Thursday, 8 September 2011

TOP FIVE: Made-up things I wish were real


I think about once a day I get depressed because I don't go to Hogwarts. I keep hoping that maybe my owl got lost in the post and is just taking a while (14 years) to reach me.

Obviously there are lots of things about Harry Potter that I wish were real - apparating, being able to nose around in a bowl of someone's memories, erm.. BEING MAGICAL - but mostly I just want to go to Hogwarts. My favourite bits of the books were just Harry, Ron and Hermione being at school and going to their lessons. I would get very excited filling in my timetable for the year - Potions! Arithmancy! I don't even know what Arithmancy is! Divination! DADA! (For those who are ignorant: Defence against the dark arts. I did not just call out for my Dad.)

2. James's giant peach  

It would be lovely to ride around in a big peach with lots of massive insects -of course - but the real reason I want James' peach to be real is the bit at the end when they eat it. I would love to 'have' to eat a ginormous peach.

Roald Dahl seemed to have a knack for writing about things I wish I could eat. The three-course meal bubble gum. George's medicine, which sounded marvellous even if it had shampoo in it. And even if the time I attempted to make my own (including celery and angel delight), I vomited it onto my cousin. That whizzpopping juice they drink in The BFG. Even if that scene is possibly just a girl and a giant sitting in a cave and farting...
I think I can say I would eat everything from Roald Dahl's books except snozzcumber. And the wormy spaghetti that Mrs Twit feeds Mr Twit. And the cornflake Mr Twit keeps in his beard. And chocolates from a witch.

Anyway! The main point is that I always feel a little bit disappointed when I eat a normal-sized peach.

3. Bernard's watch

Before you say 'That's not a book, Liz, you CRETINOUS FOOL!', the guy totally wrote books as well. You can find them on Amazon. I have not read them, but that is not the point. The point is that having Bernard's watch would be AMAZING. For those of you that are 'young' and don't know what I am on about, Bernard's watch FREEZES TIME for everyone but Bernard. 

Here is a clip:

Just think of what you could do! Much better things than following Bernard round and being annoying like cuosin Lucy. You could... swap everyone's clothes round! That would be confusing! As long as you didn't accidentally start the watch again half way through and it would just look like you'd been caught undressing people. You could... make two people sitting next to each other on the train kiss. You could... find someone who was giving a really important presentation and change all their slides to pictures of cats wearing hats. Oh, the mischief you could make.

4. Daemons

I'd definitely get my daemon to wear a hat. Basically a daemon is a free pet. And also your soul. So you don't have to feed it or clean up its poo. They are from Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. Everyone in Lyra's world has one. When you are a child they can change shape into different animals, but when you grow up the settle for one shape (Lyra's mum has an evil golden monkey). I think my daemon (like my patronus, once I get my owl and start at Hogwarts) would be a monkey. Or a pig. Or a pigmonkey. Ponkey? Mig.

Or a sloth.

5. Time travel

There are lots of books with time travel in. The Time Traveller’s Wife is one that comes to mind, but in that book time travel is less of a fun, cool thing to do and more of a disease. And there are time turners in Harry Potter, but they get used for things like taking lots of extra lessons and going round saving people – quite a lot of effort really. I would rather just time travel and then go round looking at things and finding out what sort of jokes people in the past told. 

Books where time travel is a fun adventure include the Jack Christie Adventures by Johnny O'Brien, where time-travelling schoolboy Jack goes back to crucial turning points in history, like the Spanish Armada and an assassination attempt on Hitler, and a new series called The History Keepers by Damian Dibben, described as 'Harry Potter meets Doctor Who'.

Dr Who also makes me want to time travel. So does Lost in Austen. If you have not seen Lost in Austen, you are very silly and you should. It is about Amanda, who finds Elizabeth Bennet in her bathroom and realises that there is a secret door in her shower that leads into Pride and Prejudice. With Lizzie somewhere in modern-day London Amanda must make sure that the Pride and Prejudice story keeps on track – it doesn’t. Here is a clip:

It may not strictly be time travel, but I quite often forget that Pride and Prejudice wasn’t real.

If you think about it, books are sort of time machines, because you can visit the past and meet people from it and imagine what it would be like. I think it is reading historical fiction that makes me sad I can’t actually time travel. Here is a mini top five of books set in the past:

1. Julie Hearn: The Merrybegot
I wouldn't actually like to go back in time and be accused of being a witch, but this book is beautifully just seems to bring Civil War-era England to life. Nell is the daughter of the local wisewoman and falls under suspicion when the daughters of the village pastor start going a bit mad and spitting pins.

2. Marcus Sedgwick: Midwinterblood 
This book is about Eric and Merle, whose souls find each other in different ways in seven stories, all set in different times. I actually want to go round hitting people over the head with this book and telling them to read it. It is SO GOOD.

3. Sarah Waters: Fingersmith
Sarah Waters manages to capture the grubby, crime-ridden Victorian streets, alongside a Jane Eyre-style country house complete with unhappy girl, while she also adds in things that writers at the time wouldn't have been able to write about, like lesbians.

4. H.M. Castor: VIII
This is the YA Wolf Hall. Henry VIII tells his own story from glorious youth to bitter old age, all the while haunted by the figures that have gone before him. I may also have subtly implied that I FANCY HIM. 

5. Theresa Breslin: Prisoner of the Inquisition
The Spanish Inquisition is probably not something I would like to experience, but Theresa Breslin's novel is breathtaking. I was completely caught up in the story of Zarita, the magistrate's daughter, and Saulo, a beggar's son, whose lives are brought together by a tragic event, all with a pretty terrifying backdrop of religious oppression.

On that cheery note... What things do you wish were real? Let me know and I will pick the best one and make it real. That is definitely not a lie.


  1. Oh wow, HUMONGOUS ditto on Hogwarts and daemons! How can you NOT read those books and instantly think "OMG, I want to live there!" or "OMG, I want one!"? Extremely well done on both authors parts for having come up with something that desirable. Now, if only they were real ...

    What other things? Hmm ... that needs a good think about. But you've named the two biggest ones, definitely. Maybe Mr. Rochester, eheh. ;)

  2. "I did not just call out for my dad." I burst out laughing with that line :P

    Totally agree with so many things her. I loved Hogwarts, too. I actually wished that someone would found a school in real life, where the uniforms would have to be actual robes, and they would have the 4 houses, and maybe the actual school building could be/resemble a castle! I was convinced that it was a possibility, haha.

    And I've never heard of Bernard's Watch before but I frequently fantasize about being able to stop time - i.e. freeze the rest of the world, while I simply sit on my behind and do whatever I want. These fantasies are especially strong when I have an assignment looming over me. As I do now >.<

    Have to agree with Traxy, DEFINITELY wish Rochester was real. Oh! And Willy Wonka's Chocoloate Factory! Om nom nom!