Even though Maskerade made me cranky that Magrat’s marriage had written her out of the narrative of the Lancre witches, it’s hard not to be delighted about Agnes “Perdita” Nitt. She’s a fantastic character, one of Pratchett’s most interesting and nuanced portrayals of a younger female protagonist.
Agnes is fat. And while Pratchett’s comic touch is very much in evidence, he brings such empathy to his depiction of Agnes that, even when fat jokes are being made, she herself is never treated like a joke. This is an incredibly rare thing in fantasy fiction, where fat women are rarely seen (unless they are villains or jolly service industry professionals) and young fat women are most definitely an endangered species.
There are so many things to like about Agnes and the portrayal of her character this book. For a start, we don’t get the cliched emphasis on how she eats, or an ingrained narrative assumption that she is the size she is purely through over-eating or laziness. I also liked very much that while the reader is often confronted with the quite awful social ramifications of being a fat girl, it’s never entirely clear cut how much the various perceptions surrounding Agnes reflect reality.