First off there is a new post up over at Witchy Thrifting so go check it out!
Last month the lovely Magaly over at Pagan Culture held an awesome event called Witches in Fiction. During the party I focused on the awesomeness that is Granny Weatherwax, the witch I hope to grow up to be. It came to me while I was lying in bed last night so I decided to write about it now rather than wait until next year. While Granny is who I want to be in the future, and hope that I am becoming more like now, there was a witch that embodies who I was, and still very much am. The first witch I really connected with and saw myself in.
Never heard of her? Well she is the main character of a book series in the UK that got turned into a tv show in the 90's and a movie, as well as a US movie in the 80's starring Fairuza Balk, Tim Curry, Diana Rigg, and Charlotte Rae (Mrs Garrett) called The Worst Witch. I never got to see the UK versions and want them so badly I can taste it. But the US tv movie that was released in 1986 was the first time I looked at a character on tv and saw myself. I watched that first year cuddled up in my Care Bear pajamas hugging my teddy bear and found myself a hero.
Mildred is a regular girl. About as regular as they get. She has freckles and messy hair. She struggles in her classes and the toughest teacher in her school has decided to come down like a ton of bricks on her at any given opportunity. Of course this is Miss Cackles International Academy for Witches, a boarding school for young witches so Mrs Hardbroom, Mildred's teacher nemesis, is extra scary. When they hand out the black cats Mildred gets a grey tabby who's so afraid to ride on her broomstick so she has to put him in her satchel and hang it from the back of her broom. The girl just can't catch a break. The prettiest, smartest, most popular girl in school makes it her mission to make Mildred's life as miserable as possible. In fact a prank that this girl plays on Mildred has her so upset she runs away from the school only to run smack into a group of evil witches planning to take over the school. But then in an awesome twist, Mildred captures the evil witches and saves the school earning herself praise and a special flight with the head warlock (Tim Curry).
This is an age old story. Persecution followed by a make-good situation. Nothing new there, but as a almost 6 year old (this of course premiered around Halloween and my birthday is November 5th) this was the first time I looked at a character in a movie and saw myself. And she was a witch.
Mildred Hubble was my revelation. She was ordinary and extraordinary at the same time. Magic was a part of her world, a part of her, but as ordinary as homework (in fact a lot of it was homework, lol) and she wasn't even considered very good at it. It wasn't a story about these girls being witches, it was a story about a girl who just happened to be a witch. It wasn't about how good she was with a potion or a spell, it was about her.
I loved it. I would wait every year for it to come back on at Halloween and then watch every time it was on. I taped it once and watched the tape almost every day until my sister taped over it with something with Carey Elwes in it (I don't remember what it was just that there were tudor costumes and it was all very dramatic -6 year old code for bor-ing). You can imagine the fights over that one.
For years I watched and loved that movie until slowly they stopped showing it. then a couple years ago it popped back up again and now I have it on dvd.
Mildred Hubble was my stepping stone. She was me. I wasn't popular. In fact I was so socially awkward it was almost painful. I never fit in and I was an easy target for teasing. Mildred helped me get through that. The theme song from the movie still plays in my head almost as a soundtrack for how I see my formative years.
Is there a little Mildred in you?