Far from symbolising the occult, the darkness and depravity of the human soul, witches portrayed in mass media these days have evolved into young and attractive paragons of female empowerment.

There was a time when being called a “witch” would have been an insult (or even dangerous, since they drowned or burned those accused of witchcraft as recently as the 1600s) – but it’s a compliment now if someone were to say that a woman is bewitching.

We’ve got modern media to thank for doing away with the Macbethian image of “Double, double toil and trouble”. From J.K. Rowling’s Hermione Granger to Chacha of Japanese anime series Akazukin Chacha, witches have become some of our favourite heroines on screen. Here are the best witches, ranked in descending order (based on our completely subjective preferences), to have graced our screens (and captured our imaginations).

 

9. Endora (Bewitched)

We’re referring to the beloved 60’s sitcom, and not the disappointing 2005 film that tried too hard to be meta. While everyone would agree that Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) was definitely the star of the show, she didn’t embrace her witch powers the way her mother did – in fact, she tried to live without them so she could adapt to a mortal life with her mortal husband.

But Endora (Agnes Moorehead), Samantha’s mother, revelled in her powers. She was the true blue witch of the series, constantly trying to devise some mystical way of breaking up Samantha and her husband Darrin. She was a pretty hot mama, and possibly one of the only few people who could pull off those gaudy “witch” outfits and make them look so good. And with a name like Endora – come on, you’d have dated her when she was younger too, wouldn’t you?

 

8 & 7. Sally and Gillian Owens (Practical Magic)

Even without magic, the Owen sisters would have been able to bewitch anyone. That’s why the struggle for Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian (Nicole Kidman) was more than just about finding romance, it was about family.

The fact that the men they fell in love with were cursed to die was also a minor problem when it came to finding their happily ever after, too. But they were people first, and witches second – with distinctively different characteristics. That’s why they’ll live on as some of our favourite onscreen witches.

 

6. Kiki (Kiki’s Delivery Service)

Kiki in "Kiki's Delivery Service". Credit: FSR

Kiki in “Kiki’s Delivery Service”. Credit: FSR

A Ghibli classic, “Kiki’s Delivery Service” told the story of how 13-year-old witch Kiki had to go out into the world to develop her skill and earn a living. With her flying broomstick, she became the FedEx of the port city of Koriko, delivering items in a way that nobody could.

But as Kiki discovered – what she really needed was to find out her true purpose in life. Her raison d’etre, as it were. As with all Studio Ghibli movies, it was about meaning and not magic, and Kiki’s struggle to discover who she truly was a story that all 13-year-olds could relate to.

 

5. Piper (Charmed, 1998-2006)

Of the three (well, four) Halliwell sisters, Piper (Holly Marie Combs) had the best combination of strength and common sense. Her powers weren’t as flashy as Prue’s telekinesis, but being able to stop time is arguably a lot more useful. Her ability to freeze her environment meant that she could effectively use super speed, moving around when others couldn’t. Anyway, she developed more offensive powers in later seasons and could make things explode. Plus, she was a lot more level-headed than Phoebe, Prue, or Paige.

If it came down to a fight, Piper would win hands down. You can’t defeat an opponent who can freeze time, and that’s what it would have been like fighting Piper. This year, Piper will be reincarnated in the form of “Mel”, played by Melonie Diaz, in a CBS Television reboot of the series.

 

4. Sabrina (Sabrina the Teenage Witch)

Sabrina the teenage witch (or more accurately, Sabrina the half-witch, since her father was magical but her mother was human) first started out as an Archie Comics series. It was so popular that it got adapted into a live action series, three films, numerous animated series – and even Netflix is going to be making their own version of Sabrina the Teenage Witch!

The version of Sabrina that captured our hearts was the one played by Melissa Joan Hart though. It first started out as TV movie, before becoming a television series. She brought spunk, believability, and unpredictability to the character of Sabrina, and she felt like a real teenager who had to deal with the additional problem of being a witch.

 

3. Melisandre (Game of Thrones)

Of all the witches on the list, Melisandre is one of the most powerful – and one of the most horrifying, too. The Red Priestess of Rh’llor, the Lord of Light, she initially backed Stannis Baraethon, believing that he would be the one to ultimately unite the Seven Kingdoms and take the Iron Throne.

While the other witches would have placed a curse on their enemies, Melisandre went one step further. She gave birth to a shadow demon to assassinate Stannis’ brother, Renly Baraetheon, in one of the most horrifying but memorable scenes from the series. And if you think that she’s a sweet young thing, guess again.

Her youth is actually the result of magic. Melisandre is actually over three hundred years old, which means that an old ah-ma gave birth to the shadow demon you saw earlier. Worst of all, she backed the wrong horse, since Stannis was eventually beheaded by Brienne of Tarth (who had a thing for his murdered brother, Renly).

 

2. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

Hermione Granger across all the Harry Potter movies. Credit: Pinterest

Hermione Granger across all the Harry Potter movies. Credit: Pinterest

Hermione is everyone’s favourite witch from Harry Potter, so it’s not surprising that she’d be second on the list. Of the power trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, she’s the one who aged the most gracefully. We literally saw her grow up across the movies, so she’s always been that little sister that we’re really protective about.

Being one of the smartest people in the Harry Potter universe, Hermione could probably perform any magical incantation if she put her mind to it. In fact, if she were interested in Dark Magic, she would probably be a lot more deadly than Voldemort…

 

1. Chacha aka Magical Princess Holy-Up (Akazukin Chacha)

“Akazukin” means “red hood” in Japanese, because Chacha wore a red hood in her regular witch form. She also had a friend named Kurozukin Yakko, who was a witch who wore a black hood (“kurozukin” means “black hood” in Japanese).

She could perform minor magical tricks as Chacha, but her real power lay in her ability to transform into the Magical Princess Holy-Up, a powerful heroine who fought against the forces of evil with the Magical Celine Arrow. However, the bow and arrow eventually proved to be too weak to defeat her foes, so…

She gained a new weapon, the Phoenix Sword, and a protective device, the Bird Shield later in the series.

Sadly, Chacha had to give up her ability to transform into Magical Princess Holy-Up. Near the end of the series, the heroes stumbled across an open portal to Hell – and the only things powerful enough to seal it were the three items that enable Chacha to transform into Magical Princess Holy-Up.

In the end, Chacha gives up that ability forever, but saves the world in the process.

 

Laplace's Witch. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Laplace’s Witch. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

When is a witch not a witch? That’s what you’ll find out in Laplace’s Witch – an exciting investigative drama that sees professor Shusuke Aoe (Sho Sakurai) calling on the help of Laplace’s Witch to aid in a series of unnatural deaths. The witch turns out to be doe-eyed Madoka Uhara (Suzu Hirose) – but is she truly a witch, or is there more to her than meets the eye? The thrilling drama is packed with unexpected twists and turns, and a revelation that will shock all the characters involved!

Will Madoka Uhara turn out to be the greatest witch of all – or is she just pretending to be one? Find out in Laplace’s Witch!

 

 

Credits: FSR, Pinterest, Golden Village Cinemas

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