EC's Readers Choose 30 FABULOUS WITCHES

Witches...strong, powerful, independent, at times a frightening catalyst in a story, legendary, wickedly alluring, and closely associated with Halloween. Who doesn't see imagery or costumes of this iconic figure at this time of year? After all, witches and Halloween go together this month like wands and spells.

So, I asked EC's readers through Twitter, what some of their favorite witches were in literature, TV, and film, and I compiled the list below. Their 30 witchy-picks are arranged in alphabetical order instead of from best to worst, because after all, aren't all witches equally fabulous? 


Special thanks to everyone who responded!

They’re all worth checking out and following on Twitter:
@MarylouMorning  @VoVat  @Carrie_A_Brown  
@PriyaJSridhar  @BlackKerryblick  @GuyRicketts  
@storieswriting  @crownofpetals  @S_h_e_e_n_a_   
@DebiCady  @MitchellJrArt  @celestial_chic  
@GypsySpirit4  @GerriLeen  @Carrie_A_Brown  
@LLMadridWriter  @ReligiosityPod  @AMMacapanas  
@BrakDBarbarian  @WhyDoWeBelieve  @kotnaksiazce  
@shroppiemon  @Perlalaloca  @theartistschild  
@SarahBrentyn  @Krusidull2
and follow @EnchantedEzine to participate in future poll questions. 


Hold on to your broomsticks....Here we go!
BABA YAGA
This slavic folktale-favorite witch with the penchant for living in spinning houses on chicken legs and flying in a large pestle, can be either terrifying or comedic. I recently wrote the forward to EC's own Kate Wolford's upcoming World Weaver Press Baba Yaga anthology about this enigmatic figure in folklore who is enjoying a pop culture resurgance. Check out the Russian film Morozko if you're unfamiliar with her. Here's a clip of Baba Yaga in action from it HERE.
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BELLATRIX LESTRANGE
This weird and wonderfully bizarre witch is a double threat, since she's in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books and in the film adaptations (played to strange perfection by Helena Bonham Carter.) I've even dressed up as her a few times for Halloween. She definitely dances to her own tune with no apologies.  
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CASSANDRA NIGHTINGALE
From The Good Witch TV series, Cassie is (you guessed it from the title) a good witch with unique gifts of perception and intuition that she uses in positive ways. Plus, she owns the Bell, Book, and Candle shop where I would spend all my money. 
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THE ENCHANTRESS/CRONE
From Disney's animated Beauty and the Beast. Even though she only appears briefly in the film, it is her curse that puts the story in motion. Her seemingly heartless curse is the opportunity for the vain and selfish prince to grow and transform himself into something a beauty can love.
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FIONA GOODE
From the TV series, American Horror Story, Fiona Goode (played by the enchantingly wicked Jessica Lange,) in season 3's Coven storyline, is the Supreme of the coven of the Salem descendants. Extremely powerful, her ultimate goal is immortality without aging...and to do it with style. After all, as she says, "I'm Fiona Goode. I'm in charge everywhere."
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GEILLIS DUNCAN
Can time travel and witches go together? Yes, yes they can. Geillis Duncan from the TV series, Outlander, is a witch who isn't quite what she seems at first. A complicated woman in any time period, she knows the secrets of travelling through the stones from the future, and her cunning, intelligence, and beauty make her a fascinating witch in the past and present.
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GLINDA The Witch of the South
From the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz, and also L.Frank Baum's OZ books where she is known as the Witch of the South, this good witch in the movie version had one of the most memorable, frothy, glittery pink and delicious witch costumes ever with an over-sized wand to die for. She helps heroine, Dorothy Gale, just enough (but not too much) so that Dorothy can realize her own power in the end.
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EVA ERNST The Grand High Witch
What an entrance. What a witch. This powerful leader of all the witches on Earth presides over the convention where witches plot to wipe out all the children in England in Roald Dahl's book, The Witches, as well as the film of the same name. As played by Anjelica Huston in the film version, the Grand High Witch is beautiful, scary, and fierce in her witchy-attitude.
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GRANNY WEATHERWAX
From Terry Pratchett's Discworld book series, Granny Weatherwax is the leader of the community of Witches in the Ramtops. She is a no nonsense witch who appreciates practicality over the bells and whistles of so-called, "magick." This witch gives people what they know they really need. Oh, and did I mention she can capture unicorns? Mic drop.
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GINNY WEASLEY
Never underestimate the youngest in a family. Ginny Weasley, from the Harry Potter books and films, starts off shy but ends up becoming her own witch, bravely rising to any occasion and ultimately winning the heart of the hero with the lightning bolt scar on his forehead. 
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ISABEL BIGELOW
So there's this witch who wants to try something different and live a normal life without her magical powers, but then she gets cast in a film remake of a TV series about a witch who wants to try something different and live a normal life without her magical powers. Wait...what? Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman) in the film, Bewitched, shares traits with the TV version of Samantha Stephens, but Isabel is her own, independent witch who will find love with her own mortal in this show within a show premise. 
...and we'll revisit Samantha later in this list.
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LILY IVORY
From Juliet Blackwell's Witchcraft Mysteries book series, is a natural born witch, skilled in brewing and botanicals. Lily owns Aunt Cora's Closet, a vintage clothing store located in San Francisco, where supernatural mischief and murder go hand in hand. A witch solving crime and vintage clothes? Yes, please!
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 "MAD LORI" MacGREGOR
From the 1963 film, The 3 Lives of Thomasina, (based on the book by Paul Gallico.) This kind-hearted witch has the power to calm and cure animals. Lori (played by Susan Hampshire) saves Thomasina the cat, and through her love and kindness, this special witch makes the world around her a better place. 
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LUNA LOVEGOOD
J.K. Rowling certainly knows how to create interesting witches, as Luna Lovegood is the third witch from the Harry Potter books and films to make this "Reader's Choice" list. Thought of by the other students of Hogwarts as strange, dreamy, and odd, I personally, share her passion for reading, which makes her a witch I'd like to hang with. 
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MOMBI The Wicked Witch of the North
Originally introduced in L. Frank Baum's second Oz book, The Marvelous Land of Oz, Mombi is the Wicked Witch of the North. She's also the one who brought Jack Pumpkinhead to life, so whatever her complicated and up-to-no-good-in-Oz history is, at least she did that because I love Jack Pumpkinhead. 
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NANCY
From the 1996 film, The Craft, Nancy (Fairuza Balk) is the ultimate Goth-girl who bonds with three other teenage outcasts to pursue witchcraft for their own gain. When high school is blended with magic, trouble follows. With her Joker-esque smile and attitude, she is one witch you would not want on your bad side.
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NIGHTSHADE
This powerful witch from Terry Brooks' The Magic Kingdom of Landover book series was originally from the fairy world, but was cast out of the mists and forbidden reentry because she used her magic for greed and torture. She is one of the main antagonists to Ben Holiday, but c'mon, with a name like Nightshade, he should be expecting that.
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RACHEL MORGAN
Rachel Morgan, from The Hollows book series by Kim Harrison, is a detective/bounty hunter witch who...do I even need to go on? Detective. Bounty. Hunter. Witch. Who wouldn't want to be her?
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SABRINA The Teenage Witch
Starting out in Archie Comics, this teenage witch has had a couple animated shows, along with the popular 1990's TV series starring Melissa Joan Hart as Sabrina. Living with her witch-aunts, Sabrina tries to get through high school as normally as a teenage witch can with magical powers and a talking black cat.
And the animated Sabrina had style and records, so she's a "win-win" in my book.
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SALLY OWENS
From the film and book, Practical Magic, the quiet Sally (Sandra Bullock) is taught "practical magic" by her eccentric aunts. With her fiery sister, Gillian, they find out that the Owens family is cursed that whoever they fall in love with will meet an untimely death. But Sally is so cute and appealing I think a lot of men would take that risk.
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SAMANTHA STEPHENS
Yes, we're back to the original Samantha Stephens from the late 60s-early 70s TV show, Bewitched. Elizabeth Montgomery played the beautiful nose twitching witch who traded in her pointy hat for a normal life with her husband, Darrin...if you call having magical relatives drop in and turn your husband or his ad clients into various things "normal." Even though Samantha was determined not to use magic in her suburban setting, magic still worked its way into her everyday activities. A witch is a witch after all, and that's why we loved her.
And of course, you can't have Samantha without...
The Fabulous ENDORA
Always in Samantha's corner, this witch mom encouraged her daughter to embrace who she really was. When I was younger, I wanted to be Samantha, but now that I'm older, Endora is the only way to go. Her sense of style and witchy-joie de vivre make her the one in the room that's having the most fun. I'll hang with her any day! Get out of our way, Derwood. 
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LAMIA
From the film, Stardust, based on Neil Gaiman's novel of the same name, Lamia is the most powerful of three witch sisters who are members of the Lillim Coven. But does any of this matter when you can sit back and watch Michelle Pfeiffer (who plays Lamia) get her bad-witchy-self-on? Sure she's trying to eat the heart of the heroine to stay young and beautiful, but it's Michelle Pfeiffer! Let the viewing fun begin! 
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THE WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST
She is the stuff of all kid's nightmares. This green-skinned witch (played by Margaret Hamilton) in the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz, defined what "witch" was to me growing up. With her uber-creepy flying monkey henchmen, her crackly voice, and willingness to go after Dorothy's little dog too, she is the grandmama witch that all bad ones aspire to. She scared me terribly, yet I couldn't wait to see her again in the film...and that's what makes her WITCH SUPREME in my book.
And since we've featured the OZ witches from all the other directions on the compass...here's
THE WICKED WITCH OF THE EAST: R.I.P.
Wearing striped socks with glittery ruby colored pumps? Genius. This witch's one tip: Don't fly under falling houses.
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WILLOW
As Buffy's best friend in the TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow (Alyson Hannigan) starts out as a regular teenager, but ends up becoming a powerful witch when she develops an interest in magic to help her demon-slaying friends. Now that's what friends are for!
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THE WITCH
From BBC TV's 1970's children's show, Lizzie Dripping, this witch (played by Sonia Dresdel) could only be seen or heard by Penelope...a young girl, living in the village of Little Hemlock, with a vivid imagination. With a reputation for being an imaginative liar, it was difficult for Penelope to convince others that her witch was real. But who cares who believes you- you've got a witch for a friend, girl!
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The Witches of Eastwick: ALEXANDRA
She has attitude. She has style. She's blunt and sassy and encourages others to grab life by the horns. (I think I just described Cher in real-life.) That's why she's so good at playing Alexandra in the film, The Witches of Eastwick, based on the book by John Updike. I would gladly spend a night at the mansion sipping martinis with this fabulous witch!
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XAYIDE
From the book, The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, and film, The Neverending Story 2, as well as two spin-off cartoons, Xayide (Clarissa Burt) is an evil witch who is the source and mistress of something called, the Emptiness. While presenting a warm exterior, her true nature is cold and calculating. With her heterochromatic red and green eyes, she epitomizes the classic beautiful-but-beware-witch that deserves to be taken down a few pegs.
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YUBABA
This old witch from Hayao Miyazaki's animated film, Spirited Away, runs a bathhouse in the spirit world that traps Chihiro, a girl (and her parents) from the mortal world. Yubaba is a selfish, greedy witch, but she indirectly helps Chihiro mature through a series of different conflicts that Chihiro must solve which eventually leads to Yubaba letting the girl and her parents return to their own world. This interesting witch actually shares a lot of traits with the first witch on this list, Baba Yaga, as antagonist/helper, so now we've come full circle!
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These are just a few of the many fabulous witches throughout literature, TV, and film for you to check out if you haven't heard of them before. We hope you enjoyed our reader's eclectic choices and please share your favorite witch in the comments section below.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


EC's editor-in-chief, Amanda Bergloff, writes modern fairy tales, folktales, and speculative fiction. Her work has appeared in various anthologies, including Frozen Fairy Tales, After the Happily Ever After, and Uncommon Pet Tales.
Follow her on Twitter @AmandaBergloff
Check out her Amazon Author page HERE
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Comments

  1. I am happily exhausted from the exhaustive research in this gallery of witches. I had no idea there were so many out there, though they are such interesting characters, I shouldn’t be surprised. I really appreciate the time and work to provide such a comprehensive glossary of witchdom, I didn’t know about a third of these ladies until now. I also loved the personal references you sprinkled throughout, it made this article even more enjoyable.

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  2. One of my favorite witches who does not appear in your list is Dorrie, the little whitch from Patricia Coombs' picture book series. She and her black cat, Gink, have all kinds of adventures and get into all kinds of trouble. My daughter loved these books when she was young, and now my granddaughters eagerly look forward to me loaning them every October so they can enjoy Dorrie's adventures.

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