’s never mentioned whether her mother was a witch, Granny mentions that her father was a hunter, who once taught Granny that "a bad hunter chases, a good hunter waits” (Lords and Ladies). While Granny was practically still just a bairn, her older sister Lily was getting into increasingly frequent rows with her parents over her behaviour. As Granny reveals to Nanny Ogg in Witches Abroad, Lily used magic to be “wanton” - and not just ordinary magic. Granny described Lily as “always looking in mirrors... Prideful as a cat, she was. Prefer to look in a mirror than out of a window, she would” ... “young men's fathers used to come round to complain”. This culminated in Lily being kicked out of the house when she was 13 years old.

After Granny had grown up, she was adamant about becoming a witch; as she reveals in Lords and Ladies, magic didn't choose her, she chose it: “I never stood in front of no-one... I camped on old Nanny Gripes’ garden until she promised to tell me everything she knew. Hah. That took her a week and I had the afternoons free. ... No I chose...” Whilst still a young woman, Granny was involved in a summer-long romance with then-aspiring Wizard, Mustrum Ridcully, but ultimately they were both committed to their respective paths of witchcraft and wizardry. Granny would became a witch, her “specialims” being edges, borrowing and headology. Her steading encompasses the village of Bad Ass, but also the Kingdom of Lancre as a whole. Granny Weatherwax, as she would come to be known, nursed her ailing mother until the time of her death; her father’s fate is unknown.

Granny is estimated to be in her seventies during the events of Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade and Carpe Jugulum, and roughtly the same age as Nanny Ogg, the two having grown up together. Yet, by the standards of Mistress Eumenides Treason, she is still considered a girl (Wintersmith).

Granny Weatherwax passes away early in the events of The Shepherd's Crown, now in her 80s. After experiencing The Call, she tidies up her cottage, prepares her own wicker casket, and sets her last will and testament down in writing (confirming instructions she had already confided to Nanny Ogg), before laying herself to rest in her own bed one last time. When Death comes for her, he asks her if she was content with her life, with Granny confirming that she was satisfied to have lived the way she did and kept her part of the world safe. Death assured her that her candle will continue to flicker long after her passing and that she has left the world in a better condition than it was when she entered it. Her death is felt across the Disc: Nanny Ogg and Tiffany Aching arrive first to lay her to rest in the forest at a site pre-chosen by Granny herself, and Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully visits briefly to pay his last respects. Over the course of the events of The Shepherd's Crown, Tiffany Aching, who Granny has named her successor, over-stretches herself trying to oversee two steadings and live up to Granny's reputation as the new “Witch of Witches”, but eventually comes to accept the need to do things her way rather than simply make herself do everything Granny did.


She is considered (not least of all by herself) to be the best witch on the Discworld and is refered to by the Pictsies as the 'Hag O' Hags'. She is the resident witch of Bad Ass, but she tends to regard the whole kingdom, and indeed absolutely anywhere else she happens to be, as her rightful domain, (not unlike Adora Belle Dearheart in that respect.) Her cottage is probably the most traditional of all the witches' cottages in Lancre, complete with archaic thatch, goats, and huge thickets of 'herbs' which move even when there's no breeze. She has a special fondness for bees and keeps several hives in her garden.

She prefers to use "headology" instead of magic as the wizards practise it, believing that magic is not so much flashy lights as knowing things that other people don't know. As a witch she is, on the one hand, feared by the people of the Ramtops and, on the other hand, respected as a midwife, herbalist, and the spiritual version of a coal-mine canary. Granny likes to borrow, a special kind of magic where the user enters the mind of an animal and can see through the eyes of that animal. As this technique renders her own body totally dormant, she now wears a small cardboard sign with the words "I Aten't Dead" on it to avoid unnecessary embarrassment.

Illustrated by Mick Collins

"Granny had been introduced to broomstick flying quite late in life, and after some initial suspicion had taken to it like a bluebottle to an ancient fish-head. A problem, however, was that Granny saw every flight simply as a straight line from A to B and was unable to get alongside the idea that other users of the air might have any rights whatsoever; the flight migration patterns of an entire continent had been changed because of that simple fact. High-speed evolution among local birds had developed a generation that flew on their backs, so that they could keep a watchful eye on the skies...Granny's implicit belief that everything should get out of her way extended to other witches, very tall trees and, on occasion, mountains." (Wyrd Sisters).

Granny's opinions about other things being in the way of her broomstick has since moved with modern technology, as in Going Postal we hear of an anonymous witch from Lancre who succeeded in bringing the clacks line down by riding her broomstick into one of the towers, damaging its sensitive mechanisms and terrifying the luckless crew.

While this witch is not identified and remains anonymous, a fairly accurate guess could be hazarded as to her name... it is noteworthy that Reacher Gilt himself must have thought twice about pursuing any claim for damages or inconvenience! The Science of Discworld II: the Globe confirms that she has had several such accidents, and believes the towers move into her way. Her broomstick was originally borrowed from a witch called Hilta Goatfounder, and despite the best and continued efforts of the dwarfs servicing her broomstick, it won't take off without a considerable run.

Her elder sister left home in her youth, eventually to become a fairy godmother. Granny seems to harbour a bitter resentment of this fact, because after that she felt compelled to be the "good one" in the family; she also believes that she could have been a lot more evil than her sister. Despite this, she did stay at home and nurse her mother until she died.

Granny's personality would, to many, lend itself nicely to the "bad witch" stereotype: she's competitive, selfish and ambitious, with a quick temper and a sharp tongue. She also wields a gaze stern enough to make bears cower in humiliated shame. Her practical history, however, clearly puts her in the "good witch" camp (a sort of personification of "tough love"), if only because she's too proud to be any other kind.

Granny Weatherwax has faced Death many times, and has not backed down yet. She has also faced and defeated Elves, vampires (or vampyres), and wizards. (See Lords and Ladies, Carpe Jugulum and Equal Rites)

Her companions, as far as a witch can have these, are Nanny Ogg, Magrat Garlick and Agnes Nitt. She was Eskarina Smith's first teacher in the arts of magic, until she realised that Esk's magic was of a different sort altogether. She gave Tiffany Aching her hat. She was once romantically involved with Mustrum Ridcully. Recently, via Tiffany Aching, she has been acquired by a white kitten called You. This is surprising, as Granny is, by her own admission, not a cat person; Greebo, who knows bad news when it blesses the house, always hides when she visits Nanny Ogg.

Character annotations

"Weatherwax" was also the name of the author of an old lawbook. Source


  • According to Equal Rites, Granny Weatherwax, amongst other things, makes her own liquor for medicinal purposes (she has her own Still); her "triple-distilled white mountain peach brandy" is well-known even in the town of Ohulan Cutash (a town fifteen miles away from Bad Ass), and it's regarded as "much better than beer". Granny's triple-distilled peach brandy isn't mentioned again until the events of The Shepherd's Crown.
  • Weatherwax is a real (but rare) surname.
  • In an article in the Telegraph, Neil Gaiman revealed that Pratchett's intended ending for The Shepherd's Crown, which he didn’t end up having time to work in, was that Granny had been Borrowing You to observe Tiffany during the events of the novel, and doesn’t properly move on until at the end.

Also See