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  • Phil

    Something that’s always made me wonder. Has the location of the Anchor in Yorkshire made the UK more powerful as a country in this universe? Or more threatened due to other countries wanting the Anchor’s power for themselves?

    • Lee Man Feng Michael

      I’m just guessing here, but I doubt the anchor would have much impact. Despite having the anchor, it’s power is likely not portable, meaning that it should not help much if the UK chooses to wage a battle at a global level. Also, any invaders who want its power probably can’t shift it. While it may make a good stronghold for a magician army, a fight within its effective range would be an incredibly foolish decision considering how many summons would occur from the heightened emotional states. Also, the security of the widdershins and (Tibetan?) anchor seems way too lax for it to be that much of a threat. Thus, i believe it would most likely just be a neat little landmark that empowers the area.

      TL;DR the anchor is probably too secured to the spot and magically volatile to be useful for a war effort. But I’m just guessing

      • “The battle of Waterloo was won in the laboratories of Widdershins” : the Duke of Wellington.

      • Ilmari

        And the third anchor appears to be in New Zealand. Which up until the era of the story would have been sparsely populated by a people with stone-age technology (albeit settled, socially advanced stone age people).

        And in the 1830s, New Zealand was in the grip over very vicious wars as some of those people aquired guns from the English and went on conquering sprees. I’m very curious as to how the presence of powerful magic might alter that history…

        • a_flemish_dude

          where do we see the other location of the anker?

          I’ve looked a bit at a globe and by comparing the places of the british and himalayan anker I think the 3th anker lies somewhere near hawaii, new zealand is too close to the himalayan anker to really fit

          (this of course all hinges on there being a pattern to the location of the ankers)

          heh, it could even be that there are technicly 3 ankers in the southern hemisphere as well but they’re just all underwater

          • Ilmari

            Hmm… in actual fact, New Zealand is a similar distance – possibly even further – from the Himalayas than Hawaii is. And the Himalayas are a lot closer to Yorkshire than to either of those. I fear you have a misconception of distance, common to northern-hemisphere-ite and reinforced by the bad map projections that have been around for so long.

            I have based the assumption of the anchor being in NZ on two factors, the fact that the location’s name begins with “tapu”, of which there are a lot in New Zealand (tapu is the Maori variant on “taboo”, which would suit a magical site, certainly!); and the fact that the door to it, when seen earlier from the far side, has a frame very much like the the gate of a Marae. Whilst its true that Maori and Hawaians have close linguistic and cultural roots, and I know little of Hawaian culture, I would be surprised if these things are exactly the same in Hawaii.

            • Eva Schiffer

              The distance from Mount Everest to Hawaii is 7,107 miles according to Google. The distance from Mount Everest to New Zealand is 7,352 miles according to Google. Given that is “to some random point in both countries” I’m not sure 250ish miles is that big of a difference (especially given that, as you say, the distance from Yorkshire to New Zealand is like 11.5K miles or so… way, way more than 7K).

              Taboo translates as Kapu in Hawaiian according to this online dictionary:
              Which is clearly not tapu, but close enough it could reasonably get mutated there in Harry’s memory.

              Hawaiian native arts do include quite a lot of carving based on my google searching (and given what we have to work with on the picture of the door… I feel like there’s a lot of wiggle room in how you interpret it).

              So while I think your argument for New Zealand is pretty good, I’m not super sold that we have enough information to guess this just yet.

              • Ilmari

                Oh, I agree it’s not definite, but it seems the most likely. But if not NZ, then anywhere in the Pacific Ocean makes as much sense as Hawaii. I mean, why not Rapa Nui or somesuch? ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    • Thorin Schmidt

      I’d guess not. From what we’ve seen of modern times, technology has proceeded the same as in our real universe, which means all of the fancy weaponry nations use nowadays would cease to function near the anchor. It’s almost like Widdershins in the modern era is more of a hassle than anything else.

  • Tilly Jackson

    I’ve been wondering whereabouts in West Yorkshire Widdershins is set for ages and now I know it’s just around the corner from my neck of the woods. I’m way more excited about this than I should be.

    • #092f0a

      Hey, I’d be excited, too! And out of curiosity I just scrolled around the area using google maps. I found a town called “Todmorden”, which to me sounds like a very redundant way of murdering someone. I wonder if Wolfe or Voss would think the same if they ever came accross it.

      • Tilly Jackson

        Considering it’s got such a grim name, it’s actually surprisingly nice! Our maybe that’s BECAUSE it’s got such a grim name.

        • Narrwal

          Welcome to our fair town of Deathmurdering – have a cookie!

          • Euodiachloris

            Fox-murder, actually. ;) A tod is a fox, a brock is a badger and a tiggy is a hedgehog.

            You might be familiar with Mrs Tiggy-Winkle? Now you know. xD

            • Ocean Burning.

              Oh yeah! I remember Tommy Brock and Mr. Tod! That story was intense… man those two hated each other.

            • Narrwal

              Ah, thanks. :D

              The comment about Wolfe and Voss thinking it’s a grim name refers to Tod = death, morden = murdering in German.

              • Euodiachloris

                Ein bißchen Hochdeutsch habe ich noch… (But trying to type it on a Kindle with an English autocrorrect? ARGH!) xP

  • RLB

    Ah, but where is Gren from? Is he from Widdershins, or was he actually born in Greenwich?

    • John

      Since she started out in the Widdershins police force before Harry absconded with her I assume that Gren was bred in he vicinity of Widdershins. Possibly by Edmund Barber who seems to be breeding dogs who not only are the same breed but who have pretty much the same coloration.

      • Heylir

        In extra pages of “Sleight of Hand”, Kate says about Gren, “She was partially trained by Harry’s brother, Edmund, whereupon Harry undid all of his good work”.

  • Greenwood Goat

    So, possible future happening…

    Chief diviner: So, we’re all sure? One hundred percent?

    Diviner: Indeed, sir. This is the birthplace of Jack O’Malley, Witch of Widdershins from 18-

    Chief surveyor: Yes, yes, we all know his dates of service! What we need is his date of birth! Now, mark the spot and determine the precise co-ordinates.

    Meanwhile, in Widdershins cemetery…

    Ghost Jack O’Malley: *turns in his grave* *sits up* Wha’ a bleedin’ liberty! I din’ ask anyone ter go findin’ me birthplace… an’ next thin’ they’ll be round here wi’ a hammer an’ chisel an’ me new date of birth… *touches “estimate” year of birth on grave slab* *ghostly sigh* Only one thin’ I c’n do… Hey, boy!

    Purple Hippo of Happiness, who is lying on the grave slab like Greyfriars Bobby: *bounds up* Yes, oh O’Malley?!

    Ghost Jack O’Malley: *points in direction of his birthplace* Go ‘n’ have some fun wi’ those tossers!

    Purple Hippo of Happiness: Oh YES!!!!!!!!!!! *charges off happily to cause chaos*


    • non_canon

      Meanwhile, from wherever they’re buried, ghost! Wolfe mutters something mildly disapproving in German and ghost! Ben readies a lecture about the importance of history and proper record keeping.

  • John

    I find the annotation “Or; No, It’s Not All In London” amusing since I’m pretty sure that the only things that have been shown in the strip that occurred in London are Luxuria’s “execution” and Alexa King’s parent’s half of her phone call while she was heading to Widdershins on the train at the start of Piece of Cake. So frankly almost none of it is in London.

    • kuku

      I think it’s to inform people who have no clue about geography of the UK other than that London’s there.

      • This, yes

      • …or ‘Londoners’ as they are known here in Britain.

        • John

          I had forgotten that that took place in London.

          • John

            This reply was intended to go with your comment about the giraffe.

      • Thorin Schmidt

        Well, but the UK is basically only the size of Michigan, and Michigan is pretty much urban, so I figured everything was just happening in the London Suburbs, you know? That’s why I thought that whole “deserted coast” thing in the first story was a little far-fetched…..

        okay not really, I happen to be a little more aware geographically than the average ‘Murrican

        • Ocean Burning.

          “Michigan is pretty much urban”? Sir, have you been to Michigan?

          • Thorin Schmidt

            Well yes, but my “Ignernt Murrican” persona hasn’t been there yet…

            “I’m not really an Ignorant American but I play one online”….

            • Ocean Burning.

              Good job. I was afraid you had believed the lies of trolls. Not internet trolls, but those trolls who live in the Land Under The Bridge.

    • Don’t forget the unfortunate incident with Ms Barber and the giraffe.

    • Ilmari

      I made a nod to that recently, being surprised that Widdershins was not in the south. As I was born in Hexham (on the Tyne, so *north* north England) – and going further back my English ancestors are from Somerset – I wholeheartedly support the avoidance of London-centricity. :-)

  • Emily

    I didn’t realize Ben was originally from London! If Vee’s from Manchester, I wonder how much they (and Blake and Bryony) saw of each other growing up – I’d sort of imagined them all playing together/bickering with each other as children, but maybe not.

    And Rosie’s a fellow Wisconsinite! <3

    • Ocean Burning.

      I thought the same thing! Now I’m wondering how / why he ended up in Widdershins?

      • non_canon

        From what I understand Widdershins is the magical capital of UK, so he probably moved there after he graduated looking for work and to be closer to that atmosphere/professional network.

        • Emily

          That’s my guess too. He probably went to school at a less-prestigious magical university near London, given his reaction when he learned Sid went to Widdershins:

        • Ocean Burning.

          Yeah. I have done too much mental analysis of why and how much his magical abilities might be affected (or not) by the move to Widdershins, but I won’t bore you with it…

          • non_canon

            Actually, now I’m interested.

            • Ocean Burning.

              You shouldn’t have said this… I will write all this down for Ben because he is me in another life or something. : P
              Anyway I refer to this page:
              To sum up, my theory is that Ben’s problems may (possibly) be divided into two parts. On one hand, his comparatively lower level of connection to the spirit-world… which is the thing that the anchor amplifies if I’ve read the stories correctly (?). So even though it’s still not great (we can see that his aura is a lot smaller than Sid’s), I wonder if it’s better than when he was in college. On the other hand, not being imaginative (thinking of which spirits to ask to do what while in each specific situation — which comes so naturally to Sid!), is what I guess wouldn’t improve just by being near the anchor… although I still have hope for him to improve somewhat over the long run, like after years of having to deal with all the spirits in Widdershins by trial and error.
              ?: ]

              • Thorin Schmidt

                That lines up exactly with my take on it, therefore, by american social media logic, you must be right and anyone who disagrees is obviously an idiot!

                • Thorin Schmidt

                  for anyone who missed the subtlety, the previous post is *sarcastic*….. :)

              • non_canon

                I would agree with you, and also add that his current life experiences are probably boosting his power as well. Ben’s been hampered by a lack of creativity and emotional connection, but now he’s having to learn to be flexible and think on his feet. Not to mention pretty much all of his beliefs about the world have been tested and he’s been learning to connect with others.

                • Ocean Burning.

                  So true : )

    • non_canon

      I think they probably would spend time together during the summer and a few major holidays. Like, Vee might go spend a month with them during summer break.

      • a_flemish_dude

        most likely the other way around, this is 19th century london, the smog filled, heavily industrialised london, not the 21th century metropolis

        I think that ben would be extatic to spend time on the countryside instead of there

        • Disloyal Subject

          Yeah, I can’t see the city as depicted in Chimneyspeak being good for someone of good Mr Thackery’s constitution.

    • Del

      I’m starting to think there are more Sconnies here than Englishmen.

      Let me know if you want to get together for a pipe sometime. I just got back from the Chicago Pipe & Tobacco Show, and I’m flush with free samples.

      • Emily

        I don’t smoke, but thanks!

  • kuku

    Could someone remind me who Tim is?

    • Tikatu

      Stage magician friend of Sid’s. Cousin to Lei. Specializes in an “ancient Chinese gentleman” magician act. The story with him in it is currently running on GoComics.

    • Maria Gerasimova

      See chpt 3 :)

  • Del

    North of Manchester, in the Lake District, is the village of Kendal, Cumbria. That’s where Harry and Henry get their pipe tobacco.

    As pipes and tobacco are very important characters in this strip, I hope their home is noted on the map soon.

    Meanwhile…. I also live in Wisconsin. There is a plaque on Rosie Bell’s home in Oconomowoc (close to Milwaukee).

    • JWLM

      Cool! There’s also a plaque on the house where she lived when she wrote ABC’s. It’s up in the Dells.

      • Emily

        I hear there’s a restaurant in Door County that still uses Rosie’s recipe for cherry pie.

        • AJ

          Hold the phone. There’s a REAL person with a REAL cookbook involved and I don’t have that cookbook in my hands?

          • Emily

            No, unfortunately – Rosie and her cookbook are still fictional. The previous comments were just Wisconsinites having fun with the idea that she comes from our state.

            • JWLM

              It’s a little ironic the Door County, Oconowoc, and the Dells are each about 250 km from the others. Just about as far apart as Widdershins is from London.

  • billydaking

    “Jack O’Malley, Irish Traveller, from no one place in particular.”

    Also known as Ireland. :-)

    • maeverin

      Yes, Ireland, county Nunya :)

      • Euodiachloris

        Probably from a tiny village with a pub called “The Beehive”. XD

  • JM

    Oh, cool! West Yorkshire is where my great-great-grandfather came from, and there’s a significant portion of the family still there. Alas, no Barbers in our fam.

  • Eva Schiffer

    Woooooo Wisconsin! That’s my home state! Gonna have to go visit Rosie! :D

    • Del

      Want to meet up for a pipe? Madison has three cigar bars, where grown-ups can go be grown-ups.

      • Eva Schiffer

        Thanks for the thought, but I am rather allergic to tobacco (it brings on migraine headaches for me). :(

        • Del

          Me too… that is, I used to have violent reactions to cigarette smoke in bars and in my parent’s home. Lots of irritating stuff in cigarettes. I get a little itchy, just reading O’Malley’s pictures.

          Pipes and cigars are not so.

  • Spirit22

    You forgot Ethan! Where is he from? (I figure Sam would be a spoiler)

    • Oops, I did forget Ethan! He’s from Leeds!

      • Ocean Burning.

        Oh dear, “Leeds” just sounds to me like a combination of “lads” and “tweed”… now I’m thinking that Leeds is a place where lads wear tweed… I’m sorry. : P

  • Doran

    So Widdershins is fantasy Halifax then?

    Given it’s the 19th century, does it have the alpine route leading north to Queensbury and Haworth?

    Any chance we’ll see Durham again?

    • Close to Halifax, yeah! That’s where Nicola is taking Henry at this point in the story. Haven’t decided about the roads, but I do know that area particularly well!

      And Durham was my university town, so i wouldn’t be shocked if I used it again :)

      • Doran

        Whoops, my bad for not clarifying – there used to be an absolute bunch of railways just north of halifax around queensbury due to lots and lots of millowners all wanting their goods delivered. Map here

        Regarding Durham, looking forward to it since I went to St Aidan’s :D

        • Haha, St Chads, here. The tiniest college.

          • Euodiachloris

            At least it’s not always threatening to sink… (obligitory Collingwood gab at Van Mildert which pointedly ignores the whole “threatening to fall down a cliff” problem the older parts of Collingwood have). xD

  • Rosie Bell is from my home State? Awesome!

    • Ocean Burning.

      It makes tons of sense to me… I have been to Wisconsin and eaten the food there :D

  • a_flemish_dude

    are wolfe and voss from “prussia” prussia (as in east germany) or are they from somewhere in the rhineland (which was ruled by prussia at the time)?

  • Anime fan

    ‘Ey, Kate. Think there’re any interesting spirits around this?
    My people wrought lot’s of havoc, surely there’d be nasties still drifting around the border. Or “middle shires” as Jimmy VI insisted.

  • Killersquirrel66

    Does ‘Irish Traveller’ with a capital T mean Mal is from a Traveller family, or is it just that he’s been moving around for most of his life? If the former, he might have something in common with Harry’s Gran. :)

  • Jaidus Flame

    Hey Widdershins doesn’t look all that far from Huddersfield. (Just moved from there)

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