“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:
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…