Maybe you’ve noticed, but we here at Book Punks really love Halloween, and we really love witches, so we felt it was time to talk about the truly coolest literary witch of all time: the Grand High motherfucking Witch from Roald Dahl’s The Witches.
I did a book report on The Witches when I was in the third grade. I was completely tickled that children smelled like “dog’s droppings” to witches, and really wanted to include it in my book report. My dad kept telling me it wasn’t a “major plot point” so I should leave it out, but I knew better and put it back in when he wasn’t paying attention.
Regardless of whether you think the dog poop thing is a major plot point or not (hint: IT IS), there is no arguing that the Grand High Witch is balls-out the best. She’s kind of like a human Picture of Dorian Gray; super beautiful femme fatale woman on the outside, then a pile of boogers in the shape of a hunched over hag underneath. I mean, who will EVER forget that perfect scene from the movie when Angelica Huston takes off her face?!?! Anyways. She’s evil. Her main goal in life is to destroy all children. And she somehow manages to hide a decrepit body and visage with the most magical body mask and set of Spanx of all time. But, what would she read?
The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike: So maybe this is a little bit obvious, but I honestly don’t give a shit. The Grand High Witch would totally love reading a literary book about a coven of witches getting seduced by the devil.
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman: I think that Mrs. Coulter is basically the Grand High Witch reincarnated in another book. She lures people into a false sense of complacency with her beauty? Check. Her evil fucking golden monkey daemon spawn (haha, get it) reveals the true horror within, much like when the Grand High Witch takes off her face to show her conglomeration of scabs? Check. She kidnaps children and performs horrible experiments on them? Check.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: I already mentioned why I think there’s a parallel between the hidden decrepitude of the GHW and Dorian Gray. I’m not going to repeat myself.
Stardust by Neil Gaiman: Perhaps Neil Gaiman’s most whimsical book, the trio of haggard witches trying to cut out Yvette’s heart in order to restore their youth would probably love to knock back some spleen juice with the GHW.
She WOULD NOT read Harry Potter, because what could possibly be more revolting than the idea of CHILDREN studying to be witches?