Witches Abroad

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“Witches Abroad” by Terry Pratchett: A Literary Journey Through Audiobook Delight

Terry Pratchett, a name synonymous with wit, humor, and unparalleled world-building in the realm of fantasy literature, has gifted readers with an astounding number of novels over the years. Among his extensive body of work, “Witches Abroad” stands as a jewel in the crown of the Discworld series. In this exploration, we delve into the enchanting world of “Witches Abroad” and its equally captivating audiobook adaptation.

The Magic of Discworld

Before we dive into the audiobook version of “Witches Abroad,” it’s essential to set the stage by introducing the magical world of Discworld. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld is a flat, disc-shaped world balanced on the backs of four giant elephants, which in turn stand on the back of the Great A’Tuin, a giant turtle that swims through space. This whimsical and utterly unique setting serves as the backdrop for a series of books that blend fantasy, satire, and comedy in a way that is both hilarious and profound.

One of the standout features of the Discworld series is its collection of recurring characters and themes. Among these, the Discworld witches, including Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat Garlick, have endeared themselves to readers across the globe. These formidable women use a blend of practical magic, cunning, and common sense to navigate the often absurd and unpredictable world of Discworld.

“Witches Abroad”: A Synopsis

“Witches Abroad” is the twelfth novel in the Discworld series and was first published in 1991. The story follows the adventures of the aforementioned witches, Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat Garlick. Granny Weatherwax, the wise and no-nonsense witch, receives a letter from her estranged sister, Lily Weatherwax, who has recently passed away. In her letter, Lily implores Granny to travel to the distant kingdom of Genua and stop her wicked fairy godmother, Desiderata Hollow, from manipulating the destinies of her people through the use of stories.

With Magrat newly married to the local king and Nanny Ogg in tow, the three witches embark on a journey filled with magical mishaps, fairy tale parodies, and the ever-looming presence of destiny. Along the way, they encounter various characters, including a voodoo priestess, talking animals, and a cat that insists on being human.

As with many Discworld novels, “Witches Abroad” is a satirical exploration of various themes, including the power of stories, the consequences of meddling with destiny, and the clash between traditional and modern values. All of this is delivered with Pratchett’s signature humor and clever wordplay.

The Audiobook Experience

Now that we’ve set the stage for the magical world of “Witches Abroad,” let’s shift our focus to the audiobook adaptation. An audiobook brings a unique dimension to the reading experience, and “Witches Abroad” is no exception. The audiobook version of this novel allows readers to immerse themselves in Discworld’s quirky universe with the added layer of voice acting and narration.

Narration by Nigel Planer

The audiobook edition of “Witches Abroad” is narrated by Nigel Planer, a British actor and voice artist known for his versatile and engaging performances. Planer’s narration skills are on full display as he brings the characters and world of Discworld to life.

Planer’s voice acting captures the essence of each character, from Granny Weatherwax’s stern and authoritative tone to Nanny Ogg’s warm and motherly inflections. His ability to differentiate between characters through vocal nuances enhances the listening experience, making it easy for the audience to distinguish who is speaking.

Pratchett’s Unique Style

Terry Pratchett’s writing style is characterized by its clever wordplay, satirical humor, and thought-provoking themes. Nigel Planer’s narration skillfully preserves Pratchett’s distinctive style. He delivers the humor and wit with impeccable timing, ensuring that the jokes land with the same impact as they would on the printed page. Planer’s narration is a testament to his deep understanding of Pratchett’s work, and he pays homage to the author’s legacy with his performance.

Capturing the Essence of Discworld

One of the challenges of adapting a book into an audiobook is capturing the essence of the author’s world-building. “Witches Abroad” takes place in Discworld, a realm brimming with fantastical creatures, absurd situations, and a distinct sense of magic. Nigel Planer’s narration succeeds in conveying the surreal and whimsical nature of Discworld, making it feel as vivid and enchanting as it does on paper.

Audiobook Length and Pacing

Audiobook enthusiasts often consider the length and pacing of a narration crucial to their enjoyment. “Witches Abroad” in its audiobook format spans approximately 8 hours and 28 minutes. This duration allows listeners to fully engage with the story without feeling rushed or overwhelmed.

The pacing of the audiobook aligns well with the source material. It allows for the gradual development of characters and plotlines, ensuring that listeners have ample time to savor the nuances of Pratchett’s storytelling. Whether you’re a seasoned Discworld fan or a newcomer, the audiobook’s length and pacing make it accessible and enjoyable.

The Art of Characterization

A significant strength of “Witches Abroad” lies in its character development and interaction. Pratchett’s witty dialogue and multifaceted characters come to life through Nigel Planer’s skillful narration.

Granny Weatherwax: The No-Nonsense Witch

Granny Weatherwax, a central character in the Discworld series, is known for her stern demeanor, unwavering principles, and a deep well of hidden compassion. Planer’s portrayal of Granny Weatherwax captures the essence of this complex character. He infuses her lines with the appropriate gravity and authority, emphasizing her no-nonsense attitude and keen intellect.

Nanny Ogg: The Jolly Matriarch

Nanny Ogg serves as the perfect foil to Granny Weatherwax. She is jovial, irreverent, and a source of comic relief throughout the story. Nigel Planer’s portrayal of Nanny Ogg is a testament to his versatility as a voice actor. He captures the character’s warm and maternal nature while delivering her humorous lines with impeccable timing. Nanny Ogg’s witty songs and bawdy anecdotes are made even more entertaining through Planer’s animated narration.

Magrat Garlick: The Aspiring Witch

Magrat Garlick, the third member of the witching trio, undergoes significant character development in “Witches Abroad.” She begins as a somewhat naive and idealistic young witch and evolves into a more confident and self-assured practitioner of magic. Nigel Planer skillfully conveys Magrat’s character arc through his narration, subtly reflecting her growth and maturation as the story unfolds.

Supporting Characters

“Witches Abroad” introduces readers to a host of supporting characters, each with their own quirks and idiosyncrasies. Nigel Planer’s narration breathes life into these characters, making them memorable and distinct. From the enigmatic Genua locals to the talking animals and the mischievous voodoo priestess, every character is given a unique voice and personality, enriching the overall listening experience.

Themes and Satire

At its core, “Witches Abroad” is a tale of meddling with destiny, the power of stories, and the clash between traditional and modern values. Pratchett’s satirical approach to these themes is one of the novel’s strengths, and this satire is expertly conveyed through Nigel Planer’s narration.

The Power of Stories

In “Witches Abroad,” the concept of narrative and storytelling takes center stage. The idea that stories have the power to shape destinies and influence people’s lives is a recurring theme. Through the meddling of the fairy godmother Desiderata Hollow, traditional fairy tales are twisted and manipulated to suit her purposes, often with unintended consequences.

Nigel Planer’s narration highlights the importance of storytelling in the novel. As he voices the characters and their interactions with the magical stories that surround them, listeners can appreciate the complexity of the narrative layers and the impact of storytelling on the characters’ choices and destinies.

The Clash of Traditional and Modern Values

Another theme that Pratchett explores in “Witches Abroad” is the clash between traditional and modern values. This conflict is embodied in the character of Magrat Garlick, who struggles to reconcile her traditional witchcraft beliefs with the allure of modernity and fairy godmother magic.

Nigel Planer’s narration effectively conveys this thematic tension. As Magrat grapples with her identity and beliefs, Planer’s voice reflects her inner turmoil and growth, allowing listeners to empathize with her character’s journey.

The Humor of Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett is celebrated for his wit and humor, and “Witches Abroad” is no exception. The audiobook adaptation does justice to Pratchett’s comedic genius, delivering the humor with impeccable timing and panache.

Puns and Wordplay

Pratchett’s writing is rife with puns, wordplay, and clever observations. Nigel Planer’s narration enhances these elements, ensuring that the jokes and witty asides land with the full impact intended by the author. Planer’s skillful delivery of Pratchett’s humor makes “Witches Abroad” an audiobook that can be enjoyed for both its comedic and intellectual merits.

Parody and Satire

In addition to wordplay, “Witches Abroad” features parody and satire of classic fairy tales. The novel playfully subverts familiar fairy tale tropes and characters, creating a rich tapestry of humor that is both nostalgic and fresh. Nigel Planer’s narration brings these parodies to life, allowing listeners to appreciate the clever and humorous twists on traditional stories.

The Enchantment of World-Building

Terry Pratchett’s ability to create rich and immersive worlds is one of his most celebrated talents. In “Witches Abroad,” he crafts a vibrant and fantastical setting in the kingdom of Genua, where magic and destiny intertwine. Nigel Planer’s narration enhances the enchantment of this world, allowing listeners to vividly imagine the sights, sounds, and magical phenomena described in the novel.

Genua: A World of Magic and Mayhem

Genua is a kingdom steeped in magic, and Pratchett’s descriptions of the city and its inhabitants are whimsical and vivid. Nigel Planer’s narration paints a colorful picture of Genua, from its bustling streets to its enchanted shops and eerie swamps. Planer’s ability to convey the magical atmosphere of the setting adds depth to the audiobook experience, immersing listeners in the world of “Witches Abroad.”

Magical Mishaps and Creatures

Throughout “Witches Abroad,” the witches encounter a variety of magical mishaps and creatures, from enchanted mirrors to talking animals. Nigel Planer’s narration imbues these magical elements with a sense of wonder and whimsy. His skill in voicing these fantastical elements enhances the sense of immersion and adds to the audiobook’s charm.

A Tale of Adventure and Discovery

“Witches Abroad” is not just a tale of witches meddling with destiny; it’s also a story of adventure and discovery. The novel takes readers on a journey through the varied landscapes and cultures of Discworld, from the bustling city of Genua to the eerie bayous of the voodoo priestess.

Nigel Planer’s narration excels in conveying the sense of adventure and discovery that permeates the story. Whether it’s the witches’ encounters with magical creatures or their exploration of new and unfamiliar territories, Planer’s narration keeps listeners engaged and eager to discover what lies around the next bend in the road.

The Legacy of “Witches Abroad”

As an audiobook, “Witches Abroad” continues to captivate and entertain listeners, just as the printed novel has done for readers for decades. Terry Pratchett’s wit and storytelling genius shine through in this Discworld installment, and Nigel Planer’s narration skillfully brings the characters, humor, and magic to life.

Accessibility and Convenience

Audiobooks offer a convenient way for readers to experience a beloved story without the need to sit down and read a physical book. “Witches Abroad” in audiobook format provides accessibility to Pratchett’s narrative for those with busy schedules or visual impairments, allowing a wider audience to enjoy the magic of Discworld.

A Gateway to Discworld

For those new to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, “Witches Abroad” serves as an excellent entry point. Its self-contained storyline and engaging characters make it accessible to newcomers, while the audiobook format offers an enjoyable introduction to the author’s unique style and humor.

The Joy of Revisiting Discworld

For longtime fans of Discworld, the audiobook adaptation of “Witches Abroad” offers a delightful opportunity to revisit a beloved classic. Nigel Planer’s narration adds a new layer of enjoyment to the story, allowing fans to experience the familiar tale in a fresh and engaging way.


In the enchanting world of Discworld, “Witches Abroad” stands as a testament to Terry Pratchett’s storytelling brilliance. The audiobook adaptation, narrated by Nigel Planer, is a delightful journey that captures the essence of Pratchett’s humor, wit, and world-building. From the memorable characters to the clever wordplay and satirical themes, the audiobook immerses listeners in the magic of Discworld.

As you embark on the audiobook adventure of “Witches Abroad,” be prepared to laugh, ponder the power of stories, and revel in the absurdity and charm of Discworld. Whether you’re a seasoned Discworld aficionado or a newcomer eager to explore this fantastical realm, “Witches Abroad” in audiobook form is a delightful experience that is sure to leave you enchanted and entertained. Terry Pratchett’s legacy lives on, and “Witches Abroad” is a shining gem in the literary treasure trove that is Discworld.

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