Star of the stage Gillian Cosgriff joins Liz and Ben to cower in fear before that most horrifying of beasts: the magpie! Yes, it’s time for Terry Pratchett’s twenty-third Discworld novel, 1998’s Carpe Jugulum.
The new princess of Lancre has been officially named! But all has not gone well: new priest Mightily Oats took Queen Magrat’s notes on the naming a little too literally. King Verence has been a little too liberal with which nobility he invited. And most worryingly of all, Granny Weatherwax – supposed to be the baby’s godmother – is nowhere to be found. As the forward-looking Count de Magpyr and his family effortlessly dominate the wills of all about them (with the notable exception of two-minded Agnes Nitt), can the fractured witches pull together a full coven and save the day? And what on the Disc is going on in the mews?
The fifth and last of the books to star the original coven of Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and now-Queen Magrat Garlick shakes things up even more than its predecessors. Young witch Agnes Nitt’s inner voice is now a fully independent personality, while Nanny and Granny clash over their roles and responsibilities, and Magrat brings her child along to coven meetings. Pratchett also takes aim at every vampire tradition and cliche from curtain-twitching to shying away from holy symbols, pitting the modern vampire against his more monstrous predecessors. And on top of that, he introduces two enduring fan favourites: the first of many Discworld Igors, and the tiny “pictsies” of the Nac mac Feegle!
What did you you think? Does Carpe Jugulum make beautiful music? Is Pratchett’s ongoing need to make fat jokes too distracting? When he came up with the idea of vampires who turn into and control magpies instead of bats, do you think he realised how horrifying that would seem to Australians? Use the hashtag #Pratchat36 on social media to join the conversation!
Guest Gillian Cosgriff is an actor, singer and cabaret star most recently seen as part of the Australian cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Gill’s career has included musical comedy, musical theatre and – as mentioned briefly in our Maskerade episode – opera! Find out more about her talents at gilliancosgriff.com, or you can look up some of her music on Youtube or buy her albums on Bandcamp. (Do so on a Bandcamp Friday if you want to make sure all your money goes to supporting the artist!) You can also follow Gill on Twitter at @gilliancosgriff.
Next time, we finish off Pratchett’s other children’s trilogy as Johnny and his gang go out with a bang in Johnny and the Bomb. Joining us is returning guest, author Will Kostakis! Send us your questions using the hashtag #Pratchat37, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You’ll find the full notes and errata for this episode on our web site.