Her post rating the magical lands of 2011 fantasies in terms of whether a kid might want to visit them made me think about the lands I wished to escape to as a child. As an adult, I rarely read fantasies, children or adult, that take place in lands so enticing that I wish I could live there - Harry Potter being the notable exception. And really, there were very few that compelled me even as a child; there were plenty I liked to visit as a reader but would be terrified to live in or even step foot into.
Most of those magical lands just aren't SAFE! From Oz to Wonderland, they're brimming with nasty characters, treacherous landscapes, and tricky tests of character. Sure, natural-born Gryffindors live to push the boundaries, conquer bad guys, and hurl themselves in the path of danger, but we Hufflepuff/Ravenclaw hybrids crave a quiet life.
The realms I wished most fiercely to visit all had one thing in common - safety. They were - the
The first two I still find enticing enough to soothe me when I'm awake at 3 pm stressing about work - they are like those small towns you visit and think "I could live here." Sure, you'd be bored within a couple months, but who cares? Boredom feels like sheer luxury sometimes.
Narnia - well, who hasn't walked through a glade filled with dappled light and had the thought that maybe this is IT? Finally, you've made it to Narnia at long last! Okay, it wasn't so safe - but I would have found some little cozy corner with some talking mice or whatnot and just stayed out of the Queen's way. Forget all that hero stuff.
Whangdoodleland. Well, what can I say? I adored The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles as a 10-year-old, especially the Whangdoodle himself with his sweet tooth and sweet smile. The place was a little risky, but its charms outweighed the dangers. My mother, a librarian herself, couldn't believe I loved what she considered to be a mediocre celebrity-written book, and I don't dare to read it as an adult just in case I agree with her.
What worlds did you want to visit as a child? Do they hold the same appeal today?