Glenda Sugarbean

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Glenda Sugarbean
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Name Glenda Sugarbean
Race Human
Age
Occupation Head Cook, Night Kitchen
Physical appearance Homely, short, endowed
Residence Dolly Sisters, Ankh-Morpork
Death
Parents
Relatives Augusta Sugarbean (Grandmother, Deceased)
Children
Marital Status
Appearances
Books Unseen Academicals
Cameos


Queen of the Night Kitchen in Unseen Academicals. A doozy with a pie, but even better with a metaphysical hammer...

Her family are sought-after chefs and cooks and in fact, we learn Glenda is sitting on an offer to transfer her skills to the Fools' Guild, an institution that knows its pies. Even Vetinari himself is tempted to head-hunt her skills for the Palace kitchen, and in passing we learn her grandmother was a very successful pie-maker to the Assassins' Guild. Glenda herself invented the Ploughman's Pie, complete with a special technique to keep the pickled onions crisp. She does, however, do a small side job: selling beauty products to trolls for Mr Stronginthearm.

Glenda is, in terms of looks, what the wizards would call "pleasant" or "homely" (although a very well-kept home). Her bosom would be a better fit on a girl two foot taller. She is not in the same league as her friend and (eventually) model Juliet Stollop. Trev, her former boyfriend, refers to Glenda initially as a "fat girl" who makes a great pie. While she regularly reminds Juliet not to indulge in any hanky-panky, she is both unsurprised and disappointed when any opportunities for some hanky-panky of her own are swiftly dashed or ignored.

She is quite motherly and strives to always be in control, regularly doing other people's thinking for them. Not only does she look after Juliet, but Glenda also takes care of her elderly neighbours. She has to hold herself back from taking other people's tasks on herself to ensure they are done right. Her inner voice regularly reprimands her for doing this, among other things. She is, however, always standing up for the little guy, which is often Mr. Nutt. Throughout Unseen Academicals we see Glenda's character develop as she resolves not to be part of the "crab bucket" of folk wisdom that keeps poor people from aspiring to high achievement, eventually telling Juliet to pursue her career as Juliet sees fit and to be true to herself rather than following Glenda's previous repressive advice.

She secretly reads trashy romance novels by Iradne Comb-Buttworthy; a guilty pleasure, despite her realization they all have basically the same plot. When encountering a chaise lounge in the UU cellars, she prays for a moment of privacy so she can practice languishing. She learned some fancy words from these novels, but has never heard them aloud: When Mr. Nutt used the term "faux pas", she asked him if it looked to say "forks pass" when written down.

She owns a teddy bear called Mr. Wobble; due to a childhood sewing error, he has three eyes. She very rarely cries.

During the events of Unseen Academicals, Glenda learns to live a little, gaining strength from challenging people's authority (even talking back to the Patrician) and taking risks. She begins to appreciate that people need to pursue 'the dream', flogging beauty products to trolls, and even coming up with several original marketing ideas of her own, much to the surprise of her employer. By the end of the book, she has graciously relinquished her hold over Juliet's life and is romantically involved with Nutt, planning to ride off with him to Quirm.

A young UU employee named Glenda appears briefly in the fourth Science of Discworld, but it's unclear if she's the same Glenda.

Annotations

Glenda joins the ranks of Pratchett characters best described as a "fine figure of a woman," along with Lady Sybil and Agnes Nitt. Pratchett seems to have a particular affinity for this relatively underserved type, allowing them to develop as many-dimensional human characters with a range of interests and feelings rather than as comic relief. The characters are not defined by their body type, but do encounter issues stemming from others' perception of them (e.g. Lady Sybil is underestimated by her captors in The Fifth Elephant) or from their own insecurities (as does Agnes in Maskerade). Glenda is constantly reminded of her friend Juliet's beauty and her own comparative plainness, but handles this with a tremendous practicality.