Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Read-Along: Part 4 of A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett

This is, sadly, the final post for the read-along of Terry Pratchett's A Hat Full of Sky.  I have heard that the read-alongs may continue this fall for the second two novels of the Tiffany Aching series, so I'm planning to pick up reading the rest of the series then!  Thank you Dab of Darkness and Little Red Reviewer for organizing this and putting together the discussion questions. I have enjoyed reading everyone's responses, and I hope to see you all in read-alongs in the future! 

This post contains spoilers through the end of A Hat Full of Sky.  A usual review of the novel will appear relatively soon (after Ethan of Athos).

1) Mistress Weatherwax has a philosophy of her job is to make sure everyone today can get to tomorrow - such as letting people believe in water sprites and goblins if it lets them lead a better life. Do you see yourself somewhere in this philosophy?

Expediency over accuracy, provided it gives the same results. I have to admit I do fall into that sometimes in interpersonal interactions.  I'm more of a supporter of Miss Level's strategy, though.  I like to think that I would explain the tiny invisible bugs every time, rather than supporting baseless superstition.  Mistress Weatherwax had a plan for that, too, though.  She was going to send up the wandering teachers, so that they could get a little accuracy in the long run.

2) Do you think Mr. Weavall will be successful with the Widow Tussy? Do you think Tiffany got off light concerning Mr. Weavall's stash?

Realistically, I think he and Widow Tussy will learn that it's very hard to adjust to someone else's habits after living with your own for ~90 years.  The gold can't hurt, though.  I suppose Tiffany got off easy, but I think it will actually stick with her longer.  If Mr. Weavall had yelled at her, she would have felt punished and then probably felt relieved afterward.  As it is, with Tiffany's personality, I think she's going to punish herself with guilt for much longer.  

3) What was your favorite part of Mistress Weatherwax's and Tiffany's bonding time in the mountains with the little picnic and the owls and such? 

Possibly the whole thing where Mistress Weatherwax refused to believe she snored.  I mean, seriously, she was inside the owl, she had to be able to hear it!

4) Petulia Gristle heard Tiffany was going to face something nasty and went out to see if she could use some help. Have you ever had an awkward situation like that? 

This is slightly off the topic of the question, but I really loved how Petulia grew in this last section of the book.  It was great that she was the one who put Annagramma in her place, not Tiffany. Tiffany is still more or less an outsider, after all (she went to one young witch's meeting).  Petulia has probably been putting up with Annagramma's crap for ages. 

As for someone offering you help when you don't actually need (or want) it, I always try to make up something quick and easy for them to do.  People like to feel they're helping, sometimes especially when there's nothing they can do.  The important thing is that they feel useful!

5) Tiffany has her first and last conversation with the Hiver/Arthur. Did you see Tiffany's answer to the Hiver dilemma coming or were you taken by surprise? 

I did not suspect that the hiver wanted to die.  I was taken by surprise.  Also, on a very pleasant surprise, I did not expect to see Death in this book!  Why is Death always a really great character in fantasy stories?  I don't much like it in reality.

6) The Witch Trials are almost like a county fair, a happy outing for the entire family, or so Granny Weatherwax was grumbling about. What about the affair caught your attention?

It seemed kind of like a rural fair.  I liked that half the stuff there wasn't even magic.  They were sharing first aid tips and recipes and such.  Also, Petulia and the pig trick… but with a sausage!  I loved her newfound confidence.

7) In the final chapter, we learn the meaning of the title of the book. Did you feel this was a good wrap up to the novel?

Yes, I think so.  Tiffany ends back at her home, remembering where she'd come from.  In a novel about travel, reputation, and self-worth, I think it was good that she ended up back in her safe place, but with a better understanding of herself.  Also, I assumed the hat full of sky was the invisible hat she'd gotten from Mistress Weatherwax.  I suppose her new hat, the sky, is not too much different! 


  1. I thought it was great the way Petulia came on and it was a total high five moment when she told Annagramma not to interrupt. The thing is with Annagramma is that she's one of those people who it all washes over.
    The beauty of Mr Weavall and Widow Tussy is, even though they've lived alone so long and used to doing their own thing, they probably can't hear each other properly! I sort of like the fact that he got a second wind.
    I loved the whole issue with the Hiver - not that they tried to kill it but that they gave it peace.
    Death was a great character - I understand he's in other discworld stories so I'd be interested in those.
    I loved the ending. She went to her safe place - so true.
    Lynn :D

    1. Yeah, I guess you're right-- none of this will probably affect Annagramma. But at least it will affect Petulia and the others :).

      I do like the fact that he got a second wind! I guess I just couldn't quite reign in my cynicism on that question.

      I read one book that featured Death as a main character, and it was hilarious. I think it was "Reaper Man".

    2. As always, Wikipedia provides tons of info on Death and which books he appears in:

  2. I've known elderly couples who decided to keep 2 separate houses and just get together for company and sexy time. Perhaps Mr. Weavall and Widow Tussy will do the same thing.

    Death is a great character in this series. I have read some of the books that feature him and they are very, very funny. Have you read those?

    Petulia + Pig trick + Sausage = Appropriate for adult audiences only!

    1. That sounds totally reasonable to me. I think I was a bit caught up in the changing your whole life and the legal repercussions of marriage. I suppose none of that really matters in Miss Level's little town. Companionship (and sexy companionship) is definitely not a bad thing.

      I read "Reaper Man". It was actually my first Discworld novel, and I was so sold. It was hilarious!!

      Haha possibly... I would like to see that trick.

    2. My hubby's old supervisor, who was about 75 at the time, would always relate all his sexual conquests to us as . . . I suppose that it was nice to know he was 'not lonely', but I really didn't need to know the details! :D

  3. 1. I had forgotten her comment about getting the teachers along for some much-needed education: good point!

    4. You are right about Petulia: I almost cheered when she stood up to Annagramma.

    5. Mr Pratchett's Death is a truly inspired creation and he is almost always hilarious with his world-weary sarcasm . . . and he has a horse called Binky!

    6. I so wanted to know what the 'pig trick' was . . . and how she could possibly do it with a sausage! :D

    1. Maybe the pig trick will make a recurrence in future books, you never know!

  4. Next time my hubby says I snore, i'm going to give him a Granny Weatherwax line back. Because I do not snore!! ;)

    Pratchett's Death characters is the best. Maybe he's trying to tell us that death is just as misunderstood as The Hiver? that yeah, death sucks donkey balls, but it's not something we should be terrified of.

    1. I could see that. In a direct comparison, Death can't really die either (though he can take a forced vacation, apparently).