When destiny calls on the Winter Witch to save the North Pole, will she pretend she’s not in?
I’m a Halloweenist. If I had to pick a single holiday to celebrate during the year, Halloween would be it. A witch is the protagonist in my upcoming novel. I encourage all other holidays to refrain from applying, as I’ve given Regis my final answer.
That being said, I hate myself for what I’m about to do. It’s early October, and I’m about to talk about the holiday season that comes in the last month of the year. You know the one. Nobody can agree on how you’re supposed to greet each other, and this is America, so there will probably be a gunfight if you get it wrong. Yes, that one.
There’s an unfortunate association between that holiday season and my new novel, The Winter Riddle, which will be available November 1st wherever books are sold. I’m terribly excited to be working with Black Spot Books once again, mostly because they do all of the work. I just had to write the silly thing.
It isn’t good enough for a witch to simply wear a pointy hat and meddle with dark forces beyond mortal comprehension. People, dullards that they are, have expectations. They expect those who meddle with dark forces beyond mortal comprehension to have other qualities as well. In people’s minds, witches should be mysterious. They should be dark—hence all the wearing black—powerful, and frankly a bit scary.
A friendly witch would confuse most people. Confused people tend to be angry people, and angry people band together with pitchforks and torches. Thus, a smart witch will approach strangers with an abrasive and intimidating demeanor.
There is a great deal of magic in witchery, to be sure; however, a lot of the routine stuff is managed through intimidation. Anyone not well-versed in the art of witchery might be surprised at how many things witches accomplish without any magic at all.
Take flying on brooms, for instance. To the casual observer, it doesn’t seem possible without magic. It’s certainly out of the ordinary, but there is nothing magical about it. Flying on brooms is accomplished through sheer intimidation. It makes perfect sense once the facts have been made clear.
Broom shafts are made from branches. Their natural state is to be up in the air, attached to a tree. Octomedes’ Third Law of Doing Work clearly states that “a thing set to a purpose not of its own volition will resist that purpose whenever possible.” Simply put, branches don’t want to spend time on floors, and they certainly have no interest in cleaning them.
This works out for witches. Instead of sweeping floors, they’d rather see the brooms follow the natural inclinations of the branches from which they were made, and rise up into the air. The first witches tried gently coaxing them up, and that was why they failed. If a simple “please do what comes naturally instead of moving dirt around” would do the trick, witches’ spell books would include chapters on etiquette. However, brooms, like people, have expectations. Polite requests are met with confused silence. This assertion can be tested by anyone, by politely asking a broom to do the sweeping on its own.
On the other hand, when a witch insinuates to a broom that she’ll reduce it to splinters if it stays on the ground for another instant, it rises up without hesitation. It didn’t want to be on the ground anyway, so a witch’s threat is just the push it needs.
Unfortunately, this assertion can only be tested by witches. Brooms are wily enough to recognize that regular folks are just as lazy as they are, and couldn’t be bothered to go and buy a new broom, to say nothing of the sweaty work of obliterating one.
In order to intimidate successfully, a witch has to be what everyone expects a witch to be. This is why they wear the pointy hats. There’s nothing particularly helpful or magical about them, they’re basically just badges. You see a woman wearing all black, you could think anything from ‘she must be in mourning’ to ‘she probably listens to depressing music and spends a lot of money on eyeliner.’ Add the hat, and there’s no mistaking that she can answer a vex with a hex; unless, of course, she’s simply bought the hat because it goes so well with her eyeliner. In any case, it’s safer to avoid vexing black-clad women in pointy hats.
While it’s rumored that witches can control people’s minds via magic, that’s patently false. Of course, none of them will admit that. If questioned on the matter, a witch would likely chide the ninny who asked and threaten to show them the hard way.