Tagged: lewis carroll Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Jeff Somers 3:00 pm on 2017/10/04 Permalink
    Tags: , , answered prayers, , anthony trollope, , , , , , , , , , j. g. ballard, , joan weigall, , lewis carroll, , , , picnic at hanging rock, , , the adventures of huckleberry finn, the macdermots of ballycloran, , , , , through the looking glass, , why I want to f*ck ronald reagan   

    15 of the Most Infamous Deleted Chapters in History 

    Revision is a vital aspect of creation; all authors delete, re-write, and occasionally burn entire manuscripts with tears streaming down their faces. Most of the time, deleted chapters occur so early in the writing process that they’re not relevant—or interesting. They’re just the cost of doing literary business. Sometimes, though, the story behind excised material is almost as interesting as the finished version of the book it comes from. The fifteen chapters listed here didn’t make it into the published version of the book—but that hasn’t stopped them from being part of the conversation.

    Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
    Heller’s classic 1961 novel, one of the funniest, darkest, and most complex ever written, took about eight years to write—and remains the defining work of Heller’s career. Put simply, if you’re discussing Joseph Heller, you’re discussing Catch-22, and even Heller seemed to accept this towards the end of his life. Much of his late output was directly connected to his first novel, and in 2003 he published the collection Catch as Catch Can which contained two deleted chapters from Catch-22: “Love, Dad” and “Yossarian Survives” (both of which had been previously published). The chapters provide some background on Nately and Yossarian while offering some of Heller’s most savage mockery of the military—and both chapters work perfectly well as standalone stories, making them perhaps the rare examples of chapters deleted from books because they were too good.

    Dracula, by Bram Stoker
    Stoker’s novel is one of the most influential in all of history, but it originally ended a bit differently from the version you’re familiar with. A deleted chapter detailed Dracula’s castle literally falling apart as he dies. It’s not very long—a grace note, really—and there are several theories as to why Stoker excised it very close to its publication. Some people think he might have been envisioning a sequel and wanted to hedge his bets. Others think he might have worried about being accused of stealing the concept from Edgar Allan Poe. Whatever the reason, reading the chapter does change the tone of the novel just enough to make it significant.

    The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
    Wilde’s only novel originally contained a great deal of homosexual imagery, sexual allusions, and other edgy stuff that made his publisher’s head explode. So his editor forced him to cut a great deal of this “objectionable” material. Even so, the book created a stir upon publication, as it still contained passages that outraged a lot of people, and so Wilde revised the book a second time in an effort to make it acceptable. Wilde’s reward was a novel everyone is still reading and, of course, a few years in jail simply for being a homosexual. In 2011 the uncensored version of the book was finally published with the deleted chapters restored, so you can now read the book in all its dirty glory.

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl
    In the early versions of Dahl’s beloved book there were actually eight kids brought into Wonka’s factory, and they had some different adventures—including the original chapter 5, which brings the children and their parents into the Vanilla Fudge Room, where a literal mountain of fudge is worked on by Wonka’s servants with picks and hammers, sending boulders of fudge down to the floor where they’re grabbed by cranes and sent on wagons into a hole in the wall. Sounds delightful until two of the kids and their parents ignore Wonka’s warnings and ride the wagons to what they think will be fudge heaven. Instead, Wonka reveals that the fudge is tipped out of the wagons into a machine that pounds it thin then chops it up. Dahl’s publisher thought this was a bit too nasty for kids, and so the chapter was deleted and didn’t see the light of day until 2014.

    The Martian, by Andy Weir
    The Martian by Andy Weir went through a lot of revision. The original version posted on Weir’s website—still available online if you know where to look—is very different from the final version. A few years ago Weir went on Reddit for an unannounced, secret “Ask Me Anything” session and revealed the original epilogue of the story, which featured Mark Watney cursing at a child who asks him if he’d return to Mars if they asked him. It’s actually kind of a delightful ending, and one we wish they would have included in the movie.

    Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
    The original ending of Dickens’ famous novel was kind of dark and sad: Pip and Estella meet years after the events of the novel, but instead of a bittersweet moment implying a future for the two, both are simply bitter, and they part on savage terms. Dickens liked this ending because he thought it was unexpected and original, but his Beta Readers disagreed, so he changed the chapter to the version we’re all familiar with. After publication he went back and revised the final line, coming up with the perfect “I saw no shadow of another parting from her.”

    Why I Want to F*ck Ronald Reagan, by J. G. Ballard
    In the late 1960s, Ronald Reagan was something new: one of the first “media politicians” who knew that how you said something was more important than what you said, as well as one of the first “far right” politicians in mainstream politics. Although a decade and a half from the presidency, he made an impact that J.G. Ballard found interesting, and he wrote a short work styled as an academic paper describing bizarre experiments to measure Reagan’s sexual appeal. It was meant to be challenging and confrontational—and it sure was. It was originally included in Ballard’s collection The Atrocity Exhibition, but the American publisher of the book actually destroyed the entire printing rather than let it loose on the country. Let that sink in: the publisher destroyed every copy of the book rather than publish this. If there’s a better reason to read it, we’re unaware.

    A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
    It’s well-known that the last chapter of Burgess’ novel was deleted before it was published in the United States; the publisher thought the “softer” ending in which Alex starts to mature and see that his behavior in the earlier portions of the book was wrong would turn off American readers. Indeed, many still prefer the way the book ended in the truncated version, which is also the beat Stanley Kubrick’s classic film version ends on: Alex dreaming of violence, thinking “I was cured all right.”

    The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
    Wells’ novel about a man who invents a time machine established not just one of the sturdiest sci-fi tropes of all time, but a template for the modern speculative novel. Wells’ publisher insisted he add a section showing mankind’s ultimate evolutionary fate, and Wells obliged under protest, writing a chapter in which the time traveler escapes the Morlocks by traveling into the distant future, where he encounters small mammals which he determines are the descendants of humanity. Wells never liked it and had it removed as soon as he was able, and while the story, which you can read under the standalone title “The Grey Man,” is interesting, the book is much better without it.

    Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll
    Lewis Carroll’s sequel to Alice in Wonderland is more Alice than Alice in many ways. The illustrator working on the book sent Carroll a note saying he wasn’t inspired by the “wasp chapter”, and suggested none-too-subtly that if Carroll were looking to cut the book down a bit, the Wasp part would be the place to start. No one knew what he was referring to, however—until 1976 when the missing “Wasp in a Wig” chapter was put up for auction. One problem, however: no one has ever been able to verify that this was actually written by Carroll. Reading it, the reason people have doubts is pretty clear: it’s awful. Either Carroll cut the one example of bad writing he ever managed…or he didn’t write it.

    Picnic at Hanging Rock, by Joan Weigall
    Weigall’s 1967 novel was a sensation at the time, despite the fact that it literally had no ending. The story of college students who disappear while visiting Hanging Rock in Australia was originally ended with a pretty crazy explanation of everything that happened, but Weigall’s publisher suggested the book might do better without the, um, crazy part and so the final chapter was deleted (you can read it here if you want), meaning that the story just stops, and no explanation is offered at all for the mystery. This actually fueled the book’s success, making it into a “must read” at the time. If the Internet had existed in 1967, this book would have broken it.

    The MacDermots of Ballycloran, by Anthony Trollope
    Trollope had very low expectations for his first novel, and these were borne out when it didn’t do very well. Although the novel has gained in reputation since its initial lackluster publication, you have to be careful to get the original 1847 version, because Trollope later hacked his book to death in an effort to…improve it, we guess? He deleted three chapters and changed a great deal of what makes the original novel interesting (mainly the Irish dialects, politics, and the character flaws). The revised version isn’t nearly as good, and the three missing chapters are, ironically, some of the best writing in the book.

    Answered Prayers, by Truman Capote
    Capote’s transformation from brilliant writer to alcoholic gadfly took about twenty years, and in that time he continuously accepted advances and signed contracts for Answered Prayers, a novel he never got around to finishing. Four chapters were published in magazines (the first, “La Côte Basque 1965,” was so obviously based on his real-life friends and acquaintances Capote pretty much lost every friend he had) and they’re pretty hefty, amounting to a novel’s worth of text if put together. But several other chapters have been referenced in Capote’s correspondence—and he claimed he’d written the final chapter first so he’d know where he was going—that have yet to turn up anywhere.

    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
    Twain, never one to be typical, wasn’t satisfied to delete a mere chapter, instead opting to delete 665 manuscript pages, essentially an entire shadow version of his all-time classic novel. Twain paused work on the book for three years, and scholars have long argued over where exactly he broke off and what he changed when he returned to the book. The deleted chapters contain plenty of material not present in the final book, and have proved invaluable in trying to determine Twain’s intentions and process.

    Persuasion, by Jane Austen
    Austen was one of the most meticulous writers of all time, and put a lot of effort into revising her novels. Persuasion is one of the few in which we can compare early drafts to see how the novel developed, and Austen’s deleted chapters show a ruthless approach to improving the pacing of the plot and the creation of her characters. Assembling earlier versions of the novel show what her original inspiration was, how her ideas changed as she worked, and cast some light on the sausage-making underneath the charming and compelling narratives Austen created.

    Did we miss any famous deleted chapters?

    The post 15 of the Most Infamous Deleted Chapters in History appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jeff Somers 8:30 pm on 2016/08/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , lewis carroll,   

    The Sad, Strange Histories of Some of the Most Famous Kids in Literature 

    One thing that seems to unite all of us is an instinctual urge to protect children. Aside from our emotional reaction to the helpless, the small, and the innocent, children are also quite literally the future, so it makes sense whether or not you ascribe a moral quotient to the phenomenon. Which makes it interesting to note just how often tragedy involving children inspires delightful, happy-go-lucky literature. The following six examples include some of the most famous children characters in literature, yet they all have some very dark origin stories.

    Christopher Robin from Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne
    Christopher Robin Milne is among the most literal inspirations for a character ever noted: the title character’s name, the premise, and indeed all of the characters in A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories were inspired by his son and his collection of stuffed animals. The real Christopher Robin was initially happy to pitch in, offering up suggestions for new adventures, but relentless bullying at school soured the kid on the whole enterprise (although, if you check out a photo of the young Christopher, his haircut almost certainly had something to do with the teasing). He even took up boxing in order to shut down some of his worst tormentors. Unsurprisingly, for decades the real Christopher Robin despised the fictional one and only came to embrace the character he inspired much later in life.

    John and Michael Darling from Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie
    Barrie’s Peter Pan is one of the most famous characters of all time—and in the original novel is famously savage, as Barrie’s whole point was that children are innocent, which means they’re innocent of everything, including a sense of right and wrong. Barrie’s creative process was almost certainly inspired by the death of his older brother David at age 14; Barrie’s mother never got over the shock and it profoundly (and negatively) affected his home life. John and Michael Darling (and the Lost Boys) were likely inspired by the five Llewelyn Davies brothers, the oldest of whom Barrie befriended when he met them in Kensington Gardens when they were boys. Their mother, upon learning that an adult man was regularly meeting with her children in secret, was, surprisingly, delighted, and became fast friends with Barrie as well. Both George and Michael are often cited as inspirations for Peter Pan himself, which makes their deaths at age 21, six years apart, all the more creepy,since he is, after all, a boy who never grows up.

    Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
    Everyone knows Alice was inspired by a real-life Alice Liddell. Carroll met the Liddells when Alice was just three years old, and initially befriended her brothers before turning his attention to Alice and her sister, eventually being inspired to spin the story of Alice in Wonderland in order to entertain the girls. What makes this potentially dark and twisty is the way the Liddell’s suddenly and mysteriously cut Carroll out in 1863, when Alice was 11 years old; Carroll’s diary has missing pages from that period, and he stopped visiting the Liddells for six months. While they did resume a relationship, it was never the same. There are plenty of dark theories as to exactly what caused this rift, but no one directly involved ever spoke of it, and it remains a mystery.

    Ron Weasley from Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling
    Perhaps not the darkest inspiration ever known, but J.K. Rowling has admitted that Ron Weasley is based on a real-life friend named Sean Harris who helped her through some low times. First, Harris was a beacon of hope and freedom during Rowling’s teenage years, because he owned a Ford Anglia (which fans will recognize as the Weasley’s car) and spirited her away from her stultifying home life. Later, Harris loaned her money for a better apartment during Rowling’s a time when she was in therapy, on public assistance, and struggling to write the first Potter book. No wonder she dedicated the second book to “Sean P.F. Harris, getaway driver and foulweather friend.”

    Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
    Dorothy, the girl caught up in a tornado with her dog Toto and whisked off the magical land of Oz, also has a surprisingly tragic origin story. She’s very likely based on Baum’s own niece, Dorothy Louise Gage, who died when she was just five months old. Baum and his wife were very upset by her passing, and Baum may have chosen the name Dorothy for his character as a memorial of sorts, and as a way to comfort his wife by making the young Dorothy immortal in a sense. This also adds an element of spookiness to the way Dorothy is literally taken from her family in the book; from their point of view, there was a storm and Dorothy was nowhere to be found, leaving the obvious conclusion that she died—and making her adventures a comforting fiction for the grieving family.

    The Pevensie Kids from The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
    There’s was certainly something in the water between the mid-1800s and the mid-1900s that caused a lot of classic literature to be inspired by the misery of children. Lewis’ classic children’s books are often remembered for Aslan the untame lion, the talking animals, and the land of Narnia, where it is always Winter but never Christmas. What some forget is that the Pevensie children originally stumble onto Narnia because they have been evacuated from London to the country due to the air raids Germany was raining down on the city at the beginning of World War II—something that actually happened to three young girls named Margaret, Mary, and Katherine, sent to live in Lewis’ home, The Kilns. Lewis gained an appreciation for children he’d lacked before, and their presence inspired him to return to an old idea he’d been carrying around since his own childhood, which resulted in everyone’s favorite fantasy series. Just keep in mind the series was initially inspired by frightened children who were evacuated from a war zone into a stranger’s house. You’d go hide in a wardrobe, too.

     
  • Ginni Chen 3:00 pm on 2015/03/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , lewis carroll   

    7 Books to Pair With Your Favorite Breakfast Cereal 

    Sometimes, when you’ve had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week, you need a one-two punch combination of your favorite things to cheer you up. That’s when you need to draw upon the magical marriage of cereal and books—two of life’s greatest things, paired together for a perfect pick-me-up. What could be better than a great novel in one hand and a spoonful of your favorite breakfast indulgence in the other? A good book beats reading the back of a cereal box any day, and (while we might hate to admit it) the little kid in us still thinks sugary breakfast cereals are the ambrosia of the gods. For your breakfasting (or any-mealing) pleasure, here are some perfect pairings of literature and cereal.

    Cocoa Puffs + Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, by Chuck Klosterman
    If Cocoa Puffs are in the title, then Cocoa Puffs you must have, while delving into this witty collection of pop culture observations. Klosterman treats the most asinine aspects of our culture with hilariously sharp insights and thought-provoking irony. You’ll find yourself thinking deep, anthropological thoughts while slurping up the chocolate milk left behind from your cereal.

    Wheaties + The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach
    Wheaties has always been known as the cereal of athletes and Olympians, but it got its start sponsoring a Minnesotan minor-league baseball team in the 1920s. In fact, Wheaties used the team’s billboard to advertise their famous slogan, “The Breakfast of Champions.” So it’s only fitting that, while you eat your Wheaties, you immerse yourself in a story about love, self-discovery, and baseball. The book centers on young Henry Skrimshander, a star NCAA shortstop, who finds himself crippled by self-doubt after making a throw that injures his friend. Whether you love baseball or are indifferent to it, you’ll find Harbach’s compassionate and earnest debut novel a home run.

    Fruity Pebbles + The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson
    Calvin won’t eat any cereal that doesn’t turn his milk purple, and we’re right there with him! You’ll feel like a kid on a beautiful Saturday morning when you comb through this compendium of cartoons while munching on multicolored Fruity Pebble flakes. Channel your inner Calvin while you wait for your milk to change color, and marvel at the wonderful wisdom of Watterson!

    Count Chocula + Dracula, by Bram Stoker
    Count Chocula cereal is the only appropriate sweet treat to accompany a reading of Bram Stoker’s classic. This gothic horror novel has been riffed on throughout the centuries and has inspired many characters, rewrites, and film adaptations, but we think Stoker’s original vampire story is the scariest of them all. Don’t worry, if you get too scared while reading it, you can just focus on the chocolate-y, marshmallow-y deliciousness in your bowl.

    Cap’n Crunch + The Horatio Hornblower novels, by C.S. Forester
    If you’re feeling adventurous, read these action-packed tales of the high seas while munching on Cap’n Crunch cereal. Cap’n Crunch, the cereal’s mascot, is named Horatio Magellan Crunch and he wears a hat reminiscent of the Napoleonic era. How fitting, since Horatio Hornblower is a Royal Navy Officer who rises through the ranks and heroically captains ships throughout the Napoleonic Wars!

    Grape Nuts + Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer
    Grape Nuts have been around since the late nineteenth century, and were a favorite among explorers and mountaineers. In fact, Sir Edmund Hillary ate Grape Nuts during his long trek to the summit of Mt. Everest in 1953. Get a (literal) taste of the Everest experience by spooning up some Grape Nuts while reading journalist and mountaineer Jon Krakauer’s memoir of his harrowing experience climbing Mt. Everest. It’s a novel so troubling, terrifying, and powerful that snacking on Grape Nuts might be the closest you’ll want to come to scaling Mt. Everest.

    Trix + Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
    If you’re going to follow inquisitive Alice down a rabbit hole into the fantastical world of Wonderland, you’ll want a snack that appeals to hungry humans and anthropomorphized white rabbits. Trix will do the trick! With it’s luridly colored puffs and it’s hapless rabbit mascot, Trix cereal is the ultimate complement to Lewis Carroll’s beloved and bizarre classic.

    What’s your favorite cereal and book combination?

     
  • Ginni Chen 3:00 pm on 2015/03/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , lewis carroll,   

    7 Books to Pair With Your Favorite Breakfast Cereal 

    Sometimes, when you’ve had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week, you need a one-two punch combination of your favorite things to cheer you up. That’s when you need to draw upon the magical marriage of cereal and books—two of life’s greatest things, paired together for a perfect pick-me-up. What could be better than a great novel in one hand and a spoonful of your favorite breakfast indulgence in the other? A good book beats reading the back of a cereal box any day, and (while we might hate to admit it) the little kid in us still thinks sugary breakfast cereals are the ambrosia of the gods. For your breakfasting (or any-mealing) pleasure, here are some perfect pairings of literature and cereal.

    Cocoa Puffs + Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, by Chuck Klosterman
    If Cocoa Puffs are in the title, then Cocoa Puffs you must have, while delving into this witty collection of pop culture observations. Klosterman treats the most asinine aspects of our culture with hilariously sharp insights and thought-provoking irony. You’ll find yourself thinking deep, anthropological thoughts while slurping up the chocolate milk left behind from your cereal.

    Wheaties + The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach
    Wheaties has always been known as the cereal of athletes and Olympians, but it got its start sponsoring a Minnesotan minor-league baseball team in the 1920s. In fact, Wheaties used the team’s billboard to advertise their famous slogan, “The Breakfast of Champions.” So it’s only fitting that, while you eat your Wheaties, you immerse yourself in a story about love, self-discovery, and baseball. The book centers on young Henry Skrimshander, a star NCAA shortstop, who finds himself crippled by self-doubt after making a throw that injures his friend. Whether you love baseball or are indifferent to it, you’ll find Harbach’s compassionate and earnest debut novel a home run.

    Fruity Pebbles + The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson
    Calvin won’t eat any cereal that doesn’t turn his milk purple, and we’re right there with him! You’ll feel like a kid on a beautiful Saturday morning when you comb through this compendium of cartoons while munching on multicolored Fruity Pebble flakes. Channel your inner Calvin while you wait for your milk to change color, and marvel at the wonderful wisdom of Watterson!

    Count Chocula + Dracula, by Bram Stoker
    Count Chocula cereal is the only appropriate sweet treat to accompany a reading of Bram Stoker’s classic. This gothic horror novel has been riffed on throughout the centuries and has inspired many characters, rewrites, and film adaptations, but we think Stoker’s original vampire story is the scariest of them all. Don’t worry, if you get too scared while reading it, you can just focus on the chocolate-y, marshmallow-y deliciousness in your bowl.

    Cap’n Crunch + The Horatio Hornblower novels, by C.S. Forester
    If you’re feeling adventurous, read these action-packed tales of the high seas while munching on Cap’n Crunch cereal. Cap’n Crunch, the cereal’s mascot, is named Horatio Magellan Crunch and he wears a hat reminiscent of the Napoleonic era. How fitting, since Horatio Hornblower is a Royal Navy Officer who rises through the ranks and heroically captains ships throughout the Napoleonic Wars!

    Grape Nuts + Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer
    Grape Nuts have been around since the late nineteenth century, and were a favorite among explorers and mountaineers. In fact, Sir Edmund Hillary ate Grape Nuts during his long trek to the summit of Mt. Everest in 1953. Get a (literal) taste of the Everest experience by spooning up some Grape Nuts while reading journalist and mountaineer Jon Krakauer’s memoir of his harrowing experience climbing Mt. Everest. It’s a novel so troubling, terrifying, and powerful that snacking on Grape Nuts might be the closest you’ll want to come to scaling Mt. Everest.

    Trix + Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
    If you’re going to follow inquisitive Alice down a rabbit hole into the fantastical world of Wonderland, you’ll want a snack that appeals to hungry humans and anthropomorphized white rabbits. Trix will do the trick! With it’s luridly colored puffs and it’s hapless rabbit mascot, Trix cereal is the ultimate complement to Lewis Carroll’s beloved and bizarre classic.

    What’s your favorite cereal and book combination?

     
  • Nicole Hill 3:30 pm on 2014/06/13 Permalink
    Tags: , alice's adventures in wonderland, , , , , , , joanna cole, lewis carroll, , roots, ,   

    7 Characters In Need of Origin Stories 

    The Cat in the Hat

    The box-office success of Disney’s Maleficent proves two things: 1) There will always be a vehicle for Angelina Jolie’s cheekbones, and 2) People love a good backstory. For every interesting or marginally interesting fictional character out there, there are clusters of people itching for an origin story (see Exhibits A through Wolverine). Unfortunately, not every irascible, enigmatic, or irredeemably kooky character gets a shot at exposing their roots on the page or on the big screen. Here are just a few of the mysterious fictional men and women whose back stories I most want to read:

    Ms. Valerie Frizzle (The Magic School Bus series, by Joanna Cole)
    Eccentricity, my dear Arnold, is the result of the unstoppable whirlwind that is a third-grade teacher meeting the immovable wonder of science. Whenever the Frizz (and her anthropomorphic bus) show up, chaos and antics not covered by any school field trip waiver in this nation ensue. We get to know Ms. Frizzle and her class quite well, but we know so very, very little about this woman so willing to send a bus full of students inside another one of her students. How did she end up at Walkerville Elementary? At what point did she make the acquaintance of Wynonna Judd Molly Cule? There are those who believe she is a Time Lord. And there is me, who believes she’s a refugee from Wayside School.

    Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling)
    By about the second time Umbridge spoke in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I knew I wanted this woman dead (sorry, but one must not tell lies). For in seven books and eight movies, there is but one character universally reviled, and it’s this pink-clad toad. I think it’s because we all know a Dolores Umbridge type. I have very few noseless archnemeses, but boy, could I make a list of egocentric mid-level managers who would be no great loss should they carried off by an outraged group of centaurs. What’s unclear, however, is how such unabashed, pure feminine evil came to be elected Senior Undersecretary Dolores Jane Umbridge. Is such villainy born or created? How long does it take to accrue that many cat plates?

    Dolorous Edd (A Song of Ice and Fire series, by George R.R. Martin)
    The storied past of the Night’s Watch’s Eeyore (and resident standup comedian) deserves some attention for, if nothing else, breaking up the chapters of bloodshed and treachery with a quick melancholy one-liner. Am I alone here? You cheer me not.

    The Cat (The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss)
    There are more questions than answers surrounding this destructive feline. Namely, when did he become such a dapper dresser? What turned him on to a life disturbing the suburban peace? At what point did he enslave Things One and Two—or is this a Willy Wonka/Oompa Loompa situation? If we’re to delve deeper into Seussian beings, Yertle the Turtle is also ripe for a Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck-esque treatment.

    Dr. Watson (The Sherlock Holmes series, by Arthur Conan Doyle)
    Things in need of sorting out: the exact location of Watson’s war wound, what kind of seedy, secret past led his wife to refer to him as James in The Man With the Twisted Lip, and everything that happened to him before soldiering and Sherlock Holmes.

    Cheshire Cat (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll)
    Cats, man. You just never know where they come from. Somewhere there’s a litter of disembodied grins that needs to be explored. And just where did this feline fiend get his philosophy degree? If a cat points out a logical fallacy in the forest, but no one can see him, did it really happen?

    What fictional characters do you think need origin stories?

     
c
compose new post
j
next post/next comment
k
previous post/previous comment
r
reply
e
edit
o
show/hide comments
t
go to top
l
go to login
h
show/hide help
esc
cancel