Wednesday 7 October 2015

Dark Disney

A fun thing from ScreenRant (though I'd ignore the rather unfortunate image they chose at the front of the video): the dark, pre-Disney origins of some of our favourite fairy stories.

In fairness to Disney, there were lots of different versions of these stories and the Grimms produced more and more bowdlerised versions with each new edition.  For anyone after an English version of the Grimms' first take on the tales, I can heartily recommend Jack Zipes' translation, published by Princeton University Press as "The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm".

Sunday 16 August 2015

Grimm Tidings

I've always loved Grimms' Fairy Tales.  A quick scamper through my shelves reveals three copies and I suspect there must be others lurking around somewhere.  Wonderful and strange, they haven't just entertained kids down the ages and provided the base of stories from which Disney propelled itself to world domination, they have also inspired countless artists and illustrators, as *ahem* illustrated by this selection over at Brainpickings.

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Magic Swords!

Otherwhile isn't much for magic swords.  Most swords do the work quite nicely (or, indeed, nastily) in the right hands anyway, so magic seems rather unnecessary.  There's also a general lack of lake-dwelling types in samite, ready to fling out enchanted swords like a Dungeons & Dragons DM drunk on power and Cheeto dust.

The real world - our world - on the other hand, did have "magic" swords, complete with inscriptions on their blades.  And the British Lilbrary would like your help with one of them.  As you can read here.

Thursday 12 March 2015


Terry Pratchett was one of my heroes.  His books made me laugh out loud in all sorts of embarrassing places and gave me more sheer joy than is entirely proper.  The world is much less jolly without him.  It's also less kind and less angry about injustice.  If anyone understood the Ealing comedy idea of standing up for the little guy and girl (and troll and dwarf and vampire) it was him.  He will be hugely missed.  His books will still be hugely loved.