the Little Red Reviewer

A Hat Full of Sky Read Along, we’ve come to the end.

Posted on: April 4, 2013

thanks so much to Susan over at Dab of Darkness for suggesting we do this read along.  I hadn’t read Terry Pratchett in years, and had been rather ho-hum about the Discworld books of his I had read.  So when Susan suggested a Discworld related book, I was a smidgen apprehensive.  But, she’s my friend, and nearly everytime a friend has said “try this, you’ll like it”, I’ve usually fallen in love with it.

The Wee Free Men and A Hat Full of Sky are by far the best Terry Pratchett books I’ve ever read. I know it sounds hokey, and I don’t care, but I laughed, I cried, I thought about my life and my friends and my relationships and how I treat other people. Sometimes I did all of that in the same paragraph.

It was a tough winter for me. I had some S.A.D. mixed in with some other crappy stuff. I was pretty much checked out of my life for most of January and February. Terry Pratchett is now on my list of things that help the winter end earlier.

Ok, enough with the maudlin, let’s get to the final batch of questions, which everyone else has already answered and discussed, because I’m late!

1) Mistress Weatherwax has a philosophy of her job is to make sure everyone today can get to tomorrow – such as letting people believe in water sprites and goblins if it lets them lead a better life. Do you see yourself somewhere in this philosophy?

If you believe something, then it’s true for you.  and she’s right, climbing up all those stairs is going to give that one guy a healthier heart more than his sacrifices to the water sprites. But if she’d told him to walk a lot for a healthier heart, she knows he wouldn’t do it. Put a story behind something, and it gives it more weight. it makes it more important to the person because they see themselves in the story.

Yikes, is that the secret to how to make friends and influence people? tell stories???   I’m a total chatterbox, but I never actually get anything useful said.  maybe I better learn how to tell stories.

And hmmm… maybe I need to find some exercise or yoga sprites that need sacrifices from me. I hate exercising and I’m really lazy, but if 20 minutes sacrificed to the exercise sprites will keep them from doing horrible things. . . .
2) Do you think Mr. Weavall will be successful with the Widow Tussy? Do you think Tiffany got off light concerning Mr. Weavall’s stash?

That was the cutest scene ever!! He’d been wanting to marry her forever, but he was embarrassed that all he had was enough to be buried, not enough to be married. Now that he’s got money, he has something he can give her, something he can help her with. He didn’t want to propose with nothing to offer.

Did Tiffany get off light? oh hell yeah she did! I was expecting some kind of punishment, but it was a very light hearted scene, so it shouldn’t have surprised me that even that portion was handled in a lighthearted way. And come on, she’s only eleven!
3) What was your favorite part of Mistress Weatherwax’s and Tiffany’s bonding time in the mountains with the little picnic and the owls and such?

Pickles that give people gas.  I was laughing so hard I think I woke the neighbors!

4) Petulia Gristle heard Tiffany was going to face something nasty and went out to see if she could use some help. Have you ever had an awkward situation like that?

I am the queen of biting off more than I can chew and thinking I have more professional experience than I actually do, so it happens to me all the time. I’ve been very lucky that when it’s become painfully obvious I don’t belong there, I’ve been given the opportunity to excuse myself, or been given some softball job that even I can’t fuck up, and then at least I can feel like I’ve helped out in some way.

5) Tiffany has her first and last conversation with the Hiver/Arthur. Did you see Tiffany’s answer to the Hiver dilemma coming or were you taken by surprise?

I loved that entire scene, and I was completely surprised by it. Leave it to Tiffany to ask a destructive creature “what do you want? can I help?”.  yes, she’s a kid, and she shouldn’t have been able to do what she did, but because she’ a kid she didn’t have the life experience to know she was supposed to be scared shitless. she just picked up her proverbial frying pan, and did what needed doing.   Ever read Heinlein’s The Cat Who Walks Through Walls?  the titular cat, Pixel, doesn’t understand that he’s unable to walk through walls. Since he doesn’t get that he can’t do it. . . poof, he can do it. Tiffany doesn’t know she’s supposed to be afraid, or not supposed to talk to the Hiver, so she’s able to do all these things.  I loved it. And I loved her conversation with Death, and that Death regretted not wearing protective clothing. Even Death knew about the Feegles!

6) The Witch Trials are almost like a county fair, a happy outing for the entire family, or so Granny Weatherwax was grumbling about. What about the affair caught your attention?

I was cracked up by the bickering of Annagramma and Petulia.  Only a handful of junior high school girls sounds like that, and there’s nothing like it!  It sounds like a room full of flamingoes!

7) In the final chapter, we learn the meaning of the title of the book. Did you feel this was a good wrap up to the novel?

I’d been asking myself about the title since well, since starting the book.  I thought maybe Granny Weatherwax gives her another hat? or she buys a hat that’s the color of the sky? I was thinking too small, and too simple.

Pratchett’s ending and  the meaning of the hat full of sky was so absolutely perfect. It would have even made Granny Aching proud.

Tiffany’s hat even has stars, which is the best kind of witches hat imaginable. it’s not the hat that makes the witch, it’s the person under the hat.

 

I’d put some final thoughts down here, but I kinda put them up at the top instead. so they were like nearly-final thoughts.  I’m happy to have my faith in Discworld restored.  In the past I’ve read The Color of Magic, The Truth, Monsterous Regiment, and one or two others. They were so-so.  These were fucking brilliant and perfect, and the Discworld books I’d suggest to someone who wants to get into Pratchett but doesn’t know where to start.

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11 Responses to "A Hat Full of Sky Read Along, we’ve come to the end."

I had so many feels during this book; it’s definitely one of my favourites. When I have bookshelves again I’m absolutely buying all four of the Tiffany books. Hopefully I can do this before we return to them! :D

Also, I *love* Monstrous Regiment. It’s another book that I never get tired of rereading. Might have to dig it out for a review reading now… :D

Mostrous Regiment was just OK for me, but I was way younger when I read it. Maybe i’ll give it another try.

that kind of thing though, I’d rather just watch Mulan. but not with anyone else around, because I just cry my eyes out for every damn minute of that movie.

It’s all in how you wear your socks! :P

You are gonna love the rest of the Tiffany Aching books. Just finished I SHALL WEAR MIDNIGHT last month and it was my last Discworld novel. Now I’ve read them all.

Strictly speaking, and yes, indirectly, Tiffany did Mr Weavall some good because if she hadn’t taken his money the Feegles wouldn’t have put gold into his money box and he wouldn’t have plucked up the courage to ask the Widow to marry him – bahdagbing! There’s a twisted logic in there somewhere – not that I’m advocating going around stealing people’s money though.
I don’t blame you for having SAD – I cannot believe how cold it is here and apparently snowing in London – wtf – it is April right? I’m starting to think I’ve woken up from hibernation too soon.
It’s odd with the two books so far – I love the humour and all the comedy elements and yet they haven’t just moved me in that way. It’s odd. I felt emotional reading the first book and when I was coming to the end of this one I almost felt weepy! Why. I just don’t know. But that’s how they’ve affected me.
Lynn :D

That’s interesting, because in my re-reads of the first 3 novels I discovered a streak of melancholy/sadness running through them that I didn’t notice at first reading. Perhaps you picked up on the subliminal sadness? ;)

Ha, subliminal sadness. Yes. I think that’s it. I think that although there is a lot of humour and fun there is also this whole ‘family’ thing and the fact that Tiffany is remembering her Gran, etc. I like the fact that you can take this book just as a good fun type of adventure or you can pick up other elements.
Lynn :D

I love your comment at the top about all that happening in the same paragraph. I have read these books numerous times and it still happens that way for me too. I am so glad you shared these read alongs with me. Thank you!

Tiffany does rock and a chunk of that is because she just doesn’t know she shouldn’t do those things. I loved how she resolved the Hiver issue. Hi, you’re a big scary monster, eons old, incredibly powerful, and totally lacking impulse control – can I help you? Do you need a name tag?

The endings to these books always leave me feeling that maybe, just maybe, a corner of the universe is all OK, and that perhaps, for an evening, that corner is my corner. This is why I love Pratchett.

[...] A Hat Full of Sky Read Along, we’ve come to the end. (littleredreviewer.wordpress.com) [...]

Terry Pratchett is one of my favorite authors! I LOVE DEATH! I’m still slowly working my way through the discworld. Sorry I missed this readalong

It’s going to continue in the fall with books 3 & 4 in this cycle, we’d love to have you join in then! :) Pratchett does the bestest Death ever.

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About this redhead, etc.

Redhead is a snarky, non-politically correct 30-something who reviews mostly science fiction and fantasy and talks about all sorts of other fun scifi and fantasy geekery. She once wrote a haiku that included the word triskaidekaphobia.

This blog contains adult language and strong opinions. The best way to contact her outside of this blog is twitter, where she is @redhead5318 .

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