The Three W’s: Witches, Wizards, and Warlocks
While Roald Dahl’s The Witches might not send you to bed with nightmares, it might make you try to rip a wig off an unsuspecting woman just in case. An eight-year-old boy obsesses over his grandmother’s stories about witches, particularly the one where witches want to kill all children. On a trip to a hotel in England, he is forced to face his fears when the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (aka a coven of plotting witches) happens to be staying at the same hotel. It is up to that one boy to save all the children in the world from the witches’ evil plan. But can he get anyone to believe that these seemingly lovely ladies are actually witches? Or can he stop them on his own if necessary?
Roald Dahl writes with a lot of humor and The Witches takes a potentially scary subject and makes it whimsical. There’s no need to be afraid of his take on the witch, except for the fact that there might be something evil hidden under a pretty surface. The grotesque toeless feet and clawed hands that the witches hide is the exact opposite of the pretty stylish surface the witches wear on the outside. Witches are terrible creatures that want to exterminate children and do so from the inside of society with everyone none the wiser. Terrifying!
The moral of the story: appearance is not always reality. A valuable lesson wrapped underneath a subtle jab that tells kids not to always trust adults.
There was something terribly wrong with it, something foul and putrid and decayed. It seemed quite literally to be rotting away at the edges, and in the middle of the face, around the mouth and cheeks, I could see the skin all cankered and worm-eaten, as though maggots were working away in there.