Witch Week: the fuse is lit

Please to remember
the Fifth of November,
Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I see no reason
why gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot.

Traditional rhyme

Welcome, one and all, to this year’s Witch Week which as you can see features the theme Treason and Plot.

Newbies might not know that the origin of this event, now run by Lizzie Ross and myself, stems from Lory Widmer Hess (Entering the Enchanted Castle) being inspired by a Diana Wynne Jones fantasy called Witch Week, the narrative of which ran from 31st October to November 5th—in other words, from Halloween to Bonfire Night.

Bonfire Night in the UK marks the anniversary of when conspirator Guy Fawkes was caught in 1605 ready to blow up Parliament with gunpowder, so it’s apt that we don’t forget conspiracy as a theme for our week as well as our frequent past focus on witchery.

Cruikshank’s Guy Fawkes (1840)

What delights have we got lined up for you? Here’s the schedule.

  • Day 1, Sunday 31st October. Lory discusses Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen’s Thief series. 
  • Day 2, Monday 1st November. Conversations following a readalong of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, a play first performed 410 years ago on 1st November 1611.
  • Day 3, Tuesday 2nd November. Chris Lovegrove looks at treason and plots in Katherine Addison’s world of elves and goblins. 
  • Day 4, Wednesday 3rd November. Ola and Piotrek of Re-enchantment of the World explore Roger Zelazny’s Amber Chronicles. 
  • Day 5, Thursday 4th November. Lizzie Ross looks at a pair of fantasies featuring sinister plots: The Merlin Conspiracy and Seraphina.
  • Day 6, Friday 5th November. Jean Ping of Howling Frog considers the almost forgotten children’s classic Friday’s Tunnel by John Verney, with an international conspiracy focused on a suburban back garden.
  • Finally, on Day 7, Saturday 6th November a wrap-up post will incude an announcement of the featured theme for 2022.

But this will be an interactive event too. Some of you will be joining in The Tempest readalong and you’re invited to add your thoughts in the comments following the posted discussion. Also, I know a few of you have been reading your own book choices that fit with the theme, and so you’re very welcome to share your thoughts in these, maybe to compare or contrast with the books discussed in the post.

The fuse has been lit: are you ready for the fireworks just about to start?!

Victorian ‘Procession of a Guy’ : children preparing for Bonfire Night.

16 thoughts on “Witch Week: the fuse is lit

  1. Oh yes, let’s have a blast with some nice fireworks! 💥🎇 Especially that kind that is kind to animals and other sensitive creatures 😉 Thanks for your hard work, Chris and Lizzie!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Pingback: #WitchWeek2021 starts tomorrow | Lizzie Ross

  3. Oh this looks brilliant Chris! I can’t wait!

    I’ve just finished reading Madeline Miller’s “Circe” who is described as a witch in the story. It was one of the best books I’ve read in years. So good in fact that I decided to reread it immediately.

    I am especially looking forward to learning more about Addison’s Goblin Emperor world ( assuming that’s the series you are looking at). I have been thinking about reading this for a while.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have heard good (and also some meh) comments about the Miller, Jo, and though I have a copy I just haven’t got round to it yet—but I’m encouraged by your reaction! Lory wrote us a post on it for Witch Week in 2018, which you may enjoy: https://wp.me/s2oNj1-ww2018g

      Yes, my post is about Addison’s world in those two novels, another series (of two) I think you’d really like.


      1. I know what you mean about Miller. I read “A Song of Achilles” a few years ago and, although I really liked it in the end it wasn’t really a big hitter for me long term. “Cerce” was very different though. There was an authenticity to the voice of Cerce throughout the novel which I found very compelling. It’s quite hard to explain but is related to that sense of knowing truth when you hear it and to hearing the words of a person who has given up on artifice. It may say more about my personal history than anything, but I found it very liberating and grounding to read.

        OK – that does it – Addison’s two books are going onto my TBR! 😁😁😁 I think I need to give you an award for the person who has most expanded my reading horizons (and my TBR! LOL)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s the thing about certain novels, their ability to ‘speak’ to the individual reader in a way which mayn’t appeal to another because their experiences don’t quite chime with what’s at the heart of the novel. But it’s all about empathy in the long run, isn’t it?

          And that’s what appeals to me about the Addison novels, I empathise with the protagonists and the quiet way they go about doing what they have to do, even when it has a cost.


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