Monday, April 18, 2011

Beka Cooper

Magaly, over at Pagan Culture, is having a blog party called Witches in Fiction. Up until today I've participated by sharing short stories of my own on my main blog. But today I'm talking about a "witch" in one of my favorite books, and since this is a bookish topic I decided to share my post here:

I've run out of short stories to tell, but that doesn't mean I'm through writing posts for the Witches in Fiction blog party!

Today I would like to tell you about one of my favorite witches in fiction: Beka Cooper, fromTamora Pierce's Beka Cooper quartet. The first book is Terrier, the second is Bloodhound, and the third (unreleased) is Mastiff.

Beka isn't called a witch. In fact I don't think she's called anything. Not even mage or hedgewitch. But she's got magic, and I think that for the purposes of Witches in Fiction that makes her a witch. As for how her magic shows itself...

Now first of all, I've got to explain that in her world pigeons carry the ghosts of those who aren't ready to move on to the Peaceful Realms (their afterlife). This is a key point because Beka can hear their voices. When she was very small her mother was afraid that she was crazy, but fortunately her grandmother happened to know that it was a bit of family magic.

Because of this magic Beka feeds the pigeons on a very regular basis, and it's not unusual for the birds to seek her out. This is a win-win arrangement -- the winged nuisances get fed, and Beka gets info. Oh, did I mention that Beka is law enforcement? Hearing the voices of the dead can be helpful when trying to solve a murder, especially when they're complaining about who killed them and how.

Sound strange? Maybe. But the other way that her magic shows up is even weirder, and I think it's cooler.

Throughout Beka's city are things called dust spinners. Dust spinners are basically small vortexes of wind that generally go unnoticed. They stay in one place, collect dust, and more importantly they also collect snatches of conversation.

When Beka steps into a dust spinner she is able to hear the snatches of conversation that have been collected. This is also a bit of family magic, and it's something else that's useful to her as law enforcement.

Last but not least, is the cat you may have noticed on the cover of theTerrier. That cat is Pounce, and he's a purple eyed black cat who she found in a stable. Pounce has made her his friend, and is fond of giving her advice. Yep, he's a talking cat. If that doesn't make her a witch, what does? ;)

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