Gay men love a witch. Exactly which witch is up for debate, but what’s beyond argument is that we simply cannot get enough of these fabulous, secretive women who’re feared and misunderstood by the world around them, wield amazing powers and dress in the fiercest threads…
Oh, and many witches are bitches, too.
No, we have no earthly idea where the attraction comes from either, but we do know that the coolest witches scratch those itches that other mere mortal characters just can’t reach.
So sit back, relax, fix yourself a nice fat plate of dead mice and an ice-cold witches’ brew (don’t worry, you can hex that gut away at your leisure) and let our coven of sorceresses show you the best and the bitchiest in fictional witchery.
1. Aunt Hilda and Aunt Zelda (and Salem) – Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Sabrina the Teenage Witch was ahead of its time: Sabrina essentially had two mums, for a start. Hilda and Zelda worked hilariously as a pair, witness the way they shade their niece when she suggests using a tree-trimmer to chop down a beanstalk she grew in the back yard (Zelda: “Tree-trimmer? Isn’t she cute?”), but also on their own – Zelda was the smart, responsible one, Hilda the laid-back one who preferred the low-effort approach (we sympathise). And they dressed like absolute babes.
Meanwhile, Salem was a furry blast (sorry not sorry), a megalomaniacal dictator turned into a cat – he spends his time being sassy and pretending to be a woman in internet chat rooms. It’s like looking in a very hairy mirror.
2. Sabrina Spellman – Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Sabrina the everygirl – she goes to a regular school, has a regular (extremely cute) boyfriend, yet hides a secret that she fears would make her an outcast… Minus the boyf, we can relate.
We loved Sabrina because of the way she grows – starting as an uncertain teenager, making mistakes in this strange new magical world, and slowly becoming more assured, eventually solving the family secret. She grew from a scared lamb to a strong woman. Preach.
3. The Sanderson Sisters – Hocus Pocus
The next time you wake looking like a car crash after a heavy night, and throw open your curtains to feel the sunlight bite at your un-moisturised skin, utter these words: “What a glorious morning… It makes me SICK!”. You’ll feel much better, but they didn’t work for Winnifred Sanderson and her sisters.
Obsessed with eternal youth (a noble aim if you ask us – but stealing it from children could be questionable), and defeating pesky Max, these three liven up any party with “I put a spell on you” (Oh Bette, we love you!).
Winnie takes no shit – when her lover Billy cheats, she poisons him and sews his mouth shut – we’d have just blocked him on Grindr. But the funniest thing? They’re crap witches: they’re foiled by a fire sprinkler (“the burning rain of DEATH!”) and they have to take the bus after their brooms are stolen by pre-teens.
This hopeless gaggle will put a spell on you.
4. Bellatrix Lestrange – Harry Potter
© Warner Bros.
Forget He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, with Bellatrix around we might as well call him Whatever-His-Name-Is. Helena Bonham-Carter goes all the way with the role – the woman has madness in her soul, and in books or film, this mad-as-hell uber-bitch is the ultimate Potter nemesis: she really works that ‘up all night plotting murders’ chic, she tortured Neville’s parents into insanity (but Neville did grow up to be smoking hot, so there’s that), she killed Sirius, she killed Tonks, she even killed… DOBBY.
Bellatrix was an unstoppable one-woman wrecking ball, until she came face to face with…
5. Molly Weasley – Harry Potter
© Warner Bros.
The flame-haired matriarch of the Weasley brood, Molly, both in the books and as played by the national icon Julie Walters, is a stone-cold legend.
She loves her family with a passion the Dursleys could only dream of, yet isn’t afraid to get real: she blasts her son for stealing the car in front of the ENTIRE Great Hall (from hundreds of miles away), and silences evil Bellatrix with those immortal words “Not my daughter you bitch!” when she turns on Ginny, before serving the killing blow.
This hilarious woman is Harry’s real mother in all but blood, whilst Aunt Petunia spends her days leafing through the Daily Mail.
6. Professor McGonagall – Harry Potter
© Warner Bros.
If Molly is the queen of the Burrow, McGonagall rules the Hogwarts roost. She can dance, making Ron feel beautifully awkward when showing him how to waltz (“Put your hand on my waist”), she moonlights as a cat, her bitch face is out of this world and she refuses to take the crap that Umbridge serves up.
Plus she’ll do ANYTHING to protect her students. When Hogwarts is threatened in Hallows, she transfigures the statues, sends them out to battle, and declares with a wry giggle: “I’ve always wanted to use that spell!”
7. Luna Lovegood – Harry Potter
© Warner Bros.
Unabashed oddball and proud Ravenclaw, Luna emerges as a fan favourite with countless Potterheads, gay or straight. This is because Luna is a wandering love letter to all those who are different, misunderstood, judged or victimised because they don’t fit society’s norms.
But we love her not just because she endures the hate from those with smaller minds, but because she responds in the best possible way: she doesn’t give a toss, and she keeps on smiling.
8. The Grand High Witch – The Witches
© Warner Bros.
In Potter world, ‘witch’ is just a designator of someone’s birth, not an indicator of their character. But in Roald Dahl’s writing, the term is 100% accurate when it comes to the Grand High Witch – this vile creature is the leader of EVERY other witch on the planet, and boy is she not afraid to pull rank (she vaporises a naysayer with her finger).
That’s why we love this evil bitch. In the film, she styles herself glamorously, rocking a black dress and pearls, before revealing her true nature when her witches come together to plan the murder of all England’s children (these sick puppies call themselves the RSPCC, of all things!).
If you thought your fellow queens could be two-faced, they’ve got nothing on the Grand High Witch, trust us.
But we do feel her struggle: how many gay men have awoken from the crypt of another night alone, stared into the mirror and seen a hideous bombsite, and then emerged from the front door looking the business after a power shower and heavy styling sesh?
9. Madeleine/Helen – Death Becomes Her
© Universal Pictures
OK, we’ve bent the rules here – this pair aren’t magical, but they’re witches to their impeccably manicured fingertips.
The man-hungry, appropriately named Mad and Hel (Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn, respectively), are locked in a bloodthirsty bitch-off to the death as they jostle for Ernest’s (Bruce Willis) attention. But the struggle’s really about burying the other girl – and looking great doing it.
They drink a magical potion that keeps them eternally young, with an irritating side-effect – they cannot be killed. When Madeleine falls down the stairs, or Helen’s shot in the chest, they worry about how to hide those ugly injuries.
In the end, they’re stuck together. Two old queens who can’t stand each other but keep going anyway? Such a fate has eluded us. So far.
10. The Wicked Witch of the West/Elphaba – The Wizard of Oz/Wicked
The grand daddy (mummy?) of them all. Think witch, and this is the bitch you’re thinking of. Green skin? Check. Cackle? Check. Tall pointy hat? You got it.
The Wicked Witch of the West in that iconic 1937 flick is pure cinematic evil at its malevolent best – if a little misunderstood… You’d be hell to be around too if someone dropped a house on your sister. And doesn’t it just grind your gears when some queen flings a bucket of water in your face?
Lyricist Stephen Schwartz agreed with us in the record-breaking Wicked, which peeked into young Elphaba’s earlier life and explained her turn to wickedness, originally featuring the iconic Defying Gravity.
11. Ursula – The Little Mermaid
Pity the poor unfortunate souls who’ve never heard of Ursula, the only witch to have been creatively inspired by a drag act (Divine). They weren’t kidding when they called her, well, a witch.
Savage, outrageous, entirely merciless to those who cross her, and possessed of a rather wonderful filthy laugh – she’ll make you thinner, prettier, happier, but at a heavy price (and whatever you do, don’t default on your debt).
Ursula more than proves her evil credentials as she callously sabotages Ariel’s relationship with Eric, and proves herself surprisingly… expandable during the film’s climax.
Ursula’s a shining example of fictional witchery, but whatever you do, don’t keep her waiting – she’s a very busy woman.
12. Maleficent – Sleeping Beauty/Maleficent
Feeling horny? You’ve nothing on Maleficent’s impeccably designed ‘do. Sleeping Beauty’s deadly nemesis has a name with literally means ‘doing evil or harm’, and an attitude to match – in retaliation for being snubbed by Aurora’s parents when they plan her christening, Maleficent curses the baby to die when she’s 16. Yikes.
Plus, she can transform into a giant purple dragon that breathes luminous green flames. Maleficent is the archetypal witch: sophisticated, glamourous, and cruel.
Similar to Wicked, 2014’s Maleficent film showed us the human side of this evil-doer, but we prefer the unashamed villainy of the animated version – mess with that bull, you really do get the horns.
13. Misty Day – American Horror Story: Coven
© Michele K. Short/FX
American Horror Story’s third season was not met with universal praise but Lily Rabe’s Misty Day became a fan favourite.
The eccentric witch has the power of resurrection, meaning she can bring both herself and other living creatures back from the dead, as well as a quirky dress sense, a cool little shack in a Louisiana swamp and an obsession with Stevie Nicks.
Misty, unlike most of our others, is a good witch, preferring to bring rather life than take it away, and, unlike the religious zealots who try to burn her alive, she’s a benevolent kind of Christian who believes loving others… That’ll never catch on.
If witches really existed, we’d want them to be like Misty Day, and we can bestow no higher praise than that.
So now you’ve cackled your way through our list, did we get it right? Let us know, and while you’re at it, dig out your black robes and green makeup – we won’t judge.
In fact, since we’re on the subject, we’re off to jump right onto the nearest, biggest broomstick ourselves. Until next time, our pretties!