It’s no secret that I used to be mortally terrified of the Wicked Witch of the West. She was a constant visitor to my worst nightmares. However, over the years, thanks to the efforts of many storytellers, I have come to understand that not all witches are the monsters I thought them to be as a young child.
Glinda was not enough to convince me. After all, she made Dorothy go on the whole long trip, without giving her all the pertinent information. Can’t trust her.
I think the book that really got me thinking about the unfair treatment of witches was The Conjurer Princess by Vivian Vande Velde. I read this one back when I was around eleven. Poor Princess Lylene starts out her quest to save her kidnapped sister by learning magic from a wizard – magic that makes her age rapidly and has her hunted as a witch. Sure, Lylene wasn’t always a paragon of virtue. She made mistakes, got some blood on her hands. But her goals were noble and she was driven by the desire to help her sister.
Shortly after this, I saw Teen Witch for the first time. And you just can’t spend any time with Louise Miller and still think witches are wicked. Pretty sure that it’s an actual impossibility.
After this, I took a look at the witches that had most terrified me back in the day. Each of these women, admittedly, chose some unfortunate ways of expressing their anger, but that doesn’t mean that their anger wasn’t justified.
Yes, the Wicked Witch of the West’s fireballs and kidnapping were a little extreme, but I’d be pretty put out myself if I found some kid robbing my sister’s grave. And no, fattening children up with the intention of eating them should never be a go-to plan, but perhaps Hansel and Gretel shouldn’t have literally started eating the witch out of house and home. Sure, the Sanderson Sisters wanted to suck the lives out of all the children in Salem to ensure their eternal youth, but….Nope, can’t actually find a way to justify that. They were just evil. But, great singers, right?
So, today I’m Team Witch. Whether they ride brooms, dance under the moon, own a couple cauldrons and a scrying mirror, run a nightclub, or are just genuine badasses like Minerva McGonagall.
Who are your favorite witches, good, bad or otherwise?
Today’s breakfast recommendation: Gingerbread house (Just make sure no one’s living in it before you start eating).