Theda Withel

From Discworld & Terry Pratchett Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Theda Withel
File:Synmine.jpg
Early Iconograph of the Moving Pictures star Delores de Syn by Kit Cox
Name Theda Withel
Race Human
Age
Occupation Milkmaid, Moving Pictures Star
Physical appearance
Residence Holy wood.
Death
Parents
Relatives Uncle Oswald (deceased)
Children
Marital Status
Appearances
Books Moving Pictures
Cameos


Theda Withel says of herself that she "comes from a little town you probably haven't heard of". After running away from there to "be someone" - to be the most famous person in the whole world, she finds herself in the Moving Pictures industry at Holy Wood, where she takes the name Ginger.

Using the name Delores De Syn, she starred in several movies with Victor Tugelbend, usually as the maiden to be rescued. She is likely descended from the High Priestess of Holy Wood, and while sleeping, she was repeatedly possessed by an unknown force, which attempted to use her to awaken the Holy Wood guardian, which would have put a stop to the Holy Wood magic and prevented the Things from the Dungeon Dimensions from breaking through to the Discworld.

She ended up as famous as she wanted - when sitting next to Lord Vetinari people recognised her but not him.

Presumably, once the Holy Wood magic dies and is pretty much wiped from the mass consciousness, Ginger reverts to calling herself Theda and goes back to being a milkmaid in the little town you've probably never heard of. Or maybe not.

There is more than a little suggestion of romance between Ginger and Victor Tugelbend.

She is not known to be any relation to Stren Withel. Indeed, the only relative she mentions is her Uncle Oswald, whom she only saw once while attending his funeral.

Annotation

Terry Pratchett says that he did not intend the name "Ginger" as a reference to Gone with the Wind's Scarlett. If that's true it must be the only film reference that doesn't follow in the book Moving Pictures, which is full of hundreds of them.

Her name is likely a reference to Theda Bara (see below) and - obviously - Ginger Rogers. There is much of Marilyn Monroe about her, too, as evidenced by Withel's daydream of the famous blowing skirt picture of Monroe. Her character also has a brief reference to Greta Garbo and her famous line "I want to be alone" - this was misheard in the book as "I want to be a lawn".

Theda Bara (an anagram of Death Arab) was a famous movie star of the 1910s. Her portrayal of evil women in movies like When a Woman Sins and The She Devil caused the current meaning of the word 'vamp' to be added to the English language.

In the scene near the end of the book a 50-foot high Ginger carries an ape (the Librarian) up a tower. This is a reference to Attack of the Fifty-Foot Woman combined with a reversal of King Kong, and - once the scales and tentacles start to emerge - Godzilla.

In the audiobook version of Moving Pictures, narrator Nigel Planer speaks Theda Withel's parts with a faux American accent. This is an interesting parallel, as English actress Vivien Leigh had to fake a "southern" American accent while playing Scarlet O'Hara, Withel's Gone With the Wind counterpart.