Mischief, thou art afoot

“Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot.
Take thou what course thou wilt.” Mark Anthony, in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

It may seem odd for those of us in the northern hemisphere anticipating high summer to be considering the onset of winter, but that is what this post is asking its readers to do. (Denizens of the southern hemisphere, I pray your indulgence.)

The reason for this timely yet untimely reminder is that in less than six months time, if the Fates are willing, we shall be contemplating the imminent arrival of Witch Week 2019. This is a week-long celebration of things fantastical in memory of Diana Wynne Jones, author of Witch Week — which itself charted certain singular events between Halloween and Bonfire Night.

Originally inaugurated by Lory Hess so brilliantly, last year’s Witch Week was ‘curated’ by Lizzie Ross and myself and featured the theme Fantasy + Feminism. This year we will focus on — cue diminished seventh chords and evil laughter — Villains. So, what can we expect?

Well, it’s early days but Lizzie and I are planning some highlights along the following lines, after inviting potential contributors who have kindly agreed in principle to consider writing guest posts.

In no particular order we are hoping to feature villains in Joan Aiken’s Wolves Chronicles and in selected graphic novels, Discworld baddies imagined by Terry Pratchett as antagonists for Tiffany Aching, villains in C S Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia and a few bad eggs from some of Shakespeare‘s plays. As this event is inspired by a Diana Wynne Jones novel, the featured work will be Cart & Cwidder, an instalment in her Dalemark high fantasy quartet.

For obvious reasons I won’t yet mention names of guests invited to post but of course all of you are free to add your own comments and responses to the pieces that will eventually appear. Other social media posts may feature the hashtag #WitchWeek2019.

Following 2018’s joint event Lizzie and I will be alternating hosting duties: this year it’s the turn of Calmgrove while Witch Week 2020 will appear exclusively on Lizzie Ross’ blog.

I’m unsure how our fantasy sociopaths and psychopaths, monstrous megalomaniacs, narcissistic autocrats and delusionist dictators will compare with our real world counterparts — of which there are currently far too many — but tradition dictates that, in the words of the doomed Macbeth, it’s mainly “vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself and falls on th’other” that spurs them to their ultimate downfall.

Let’s hope that this isn’t only the case in fantasy.

Here are links for the Emerald City Book Review Master Posts from earlier years and also last year’s Witch Week:

Witch Week 2018: Fantasy + Feminism
Witch Week 2017: Dreams of Arthur
Witch Week 2016: Made in America
Witch Week 2015: New Tales from Old
Witch Week 2014: Diana Wynne Jones

One of my last posts for the reading fantasy month Wyrd and Wonder before a final review, though not the last of my fantasy posts ever…

12 thoughts on “Mischief, thou art afoot

  1. I am already planning my reading! I lectured in children’s literature for many years and Wynne Jones has always been one of my favourite authors. Your previous mention of Power of Three had already made me think a re-read of some of her work was well overdue.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh, fantastic, a DWJ fan and a kidlit specialist, why haven’t I come across your specialisms before, perhaps during Lory’s time with Witch Week?! I’m looking forward to revisiting Dalemark in the autumn, do you think you might too? I’d certainly be interested to know what you plan to read for then. (By the way, my Power of Three review is scheduled for two days time, I do also hope you’ll feel able to comment on that.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love the Dalemark books, but they have always struck me as being somehow slightly ‘different’ in tone to her other work. That is in no way intended as a criticism, merely an observation. It is certainly time I re-read them.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Having reread the novella ‘Everard’s Ride’ recently I can see a kinship with two of the Dalemark books, but the prequel had a dash of Le Guin, it seemed to me, while the final volume, more contemporary in tone, was more the style we’re used to from her, I thought.

          But I do appreciate her different approaches to instalments in a sequence — she clearly hated merely rehashing a story, and sequels just grow’d (like Topsy) as nature intended rather than being artificially cloned.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m…a little late to this post. Still playing catch up on my blog feed! I’m excited and will plan to read DWJ’s “Sudden Wild Magic” since it has one of her most blatant villains. I’ll spend the next few months spotting out villains in my reading.

    (Also, during this morning’s book sorting I came upon a nice copy of Rotherweird, so now I can read it whenever I want.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Never too late, Jean! I’m guessing Sudden Wild Magic will be a reread? Rotherweird also has a couple of nasty villains, so you should be having a field day with them!


  3. Oooo, I love Cart and Cwidder! This should be great fun. I was so tempted to dive into the likes of Hamlet or Macbeth in my antihero piece, but I realized it was already pretty long, so I kept myself limited to Clint Eastwood. That’s close enough to Shakespeare…if you squint, anyway… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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