1. Serafina Pekkala in The Golden Compass (2007)
The witches in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series of books are amazing. They are very long-lived, they can fly by riding on an enchanted branch of cloud-pine, and they can separate themselves from their daemons at need. They are also excellent archers. They are friends of the Gyptians and enemies of the Magisterium. Serafina Pekkala is the queen of the Lake Enara clan of witches, and her daemon, Kaisa, takes the form of a goose. She was played by Eva Green in the film The Golden Compass.
Serafina Pekkala: “We feel cold, but we don’t mind it, because we will not come to harm. And if we wrapped up against the cold, we wouldn’t feel other things, like the bright tingle of the stars, or the music of the aurora, or best of all the silky feeling of moonlight on our skin. It’s worth being cold for that.”
2. Morticia Addams in The Addams Family (1991)
Morticia: “Don’t torture yourself, darling. That’s my job.”
Morticia: “Last night you were unhinged. You were like some desperate howling demon. You frightened me. … Do it again.”
3. Olive Hawthorn in Doctor Who and the Daemons (1971)
Olive: “I hit him over the head with my reticule. It had my crystal ball in it.”
4. Maleficent in Maleficent (2014)
Maleficent is a faery who lives in the Moors, a beautiful wild region. She is an embodiment of nature and wildness. She turns vengeful when her wings are stolen from her. She is an interesting character because she is both hero and villain of the story. The 2014 film is a brilliant retelling of the story of Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of the bad fairy. Maleficent is played by Angelina Jolie, who had always liked the character after seeing the 1959 Disney cartoon of Sleeping Beauty.
Aurora: I know who you are.
Maleficent: Do you?
Aurora: You’re my fairy godmother!
5. Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter films
McGonagall: “They’re the worst sort of Muggles imaginable.”
6. August Boatwright in The Secret Life of Bees (2008)
August is not exactly a witch, but she worships the Black Madonna, lives with her two sisters, and promotes equality and wisdom, so she is embodying a similar archetype. She was played by Queen Latifah to critical acclaim in the film, which received several award nominations from the NAACP.
“The people called her Our Lady of Chains. They called her that not because she wore chains…”
“Not because she wore chains,” the Daughters chanted.
“They called her Our Lady of Chains because she broke them.”
7. Kiki in Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
Kiki: “Without even thinking about it, I used to be able to fly. Now I’m trying to look inside myself and find out how I did it.”
8. Sally Owens in Practical Magic (1995)
Despite spending most of the film trying to be “normal” and not use her magic, Sandra Bullock’s character, Sally Owens, comes through in a crisis and keeps a cool head. She goes to rescue her sister from an abusive relationship, and manages to keep it together through several crises. The aunts also deserve special mention as being great witchy role models, especially for eating chocolate cake for breakfast.
Gary Hallet: Did you or your sister kill James Angelov?
Sally Owens: Yeah, a couple of times.
9. Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
The only actual Wiccan on this list, and a bisexual who has a long-term same-sex relationship too – what’s not to love? (The only reason she isn’t higher on the list is because I never watched Buffy.) According to the Wikipedia page about her, her vulnerability, shyness, and intelligence often resonated strongly with viewers. She is also bookish and good with computers, and comes from a Jewish background.
Willow: “Occasionally, I’m callous and strange.”
10. Samantha in Bewitched (1964-1972)
Darrin: Is Tabitha ready for school?Samantha: Of course she’s ready for school! [pause] The question is, is school ready for Tabitha?