The Greatest Witchy Witches in Literature

The Baddest Bitches Around

The Greatest Witches of Literature

Definition

witch /wiCH/

a woman thought to have magic powers, especially evil ones, popularly depicted as wearing a black cloak and pointed hat and flying on a broomstick.
 
INFORMAL
an ugly or unpleasant woman.
“he can marry the old witch for all I care

A Witch is many things culturally. Is she the nasty crone with the wart on her nose? Or, is she the wise healer? Is she the foul ill-spirited devil-worshiping spirit? Or is she, along with her coven sisters, a worshiper of gods and goddesses.

One thing that all cultures believe is that the term witch is a woman with power. Power, especially controlled by a woman, can be seen as scary in patriarchal cultures. Hence the word witch as a pejorative term. 

However, in honor of Halloween – my favorite month. I have created a list of my favorite witchy witches. 

Women of power. 

Women who transcend and rise above to be the baddest bitch of them all.

Hermione Granger

Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling

“Don’t you dare call Hagrid pathetic, you foul — you evil little cockroach!!"

- Hermione Granger

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry … Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.

Of course, we have to start with Hermione Granger. 

She is a character that is a source of intelligence and courage who is loved by generations of girls. Hermione Granger helped bring books to the world as part of the Harry Potter series and defeat the dark lord.

The Witches from The Witches of Eastwick

by John Updike

“The universe is a pointless, self running machine, and we are insignificant by-products, whom death will tuck back into oblivion, with or without holy fanfare.”

- Darryl Van Horne

 “Toward the end of the Vietnam era, in a snug little Rhode Island seacoast town, wonderful powers have descended upon Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie, bewitching divorcées with immediate access to all that is female, fecund, and mysterious. Alexandra, a sculptor, summons thunderstorms; Jane, a cellist, floats on the air; and Sukie, the local gossip columnist, turns milk into cream. Their happy little coven takes on new, malignant life when a dark and moneyed stranger, Darryl Van Horne, refurbishes the long-derelict Lenox mansion and invites them in to play. Thenceforth scandal flits through the darkening, crooked streets of Eastwick and through the even darker fantasies of the town’s collective psyche.”

Scandals and powerful women banding together – there is a reason why this was made into a fabulous movie.

Rachel from Dead Witch Walking

by Kim Harrison

“Shouts of dismay rose as the red flesh splattered against the table. It was only a tomato, but one would think I was pulping a decaying heart by the noise the big, strong FIB officers were making.”

-Rachel Morgan

“All the creatures of the night gather in “the Hollows” of Cincinnati, to hide, to prowl, to party… and to feed. Vampires rule the darkness in a predator-eat-predator world rife with dangers beyond imagining – and it’s Rachel Morgan’s job to keep that world civilized. A bounty hunter and witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she’ll bring ’em back alive, dead… or undead.”

Hands down one of my favorite urban fantasy series. Rachel Morgan kills it for 17 books. 

The Sisters from Practical Magic

by Alice Hoffman

“Young Sally Owens: He will hear my call a mile away. He will whistle my favorite song. He can ride a pony backwards. Young Gillian Owens: What are you doing?"

-Sally and Gillian Owens

“For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape. One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back—almost as if by magic…”

Two sister witches of a long line of witch women fight manifested evil.

Diana Bishop from A Discovery of Witches

by Deborah Harkness

“It begins with absence and desire. It begins with blood and fear. It begins with a discovery of witches.”

-Diana Bishop

“Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.”

Intelligence, power, and love within the world of demons, witches and vampires. Nothing is as it seems.

Lena Duchannes from Beautiful Creatures

by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

“Darkness, real darkness, was more than just a lack of light.”

-Lena duchannes

“Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever. Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them. In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.”

A young adult novel with love, power, and witches.

Ronan Mayfair from The Witching Hour

by Anne Rice

“Give me a man or woman who has read a thousand books and you give me an interesting companion. Give me a man or woman who has read perhaps three and you give me a very dangerous enemy indeed.”

-Ronan Mayfair

“Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.”

Anathema Device from Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophesies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

"That's because schools are oppressive tools of the state!"

-Anathema Device

“According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes NutterWitch (the world’s only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner. So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist… “

Anathema dealing with the end of days. 

Comments

  1. nen & jen

    ooh Good Omens <3 I loved loved loved the show and now I need to get around to reading the book! Pratchett is one of my all-time favs. Love the idea of this post! When I realised what it was about it made me smile 😀

  2. Lashaan Balasingam @ Bookidote

    Wonderful list, Beth! I have to admit that when I saw Hermione I was shocked since I always associated witches to the dark side of the spectrum of mages. I think I would have been inclined to call her a sorceress or something hahah Definitely was the best choice to kick off the list though. 😛

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