There was a time when calling a woman a witch was something of an insult. But now, there are scores of women who would happily accept that name, and would hope it were true. After all, there are MANY of us out there who are still hoping for that invitation to attend Hogwarts (not saying I check my mail…and my fireplace…every day, but okay yes that’s exactly what I’m saying).
Since we’ve all got Hogwarts on our minds now, let’s go ahead and talk about the witches we’re all thinking about – the ladies of Harry Potter land. And yes, we’re including Bellatrix Lestrange in the mix.
These ladies are all take-charge, crazy-capable, no-nonsense (okay, maybe a little nonsense). Sure, they’re all technically fighting on behalf of a guy, but those guys would have been NOTHING without these witches backing them up. Think about it. There’s ZERO chance Harry could have done, well, just about anything, without Hermione backing him up. Whether it was her book smarts, her warrior ways, or just her unshakeable friendship, Hermione was there for Harry every single time he needed her.
On the other side of that coin, we have Bellatrix, who is as devoted to You-Know-Who as Hermione is to Harry. Sure, it’s a really toxic relationship, but hey, love makes you do crazy things. Ultimately though, her obsessive love is no match for the maternal love exhibited by Molly Weasley. In the final battle, Bellatrix nearly kills Ginny Weasley and for Molly, that gives her that extra something she needs to finish the fight. She throws a curse that hits right above the heart, and so ends the twisted tale of Bellatrix Lestrange. Is it a coincidence that not longer Bellatrix is gone, Harry defeats You-Know-Who? I think not.
For another great witchy woman, there’s Diana Bishop from the “All Souls” series by Deborah Harkness (Book One is A Discovery of Witches). She’s known all her life she was a witch, descended from a very powerful line. What she doesn’t know is how powerful SHE herself is. There are other creatures out in the world – daemons and vampires – and Diana knows that the creatures aren’t supposed to be friends, let alone lovers, but when she meets vampire Matthew Clairmont, those centuries-old rules go right out the door. Throughout this trilogy, Diana and Matthew work to unite the creatures against a common enemy, and their love for each other only grows. Yes, Matthew saves Diana, but Diana saves him right back. This is a great series with intrigue, time-walking (the witches way of traveling through time), blood rage, Hitler, and Christopher Marlowe. Seriously, these books are like potato chips; once you pick one up, you’re gonna go right through the “whole bag”. Read the books first, then check out the awesome BBC television series!
Finally (and clearly that only counts for this post – there are TONS more I could write about), there are the Owens sisters, from Alice Hoffman’s book Practical Magic. Gillian and Sally are used to hearing all the not-so-quiet whispers about their family. Anything that goes wrong in town is automatically blamed on them. But they have more pressing matters to worry about. The spirit of Gillian’s dead serial-killer boyfriend has possessed her, Sally has fallen in love with the officer investigating the boyfriend’s death (the feeling is mutual!), and unless the sisters can get the whole town to help them, this could be the end of the Owens line, forever. Made into a great movie starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, this is a great novel about witches, yes, but also about the power of love and how it can be the greatest magic of all.