Two Encounters with the Queen of Elves in Terry Pratchett’s Fiction Cover Image

Dwa starcia z Królową Elfów w prozie Terry’ego Pratchetta
Two Encounters with the Queen of Elves in Terry Pratchett’s Fiction

Author(s): Zofia Żółtek
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Studies of Literature, Theory of Literature
Published by: Ośrodek Badawczy Facta Ficta
Keywords: fantasy;fantasy fiction;humorous fantasy;postmodern fantasy;Terry Pratchett
Summary/Abstract: In the last chapter, Zofia Żółtek analyses "Lords and Ladies" and "The Wee Free Man", fantasy novels from the author’s Discworld series. In both novels, elves attack the world of humans. The female protagonists must protect their land and their families. In order to do so, they need to fight the demonic Queen of Elves. The most important source of Pratchett’s inspiration mentioned in the essay is the folklore of the British Isles. The book’s portrayal of elves is based on the traditional Anglo-Saxon and Celtic imagery and beliefs. Apart from the similar characterization of elves in the book and in the folklore, the plot of both books is related to the sixteenth century Scottish ballad about Tam Lin, a young man captured by faeries and Janet, the girl who tries to save him while being pregnant with his child. The author also remarks on the changes in the culture and their influence on the plot, as viewed through comparative analysis of analogies between modern and Early Modern texts. She points out that Wee Free Man is a young adult novel, and therefore Pratchett omits the romantic and erotic plot that provides the tension in the original ballad. Terry Pratchett is known for using, transforming and parodying common cultural tropes. The author discusses the remarkable fidelity and gentleness with which he treats motifs taken from folklore. This is a result of both countercultural potential of the folklore itself, and the ideological position Pratchett takes. The English Folk Revival, as Georgina Boyes proves in her book Imagined Village, is typically connected with left wing political and social movements. The reinterpretation of Tam Lin ballad allows Pratchett to write about feminism in an original way.

  • Page Range: 639-654
  • Page Count: 16
  • Publication Year: 2017
  • Language: Polish