Well readers, yes I mean all 3 of you, I've decided to start a new series.
I love fiction, always have. When I was about 7 years old, the last hour of my homeschooled day was divided between "Reading" and "Afrikaans". I hated Afrikaans so I would do anything I could to prolong the time I spent on Reading as it would mean less time spent trying to pronounce the word "groen". The book I was reading - 'Alice in Wonderland'. It was the first book I ever read cover to cover. You don't really get cooler than that.
For most of my childhood, I spent my Friday afternoons in the Library. My parents would drop me off there for a few hours to browse while they did their grocery shopping as it was right next to the store. This installed two things in me: a Fear of Librarians and a Love of Books. I would spend hours choosing the books I'd take home with me for the week. I didn't pay attention to the names of the author but I did have a fetish for all fantasy stories. Hell, anyone raised wishing she could find a way into Wonderland or Narnia would. I loved magic, and I loved characters who could do magic.
When I was 13 my Dad broke his leg while we were on a trip to England. (We live in South Africa.) The result was that we'd have to stay in England another week. The lady we were staying with offered to allow me to get a few books out on her library card. I picked up a Terry Pratchett book for the first time. I selected "Guards! Guards!" because it had a dragon on the cover, and, as all 13 year olds know, dragons are cool. I wasn't really all that keen on reading it. The lady who had first told me about Terry Pratchett told me the basic plot line of Reaper Man. I was horrified. A book about Death? That's so gross. Also, the covers were ugly. (I love those old Josh Kirby covers now - if they weren't so gaudy I would never have recognized the Terry Pratchett section in that English library.) Still, she really did claim this author she liked was brilliant and I was stuck in England for a week so I figured I'd give it a go.
Well, that was it. Today, I identify as a Discordian Humanist which is, I reckon, about as Pratchett influenced as a person can be. If I told you the fictional works I've spent my life reading have not shaped my entire worldview on everything from magic to religion, I would be lying. From Shakespeare to Dickens to Pratchett to Rowling, I expect every work of fiction I read to do a lot more than tell me a good story. I expect it to make me think. I expect an author to be a philosopher who is trying to get a message out into the world. It could be Shakespeare trying to teach the world about all the greys that exist between black and white, Dickens trying to get people to realize the terrible ways children were treated or Mark Twain trying to get the world to see that they were enslaving human beings. Those who write fictional works (and movies are included here) are our teachers, influences and guides whether we realize it or not. Of course, sometimes the author's view is bollocks, or they say something I disagree with. In this case, I'm still made to think, as I really have to figure out why exactly I don't agree with them.
Personally I think people underestimate the powers and importance of fiction.
I started researching witchcraft from the age of about 12 or 13, and over the years I've read a good many non-fiction books on the subject. To be honest, the fictional stories I was raised with shaped my views on magic and witchcraft long before I even read my first Wiccan author. Maybe that's why I never became a Wiccan. Either way, to this day some of the most important lessons I learned about magic came from stories.
So why not share that?
Starting today, I'm going back and working through all the various sources I can to bring you this series: Witchy Lessons Found in Fiction. I will be taking books and movies and highlighting the important lessons I gained from these sources. Terry Pratchett is going to feature a lot, but so will many other authors and even some movies. Since I am still reading the first book I want to talk about (Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett - yes, I'm about to work my way through every one of the "witch" books of the Discworld series) the first actual post in this series (besides this introduction post) is going to be about a movie / tv miniseries from 1998 named Merlin. If you haven't watched it yet, oh my god please do, even if it's just to see Sam Neill as Merlin and Helena Bonham Carter as Morgan Le Fey.
You will not regret it.