Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week is a Halloween freebie, and I’m choosing to focus on books and movies about witches.
America is gearing up for Halloween, one of my favorite holidays, and many of my Wiccan friends are getting ready to celebrate Samhain. As many of you probably already know, there are very little similarities between those who are Wiccan, and the stereotypical ways that witches are often portrayed in books, television and movies. They may be downright funny, and sometimes a cult classic, but often Hollywood portrays a witch in one of three ways:
- An evil hag.
- Sexy evil.
- Suck the life out of children evil (can anyone say Hocus Pocus).
When witches appear in supernatural or fantasy fiction alongside vampires, werewolves, and other fantastical creatures, it may be easy to forget that unlike the other characters in the story that are purely fictional, so many real women have suffered over the centuries under the label of witchcraft. And to this day, loads of stereotypes abound in regards to those who follow pagan religions, especially Wicca.
“What a culture has to say about witchcraft, whether in jest or in earnest, has a lot to do with its views of sexuality and power, and especially with the apportioning of powers between the sexes. The witches were burned not because they were pitied but because they were feared.” ~ Margaret Atwood, in her review of John Updike’s The Witches of Eastwick.
None of this is to say it is wrong to enjoy books and movies about witches! As you will see in the list below, books and movies involving witchcraft is one of my favorite sub-genres. I do, however, believe it is wise to read critically, with an awareness of when a story is pulling out all the stops on witchy stereotypes and turning a witch into a caricature.
Top Five Books with a Witchcraft Theme
Books based on historical fiction and witch trials:
- The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
- The Witch of Cologne – by Tobsha Learner
Books based on supernatural or fantasy elements
- Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1) by Deborah Harkness
- Wicked: The Life and Times of The Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
- The Witching Hour (Mayfair Witches series) by Anne Rice
Top Five TV/Movies with Witchy Elements
- Just Add Magic – Reminds me of Sabrina, the Teenaged Witch. An Amazon original series, this is currently M’s favorite TV show.
- Charmed – I loved this series when I was younger!
- Hocus Pocus – a completely ridiculous, yet hilarious cult classic, that pulls out all the tropes on witchy caricatures.
- Practical Magic – so much better than I thought it would be when I watched for the first time. Of course, Nicole Kidman can do no wrong in my eyes.
- The Craft – another cult classic I adore.