Books are weird. We have books about children who don’t grow, books about evil jewelry, books about people who really want to sit in uncomfortable chairs, books about cats who wear hats for reasons that are never explained, and books about orphans. It’s a lot to take in, but you know what makes it so much easier? Humor.
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And SNL is funny. It’s had its up and downs, but when your show is over thirty years old, of course there are going to be some duds. But when it’s good, it is amazing.
So, in honor of our love of SNL and our love of books, here are five times SNL paranoid classic books.
Peter Pan is back and Wendy and the gang are ready to go to Neverland. What could go wrong?
Well, Tinkerbell ain’t around. She was always kind of obnoxious with that I’m-going-to-sell-out-a little girl-to-a-one-handed-pirate thing she had going on, but that was a phase. Luckily, we can avoid bringing out dirty laundry because Peter Pan brought a new fairy.
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She’s gross. And lazy. And a whole other list of negative character traits. At least she’s not cruel though. That goes to Peter Pan himself.
…author Barrie noted, “It doesn’t show the devil in Peter.”
Let’s be honest: Peter Pan cut off a pirate hand and threw it to a crocodile. Why not just kill him? Why throw his hand to a crocodile? Was it because his last name was hook? That’s not funny, that’s just mean.
Charles Dickens’ classic Oliver Twistfollows the titular character who is born into poverty and grows up being forced to toil in the workhouse. It’s dark, it’s depressing, and it’s kind of fun.
It’s a match made in heaven for SNL.
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In this sketch, the cowardly Oliver is told to ask for more food because the poor orphans are hungry. Shaking, Oliver goes up but is…
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…interrupted by a full grown woman who comes out of nowhere begging for food she doesn’t need. How selfish!
When Oliver gets the bowl, the woman insults him. Oliver, the pinacle of human goodness, offers to share because of course he does. But unfortunately for him, the woman takes the whole bowl. If you thinks that’s depressing, you should read the book.
But this sketch is a gem. It’s big, it’s long, it goes everywhere and does everything we want. The best part? We got SVU stars Mariska Hargitay and Ice-T investing the death of Oberyn Martell. Who could have crushed his death?
There’s something fun about bad guys. A memorable villain is just as much a key ingredient of literature as the hero, acting as the antagonist and obstacle in the way of the heroes goals. If done properly, a villain will be just as remembered and often as beloved as the hero, hailed for their command of evil minions, nefarious lines, and the threatening situations they put our plucky main characters in. But who are the best? Who are the cream of the crop among literary bad guys? Well, here are the top ten best and darkest villains in literature!
10. Annie Wilkes- ‘Misery’
Image via Stephen King wiki
Annie Wilkes is a cautionary tale, showcasing how mentally unstable being a ‘superfan’ can make you. When writer Paul Sheldon breaks both legs in an accident, Annie takes him in and begins to nurse him back to health. But slowly, she reveals she’s obsessed with the Misery series Paul writes and the latest book kills off Misery. Annie Wilkes snaps at this and forces Paul to write a new novel that undoes Misery’s death. She subjects him to multiple horrors within her house, such as slicing off Paul’s leg with an axe and stabbing a state trooper who tries to rescue Paul before running him over with a lawnmower. Annie Wilkes grows increasingly psychotic over the course of the novel and just as Paul does, the reader becomes increasing desperate to escape her presence. Annie Wilkes was played by Kathy Bates in the 1990 film adaptation, winning an Oscar for bringing the character to life.
9. Patrick Bateman- ‘American Psycho’
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Debuting in 1991 in the novel American Psycho,Patrick Bateman is a deeply, deeply disturbed man. A young investment banker living in Manhattan during the 1980s, Patrick Bateman is a serial killer who begins the novel in semi-control of his killing urges but spirals completely out of control as the novel progresses. Told from Bateman’s POV, the novel paints him as a racist, a homophobic, a narcissist, and a psychopath. However, Bateman may not even be a serial killer, as the novel frames his crimes as possibly not even having happened after he confesses at the book’s end. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Bateman is a deeply disturbed man and one whose mental state is at rock bottom, even if he’s a serial killer or not.
8. Count Olaf- ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’
Image via Lemony Snicket wiki
Children’s novels often have brought to life some of the most iconic villains in pop culture and Count Olaf is no exception. The main antagonist for the majority of the series, obsessed with claiming the fortune of the Baudelaire orphans. Over the course of the series, he appears in each location the children find themselves in, from steel mills to a reptile zoo to a carnival. Each time, Count Olaf assumes a new disguise in his pursuit of the kids, fooling everyone but them with his distinct personas. He may be a murderer with a flair for arson but Count Olaf is always a lot of fun, hammy and over the top in his villainy. Yet, at the end of the series, he manages to become a sympathetic figure and even allies with the children against a worse evil before he meets his demise, showing perhaps that he was more complicated than we thought.
7. Big brother- ‘1984′
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Less a character than a symbol of tyranny and oppression, Big Brother is nonetheless the ruling leader of Oceania in 1984. Never seen in person, Big Brother might just a symbol of the tyrannical Party but that doesn’t matter. People believe he exists and the Party reinforces this belief to the oppressed populace. Posters decorate the city that bear the now famous slogan ‘Big Brother is watching you’. The message is always clear: Big Brother sees all and if there is dissent, he knows. Big Brother becomes akin to God, a portrait of a tyranny realized at its terrifying conclusion.
6. Mr. Croup and Vandemar- ‘Neverwhere’
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Croup and Vandemar are a double-act, a pair of villains who are hired to track down the heroes in Neverwhere. It is not made entirely clear what they are but they’re not human, that’s for certain, as they have a habit of eating live animals and sometimes, chunks of furniture! Croup is a small fat man who is possessed with a verbose style of speech while Vandemar is his brutish partner who barely speaks and specializes more in killing things. The pair certainly make a memorable impression whenever they’re onscreen, serving as an excellent and terrifying pair of evil thugs who can’t be stopped by regular weapons.
5. Regal Farseer-‘The Farseer Trilogy’
Regal Farseer is a vain and cruel prince in line to acquire the throne in the fantasy kingdom of Buckeep. However, his plans of ascension are thrown into a snag when a bastard son of his father, Chivalry Farseer, called Fitz (the protagonist) comes to Buckeep. Regal is aware of Fitz’s heritage and plots to kill him. He eventually acquires the throne throughout the trilogy and Fitz is brought into conflict with his half-brother to get it back. Regal embodies jealously, cruelty, and arrogance, being one dark and vicious prince.
4. Randall Flagg-‘The Stand’
Described as Stephen King’s ‘ubervillain’, Randall Flagg appears through Stephen King’s multiverse to wreck constant havoc. He first appears in The Stand, as a demonic cult leader trying to establish a new society filled with his loyal followers after a plague has destroyed the Earth’s population. Flagg seemingly meets his end when his blown up by a nuclear warhead but reappears throughout further Stephen King works, revealing himself to be an immortal sorcerer who travels throughout space and time, his ultimate goal being to climb The Dark Towerto become a god. Assuming a vast number of identities, Flagg is always a manipulative, dark presence who strikes fear whenever he appears, no matter the setting or genre.
3. Professor Moriarty- ‘Sherlock Holmes’
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Even if you’ve never read a Sherlock Holmesstory, you know this guy. Moriarty appears in The Final Problem, becoming famous as the antagonist who would (temporarily) kill Sherlock Holmes. There, Holmes has penetrated his criminal organization and is forced to flee across the country from Moriarty’s wrath. The pursuit ends on Reichenbach Falls, where the two fight and seemingly plummet to their deaths. Moriarty never appears directly onscreen, as the novel is narrated by Watson who never crosses path with the criminal leader but he is practically an overlord of the London underworld, just as brilliant as Sherlock but uses his mind for evil. It’s no wonder Moriarty was promoted to Holmes’s archenemy, he became such an iconic figure that adaptations see fit to use him as Sherlock’s ultimate enemy.
2. Dolores Umbridge- ‘Harry Potter’
Image via Harry Potter wiki
Forget Voldemort, Dolores Umbridge is a far more evil character because of how real she feels. Seemingly a sweet little lady, Dolores Umbridge reveals herself to be sadistic, cruel, and hits all the buttons to make her hate throughout the series. She interrupts Dumbledore during the Feast, she speaks to the students as if they’re a bunch of small children, she punishes Harry for his misbehaving by making him carve the words “I MUST NOT TELL LIES” over and over again into his skin while she watches with a sweet smile. Dolores hides behind her position of authority to inflict her sadistic whims on Hogwarts and its a sigh of relief when gets what’s coming to her at the end, although some think it wasn’t enough for this woman.
1. Sauron- ‘The Lord of the Rings’
Image via LOTR Wiki
The titular Lord of the Rings, Sauron is unique among fantasy evil overlords in that he never appears directly in the trilogy but his presence consumes everything and he’s responsible for every evil act in one way or another. A former Maiar, a divine angel, Sauron turned away from the light in his lust for power and crafted the One Ring to rule Middle-earth. But the forces of men and elves fought against him, destroying his physical form. Sauron took years to establish himself again, confining himself to his tower in Mordor and building a dark army to conquer Middle-earth while searching to regain the One Ring to claim ultimate victory. Sauron is arguably scarier for how he never appears, only referenced by Gandalf, Saruman, and Gollum but the way they speak of him, how they describe what he is, leaves no doubt that he is one of the greatest villains in literary history. Sometimes, the imagination is more powerful than what we can see.
Being a fantasy fan means you’re often bombarded with the same recommendations over and over again. Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Chronicles of Narnia,Tales From Earthsea, Dragonriders of Pern… it can get a little tiring after a while! But here at Bookstr, we look for the obscure as well as the famous. So, here are a few fantasy novels that fall outside of the norm and have just as much magic, action, and world building as you’d crave, just not by typical authors like Tolkien or Martin. Enjoy!
5. The Axe and the Throne by M.D. Ireman
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A grim, dark fantasy tale, this one isn’t for everyone, especially if you don’t like violence or a cynical tone but it creates a world that’s vivid as it is brutal. The story follows a man called Tallos as he journeys through a war torn land where the line between good and evil is increasingly blurred as Northmen raid his people’s villages. Much like Game of Thrones characters are killed off without a moment’s notice and disposed of, frustrating some readers but allowing the stakes to be made clear. And it will reward you at the end if you can stick through it. Strongly cautioned but this one is highly recommended, despite the brutal, sometimes unrelenting world it creates.
4. Age of Myth By Michael J. Sullivan
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Age of Mythbegins an epic fantasy saga, telling of a long forgotten age where humans are worshipping a race they call Fhrey as gods. The Fhrey are masters of magic and seemingly immortal but when one falls to a mortal blade, the balance of power shifts entirely. Now humans are spurred into action, ready to rebel against the so called gods that have long dominated them. The book follows three people: Raithe, a boy who slew a god, Suri, a young seer who sees visions of a dark future, and Persephone, a young woman who must lead her people despite personal hardship. This is an epic novel of great scope, crafting the beginning of a great saga.
3. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
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Mistbornby Brandon Sanderson is set in a world where the land is ruled by a tyrant called the Lord Ruler and magic is uniquely designed around metal. The three main forms of magic revolve around metal to fuel or steal magic for themselves. The series centers around a thief called Kelsier, who plots to bring down the Lord Ruler for his own personal vendetta. Hunted by the Ruler’s armies, he must use his wits and magic to survive as he fights every step to gain an edge against the huge empire that rules the land.
2. The Black Company by Glen Cook
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This series is very unique, centering around a company of mercenaries called the Black Company in service to a villain. The series esquires traditional tropes to center more gritty warfare, despite epic fantasy battles from the perspectives of grunts, showcasing the deadly sieges, trench warfare, and other dangerous situations they fight in day after day. Combining epic and dark fantasy, The Black Company showcases a fantastical world from a unique point of view, showing what all this looks like from rank and file soldiers.
1. The name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
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The Name of the Wildis an acclaimed piece of work and its easy to see why. Following a young magician named Kvothe, Kvothe becomes a student at an arcane school and begins to set himself down the path to become the world’s greatest wizard. While not much truly happens throughout the novel, this is very refreshing, as this novel isn’t a traditional quest but following the journey of a boy to becoming a man. The prose is magnificent, the world is incredibly developed, and the main character is someone who acts like a real boy, frustrating and delighting readers. It’s not easy to say why this novel works, it just does. Pick it up for yourself and see.
The film based on the life of J.R.R. Tolkien, writer of The Lord of the Rings, won’t be released until May 10th, but the Tolkien estate has already disavowed the film.
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As per the Irish Examiner, the family released a statement saying:
The family of JRR Tolkien and the Tolkien Estate are aware of the Fox Searchlight motion picture entitled Tolkien that is due for release in May 2019.
The family and the Estate wish to make clear that they did not approve of, authorise or participate in the making of this film.
They do not endorse it or its content in any way.
The film stars Nicholas Hoult, known for playing Beast in X-Men: First Class and Nux in Max Max: Fury Road. According to The Guardian, the film is follows “the formative years of the renowned author’s life as he finds friendship, courage and inspiration among a fellow group of writers and artists at school…until the outbreak of the first world war which threatens to tear their fellowship apart”.
Image Via Entertainment Weekly
It’s another biopic but instead of being based on a rock n’roll star a la Bohemian Rhapsody or the new Elton John film, Rocketman, this film is about a writer. Given that Lilly Collins plays Edith, Tolkien’s romantic interest and later wife, you probably already know what this film is about.
But let’s keep an open mind: Just because the film doesn’t have the family’s approval doesn’t mean it’s bad—or even inaccurate. The Tolkien estate isn’t known for their love of The Lord of the Rings, either. Christopher Tolkien, son of the writer, told Cinema Blend that, “They gutted the book, making an action movie for fifteen-twenty-five year olds. And it seems that The Hobbit will be of the same ilk.”
At least the filmmakers—from the actors to the cast and crew to the producers—can sit easily with this quote from The Independent: “The family of Tolkien are understood to consistently turn down approaches to make biopics, and wished to clarify their position.”
Meanwhile, the Tolkien estate sold the rights for a Lord of the Rings television series to Amazon back in 2017, and a series based on the trilogy is currently in development. Meanwhile, the film, produced by Fox Searchlight (which is now owned by Disney!) will still be released come May 10th.
Food. We can’t live without it, and luckily, it is, in all its delicious forms, one of life’s greatest pleasures. This is well reflected in the media landscape, with numerous TV shows devoted to the art of fine cuisine (Man V Food, I’m looking at you). Books are no stranger to the glorification of food, and writers have conjured astonishingly meals that are guaranteed to make your mouth water.
Here are five of the best fictional foods we wish really existed; each one devoted to making your mouth water!
5. Lembas bread from The lord of the rings
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A special bread made by elves (also known as waybread in the Common Speech), lembas bread is very nutritious and stays fresh for months, aiding the Fellowship in their long journey across Middle-earth during the War for the Ring. Frodo and Sam in particular find it invaluable, subsiding on it during their walk to Mordor. Lembas is noted as tasting similar to honey-cakes, only being even better. Unfortunately, the recipe is a closely guarded secret but that doesn’t make the bread any less tasty.
4. Cauldron Cakes from Harry Potter
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Cauldron cakes are a popular wizarding treat eaten by Harry and the gang multiple times throughout the series. They can be bought from the trolley aboard the Hogwarts Express or Honeydukes Sweetshop in Hogsmeade. They play an important role at the dawn of Harry and Ron’s friendship, when Harry offers one to Ron, who doesn’t have enough money to buy his own. Cauldron cakes are probably a delicious sweet, always a fine snack when they appear.
3. klah from Dragonriders of Pern
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A restorative drink in the world of Pern, klah functions as an analogue to coffee, as it is described as a mix between chocolate and cinnamon, always served hot. It is made from klah bark, ground up and brewed, although it can go bad if left on the fire for too long. It is drunk by multiple characters throughout the series and the official recipe is: two tablespoons sweet ground chocolate, 1/2 cup dark cocoa, 3/8 teaspoon cinnamon, one teaspoon dark instant coffee crystals, ground to powder and a small pinch of nutmeg. Brew it with boiling water then stir well. Enjoy!
2. The Great Hall Cake from Redwall
Image Via Redwall Wiki
The Redwall series always has lavish descriptions of food served in the titular Redwall, often tremendous feasts for the abbey’s inhabitants. Uniquely, with the residents being vegetarian animals, the meals are entirely plant-based creations, with no meat at all, but they still managed to be utterly delicious in their presentation and descriptions. The Great Hall Cake is often the centerpiece of these feasts, a masterpiece of culinary artistry that never fails to make the mouth water. You know you want a bite…
1. Just all of A Song of Ice and FIre
Image Via Game of Thrones wiki
Throughout A Song of Ice and Firenovels by George R.R. Martin there’s too many lavish descriptions of excellent feasts to pick just one variety of food. Divided up by region, Martin puts as much thought and detail into the food as does into the rest of the world. From the delicious breakfasts at the North, which includes soft-boiled eggs, crispy bacon, berry seeds, and mint tea to lemon cakes to potted hare, there’s no shortage of food to drool over throughout the novels. A personal favorite is a traditional Dornish meal, which includes lamb, stuffed grape leaves, flatbread, wine, and white cheese. Other good foods include fried sardines with pepper in Braavos, elk meatballs with blue cheese in King’s Landing, and and pig stuffed with mushrooms in the South. Its all just so good!
What are some of your favorite fictional foods and meals? Let us know in the comments!