Did it start with my father's love of Star Trek?
|This guy, featured in the closing credits, used to freak me out as a kid.|
He's from the classic episode, "The Corbomite Maneuver."
I won't bore you with a list of my favorite fantasy novels and authors (Diana Wynne Jones -- several of her novels have been adapted for movies by Japan's Studio Ghibli, popular with anime fans). Let's get straight to one book that tops my best reads.
|Buy a signed copy at ABE Books.|
Why do I love this book so much? Like the best fantasy novels, at its heart, The Last Unicorn is about humanity. There is Schmendrick the schlubby magician, who must witness true courage before he comes into his power. And the unicorn herself, transformed for a time into a human woman, with all of humanity's foibles, needs, and mortality (unicorns are immortal).
So earlier this month I was at Otakon, a huge Japanese pop-culture convention in Baltimore with my daughter. We had just walked in with her friends, and were checking out all the cool cosplayers. (Studio Ghibli characters were popular.) Never heard of cosplay? Go here.
|From Baltimore's City Paper.|
There is a full gallery of amazing
costumes at the Baltimore Sun.
|Squee! It's PETER S. BEAGLE!!!|
Of course, I had to reread the novel. Its sequel, a novelette titled "Two Hearts," came out in 2005 and won both the Hugo and the Nebula award.
What does this have to do with poetry? If you've read The Last Unicorn, you know that the novel is filled with snippets of poetry and pieces of song, including portions of a long, heroic ballad glorifying the bandit Captain Cully (and written by himself).
Yes. Lucky for us, Beagle is a poet.
by Peter S. Beagle
I breathe fire,
sleep on gold.
I dine on princesses —
that’s why I’m so old.
Nothing like a princess
to chase the cold.
I breathe fire.
I am old.
I breathe fire,
Heroes come seeking me —
I’m easy to find
Young and brave and gallant,
handsome and chaste,
Praise their courage,
and their taste.
The rest of the poem, and some cool dragon art, can be found at this PDF.
I'll leave you with a clip from "The Last Unicorn," the movie. Poetry Friday is HERE, at Author Amok next week. I promise to make it all sparkly and fantastic.
Looks like it's going to be a good movie, Laura! I don't know if I've ever read The Last Unicorn, but there are so many students who love fantasy, and the other books you shared that I will find a copy! One of my favorites is The Neverending Story-another 'old' one, but so filled with good things. I love your dragon poem, the 'asking for volunteers'. I remember your sharing about meeting Peter Beagle & I didn't know who he was-so glad you told more today!
Hi, Linda. The movie came out in 1982. This is a remastered version they are taking around to big screens all over the country. So funny you mentioned Neverending Story. It is on my bedside table right now!
Oh wow, so much to love about this post. I have so many students who are deeply into cosplay. And I have a collection of Studio Ghibli's movies - I love Howl's Moving Castle, the Diana Wynne Jones' adaptation. :) Dragonsong sounded so beautiful. My family and I have just watched The Neverending Story two weeks back (revisited the movie again) - and we're discussing the book for our book club sometime in December. Fantasy galore indeed!
Going to buy the book right now. I have to read it quickly before my daughter gets home and takes it.
So happy for you, meeting one of your favorite authors. The Last Unicorn is new to me. Enjoyed hearing more about it. :)
Hi, Myra. We love the Ghibli movies, but especially the Wynne Jones adaptations. Did you know she was a mentor of Neil Gaiman's? When I'm done with Neverending Story, I'd love to see the movie again. It was a family favorite when my brothers were little.
Liz and Jama, you will not be disappointed, especially if you're fantasy-readers. There's a reason this book has stuck around for 40+ years.
One to cross off the bucket list, eh Laura? Meeting Peter Beagle I mean. Would be fun to see the movie on big screen... hope it makes it to our neck of the woods.
hey, the blog might finally be letting me make a comment. I love Peater S Beagle and I have one of his other books for you.
I've never been a fantasy fan, but I think I might appreciate a book that has bits of poetry throughout. I'll make sure we get a new copy of The Last Unicorn for the library.
Loved getting to hear about your fangirl moment! I'm not all that jazzed up about unicorns, per se, but I do love fantasy. I think it's about time to reread everything by Molly Hunter and Lloyd Alexander...
This is one of my daughter's favorite books, and I hadn't heard about the movie yet.
How wonderful that you had the opportunity to meet Peter S. Beagle! I haven't read THE LAST UNICORN in years, and now I want to read it again soon. I loved the movie! Thanks for the beautiful post, and for the great sparkly unicorn pic--Unicorns have always been fascinating to me!
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