Around the Common Room: November 30, 2012

As this post goes up, it’s still November 29 by my clock, on account of which: Happy Birthday, C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L’Engle! Born exactly twenty years apart–Lewis in 1898 and L’Engle in 1918–the two authors must have shared a trace of magic along with a birthday, for few children’s books have been more loved than The Chronicles of Narnia and A Wrinkle in Time. Here’s to Jack and Madeleine, both of whom have been loved by many of us for nearly all our reading lives.

Fairy tale writer and aficionado L.C. Ricardo, has written a beautiful piece on symbolism and meaning in fairy tales, which was just published on the webzine Enchanted Conversation. From L.C.:

That is not to say that fairy tales are mere allegory. Perhaps this one-sided interpretation carries some blame for people’s frustration in“telling the same story over and over again.” If a tower is always a phallic symbol and the maiden either imprisoned or protected from the masculine, we rob the tower of its first childhood impression. That of something tall, stone, unreachable. Something enchanted, according to that which makes up its very definition. And from there—who knows what it could be?

Do you agree with her on the openness of interpretation, or disagree? What do you think of the universality and personal appeal of fairy tales and fantasy literature? Feel free to hold forth in the combox.

Here’s the news from the week:

Pottermore is pretty good at immersing you into the Hogwarts world, but Rowling’s Playstation game–the Book of Spells for Sony’s Wonderbook–sounds exceptional, according to this review by NBC News’ Winda Benedetti. Expensive, but awesome. Even more expensive, but also possibly awesome, is this $1000 limited-edition 8-book set on the adaptation of Harry Potter from book to film. And if that still isn’t an expensive enough Christmas gift for your true love, the sum total for buying the Twelve Days of Christmas has topped $107,000.

Terry Pratchett has announced that he’s bequeathing the writing of the Discworld saga to his daughter, Rhianna. May he live long and prosper, but he says with confidence that the future of the series is safe in her hands.

The 1997 Encyclopedia of Fantasy is now online. Of course, it hasn’t been updated except for a few small details, which means that for all intents and purposes, it predates Harry Potter.

io9 has the Complete Guide  to every Doctor Who anniversary special. Ever. And while we’re talking about the Doctor, over at Neatorama, you can hear a young violinist play the theme song.

And while we’re talking music, here’s J.R.R. Tolkien reading/singing an extract from The Hobbit. The movie premiere of which, by the way, drew “an estimated 100,000 fans” in New Zealand.

Anxious for the next Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire? Entertainment on NBC News has photos up.

Star Trek fans take note: Warp drive may be back on NASA’s table of possibilities.

This week in Top Numerological Lists: 19 science fiction movies that could change your life, 25 great closing lines in films, and 10 TV shows that are/were better than the novels they were based on.

And finally, the funny things: Totally, Like, Accio on NotAlwaysRomantic and Narnia Gets Good Reception on NotAlwaysRelated.

One thought on “Around the Common Room: November 30, 2012

  1. I’m overwhelmed by the wealth of links, and hope to sift through all of them soon, Jenna–thanks!

    How cool that Lewis and L’Engle share a birthday–a “trace of magic” between the two of them, indeed. That reminds me of something that L’Engle writes in one of her Time quintet novels, An Acceptable Time: “There are lines drawn between the stars, and lines drawn between places, and lines drawn between people, and lines linking all three”–and those lines “grow short” (as in “bonding”) when there is love between people and projects.

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