The Sorcerer's Conspectus:

A comprehensive view of Andre Norton's Witch World

by Lotsawatts


A Novella in the [Witch World Saga] by Mercedes R. Lackey


See Also: [Martinez ~ Glossary] [Martinez ~ Races] [Schlobin ~ Survey] [Coulson's Index]

[Expanded Reading Order] [Bibliography Page] [Read it Here[Return to Contents]


Edition Used for Analysis:
[Tales of the Witch World 1] (1989) Published by TOR, PB, 0-812-54757-8, 978-0-812-54757-3, $3.95, 343pg ~ cover by Victoria Poyser

Glenda was cast out of her aunt's house when she was eighteen and has been 'living' on her meager savings (and occasional windfalls from rummaging through trash) ever since. All she has left are the clothes she wears and a ring from her mother.1 One night, three days before eviction from her apartment, she is pursued by some young men in a gang. She hides in the backyard of a 'spook house' - a three story structure that is out of place in the city. It has a megalith structure in the form of a door frame with a stone bench in front of it. The yard is covered in sand that's only an inch deep. The guardian of the Gate allows Glenda to go through and she comes out somewhere in the Waste near the Dale Kildas2 came from.3
Once through the Gate she is still starving and tries to seek help from a man of the Dales who distrusts her. Her anger and frustration causes her to turn into a leopard.4 She manages to catch and eat a rabbit before realizing what happened. She spends the next several weeks hunting around the Dale, sometimes taking livestock. She learns why the Dalefolk avoid the forest she hides in when she encounters a circle of stones that glows with a sickly yellow color at night in the forest near the Dale.5
Though she has been learning to hunt, she still has to let leopard instinct take over to hunt effectively, which makes her uneasy so she seeks a way to become human again.6 She finds a way in a clearing with a pond and blueish-colored stone under the full moon.7 From that time on she is able to freely change forms, though it is painful and she worries if what she is doing is right.
Around midsummer things change when she has a dream involving being hunted by a strange man. The dream is so realistic that she actually goes to the village to see if the man is there. He is and the hunt begins, though the ending of it is better than she feared. Harwin is careful to reassure her and helps her understand things a bit better. At the end of the story she finally finds out how to transform with her clothes on and in peace, not pain. She and Harwin8 run in the night together.9

Timeline Points:

  1. p. 198. Generation before - Overrun by invaders.
  2. p. 200. Midsummer.10
  3. p. 209. Harwin is the third child of Kildas & Harl Wererider.11


Sorcerer's Notes:
This probably takes place at least four or five years after The Jargoon Pard since Kethan is fourteen in Pard and Glenda is over eighteen (but it's never said by how much) and she estimates that Harwin is about the same age as her.

1. "She rubbed the ring on her left hand, unthinkingly. That ring was all she had of the mother her aunt would never discuss. It was silver, and heavy; made in the shape of a crouching cat with tiny glints of topaz foe eyes. Much as she treasured it, she would gladly have sold it-but she couldn't get it off her finger, she'd worn it so long."
2. see: Year of the Unicorn
3. Harwin mentions that while he intends to find Herrel and Gillan his mother asked him to first visit her kin and tell them she is well (p. 209-210).
4. p. 195
5. pgs. 197-198
6. pgs. 197-198
7. p.199
8. He takes the shape of a black leopard. p. 206
9. p. 212
10. Since it's been "several weeks" (p.197) since she's come, Glenda likely arrived in early spring.
11. "I am not going to harm you-and I am not like my father and brother, to force a one in my hand into anything against her wishes." p. 210 Since he uses 'brother' in the singular it can probably be inferred that the other child is a girl, though it is not directly stated.

The Sorcerer’s recommend that you read next: To Rebuild the Eyrie

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Formatted and Edited by Jay Watts ~ May, 2022

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