by Michael Scott
The Witch of Endor (Dora Witcherly)
Dora Witcherly is a feisty old lady who owns an antique shop in Ojai.
Oh yeah, and she's also the Witch of Endor, or the original Witch.
And it's lucky she is, too, because she arrives in the novel just in time to teach Sophie the basics of Air magic, as well as how to protect herself from her own powers. Think of her as a kind, old fairy godmother, who gives Sophie the tools she needs to become the kick butt sorceress she was born to be.
Oxymoron alert! It turns out Dora can see the future. But in a cruel twist of irony, she's blind. In fact, she gave up her sight for the gift of Sight. Head spinning? No worries. All we mean is that Dora gave up the ability to see, physically speaking, so that she could see in a more magical sense.
She tells Flamel, Scatty, and the twins, "I saw what happened this morning a month ago […] I watched one thread of a possible-future. One of many. In some of the others, Hekate killed Bastet and the Morrigan slew Dee. In another, Hekate killed you, Mr. Flamel, and was in turn killed by Scathach. All versions of the future. Today I discovered which came to pass" (35.35).
Phew, that's a lot of futures to see. One wonders how she can keep it all straight. But she's an incredibly wise woman, and she's in good company, too. Blind oracles like Dora are everywhere in the mythological world. Ever heard of Tiresias from Oedipus?
Free Will or Fate?
Dora is super powerful, sure, but even she has her limits. She can't just do what she wants; she's subject to fate, like the rest of them. When Flamel asks if she will teach Sophie the principles of Air magic, Dora shrugs, "'Do I have a choice?'" And when Flamel tells her she does, "The Witch of Endor shook her head. 'Not this time'" (35.57,60). This powerful witch is boxed in by circumstances. She knows that the only thing left to do is to make Sophie as strong as she can. Maybe then they'll have a fighting chance.
We think it's interesting that the one person who can see all the possible outcomes of our choices realizes that she doesn't have a choice in this particular matter. Dora really makes us wonder which power has a stronger hold in The Alchemyst—fate or free will. Which you think carries the day? (Check out the theme of "Fate and Free Will" for more on this).
"And have you a grandmother?"
"My Nana, yes, my father's mother. I usually call her on Fridays," [Sophie] added, realizing with a guilty start that today was Friday and that Nana Newman would be expecting a call.
"Every Friday," the Witch of Endor said significantly, and looked at Scatty again, but the Warrior deliberately turned away and concentrated on an ornate glass paperweight. (36.21-23)
Oh guilt-tripping relatives. We've all got one. We all know family members who wish you called more often, visited more often, did more of something you didn't do a whole lot more often. It seems that supernatural family members are no exception. And for Scatty, that's Grandma Dora.
Dora is Scatty's grandmother, and throughout their entire encounter, she tries to make her granddaughter feel guilty for not getting in touch with her. Like the tone of this passage, however, which combines feelings of humor, guilt, and love, Dora's scolding is not mean-spirited. She just really loves her granddaughter and wishes she got to spend more time with her these past millennia.
And can you blame her? Scatty's awesome.