Sunday, January 10, 2021

Something About 'Warlock' Word Choice

What's in a word?

I see from the inbox most of the mail Bellairsia receives is from people asking questions, such as clarifying book editions or confirming autograph samples. There are rare occasions when someone takes issue with something, such was the case of someone currently practicing Witchcraft: 
I've always been an avid reader of fantasy and Sci-Fi. Also a huge fan of Disney. But I have to say I am extremely disappointed in Mr. Bellairs disrespect, to Male Witches and Wiccans everywhere! As a practicing witch for over 45 yrs, I am deeply offended that Mr. Bellairs would even think to call any of our Brother practitioners "Warlock" Had he Googled the topic or even picked up a book on the subject written by someone who actually practiced the Craft, He would have know that a warlock is a traitorous bounty hunter that hunted our kind for years for money! Male Witches are called the same as female witches... Just that: Witches. This isn't something we call ourselves for whimsy or fun. This is our belief system, or if you will, our religion. So by constantly misinforming people in his writings, he is in essence making fun of us as a people. Why is it that people think it's ok to do this? Especially in this day and age where respect of others beliefs are constantly being harped on. Stop with the misinformation. Try writing with a little more respect to the practice of Witchcraft. It isn't evil you know.
I doubt Bellairs had any malevolent motives with his word choice. In The House with a Clock in its Walls (1973), Jonathan Barnavelt referred to Isaac Izard, and later himself, as a warlock, describing it as a male witch. Bellairs later used the word for the title of The Lamp from the Warlock's Tomb (1988), though I don't quite recall how often the word appeared within the text. 

How do those practicing Wicca or Paganism feel about such word choices?

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