Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for Witches and Wizards

I've long been fascinated with witches and wizards, ever since reading about the cannibalistic crone with the delicious gingerbread house in the classic Grimm fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel. Some good and some evil with a capitol "E", witches are fascinating creatures straddling the line between this world and the supernatural. And since there are simply too many amazing witches and wizards to list just five (or six or seven), today's post is going to be a sort of free-for-all. 

Note: In deference to the quantity of characters on this list, I'm going to keep my descriptions minimal. 
W is for Witch/Wizard

Merlin (Arthurian legends) – The wizard who raised Arthur out of obscurity and made him the king he was born to be, Merlin is one of the most famous and recognizable wizards in classic literature. 

The Grand High Witch (The Witches) – For those of you who've never read Roald Dahl's The Witches (or seen the British film adaptation starring Anjelica Huston), please do so. Immediately. She is one of the most horrible, most evil, most wicked creatures ever dreamed up. And for those of you who have them . . . keep an eye on your children before the Grand High Witch makes them disappear. 

Winifred Sanderson (Hocus Pocus) – "She put a spell on you" . . . or at least me, ever since I first watched Hocus Pocus when I was nine. One of the more delightfully evil characters on this list, she and her sisters spend All Hallows Eve attempting to suck the lives out of little children and stay young forever. [Note to self, don't ever light a black flame candle.] 

The White Witch (The Chronicles of Narnia series) – Many of you wondered where the White Witch was under my Q is for Queen post, but I thought I'd save her for today. The self proclaimed "Queen of Narnia" with the power to turn anyone to stone, she places a spell over Narnia so that it's forever winter and never Christmas. Talk about a real . . . uh, witch. 

Gandolf (The Lord of the Rings series) – A member of the Fellowship of the Ring, Gandolf is the grey (and later white) wizard who brings the nine together, uniting them in their quest to stop Sauron from his evil reign.  

The Wicked Witch of the West (The Wizard of Oz) – One of my earliest acquaintances with witches as a girl, the Wicked Witch of the West caused many a nightmare. With her green skin and flying monkeys by her side, I found her absolutely terrifying. Still do, truth be told. 

Grand Witch Muriel (Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters) – I loved this remake of Hansel and Gretel, the fairy tale that inspired my love of witch stories. Muriel's ability to morph from a beautiful woman to a grotesque witch was an inspired addition. 

And now, because I simply can't pick just one character to represent the Harry Potter series, here are my favorite witches and wizards that I feel deserve a closer look (minus of course Severus Snape, who was already mentioned  here). Or in other words, here are a few of my favorite Harry Potter characters that aren't the three main protagonists . . . 

Neville Longbottom – The boy who could have just as easily been the "Chosen One", Neville is my personal favorite character from the series. Though I liked him from the first book on, he won my heart in The Order of the Phoenix when he worked harder than anyone in the DA, spurred on by Bellatrix Lestrange's breakout from Azkaban. But it wasn't until The Deathly Hallows when he stood up to Voldemort and lead the other students in a rebellion against Snape and the Carrows that Neville became a real leader and hero in his own right. 

Luna Lovegood – Luna's character started off a little spacey, but it becomes clear over the course of the last three novels that she's stronger and smarter than anyone gave her credit for. My three favorite Luna scenes are: 1) When she's the only one able to comfort Harry after Sirius has dies. 2) When she and Neville are the only two former members of the DA who continue to check their DA coins, and thus the only two besides Hermione, Ron and Ginny to protect Hogwarts in the Battle of the Astronomy Tower. And 3) When she helps Harry produce a patonus during the final battle at Hogwarts when he believes all is lost. Her faith in him and innate strength never wavers, and for that I believe she is one of the greatest additions to the Harry Potter franchise.

Ginny Weasley – As Harry's girlfriend, Ginny got a lot of attention; however, I think she was somewhat overlooked as an independent character. She proved herself to be inordinately clever with her famous "Bat Bogey Hex", not to mention her skills on the Quidditch pitch. And of course, she's much cheekier than given credit for. Her twin brothers Fred and George are known for their pranks, but Ginny has a wicked side to rival theirs, shown to particularly good effect in The Order of the Phoenix combating deplorable Professor Umbridge. 

Professor McGonagall –  My absolute favorite Hogwarts professor, McGonagall was an incredible witch and defender Hogwarts and its students. With her tartan tin of cookies and no-nonsense attitude, she's one tough old lady. Who can ever forget her standing up to evil Umbridge and telling Harry that she'd make sure he became an Auror "if it's the last thing I do". 

Cedric Diggory – Last but not least, the boy wizard who changed the game. Before Cedric's death in The Goblet of Fire, never would I have dreamed the lengths to which Rowling would go. But following his murder, a young boy barely of age, Harry Potter readers world-wide would finally understand . . . no one is safe.

And there you have it, my Top, uh, 12 favorite witches and wizards. What are some of your favorites? 
This post is part of the Blogging A through Z Challenge 2013. My theme (in case you didn't already guess) is character types and tropes. Stay tuned for the rest of the alphabet, and if you’d like to check in on the other participants, simply click here.


  1. I love how HP has its own mini section.

    Rather fond of McGonagall myself.

  2. I loved Luna. She was such an original character. Samantha from Bewitched! She was a classic one.

  3. I love this list, particularly the Harry Potter section! You picked some excellent characters there :)

  4. Dresden. The book version.
    I wish I could unwatch the TV series.

  5. I have given you the 'Versatile Blogger Award'.

  6. I, too, love how Harry Potter has its own mini section. I particular love that it mentions Neville and Luna and Ginny. Oh, and McGonagall.

  7. Ooh, you listed most of my favourite Harry Potter characters. I looove McGonagall! When you first meet her, you think she's just some strict old lady, and then you realize how ultimately cool she is.

    Allison (Geek Banter)

  8. Harry Potter crew - yay.

    Have you seen the musical Wicked, it will make you look at the Wicked Witch of the West differently.

  9. Witches can be such interesting characters. I'm thoroughly enjoying my WIP that delves heavily into the subject.

  10. In his version of events, Gilderoy Lockhart was the greatest of them all. It'd be awesome if J.K. Rowling eventually wrote a series around him.

  11. Favorite? Too many to count! My whole blog is dedicated to witches.
    I guess I love Willow and Tara from Buffy the best, but there are so many more.

    Tim Brannan
    The Other Side and The Witch
    Red Sonja: She-Devil with a Sword
    The Freedom of Nonbelief

  12. I'd say the Wicked Witch of the West. Like you, I found her terrifying. I was so glad Glinda was around to help out Dorothy and company.

    Honoring W Blogs in this A to Z
    The Daille-y News

  13. I've written one story about a Wizard, he was an old pervert who used his power to try to pick up chicks. I know that has nothing to do with this post, I was just thinking about my own stories and how seldom I've ever tried to write a wizard or witch.

    Anyway, I always enjoyed Willow, from Buffy. She was a pretty cool witch... at least when she wasn't going crazy and trying to destroy the world.

  14. This is a great archetype, I have dabbled in magic only recently.
    Katie atBankerchick Scratchings

  15. Neville was the best. My son always talks about how great he was. :)

  16. well done, you've got my faves in here