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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Fife

ReadingMagic -Which character you read about as a child would you become for a day? - Day 9

There's a character that always comes to mind when I've thought about this question, and it makes for a nice segue to discussing some of the other questions in this 30 day blog challenge. I think I was somewhere around 11 years old when I first read Over Sea, Under Stone - Followed shortly thereafter by The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. Will Stanton does not appear in Over Sea, Under Stone (the first book in the series), but he is the principal protagonist for the remainder of the series. Will Stanton was my Harry Potter. On his eleventh birthday he discovers some unknown things about himself. He had known already that he was the 7th son of a 7th son. But his introduction into a dangerous and wonderous world of magic follows a much different route than Harry Potter.

When I read this book, I immediately identified with Will. I was at least the youngest son of the youngest son (my youngest is that 5 generations running) and I was his age. Will Stanton had not been anything remarkable before that. But he was suddenly called upon to take upon him the mantle of an ancient heritage & to beat back the darkness. This book combined with the legends of Arthur & other Anglo-Saxon sources and was in many ways my first foray into Arthurian Fantasy.

Like The Westing Game, I went decades without reading this book, but scenes stuck with me. The Crows haunting/hunting Will. His discovery of several of the "signs" he is to find. The Yole log scene, time shifting, and so much more. I had heard Good King Wenceslas before reading this book, but it cemented it in my mind with some amazing imagery. Susan Cooper's writing engaged me as a boy & I still love it today.

One thing I will say - DON'T watch the 2005 movie. (Like the reviewer in the link, I shall try to remove it from my memory). Books are usually better than their movie counterparts, but this one completely butchered the plot, the characters and so much more. The only other book to movie atrocity I've seen that comes close is The Count of Monte Cristo - But that one is still a decent & enjoyable movie. The producer of the movie for The Seeker: The Dark is Rising Americanized the movie in the worst ways possible. Change the name of the movie so its not associated with the book at all and its still a very weak movie.

So... tossing the movie out of my memory (I certainly remember the book better), I like to think I've got a bit of Will Stanton in me. Even at almost 42.

What character did you identify with from something you read as a kid?

1 Comment

Jan 25, 2021

I remember loving the book Harriett the Spy. I read it many times. Harriett kept a notebook with notes from her spy route. She wasn't really a spy....just an 11 year old girl who liked to watch people and write down her observations. If I remember right, her notebook gets her into a bit of trouble. She used her notebook to get revenge and then also to make amends. I don't know why I loved Harriett so much, but I did. I even started writing in my own "spy notebook". I still love notebooks to this day. You can always find 3 or 4 of them on my bedside table. They are half full of lists and notes and musings.…

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