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4.1 out of 5 stars
Equal Rites
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2005
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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on 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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on November 28, 2001
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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on November 28, 2001
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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on November 28, 2001
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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on October 21, 2000
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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on July 29, 2000
In this, the thrid book of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, a young girl is given a wizard's powers. Well everyone knows that a girl can't be a wizard! Girls are witches, and that's that.
Esk is the eighth son of an eighth son... or at least she was supposed to be. The wizard that bestowed his staff and powers upon her died the second she was born and didn't know that the eighth son *wasn't* a son at all. As Esk grows she is taken as an apprentice witch by Granny Weatherwax, a wonderful, humorous old woman that doesn't take any nonsense, especially from that wizard's staff that has a mind of its own. But soon Granny discovers that the wizardly powers just won't stay out of it and that Esk must be taken to Unseen University for training. The only problem is that the Unseen University doesn't allow women, after all, wizardy is a man's world. Join Esk and Granny on their way to Ankh-Morpork and see what happens in this wonderful book.
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What can you expect of one book by Terry Pratchett? Just the best social critic/parody brought to you courtesy of Discworld's characters. In this book we're introduced to Esk, seventh son of a seventh son, gifted with one of the best gifts for a mage: a powerful magic rod; the problem is that Esk is not a he, is a wonderful she and you know how sexist mages can be. So it's turn for Granny Weatherwax -one of my favorite characters, by the way- to get hands on and try to teach some headology and witchcraft to the young gal after which she moves some strings to get her into the School of Magic and adventures past -you don't want me to tell more, it's pretty interesting what happens next ;)-. The great style of Terry Prattchet and the almost living characters of this world made an excellent book of this one, one of my favorites choices. Two thumbs up
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on May 24, 1999
For a light read, this book is surprisingly thorough in characterization, and besides that, absolutely hilarious. While the plot isn't the most original (girl must prove her magical skill to a bunch of male chauvinists in order to study to be a wizard) the presentation is satisfying. This book delievers the tradition elements where it needs it, and adds refreshing twists, too, mainly by telling a large part of the story through the eyes of a well-meaning older witch, Granny Weatherwax. You can't help but love every character in this book. A relaxing, fun ride!
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on May 24, 1999
This was the third of the Terry Pratchett books that I have read and it is totally awesome! I think that people like Roald Dahl should be jealous and bow down to the mighty Terry Pratchett and I think he deserves awards for the content in his books. I think that everybody in the world should at least one of his books and maybe if they read 'Equal Rites' everyone would have the same opinion as me. Equal Rites is the best book I have ever read as is 'The Colour of Magic'.
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