December 27, 2002

Lords and Ladies, by Terry Pratchett

This book follows directly after Pratchett's Witches Abroad, and concerns what happens after Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat Garlick return home. Highest among the scheduled event is the coming Royal Wedding; Magrat and King Verence have had an understanding for some while (if two people who can't talk to each other without getting tongue-tied can be said to have an understanding), and the great day is approaching. But there are troublesome currents among the young girls of Lancre. They are wearing black clothing and white makeup, choosing new names like Diamanda and Perdita (yes, that's right--they're Goths), and taking up the study of magic, much to Granny Weatherwax's disgust.

And to Granny Weatherwax's dismay as well, as it soon becomes clear that only Perdita Nitt (nee Agnes) has any talent in that direction at all. But the leader of the girls has been spending time near the Dancers, a ring of stones on a high meadow. The Dancers guard one of the entrances to Faerie, and Diamanda has been getting her power from the Faerie Queen.

This is not a good thing, for reasons that unfold during the tale. But the important thing to remember is that before J.R.R. Tolkien came along and redefined elvishness for ever, elves were called "the Fair Folks" and "the Lords and Ladies" and such like names for one simple reason--it simply didn't do to make them mad. Or to attract their attention, for that matter.

Along with all of this, you also get choice information about the Stick and Bucket Dance, Ancient Lancre History, what it takes to be the greatest blacksmith in the world, and the farrier's word--that secret word that allows the blacksmith to shoe any horse, no matter how spirited.

On the whole, I'd not say that this one's quite as good as its two predecessors....but I enjoyed it all the same.

Posted by Will Duquette at December 27, 2002 03:52 PM