A Thursday Interruption: INFINITE TEDDY BEARS


I am really only posting this because the colors are pretty. <3

:sings along:

Susan and Lucy were queens, and they ruled well and proudly.
They honored their land and their lord, rang the bells long and loudly.
They never once asked to return to their lives
To be children and chattel and mothers and wives,
But the land cast them out in a lesson that only one learned;
And one queen said ‘I am not a toy’, and she never returned.


  1. Cinnabar says

    I’m pratically shrieking with laughter at that second video! XD The song is really nice to listen to if you block out the awful translation. And <3 Wicked Girls! That is plain old kickass. I loved that they had a sign language interpreter too.

  2. says

    LOVE Wicked Girls. What an awesome song! I’d never considered it before, but all the classic fairy tale girls go home at the end, don’t they? It’s the boys who stay in Never Never Land.

    • Maria says

      The only one I can think of is Pippi Longstocking, which isn’t a fairy tale and where her dad comes back to check in on her every now and then — so it’s not the kid’s land Narnia is.

      • says

        Been a while since I read Pippi but I do remember it being right on the bridge between fantasy and reality (maybe magic realism?). On the one hand, I think everything in it was technically possible, except for Pippi’s stories which were rather obviously tall tales. But on the other hand, she had things like a super intelligent trained monkey that bordered on the fantastic.

          • says

            Oh right! She was always lifting furniture or full grown adults over her head. Which I guess is technically possible, if she was some child prodigy in weight lifting, but highly unlikely given her described stature.

      • Maria says

        And that’s why I liked that line about Susan — because if you read the Last Battle, I feel like she gets blamed for liking make-up and boys, but it’s like GODDAMN was she supposed to NOT be fabulous? When did being a DIVA become a crime? I like nylons better than dishes too!

        • says

          That line about Susan gets dissected within an inch of its life in Narnia fandom. So many interpretations ranging from she’s an evil slut to she’s a good person who just lost sight of her childhood dreams.

          I was pissed because Susan was the girl who actually fought. Her awesomesauce as an archer felt like a good compromise to my young mind between letting women fight and appeasing those who can’t handle the thought of letting women into pitched battle. The scene with the dwarf’s challenge to an archery contest, where her brothers are sitting back and smirking, knowing Susan’s got it? Loved it! She felt like an equal, unlike Lucy who was halfway between the baby and the Messiah. Then Lewis went and kicked her out of Heaven. >_<

          • Maria says

            EXACTLY. She was way more bad ass than Lucy and I thought her and Edmund were more approachable characters too, what with them both struggling with pride.

            Polly’s ok, tho.

        • Jenny Islander says

          Except that he didn’t. Susan wasn’t in the last book because she was into “lipstick and parties and nylons” and nothing else. She even pretended that Narnia had been a pretend and that she had outgrown it. It wasn’t growing up and having sex that kept her off the train and therefore out of Narnia–it was becoming shallow and silly.

          /rehash no. 1,003 of The Problem of Susan

          TL;DR: Lewis had Issues about women, but this wasn’t one of them.

          • says

            Any way you slice it, Susan became less awesome when she grew up. And I think it’s telling that it wasn’t Peter who became obsessed with having fun and looking good but that all the guys made it in.

      • says

        Great article on Peter Pan.

        Your comment about the dishes reminded me of a scene in one of the Darkest Powers books (The Reckoning?) by Kelley Armstrong. Chloe says she won’t do the cooking, and Derek and Simon look at her in disbelief and say, “Who asked you to?” Chloe was raised by nannies and housekeepers, Derek and Simon had a single parent who was away from home a lot. From a logical standpoint, obviously the two who have been by themselves would be better suited to do the cooking, yet the girl assumed she’d get stuck with it despite having no experience. It was a neat way of subverting the gender roles.

        Which is why I tend to love modern stories so much more than the classics. There are a lot of kickass authors out there right now writing three dimensional, non-stereotypical female characters.

    • Towanda says

      I was thinking the same thing, and it got me trying to remember stories about boys who got to go on fantastical adventures. Did most of them go home afterward, like Wendy, Alice, Susan, Dorothy, etc.? Or did they get to stay or keep some part of what they discovered?

      Then I realized that I didn’t read too many books about boys as a kid, and the only ones I could think of were Harry Potter (who got to stay) and Tristran from Stardust (who got to stay and become King). I wish I had read more so I could get a better feel for how their stories tended to end. Are there stories that I’ve forgotten in which a male protagonist discovers a magical land/power/identity and gives it up or loses it?

      Oh, and by the way, I love Wicked Girls, it made me cry, and I am now in the process of obsessively memorizing all the lyrics and learning to play it on guitar.

      • says

        From the stories mentioned in the song, Peter Pan stayed and both the original Narnia boys stayed (only one of the original girls made it back).

        Roald Dahl, starting in the ’60s, had male protagonists (James & the Giant Peach, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory) who get swept up in adventure and get to keep/stay at the end. Matilda, the only female protagonist of his I remember reading, lost her powers at the end of the book.

        The Dark is Rising sequence, first book in 1965, had multiple protagonists; the two really special ones were both male, Will being the 7th son of a 7th son and Bran being the son of Arthur and Guenevere. Also there were a couple more guys and a girl, I guess. At the end of the series Bran goes on to his destiny or whatever and everyone else, including Will who was supposed to have a super special awesome destiny, gets their memories removed. That’s really the only example I can think of where a guy loses his magical destiny and it’s balanced by a different guy coming into his own.

        Vivian Vande Velde, starting in the ’80s, wrote mostly female protagonists. Those from our world usually went back to their families at the end but with the promise that they could return when they were grown or that they could take a piece of the magic home with them. There’s more of a sense that they’re not old enough to make a decision either way than that the magic has been irrevocably sacrificed.

        In somewhat more recent examples, there’s Chloe (touched on above) from Darkest Powers who discovers a magical identity, is threatened with losing it, and succeeds in keeping it. The first book was published in 2008. Same with Deeba in Un Lun Dun, published in 2007.

        But then we also have Artemis Fowl, first book in 2001, and Percy Jackson, first book in 2005, who go through the same journey (disclaimer: I haven’t read PJ personally).

        So from this extremely limited and biased sample I’d say the trend is predominantly for the boys to stay and the girls to go home, but in the last few years some girls have managed to make it in.

        • firebird says

          I have the last two of a series of four YA books by Thomas Locke. I don’t have the titles to hand, but the basic idea is two teenagers fall into an alternate universe and have adventures, save everybody from tyranny, grow up, she falls in love there and has to rescue him from the bad guys (with every one else’s help, but she has a very special Talent there without which the rescue wouldn’t be possible), and at the end she stays and he goes home. Their story actually spans the last three novels in the series; the first one has travel to a different place and while seeming to sleep physically here, so the characters in that one eventually woke up here and went on with their lives.

          I reread the two I have obsessively sometimes. I don’t think the writing is especially good; I just like the story.

  3. M.C. says

    How about Lyra from His Dark Materials? She goes back to her own world and loses her magical ability to read the Alethiometer, but she then goes to college to study the science of the Alethiometer. And the book ends with the notion that science is way cooler than magic anyway, and that this is just another fantastic adventure for Lyra. If she had stayed in the other world with Will, then she would have thrown away her life for love, but by returning to her world she actually got to live it.
    This parallels Will’s journey, who returns to his world and breaks the Subtle Knife, thus becoming an ordinary boy. But he has renewed self-esteem, actually found a friend, and as a grown-up uses his ability for handling a knife to become a surgeon.

    And if we’re also talking tv then I’ve got another example: princess Fantaghiró. At the end of the last film she ditches her prince to stay in the magical otherworld. (And don’t tell me she thought that she was stuck there, because if she really had wanted to find a way back she would have, just like she did before. But IMO she just got tired of her handsome but sexist husband asking her to wear dresses and stop sword-fighting.)

    • Maria says

      I would say those are fantasies, not fairy tales. They’re not old enough to be part of a general Western cultural baggage.

        • says

          I suppose that depends on your definition of fairy tale; I think all the stories cited in the song are from the last 200 years or so and generally don’t call on the fairy tale archetypes like Prince Charming and the wicked stepmother. Narnia, frex, was only first published in 1950. It’s a household name so I’d still say it adds to our cultural baggage.

          But that is an important distinction to make, the difference between things popular enough/old enough to be mainstream and the things you’d only get when you follow a specific genre. I wonder if there’s a name for that type of fantasy, like Wizard of Oz and so on, that transcends entertainment and moves onto…well, cultural baggage?

          For my post above I used the criteria of 1) a character from our world discovers a magical identity and 2) aimed at children or teens. I took examples from my own library and perhaps a dozen recommendation lists for children from a fantasy forum I belong to.

      • M.C. says

        Princess Fantaghiró is an Italian fairy tale from the 9th century. But I think the original tale does end with her marrying her rival king and not going to the otherworld, only the films from the 1990s changed it…

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