It’s the third day of Christmas, the feast day of St. John the Apostle–patron of authors and publishers–and a good day to sit around the common room, drink some spiced pumpkin juice, and contemplate magical things. To start, we have Christie over at Spinning Straw into Gold posting about Father Christmas as Fairy Tale:
[St. Nick's story] is a fairy tale. Or a folk tale, if you prefer. Many elements of a fairy/folk tale are present: an ordinary person called to do or be something extraordinary; a journey, whether symbolic or literal; dealings with faeries (elves); reward and justice; the sense of mystery or more questions left than answers. Here is a figure as universal but specific as Baba Yaga.
Going on with news and commentary:
King’s Cross Station has now opened a little official Harry Potter memorabilia shop at Platform 9 3/4.
Jon Michaud over at the New Yorker argues that The Hobbit is a better book than The Lord of the Rings.
The Atlantic’s Noah Berlatsky condemns the portrayal of violence in Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit: “The Hobbit’s gory battles don’t just pad out its run-time. They contradict the story’s message about mercy.”
I haven’t watched this yet, owing to extreme holiday busyness, but China Miéville’s explanation of ‘why science fiction is not superior to fantasy‘ will almost certainly interest me. The usual arguments about what exactly constitutes and divides those intricately related genres follow in the comments on the linked post.
HuffPo has a post on celebrities who have modeled for book covers.
In numerical lists: 20 amazing Tolkien-inspired tattoos and 10 songs inspired by books–the latter of which, however, does not include any of the wrocking wonderfulness that has come since Harry and the Potters laid down the track for “Save Ginny Weasley”.
Lastly, for some further Christmassy cheer: famous authors playing in the snow.