Iconic author of His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman, has weighed in on the new design for Britain’s post-Brexit 50p coin (pictured above). Sure, it’s not the font I would use, but it’s a nice… wait a second.
Image via Twitter
You all know how strongly I feel about the Oxford comma. It should be there. It should always, always be there. And apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so. Philip Pullman has authored seven best sellers, is ranked one of the best British authors of the past fifty years, and has an actual knighthood. I’m in good company.
Now I’m not sure how boycotting 50p would work, practically, but no one ever uses 50c coins, so it is possible.
I’m not getting over it. It’s a list! It may not be the eggs, toast, and orange juice problem, but it’s still a list, so it’s still wrong.
Image via Verbicide
And I honestly, honestly wish that I thought this was deliberate. But I don’t. Until some memos are released saying they talked about this, I’m offended, and I’m bothered. Why put such a long slogan at all? Just say something about unity. Or use Latin. Latin, periods between each word. Or go classic, motto style. Peace our goal est.
It’s not the first time Pullman has tweeted something controversial about British culture and politics. I might be the only one who’s jumped on this one this way,
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Riddle me this: What is everywhere in your room but doesn’t clutter up any space?
Dust is actually very important, as far as books go. They can set a scene, they can create a mood, they can be an important plot element. So before you go off and clean your room or procrastinate about cleaning your room, you might just want to read through this list about our top 8 books that feature dust as an important element in the story.
Before we get dark, let’s start with a happy children’s book. Starting in 1963, Amelia Bedelia stars, well, Amelia Bedelia, which started this hit children’s series. Funny, brilliant, this stories often follow Amelia Bedelia, a maid in the Rodgers family, who often misunderstands various commands of her employer by always taking figures of speech and various terminology literally.
Image Via Teaching College English
Notably, she takes the command “dust the furniture” literally and, well, mayhem ensures.
Lucky, after a series of comic misunderstanding and general mayhem, Amelia Bedelia is usually able to the win the family over with a delicious pie or cake. After a while the Rodgers family becomes astute enough to realize that Amelia Bedelia takes everything they say literally so, instead of firing her, they give her more specific commands such as “undust the furniture”.
So remember: You shouldn’t ‘dust around the house’, you should ‘undust the house’. Or you can dust the house. I don’t care, you do you.
With that out of the way, let’s get dark. Dust can set a scene, set a mood, and you know that things are dark when this story opens with a little girl dusting the house while her step-mother and step-sisters are lounge around the house.
Image Via Your Keyword Basket
Since her father’s death, Cinderella’s has been left in the dust, left in the squalor of her step-mother’s tyrannical rule. We all know where the story goes from here, either from the Disney movie or Grimm’s Fairy Tales, with her rising from the dust and into the arms of someone who loves her.
Before the monsters of movies, Infinity War and Endgame, hit theaters, comic readers knew since 1991 that there was a chance our favorite heroes might get dusted. Though we weren’t sure if Disney was going to go through with it, we sat back in awe as our favorite characters, including Spider-Man, bit the dust.
If you want to see where this plot point came from, we’ll buy this comic and listen to Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust” as you see characters you know and love and characters you don’t know but will love get dusted. Be warned:
Young and Old Sophie Hatter / Image Via Fairlight Books
The importance of dust cannot be understated. After her father dies, Sophie Hatter takes over her family’s hat shop but encounters some trouble when she meets a witch who believes Sophie is doing some magic in her territory. In the book Sophie’s guilty as charged, so the witch curses her into looking like an old woman.
She runs away and, cold alone, sneaks on board a moving castle. But she’s found out!
This is when dust comes into play. See, Sophie’s cover story is that, since the castle is old and dusty, she’s the new house keeper! A quick look around and everyone is satisfied with her story, and Sophie ends up actually cleaning the castle.
The story goes on from here, but the most important moral of the story is this: Dust is helpful.
You might know the film, the play, or Victor Hugo’s magnum opus, this story shines a lighter on the misery and the pain of poverty and finding redemption in a cruel world. From the grimy streets of Paris to the dirt of the taverns, this story is known best for this image:
Image Via Pinterest
There’s a reason for that. A young girl cursed to poverty, to survive and not thrive in a dirty world, she’ll have to work hard and, with a little luck, she might be given a new start and a clean slate.
Three orphans cleaning with toothbrushes because life sucks and then you die / Image Via Fast Company
In this series the Baudelaire orphans can’t catch a break. While they are bounced around to guardian after guardian, they are met with increasingly dire circumstances and squalor beyond repair. From a greedy man who just wants them for this vast fortune to a man engulfed in smoke who keeps them (including the baby!) working in a lumber mill, the orphans are no stranger to dust, grime, filth, and dusty things.
Thankfully, they never seem to catch a case of the sniffles, so I guess they’re lucky in that regard.
Image Via Pinterest
Darkly funny and disturbingly horrific, this series is certainly something that’ll make you thankful because, even though dust seems to follow you everywhere you go, at least you’re not being chased by a villain.
If you are in fact being chased by an evil villain, considering calling 9-1-1.
Does dust follow you everywhere you go? Well, that might be a good thing. In the His Dark Materials trilogy, dust are elementary particles associated with consciousness and are integral to the plot. Everyone is chasing dust.
In the first book, young Lyra is bombarded with adults who claim that dust is evil, a terrible particle that causes all the misery in the world. Even her father, Lord Asriel, tells her that
Somewhere out there is the origin of all the Dust, all the death, the sin, the misery, the destructiveness in the world. Human beings can’t see anything without wanting to destroy it, Lyra. That’s original sin. And I’m going to destroy it. Death is going to die.
In the first book, Lyra believes this wholeheartedly, but at the end of the novel her eyes are opened up to the wonders of dust when her daemon, Pantalaimon, asks her:
We’ve heard them all talk about Dust, and they’re so afraid of it, and you know what? We believed them, even though we could see what they were doing was wicked and evil and wrong…We thought Dust must be bad too, because they were grown up and they said so. But what if it isn’t?
From there, Lyra realizes:
If Dust were a good thing…If it were to be sought and welcomes and cherished..
‘We could look for it too, Pan!’ she said
The moral of the story? Don’t dust your house, because dust is magical.
Adaptations galore is coming this fall season! What are the ones that you should look forward to most? Well, stay tuned!
It Chapter 2
Image Via Vanity Fair
A sequel to the horrifying film It, the ‘Loser’s Club’ is back twenty-seven years later (or two years later). The group returns to Derry, Maine, where the Losers must finish what they started: destroy Pennywise.
Who from our lovely ‘Loser’s Club’ will be lost in the ensuing bloodbath? How will these losers defeat Pennywise? Well, it’s based on a Stephen King novel that was released back in 1986, so the answers are out there and, um, it’s pretty wild. Remember to sing your praises to Maturin this September 6th!
Image Via Variety
An original standalone origin story for a character who infamously doesn’t have a definitive origin, this movie starring Joaquin Phoenix has clearly taken cues from Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke by making Arthur Fleck, a mentally ill man disregarded by society, into an up-and-coming comedian. In the iconic comic book, the unnamed man’s career in comedy ends in a chemical bath, but Arthur Fleck’s story might end on a different note entirely.
Is that scene, where Arthur Fleck, in full-fledged Joker makeup, goes on stage with Robert Di Niro a callback to The Dark Knight Returns scene when the Joker poisons the audience and the talk show host alike in a scene of ‘hilarious’ death?
We’ll find out this October 4th.
Having been around since 1930, Nancy Drew has been around longer than your parents (not judging) and she’s spent her time well: solving mysteries even when people told her she couldn’t.
This series has been around forever and if you haven’t read it, you’ve definitely heard of it. Well, we’re getting an adaptation of this series that’s set to debut on October 9, 2019 on the CW.
Miles Halter is our man and through his eyes we are introduced to Alaska Young. A new student meets a timid young girl? Sounds like a love story made in heaven, until Miles soon learns that her life isn’t as perfect as he originally thought.
We’ll get a chance for our spirits to rise and our hearts to grow and break and grow again this October 14th.
Another (sort of) Alan Moore adaptation, this version of Watchmen will be, in the words of showrunner Damon Lindelof, “a remix.”
For those of you who need to be brought up to speed, an alien invasion took place which ended the Cold War, but it was all a fake-out. Rorschach, before his untimely demise, sent his journal to the press where he laid a bread crumb trail to the truth.
What is known about this HBO series is that it takes place thirty-four years after the original comic left off. Taking place in an alternative reality in 2019 where this is no internet or smartphones, we are introduced to a United States where Robert Redford is now the longest-serving president, having been elected in 1992, a feat accomplished thanks to President Nixon abolishing the two-term limit back before the original comic book. Things are in disarray. A white supremacist group calling itself “The Seventh Cavalry,” with members who all wear homemade Rorschach masks, commits simultaneous attacks on the houses of police officers. Because of this, the police start wearing masks themselves.
What is this leading up to? Where are the original characters? Tune in to HBO October 20th find out.
Another Stephen King adaptation, this one is an adaptation ofDoctor Sleep, a sequel to The Shining. While the movie won’t be based on the Stanley Kubrick version, since the movie departs too much from the source material, this standalone is clearly drawing on the imagery set forth by Kubrick. Will it be any good? What’s going to happen?
The film arrives in theaters this November 8th.
The Good Liar
Catherine McKenzie brought us The Good Liar, and Warner Bros is bringing us the film adaptation. Ian McKellen is going to grace the screens as seasoned conman Roy Courtnay.
After he meets Betty McLeish online, he decides to steal a glorious amount of cash from her. But Betty McLeish, played by Helen Mirren, is too much for the conman and he finds herself falling for him. How will this sinister love affair turn out? See it in threaten this November 15th.
First, T.S. Eliot brought us Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats in 1939. From there we got a play, and now we’re getting a movie. The plot is hard to describe, but it basically follows a tribe of cats known as the ‘Jellicles’ who gather together to make the ‘Jellicle choice.’ Those who get the ‘Jellicle choice’ mean they can now be killed so they can go to heaven and come back because, you know, cats have nine lives.
Don’t get it? Doesn’t matter! There’s singing and there’s dancing and there’s this purr-fect trailer! It comes out December 20th.
His Dark Materials
Image via Amazon
This series has never been adapted before (we don’t talk about that other thing) and so THIS will be the first adaptation of Phil Pullman’s epic book series, His Dark Materials, in our books. The first season will draw upon the first book in the trilogy, following the life of a young Lyra (Dafne Keen) who is an orphan living with the tutors at Jordan College, Oxford. It’s not the Oxford you and I know, however, it’s an Oxford in an alternative world where all humans have animal companions called dæmons, which are the manifestations of their souls.
Lyra’s search for her missing friend will lead to uncovering a massive conspiracy linked to a mysterious substance called Dust and secrets from these two mysterious people, Lord Asriel (James McAvoy) and Marisa Coulter (Ruth Wilson).
If the first season is good (please let it be good), then we’ll be getting at least two more seasons! BBC One and HBO are teaming up, so hopefully they won’t disappoint us… In the meantime, however, I just want them to give a release date that’s more specific than “autumn.”
The stories follow Geralt of Rivia, played by Henry Cavil, a solitary monster hunter who struggles to find his place in a world where people often prove more wicked than beasts. What will become of Geralt?
Check out the series on Netflix this sometime “late 2019”.
The first volume of planned trilogy entitled The Book of Dust to his previous trilogy His Dark Materials, an infamous trilogy made up of The Golden Compass (known as Northern Lights in its home country of the UK), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, La Belle Sauvage is a fantasy novel that is set twelve years before this trilogy.
Published in 2017 by David Fickling Books in the UK and by Alfred A. Knopf in the US, this first volume in a planned trilogy covers the story of the event leading up Lyra Belacqua’s arrival as a six-month-old baby at Jordan College, Oxford.
The book received positive reviews, with The Guardian noting that La Belle Sauvage recalled children’s classic like C.S Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, Lucy M Boston’s Green Knowe, and the ancient Welsh tales of The Mabinogion, raving that “[o]ne other way in which La Belle Sauvage recalls those children’s classics is the sheer beauty of the book itself. David Fickling Books should be praised for the faith it’s shown in producing something both lavish and readable.”
The Washington Post said of the trilogy, “Too few things in our own world are worth a seventeen-year-wait: ‘The Book of Dust’ is one of them”.
Before going on, let’s note that Pullman himself said the second volume in his new trilogy, the The Secret Commonwealth, is fast forward to roughly ten years after His Dark Materials ended and will follow Lyra as an adult. No dangling plot threads in this story!
That story is set to be published in October.
Back to the stage adaptation!
Given that Nicholas Wright’s stage adaptation of the His Dark Material triology was adapted into a two-part production that managed to nab Timothy Dalton, Patricia Hodge, Ben Whishaw, and Dominic Cooper, this new adaptation should
The stage adaptation is set for in autumn 2020 premiere at London’s Bridge theatre. The Guardian reports that Nicholas Hytner, whose had extensively work in the theatre stretching back to 1978, will direct the show.
Hytner is no stranger to Pullman stage adaptation. Back in 2003, His Dark Materials was adapted into a two part production. Written by playwright Nicholas Wright, the original production, which premiered at the National Theatre in London in 2003, managed to nab stars such as Timothy Dalton, Patricia Hodge, Ben Whishaw and Dominic Cooper!
There are three installments in Pullman’s series: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. Each book features the adventures of Lyra (who will be played by Dafne Keen) and Will, two seemingly ordinary kids who find themselves on a thrilling journey through a world of fantasy. It’s no wonder HBO wants to stick with the fantasy genre, it did work out pretty well with Game of Thrones. And who are we kidding? The trailer is absolutely stunning!
The show appears to be jam packed with adventure, giant bears, magic, and so much more! What isn’t to love? From the trailer it is easy to ascertain that the first season will be adapted from the first book in the trilogy, but it will be interesting to see where the series goes from there. Originally premiering on BBC, an announcement with the season two renewal revealed the signing of HBO as a co-producer for the series.
They have not given a specific date for when we can expect the premiere, but the trailer promises it will be coming soon.