Greetings from the Odinson,
Ghosts. Goblins. Werewolves. Vampires. These are the things of nightmares. Myths and legends put forth throughout the centuries to frighten and explain the unexplainable. In literature and film, these creatures of the night have grabbed a firm hold of the imagination and carved out a notch for themselves in pop culture. Though they are to be feared, these “monsters” are not necessarily all bad. For every Poltergeist there is a Casper. For every Jareth there is a Gizmo. For every Reverend Lester there is Jack Russell. For every Dracula there is a Lestat. Not all creatures of the night are bad. And these are not the only monsters of myth and legend that can straddle the line between good and evil. There is another legend that has captured the imagination of man for generations and is still alive and well in pop culture today – the Witch.
For centuries, witchcraft has been feared and some have even been hunted down and disposed of for practicing their wiccan ways. The infamous Witch Hunts of Salem are probably the most well know. But in modern times, with a modern wiccan movement and popular shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed, witches have taken on a much more benevolent slant.
Witches come in two categories – Wicked and White.
The wicked are usually portrayed as ugly old women with long pointy hats who fly through the night on their broomsticks seeking out the good and innocent to prey upon. If they are not trying to lure children into their houses made of gingerbread they are hard at work on a devilish brew which bubbles in an enormous cauldron. When they are not casting spells and cursing their neighbors with misfortune, they are stealing the youth and beauty of young girls.
The White Witch is a benevolent creature, a healer, a seer, a protector. They usually help our hero in his quest by providing guidance, information, and/or sanctuary. They are usually beautiful beyond description. They are wish fulfillers, making dreams come true and asking for nothing in return. They usually bestow their enchanted gifts with the help of their signature magical wands. They are the fairy folk of the wood, the purveyor of lost souls, kindly old women who provide wisdom.
The Wicked Witch
The Wicked Witch of the West – This green-skinned hag is every bit as wicked as her namesake. She is the ultimate cliché, from her black pointy hat down to her flying broomstick. She wants desperately to get her clawed hands on the magical Ruby Slippers and she has an army of flying monkeys at her disposal to get the job done. Her one weakness is H2O. Apparently all her wicked and cruel magic cannot save her from melting away into nothing once she is doused by a bucket of water.
The Queen (Wicked Stepmother) – Her obsession with her enchanting beauty is only equaled by her wicked cruelty. When her magical mirror reveals to her that there is another girl in the land whose beauty surpasses her own, the evil Queen makes it her mission to destroy this unsuspecting rival. Using the dark arts, she disguises herself as a kindly old woman and offers a poisoned apple to the young girl. One bite bewitches the young girl and Snow White falls into an unnatural sleep, a living death from which she can never awake unless the spell is broken by true love’s first kiss.
Haggar – Haggar is a cruel witch from Planet Doom and loyal servant of evil King Zarkon. Her dark powers can control minds, create illusions and strike terror in the weak willed. Her most notorious accomplishment was actually using the dark arts to split the mighty robot Voltron, Protector of the Universe, into five separate lesser robots. She currently uses her dark powers to create Zarkon’s Robeast, vicious monsters with great destructive power.
Maleficent – This Mistress of Evil is an especially cruel and powerful witch. Scorned by her lack of invitation to the christening of the new born princess, Maleficent curses the child to prick her finger on her 16th birthday and die by that day’s sunset. Her dark power is horrible and she has even shown the unearthly ability to transform into a dragon, a creature of immeasurable destructive power.
Witch Hazel – Don’t let the grandmotherly charm of this green-skinned hag fool you. She wants nothing more than to lure young trick-or-treaters into her humble abode where she can add them as her secret ingredient for her latest stew. With an ear-piercing whistle she can summon her flying broom and track her prey down in a flash. Luckily, she is not the best pilot and has a tendency of flying into doors. Her demeanor can turn on a dime from motherly to murderous, and if there is a meat cleaver within arm’s reach, you’d better run. Her high-pitched witch’s cackle is infectious and with a click of her heels and a cloud of hairpins left in her wake, Hazel is the witch that you can’t help but love and fear at the same time.
Evil-Lyn – Her olive skin and enchanting beauty belie her ruthless and wicked intentions. Evil-Lyn’s cruel laugh can strike fear in her enemies and allies alike. Her evil magical prowess is only rivaled by the good Sorceress of Castle Grayskull. Even Skeletor is weary around her. She can summon lightning, shape-shift, teleport across great distances, and enchant the minds of men. She is a powerful force for evil and an enemy never to be taken lightly.
The White Witch
Glinda the Good Witch of the North – This ethereal beauty is the guide and protector of Dorothy as she makes her way through the enchanted realm of Oz. She provides wisdom and insight and, if need be, magical assistance. Though it is not clear just how powerful she is, her magical abilities are at least respected by the cruel Wicked Witch of the West. Glinda is clearly loved by the denizens of Oz and the comforting light that radiates from her can be felt by all of those around.
Scarlet Witch – Wanda Maximoff is the daughter of the most notorious super terrorist in the Marvel Universe and one of the most powerful mutant heroes in the world. Using hexes, she is able to manipulate probability and channel Chaos Magic. For years her immense powers were largely out of her control, but under the tutelage of the witch Agatha Harkness, Wanda has learned not to necessarily control the Chaos Magic within her, but to harness it and redirect it in a more positive manner. However, due to the nature of her powers, Wanda has been susceptible from time to time to bouts of mental weakness and succumbed to her more base desires (see The Witch on Wundagore Mountain, Darker than Scarlet and House of M). This is something that she struggles with even to this day. The Scarlet Witch is a prominent member of the Avengers and is, without a doubt, one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Willow Rosenberg – Willow grew up as a wallflower, an unassuming, shy girl with a crush on her best friend and a penchant for getting bullied by the head cheerleader. Then she met Buffy Summers, and her extended knowledge of computers and natural book smarts came in real handy when dealing with the force of darkness. As the years went by, her thirst for knowledge leaned toward the supernatural and eventually Willow became the most powerful witch in the world. Like the Scarlet Witch though, Willow’s delving into the dark arts and a horrible life trauma have led her down a dark and terrible path. She almost destroyed the world in a bout of grief, but the love of her friend pulled her back from the brink. Now, Willow is able to channel the power of the Goddesss, as can be seen by the illuminating white light that engulfs her when she uses her magic. This onetime unassuming, shy wallflower from Sunnydale High is on an epic quest to restore magic to the world. And if anyone can accomplish this feat, it’s the most powerful witch in the world.
Fairy Godmother – When poor Cinderella was downtrodden and without hope, her Fairy Godmother magically appears and makes all her wishes come true. Using her magic wand, she transforms a pumpkin into a stage coach, mice into men, and Cinderella into the most beautiful woman at the ball. She then sends Cinderella off to the castle to meet Prince Charming who falls in love with her and eventually takes her away from her life of servitude.
Fin Raziel and Cherlindrea – These two witchy women help the diminutive Willow Ufgood and the swordsman Madmartigan in their quest to protect the baby Elora Danan so that she can fulfill her destiny to topple the mad Queen Bavmorda. Raziel is a powerful witch who was betrayed and transformed by Bavmorda’s dark sorcery. Using Cherlindrea’s magical wand, Willow, an aspiring magic-user, restores Raziel to human form. Raziel plays a pivotal role in the final battle against the evil Bavmorda.
Galadriel – Galadriel is the Lady of Light, a beautiful elf of Middle Earth who radiates power. She has the ability to communicate and calm with the power of thought. Her beauty is otherworldly. She provides sanctuary and council to the Fellowship of the Ring. She is immortal and one of the protectors of peace in the realm.
Women aren’t the only ones to practice the art of witchcraft. A male witch is known as a warlock and like their fairer counterparts, the warlock can fall on the side of both good or evil.
Warlock – This dastardly magic-user is truly a force for evil. Escaping the witch-hunter of his era, the Warlock time-travels to the future (our present) where he embarks on an unholy quest, under the command of Satan himself, to bring about the End of Days. Through black magic, the Warlock can fly, manipulate others, and cast powerful bolts of arcane force. The Warlock is one of the most devious, vile, and evil practitioners of the dark arts and is a foe not to be underestimated.
Skeletor – Skeletor is the beefy blue-skinned arch foe of He-Man. He is the most powerful warlock in the realm of Eternia and is on a never-ending quest to obtain the mystical secrets which reside in the ancient walls of Castle Grayskull. His will is indomitable and his influence on lesser beings uncanny. He has a small army of mutants, monsters, and magic-users at his disposal who follow him more out of fear than any kind of loyalty. With his goat-head staff of power, Skeletor’s magical might can only be kept in check by the courageous exploits of the Most Powerful Man in the Universe and his brave allies. But Skeletor is a patient foe. He sits upon his bone throne high atop his foreboding citadel, Snake Mountain, and schemes. He plots and plans for the day when he can orchestrate the downfall of his world’s greatest hero and the day when the secrets of Grayskull will at last be his.
Nicholas Scratch – The son of Agatha Harkness, Scratch has become a powerful warlock and erstwhile foe of the Fantastic Four. His monstrous children are the infamous Salem Seven, and he is the leader of a society of witches and warlocks bent on world domination. Scratch is able to use his dark gifts to influence minds, manipulate and animate matter, summon the forces of fire and lightning to smite his foes, and travel between dimensions. His magical powers are so considerable that he has even single-handedly defeated Marvel’s First Family in combat before.
Rupert Giles – He is a Watcher and the mentor/father figure of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. His knowledge in the supernatural is considerable. He is a practitioner of magic and quite adept in its uses. He has shown the ability to summon and banish demons, erect protective wards, and once even channeled the power of an entire coven of witches in order to confront Willow during her decent into darkness. Though he is not by any means the most powerful magic-user in the land, the man they call “Ripper” is definitely a warlock not to be underestimated.
Whether Wicked (The Blair Witch) or White (Sabrina the Teenage Witch), witches come in different varieties. Just remember that if you are ever lost in the woods and are out of breadcrumbs to lead you back home, it’s probably best to steer clear of the that lonely house in the meadow made out of candy.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell