Having recently finished a short story all about witches and their witchy community, I thought I’d share 12 of my favourite fictional witches (or groups of witches) with you. In no particular order…
- The witches from The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (TV).
A dark and magical show with great atmosphere, unusual characters, interesting storylines – and lots and lots of witches. It’s much more occult and Satan-oriented than I’m used to most witch-centric stories being, but that makes it all the more unique. Steely, chain-smoking Zelda is definitely my favourite (as she was in the 1996 sitcom version), but there are a wide variety of witches to enjoy here.
- The witches from American Horror Story: Coven.
My favourite season of American Horror Story, and just so much fun. I love the coven itself, the suspense around who will be the next Supreme leader, and the creative competitive trials of the Seven Wonders. Cordelia is my favourite of the lot, but again, the whole group of witches is what makes this one a winner.
- The witches from Little Witch Academia (TV).
This is one of my favourite animes. Bright and kid-friendly without being toothless, Little Witch Academia has clever storylines, lots of heart, and a tonne of magic involved. My favourite characters here are caustic Sucy and prim Diana, but it would still be a great watch without them.
- Harrowhark Nonagesimus from Gideon the Ninth.
Although the word ‘witch’ is never mentioned in Tamsyn Muir’s ‘Gideon the Ninth’ series, there’s an awful lot of necromancy going on. Harrow is a complex, difficult, and mysterious character deeply invested in her magic, and her explosive interactions with Gideon make her particularly engaging in the first book.
- The witches in The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.
These two witches, as far as I remember, barely appear in the book, and yet have managed to make a big impression on me. They share a husband for different parts of the lunar cycle: one of them enjoys his quiet, constant companionship when he is a wolf for most of the month, and the other likes his talkative human form during the few days that he turns into a man.
- The witches in Hooky.
Hooky is a likable webcomic about two young witches, Dani and Dorian, who are finding their place in the witchy community. It starts out quite lighthearted and becomes increasingly more complex and dark in tone as it progresses, which I wasn’t expecting when I started reading it. Unfortunately, I was part-way through reading Hooky at episode 96, but it looks like a lot of the comic has been taken down recently. Only episodes 1 – 21 are currently available to read. Still worth a look if you like your witches whimsical and illustrated.
- The witches in Fables.
The first 17 trade paperback volumes of Fables are deeply clever and satisfying, and the witch characters (and Witches story arc) are no exception. If you’re at all a fan of the ‘fairy tales reinvisioned for a modern adult reader’ genre, I would highly recommend this series. Witch-wise, Frau Tokenkinder and Ozma take the spotlight here, but there are several other witchy residents of Fabletown, too.
- Elphaba in Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.
Galinda is also a terrific character, but Elphaba was the one who really grabbed me in Wicked. She’s quiet, thoughtful, intense, reserved with people while deeply passionate about the causes she believes in, and is implied to have potentially bitten off her own penis in the womb. Thanks, Gregory Maguire. I find book Elphaba much more compelling that her musical counterpart.
- Vanessa Ives in Penny Dreadful.
My favourite part of Penny Dreadful, Eva Green’s performance as Vanessa is completely captivating. Equally ferocious and vulnerable, sometimes sensual, sometimes unhinged, Vanessa can be the mystic in front of her cards, the posessed woman levitating off the bed, or the bone witch in the forest, and I’m here for all of it.
- Jadis in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Although I’m not generally a fan of the Narnia series, my favourite part is Jadis, the White Witch, seducing children with her turkish delight. I wanted to post a song from a Narnia musical that my old housemate performed in primary school and sang to me once a decade ago, and that I’ve never forgotten since, but it doesn’t seem to be anywhere on the internet. Here are the lyrics to the chorus: “Turkish delight, na na na na na na, turkish delight, na na na na na. Turkish delight, na na na na na na, turkish delight, na na na na na. Delicious!” Wow. A masterpiece, truly.
- The witches in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
No need to choose between them – I liked Kiera, Triss and Yennefer, and enjoyed spending time with each of them in The Witcher 3. They all have distinct personalities whilst weilding powerful magic, fighting for what they believe in, and taking minimal bullshit. (As a side note, I enjoy the witches and witchy worldbuilding in The Witcher television series as well.)
- The witches in The Magicians (TV).
Although Julia’s my favourite in The Magicians, I enjoy following all of the witches here. The first season in particular races along, and the show overall hits a lot of tropes I particularly like, such as magical competitions and subverted fairy tales. It hits a different tone than the other media on this list – a kind of sarcastic New Adult whimsy, which usually works in its favour.
Who are your favourite fictional witches? I’d love to hear your own lists!