The Witches by Roald Dahl: Summary & Characters

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  • 0:00 Witches
  • 0:32 Characters
  • 1:33 Summary of ''The Witches''
  • 3:12 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lindsey Hays

Lindsey has taught Elementary Education, Spanish immersion, and ESL. She has a MS in Elementary Education with a BA in Spanish.

Does every story have to have a perfect happily ever after? For a little boy and his grandmamma, a happy ending comes at a price! Let's find out more about what happens to the boy and his grandmother in 'The Witches' by Roald Dahl.


When you think about witches, do you imagine the kind that you see on Halloween - the kind with pointy black hats, long black dresses, long fingernails, striped stockings, and warts on their noses? Well, in The Witches, by Roald Dahl, the witches are even scarier. That's because you don't know who they are. The witches in this novel wear dresses and makeup, and with their disguises they don't look anything like you'd picture a witch to be. You never know when you might meet one!


There are a few main characters in The Witches.

  • A seven-year-old boy, who is our narrator. He tells us the story, but we never find out his name. He later saves the day by killing all the witches in England.
  • Grandmamma: The boy's grandmamma took him in after his parents died, and she loves to tell stories.
  • The Grand High Witch, who is the antagonist of the story and the ruler of the witches. (An antagonist is the bad guy, villain, or enemy of a story).
  • Bruno Jenkins is a little boy who gets turned into a mouse by the witches at the witch meeting.
  • A witch that the boy sees at his house.
  • The manager of the hotel, Mr. Stringer.
  • The waiter, William.
  • Various other witches.
  • Mr. Jenkins, Bruno's dad, who isn't very nice.
  • Mrs. Jenkins, Bruno's mom, who doesn't like mice.
  • A chambermaid, who reports the boy for having a pet mouse.
  • Other background characters like the cook, taxi driver, and the other children who disappear because of the witches.

Summary of The Witches

In the very beginning of the novel, we meet a boy in England who has to go live with his grandmother because his parents have died. The seven-year-old boy, who is the narrator, warns us against witches. He explains that a witch is just like any other person. They don't wear black hats and capes like you would think. Instead, they have bald heads and clawed hands that they cover with wigs and gloves. The worst thing about it is that they're out to kill children! How terrifying! Grandmamma has told the boy about witches, and when he sees one at his own house, he finally knows they're real.

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