From The Writers' Room Featuring The Witch Who Came In From the Cold

Cassandra Rose Clarke on writing The Witch Who Came In From The Cold S2E4: “Earth and Salt, Fire and Mercury”

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witch-s02e04This was a fun episode to write.

Why? Well, three reasons, really. One, it was great to be back in the world of Cold Witch. I needed more magic-fueled spycraft in my life. Two, I got to write a crazy-pants Flame ritual, which I always enjoy doing. And three, I’m secretly a romance writer at heart, and this episode called for some lady-lady smooches. Triple win, I say.

Let’s start with those kisses, shall we? During the story symposium, we decided Nadia needed a love interest this season—why should Alestair and Josh have all the fun? We also wanted to bring in more boxing, since you can’t really set up a character as a boxer and then never let her throw a punch. Combining the two felt like a natural next move. And so, enter Van, our badass French-Vietnamese lover, fighter, and potential hedgewitch. Boxing and romance are a fun combination to write, and I had a lot of fun tying together the visceral impact of Nadia and Van’s boxing match with the equally visceral (albeit in a much different way) impact of their post-fight sexy times.

The ritual in the second part of the episode was another chance to write on a visceral level. Writing about magic is always a unique challenge for me. In much of our popular culture, magic is represented visually—think lightning bolts shooting out of fingers and so forth. But I’ve always thought of magic as this kind of intense power that would transcend the visual realm. It’s something that needs to be explored through all five senses, particularly (in my opinion) touch. So in that ritual scene, I had a great time reveling in the physicality of magic—how would it feel to stand in a room swarming with elementals? It was a fun continuation of the Nadia and Van scenes.

But despite all that physicality, this episode was really the calm before the storm. While Episode 4 is somewhat twisty plot-wise, as there are a couple of story threads I had to twine together, it’s nothing compared to the Gordian knot that is the last half of this season. And so it was fantastic to spend a bit of time getting down and dirty with sex, magic, and boxing before I had to dive deep into the more abstraction conundrums of my next episode.

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