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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a man's world
Everyone at the Unseen University knows that. They're all men, naturally, so they can't imagine any other way for it to be.
Just don't say it out loud around Granny Weatherwax, since she's prob'ly the midwife who delivered that man when he was very young, and the mother wasn't male either. We all get along just fine as long as the women have things their way, and the...
Published on July 21 2005 by wiredweird

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One of my less enjoyable trips to the Discworld
Equal Rites is the third Discworld novel, and in it Pratchett begins to reveal just how diverse a place it is. The inept wizard Rincewind is not to be found in these pages, nor are Twoflower the Tourist and his Luggage. Discworld is home to an incredible number of fascinating characters, and in this novel we are introduced to one of the most remarkable and unforgettable...
Published on Dec 29 2002 by Daniel Jolley


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a man's world, July 21 2005
By 
wiredweird "wiredweird" (Earth, or somewhere nearby) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Equal Rites (Paperback)
Everyone at the Unseen University knows that. They're all men, naturally, so they can't imagine any other way for it to be.
Just don't say it out loud around Granny Weatherwax, since she's prob'ly the midwife who delivered that man when he was very young, and the mother wasn't male either. We all get along just fine as long as the women have things their way, and the men have things their way too - the women's way, that is.
No one has the bad taste to comment on this arrangement until Eskarina is born, and a wizard makes a silly mistake. Could happen to anyone really - his dying moments unwittingly infuse the baby girl with wizardly, male magic.
In time, this brings the wrath Mistress Esmeralda Weatherwax down on the fortress of male magic, which is invaded and defeated never even knowing it was engaged. Saves a lot of work and running aroung that way, y'know. But Esme's real problem is that little girl, and her real problem is a little boy, and his real problem is -- unreal.
Neither the womanly witches nor the male mages are quite ready for this little girl with tomboy magic. Nor is she quite ready for herself.
As in Pratchett's other tales, the fun is in the telling. This battle of the sexes, like so many others, is fought to a draw - there will be cultural exchanges, visiting rights and such, and jittery kind of peace. All end up happy enough, but it's still one world with two peoples in it, male and female.
Except maybe for that girl and that boy. Male and female yes, in a child's way, but they have much too much in common.
//wiredweird
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One of my less enjoyable trips to the Discworld, Dec 29 2002
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Equal Rites (Paperback)
Equal Rites is the third Discworld novel, and in it Pratchett begins to reveal just how diverse a place it is. The inept wizard Rincewind is not to be found in these pages, nor are Twoflower the Tourist and his Luggage. Discworld is home to an incredible number of fascinating characters, and in this novel we are introduced to one of the most remarkable and unforgettable ones--the witch Granny Weatherwax. We also get a closer look at Unseen University and the wizards who call it home. The eighth son of an eighth son is always a wizard, as everyone knows. Unfortunately, the novel's eighth son of an eighth son turns out to be a girl, which is a fact Granny Weatherwax points out immediately. Granny is a traditional witch; she doesn't hold with living in towns and selling love potions and other sundry matters. She teaches young Esk witchcraft, but it eventually becomes apparent that the child is a born wizard. Getting the child to Ankh-Morpork and Unseen University is not easy, but the hardest part of the mission is getting her accepted as a female. There's also a small matter of the terrible beings from Beyond trying to break through to this side.

I enjoyed this novel, but it didn't seem to have the magical aura of most Pratchett books. Young Esk was too willful and erratic, and I never understood why she kept wandering away from Granny Weatherwax on the journey to Ankh-Morpork since Granny was trying to fulfill her dream of becoming a wizard. I also thought the character of Simon, a stuttering but brilliant young wizard, should have been developed more fully; he formed an important part of the story, but I never knew him well enough to strongly like him or dislike him. Esk's frustration and anger at being rejected as a girl are understandable, but some of her reactions seemed a little too childish to me. Toward the end, I sometimes got the impression that I was reading a piece of juvenile fiction--there's nothing wrong with that, and Pratchett has written some excellent novels for a younger audience, but it left me feeling a little empty and let-down. Even Granny Weatherwax, one of my favorite Discworld characters, seemed only a shadow of the Granny I have come to know in later novels. This novel also has some sexual innuendo material in the background, which is something I found a little disconcerting and atypical of Pratchett. It does add to some of the humor, though, especially in the scenes featuring Granny and ArchChancellor Cutangle. Weirdest of all was a direct reference to Steven Spielberg--when I read Pratchett, I am in his world, and I felt as if he kicked me out of his universe momentarily for no good reason.

The humor is the real strength of this novel. Pratchett's ever-present comical metaphors are particularly strong in places, and he is able to exploit cliches in ways no other author can. The descriptions of Granny having to get long running starts in order to get her broom off the ground and of the head wizards getting all excited about increasing their knowledge by increasing their ignorance of brand new concepts are especially hilarious. Comedy saves this particular novel. I would have liked to see much more character development; as it is, Esk and Simon are pretty forgettable characters, and the charm of Granny Weatherwax is really not realized here. I did enjoy getting a closer view inside Unseen University, but the wizards in the book seemed shallow and sort of stereotypical. I saw a lot, but I didn't learn a lot. In the end, though, this is a Discworld novel, so it is definitely better than most anything else you can find on the shelves, but I think it is one of Pratchett's weakest efforts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Surreal genius, April 20 2002
Increasingly, I respect Terry Pratchett's genius. "Equal Rites", as his other work, reads effortlessly. The plot moves swiftly, with interesting angles (if not twists), and the bizarreness of Discworld is completely logical to fickle human beings.
Dying wizard Drum Billet eagerly passes his magic staff on to a newborn wizard - the eighth son of an eighth son. Unfortunately, in his rush, he failed to notice the child was a girl. Unwittingly, Billet is responsible for the first ever female Wizard in Discworld.
All, including Granny Weatherwax (a witch) try to ignore the event, but neither the magic staff nor little girl Esk will let them.
Esk grows up amidst her brothers, but when she's nearly nine, a frightening incident involving Granny opens the flood gates to her magic abilities. Granny decides it is time to teach Esk to become a witch, in the hope that her wizardness can be squashed.
Of course, this proves impossible, and soon Granny and Esk need to embark on a journey to the Unseen University of Wizards. Esk finds that the chauvinistic wizards are unwilling to entertain the notion of a female wizard. But a nine-year old little girl and a cranky granny can be more than a determined handful ...
The character of Granny reappears in later Discworld books and she is an absolute delight: a stubborn witch with more that the average share of common sense - well, mostly anyway.
The genius of Pratchett is that you don't even notice how quickly you are willing to accept Discworld and its characters. Before you know it, this little cocoon of enchanting surreality is over.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the Rincewind sub-series books, Nov. 28 2001
By 
boston403 "boston403" (rockville, md United States) - See all my reviews
I read "Equal Rites" after enjoying both "The Color of Magic" and "The Light Fantastic". I especially liked Granny Weatherwax, who I had heard about as being a great character. I also liked Cutangle the Archchancellor, and mildly found Hilta Goatfounder and Mrs.Whitlow to be quite funny. I really hated Ksandra. Really, really hated her. Not because of her accent. Because she does absolutely nothing! There were also many similarities to Harry Potter, although that came later. First, Drum Billet giving Gordo Smith his staff and Granny trying to burn it remind me of the first chapter of "HP and the Sorcerer's Stone". Cern and Gulta were like two Dudleys. Especially since Gulta gets turned into a pig. Gander was a little like Hagrid, as was Granny. The Skillers, although they were a brief presence, reminded me of the Dursleys. Hilta was reminiscent of Doris Crockford. Mrs. Whitlow was a version of Professor McGonagall. These are just a few. If you don't know Discworld, you'll like Equal Rites. If you love Discworld, Equal Rites is a great book for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the Rincewind sub-series books, Nov. 28 2001
By 
boston403 "boston403" (rockville, md United States) - See all my reviews
I read "Equal Rites" after enjoying both "The Color of Magic" and "The Light Fantastic". I especially liked Granny Weatherwax, who I had heard about as being a great character. I also liked Cutangle the Archchancellor, and mildly found Hilta Goatfounder and Mrs.Whitlow to be quite funny. I really hated Ksandra. Really, really hated her. Not because of her accent. Because she does absolutely nothing! There were also many similarities to Harry Potter, although that came later. First, Drum Billet giving Gordo Smith his staff and Granny trying to burn it remind me of the first chapter of "HP and the Sorcerer's Stone". Cern and Gulta were like two Dudleys. Especially since Gulta gets turned into a pig. Gander was a little like Hagrid, as was Granny. The Skillers, although they were a brief presence, reminded me of the Dursleys. Hilta was reminiscent of Doris Crockford. Mrs. Whitlow was a version of Professor McGonagall. These are just a few. If you don't know Discworld, you'll like Equal Rites. If you love Discworld, Equal Rites is a great book for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the Rincewind sub-series books, Nov. 28 2001
By 
boston403 "boston403" (rockville, md United States) - See all my reviews
I read "Equal Rites" after enjoying both "The Color of Magic" and "The Light Fantastic". I especially liked Granny Weatherwax, who I had heard about as being a great character. I also liked Cutangle the Archchancellor, and mildly found Hilta Goatfounder and Mrs.Whitlow to be quite funny. I really hated Ksandra. Really, really hated her. Not because of her accent. Because she does absolutely nothing! There were also many similarities to Harry Potter, although that came later. First, Drum Billet giving Gordo Smith his staff and Granny trying to burn it remind me of the first chapter of "HP and the Sorcerer's Stone". Cern and Gulta were like two Dudleys. Especially since Gulta gets turned into a pig. Gander was a little like Hagrid, as was Granny. The Skillers, although they were a brief presence, reminded me of the Dursleys. Hilta was reminiscent of Doris Crockford. Mrs. Whitlow was a version of Professor McGonagall. These are just a few. If you don't know Discworld, you'll like Equal Rites. If you love Discworld, Equal Rites is a great book for you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Almost perfect!, Aug. 1 2001
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This was my first exposure to Terry Pratchett, and stands as one of my favorite Discworld novels. It is a merciless satire of one of the long-standing fantasy stereotypes... men can be wizards, while women must settle for being witches.
Through the eyes of Granny Weatherwax, among others, we see that there is nothing wrong with "settling" for being a witch. In fact, witches might be superior! After all, when you have the power, there's no need to flaunt it.
But a young witch (very young... just a child) wants to see why she can't be a wizard. This leads to interesting and clever meditations on men and women, the differences between them, and how to relate to the opposite sex.
As in almost all of PTerry's books, we also see some interesting side-swipes at academia and authority figures. But more than anything else, this book shreds old stereotypes and cliches about wizards and witches.
What kept me from giving this book a five star rating? Simply the fact that this book does not quite stand alone. If this is your first exposure to the Discworld, you might be a bit stumped by Octarine, the Librarian, and a few other running gags or background concepts. But if you've read the first two (Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic), then this book will be a delightful new addition to your personal library.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Different Than the First Two, but Satisfying, March 6 2001
By 
J. D. Edwards (Grapevine, TX USA) - See all my reviews
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Maybe it's just me, but I missed Rincewind and Twoflower as I read this, hoping they would pop up and find themselves nearly blown to bits or narrowly escape getting eaten by something. Although Granny Weatherwax is a funny character in her own right, and Esk's inability to control herself is sometimes interesting, I just miss the bungling misadventures that came before.
That said, this is still a great book, and any fan of Discworld would do well to read it. It seems at this point that Pratchett was still filling in the gaps and trying to decide on characters and setting, as well as just what exactly the otherworldly beings of magic actually are and can do. This book answers some fundamental questions about why the disc is like it is, and thus moves forward the whole mythology underlying the strange things that happen in the individual books.
Further, the parallels with the modern world do continue in fine style, this time centering on the young girl wishing to become a wizard - a males only profession. One wonders if the young lady entering the Citadel had to endure the presence of a librarian-turned-primate in order to further her study. Regardless, it's fun and interesting.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A story about magic, Dec 30 2000
Pratchett seems to love the character dynamic between the Curmudgeon and the Innocent, when both are working together towards the same goals. He used this to great effect with Rincewind and Twoflower in the first two books of his Discworld series, and it pops up again here.
Granny Weatherwax (the curmudgeon) is a witch. She is charged with steering 8-year old Esk towards wizardry. Only Esk is a girl, and as we all know, girls can't be wizards. She was supposed to be the eighth son of an eighth son, but somebody messed up the paperwork. It is this conflict that is central to the book. Pratchett does a nice job lampooning the (perceived) differences between men and women (i.e., practical vs. intuitive knowledge; book study vs. study of nature, etc.) that exist in our world, transporting them to his own imagined landscape. That's to be expected from a book punnishly titled "Equal Rites". On top of that, we get a cunning parody of institutes of higher learning. Unseen University (where boys go to become wizards) and its hierarchy of learned scholars knocks the stuffing out of scholastic life.
All the Pratchett devices are back for another run through the ringer. Along with the above mentioned character types, we also have some silly humour (a group of marzipan ducks magically anthropomorphize, only to melt when they take to the river; "that's natural selection for you," comments the cheeky narrator). And another inanimate object without a face inexplicably manages to make facial expressions. Twoflower's Luggage has an heir apparent in Esk's magic staff. Some comments I've read state that Pratchett relies too heavily on these devices in later books. Well, it's only three books into the series, and I still find them fresh and interesting. Time will tell, though.
While not as laugh-out-loud funny as its predecessors, "Equal Rites" moves along its narrative with much more force. Which still makes it an entertaining read. Still, here's hoping that Pratchett managed to combine the two in equal proportions as the series went along.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Esk-quisite! Simply Wizard!, Oct. 21 2000
By 
Pratchett's EQUAL RITES is hilarious from beginning to end. An illiterate 9-year-old witch's assistant, Eskarina (or just Esk) Smith, is by an odd mischance left with a wizard's staff and decides she wants to become a wizard. That upsets the wizards of the Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork because it's somehow against the "lore," though no one could quite find the exact reason why. She is aided by Granny Weatherwax, her witch mentor, who is one of the most fully realized comic characters this side of Dickens.
For instance, she finds lodgings "on the top floor next to the well-guarded premises of a respectable dealer in stolen property because, as Granny had heard, good fences make good neighbors." Pratchett abounds in wonderfully graphic puns and felicitous expressions: "The air was full of the busy silence of the night, which is created by hundreds of small furry things treading very carefully in the hope of finding dinner while avoiding being the main course."
I won't say what happens, because that would be telling. This is the first of Pratchett's novels set in Ankh-Morpork. Pratchett is never more comfortable than describing this congenial hellhole. (For example: "There was also the distinctive river smell of the Ankh, which suggested that several armies had used it first as a urinal and then as a sepulcher.")
Some day when you are really down and need a wondrous lift, pick up this story of how Granny Weatherwax helped Esk become a bona fide wizard.
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Equal Rites
Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett (School & Library Binding - April 1 2000)
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