Witchcraft/Witch Week (was Re: Rowling and religion in CL)

Nat Case ncase at hedbergmaps.com
Mon Feb 23 12:38:51 EST 2004

In alternate histories, am I right in thinking it is common to put 
modern witch-hunting as a result the Restoration never having 
occurred, i.e. Britain is still under the Puritan Commonwealth or its 
equivalent? I seem to recall this is the case in Orson Scott Card's 
Alvin Maker series, and I have the feeling it is alluded to in Witch 
Week (book at home, can't check, and in any case I think the "split" 
between our world and Witch Week's is left somewhat hazy as I recall).

I don't know that it is all that unreasonable to assume that later 
developments in Puritan New England would not have been carried out 
as well in a continuing Commonwealth.


>Otter wrote:
>>On Friday, February 20, 2004, at 10:28 AM, Rowland, Jennifer A B wrote:
>>>  In Witch Week, I don't think any reference is made to religion-
>>>  witches are supposed to be evil, but I don't think "servants of the
>>>  devil" comes into it- although that must have been the idea
>>>  originally, since the split in the worlds was in 1605, at which point
>>>  King James was frothing at the mouth about witches.
>>Yes, he was.  But, as Charles Williams points out in _Witchcraft_,
>>although he believed
>>in witchcraft, he never believed that any individual case he was
>>presented with _was_
>>witchcraft.  Deluded old women, yes.  Despised old women, yes.
>>Witches, no.
>>[The Spanish Inquisition, whatever its other faults, had a good record
>>   on witchcraft, too.  It was Protestant Northern Europe that did most of
>>   the burning, etc.]
>And in England it was always "etc.", because the judicial penalty for
>witchcraft was never burning.  So it is slightly surprising that in *Witch
>Week* witches are burned in England; I suspect that when DWJ wrote it, she
>simply didn't happen to know that burning for witchcraft wasn't what the
>English did.  Pressing and drowning and hanging aren't somehow as good
>theatre, are they?  Not so much of a nightmare spectacular for children to
>have seen being done to their parents.
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