What the Blog Intends

“The intentions of a tool are what it does. A hammer intends to strike, a vise intends to hold fast, a lever intends to lift. They are what it is made for. But sometimes a tool may have other uses that you don’t know. Sometimes in doing what you intend, you also do what the knife intends, without knowing it.”

— Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass

I’m reminded of this passage when I think of this blog, surprisingly enough. Havealittletalk, I’ve discovered, has its own intentions.

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Public Domain Images: Polar Bears and Blue Angels, Submarines and Ships of the US Navy

Polar bears attract my attention these days since I am a big fan of Iorek Byrnison, king of the armoured bears of Svalbard, and one of the few admirable adults in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials and Once Upon a Time in the North. Now, armoured bears aren’t polar bears — after all, they wear armour and talk, for starters — but in our world polar bears resemble them in a few ways: both are left-handed and both are formidable and intimidating, in or out of armour.

I was hastily scrolling through one of those Fwd: Fwd: Fwd: emails of unusual pictures, when I stopped at  an image of a polar bear and what was identified as a — submarine!

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Not All Balloons Come from Oz…Rough Guide Saga continued

Back in the late summer of 2007, before the release of The Rough Guide to Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials and the movie The Golden Compass, I remarked to Pullman in an email note that I thought the best cinematic portrayl of the bond between a dæmon and its person was the relationship between Toto and Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.

I was flabbergasted when he responded that although he knew some of the songs from the movie, he had not seen it, nor had he read Baum’s novel. I had assumed that every child in the English-speaking world during the 1960s watched The Wizard of Oz annually, just as so many American kids did, that it was as much a shared cultural experience as Beatlemania.

But a little research revealed that the BBC aired the movie infrequently at best (which raises all kinds of questions about The Dark Side of the Moon).

Imagine my surprise the first time I picked up  The Rough Guide to flip through to a half-page still from The Wizard of Oz and then to read:

The story of Oz–in celluloid and literary form–has had a significant influence on Pullman’s imagination. As the fantasy writer J.L. Bell has shown, Pullman’s The Scarecrow And The [sic] Servant is directly influenced by Oz, paying homage to specific scenes and character names. 92

Oh really? I tracked down the Bell essay, a post on his blog ozandends from May 2006. In fact, Bell stops far short of claiming that Pullman was directly influenced by movie or book.

Continue reading “Not All Balloons Come from Oz…Rough Guide Saga continued”