Diana Wynne Jones: 6 Quotes to Live By

I love Diana Wynne Jones books.

One of the things I love about them (besides the brilliant humor, the original fantasy elements, the larger-than-life-characters, and the sheer un-pigeon-hole-able-ness of the books) is the writing.

I love those times when you run across a line and have to stop reading and sit back and stare unseeing at the universe, and think: “Wow.”

I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface, but here are a mere half a dozen of those gems, which personally impacted me or which I feel have something to say about life that we should listen to. 🙂

“There goes Mig with her happy endings again,” Chris said. But I don’t care. I like happy endings. And I asked Chris why something should be truer just because it’s unhappy. He couldn’t answer.

— from Aunt Maria

This one kind of sums up my thoughts on happy endings. XD I really believe that happy endings and eucatastrophe are important in fiction. Life has enough darkness and sorrow. Fiction — especially fantasy — is the place where one can have happy endings that give hope. I’ve often seen it said that happy endings or certain good things in fiction are “unrealistic”. My response is like Mig’s. Why should something be truer just because it’s unhappy?

“When you grow up to be an author and write books, you’ll think you’re making the books up, but they’ll all really be true, somewhere.”

— from Witch Week (Chrestomanci series)

I love this one! It really makes you think, you know? It’s one of the things that really fits with my work-in-progress novel I’m writing, The Other Half of Everything. It also seems to fit in quite well with Tolkien’s idea of a “Tree of Tales”, which he wrote about in his essay On Fairy Stories. I recently read The Game by Diana Wynne Jones, and this quote seems to fit with that too, with the idea of the Mythosphere in that book, where stories are really out there and really true.

“Only thin, weak thinkers despise fairy stories. Each one has a true, strange fact hidden in it, you know, which you can find if you look.”

— from Fire and Hemlock

This one was from Thomas Lynn, one of my favorite characters. I could probably do an entire post about Tom and his sayings in Fire and Hemlock, including one I often quote, about not leaving a book open, lying on its face (the poor thing’s in torment!). But this one is one of my favorites, and I agree with it. I mean, look at the true, strange facts I find in Diana Wynne Jones’ books! I think it’s true of all really good fantasy — real fairy stories.

“Only way I can do something this frightening is to tell myself I’m not doing it!”

— from Howl’s Moving Castle

I mentioned this quote in a guest post I did, all about my writing technique, Draft Zero. But it’s not the only thing I use this “Howling myself into things” method for! I just love this one, because I can apply it to most things I don’t want to do. It really taught me something about myself when I read that. I think many of us relate to Howl on this point more than we would like to admit… Or at least, that’s the case for me! 😉

“Can’t you treat yourself with a bit more consideration?”

“Why should I?” Mordion said […]

“Because you’re a person, of course!” Ann snapped at him. “One person ought to treat another person properly even if the person’s himself!”

“What a strange idea!” Mordion said.

— from Hexwood

This is a rather complex one. It goes on to say, later: “Ann had once more put her finger on something he did not want to think about.” And I’d say, yes, it’s one of those things that, like Mordion, I didn’t really want to think about — but it made me. And that’s one of the things about Diana Wynne Jones books, is they’ll do that to you.

How often am I simply too hard on myself about things, when I would never dream of treating another person that way — only myself? Because, well… I don’t matter, so that’s silly. But… well… it’s not. Because I’m a person too, and I ought to treat another person properly, even if the person’s myself.

And when I’m reading the book, I can see exactly why Mordion feels the way he does, because (not to go into spoilers) the villains are horrendous and Mordion was brought up a certain way, which is why he doesn’t see himself as a person, and it takes Ann snapping at him to make him see this and to realize he is one after all.

But the contrast between Mordion’s terrible life and my own ordinary one, with both of us feeling the same way, is startling, because I have absolutely no excuse, and yet I can see myself saying, with Mordion, “What a strange idea!” And Ann replied: “It’s not strange, it’s common sense!”

“I think we ought to live happily ever after.”

— from Howl’s Moving Castle

Of course this has to be included, last of all! 😉 I don’t think it needs much explaining . . . I can only say that I wholeheartedly agree, Howl!

(All quote images were designed by me, using free images.)

I’m posting this in honor of March Magics 2018, hosted by Kate @ We Be Reading.

What are some of your favorite quotes, from Diana Wynne Jones or otherwise? And what do you think of these? Thanks for reading! ^_^


The “What If…?” Fantasy Tag! #FantasyMonth

I’ve been tagged for the “What If…?” Fantasy Tag by Jenelle Schmidt! Thanks, Jenelle! As #FantasyMonth draws to a close (aww! It’s been so funnn! *clings*) I thought it would be fun to round off the fantasy celebrations with this fun tag. 😀

Also, appropriately, I hear that today is “Tell a Fairytale Day.” Make of that what you will…


  • Thank the blogger who tagged you.
  • Include the graphic somewhere in your post.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Tag a few blogger friends – and let them know they’ve been tagged
  • Have fun!

The Questions

1. Your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. The cast of the most recent fantasy book you read comes to your assistance… who are they? Will they be helpful?

I’ve got the cast from Rachel Starr Thomson’s book Lady Moon! And yes, they will be MOST helpful. >:D

(This is going to be fun.)

Celine will eye everything critically and give advice. Little Winnie the wombat will break off from eating a bush by the road, clamber into the glove compartment, pull out the manual, itch her ear, and say “Will this help?” and drop it at Celine’s feet. And Celine will smile, and perch on the trunk of the car with her dress blowing in the wind, and start to read the manual.

Shepherd boy Aldon will crawl underneath the car and start looking at the engine, even though he has no clue what he’s looking for — and his border collie Brig will helpfully lick his face. Grandfather Monk will totter around and offer everyone coffee (because it’s cold out here while we’re trying to fix it). The little pyroline fire-cat will rub against the tire and leave a smell of burning rubber…

Sir Brian will bellow something about exactly what we should do — and then kick the car with a clang of his suit of armor and leave a dent, in his attempt to get it working. This will jolt Aldon, who will shout his annoyance from under the car. Fiery washerwoman Tereska scolds Sir Brian and then grimly rolls up her sleeves to her bony elbows, and sets about tinkering in the engine from the top, getting greasy hands and rags involved.

And Tomas? Tomas will stand cheerfully by and watch with interest while everyone tries what they can. And then, when all efforts are exhausted, Celine will look at him and say “Tomas!” And Tomas will smile his sun-like smile, and he’ll fix the engine. We don’t know HOW, exactly; just that he does. It has something to do with the memory of the engine working before… It might not last for long, but it should long enough to get the car to the shop.

And if that doesn’t work — well, they’re all in the car with me now, so if it stops working again, they’ll be along to help. Tomas will pick up the car and carry it the rest of the way, defying all rules of gravity and reality to save the day, because that’s what tall and thin, dandelion-haired, smiling Immortals do. We’ll just have to make sure he doesn’t procrastinate his destiny to do so.

2. You go to bed one evening and wake up in the lair of the villain of the last fairy tale you read, where are you and how do you plan to get out?

Oh dear. I’m in the castle of the witch Watho in George MacDonald’s The Day Boy and the Night Girl. My best plan for escape is to wait until she’s distracted by Photogen and Nycteris, and slipping out a back door and swimming across the river…

3. You are transported into a fantasy realm and given a mythical creature as a companion and best friend… which mythical creature do you get?

I get a gryphon! He’s brown and black and gold, and he’s terrifying to some people, but he and I are the best of friends, and we can talk through our minds. He’s loyal, fierce and brave, and doesn’t mind when I ride his soft fur-and-feather back over the forests. He seems to have a grim personality, but has an unexpected edge of humor beneath.

4. In a strange series of coincidences, you end up needing to take the place of your favorite fantasy hero or heroine. Who are you?

I’m Wilhelmina from Lawhead’s Bright Empires series! I’m running the Kaffeehause in Prague, making delicious pastries, and helping save the universe(s). (And… oh dear, this is probably bad because I doubt I could stand up to events like she did! o.o )

5. To go along with question #4, now that you are that character, is there anything you would do differently than that character, now that you are running the show?

The problem is, I probably would, but I’d get it all wrong… Ahem. So I think I’d try very hard to be brave and do things like her. (Except I think I’d try not to break my arm. You know. Just on principle. *cough*)

6. If you were yourself in a fantasy novel, what role do you think you would play in the story?

I think I’d be some kind of scholar or librarian — the one who has some tidbit of information the heroes are looking for. I’m suddenly thinking of all the great fantasy libraries, and YES. This would be the best job. 😉

Or maybe I’d be a magical storyteller… who paints pictures of tales in the air…

I doubt I’d be a main character (I’m not even sure I’d want to be! They have such hard lives…) but I could definitely hope to be some interesting side character — hopefully one who survives to the end! 😉

7. One morning, as you are going about your daily business, you pick up an everyday item and a voice booms in your head with prophetic words about your future. What object is it, and what is your prophecy?

It’s my bullet journal, and it says that I must beware the owl that eats the moon at midnight, and that one day I will have a part to play in something rather vaguely described, with dire words about what I should or should not do, so that I will obviously not recognize it (due to said vagueness), or will misinterpret it, so it won’t do any good at all. Except for when everything is over, for me to look back and see it was right all along, and the prophecy smugly says, “I told you so.” Because that’s how fantasy prophecies often go. XD

8. You are transported into a magical realm and turned into a mythical beast… what beast/fantasy creature do you want to be?

I’d be a Faerie, the tall, elven kind. I think I’d be able to have wings sometimes and not other times (they’d be silver and blue and black).

9. If you could read your way into any fantasy realm, but the catch is that you can never leave, would you? Which realm would you choose?

Um. Wow. Fantasy worlds are so fabulous and also usually so dangerous! But I think I would — and I might pick Middle-earth (because obviously!). Maybe I’d go to the beautiful woods of Ithilien and visit Faramir and Eowyn after the end of the Third Age.

Or I might go to the world in Lady Moon and live in Tomas’s clock tower!!! #goals (Honestly, it’s my most recent Favorite Fantasy Home.)

Then again, I’d probably end up moving to Ingary, and staying in Howl’s moving castle. (And there I get to cheat the “and never leave” caveat, since the doors open to multiple places, so why shouldn’t one lead back home anyway…? ;))

10. As you are going about your normal day, you discover that you have a magical power. What is it?

I thought about this one a lot…

The ability to open portals and so be able to visit all my friends and top places throughout the world(s) would probably be my top pick. Because that would be amazing!

Then again, I might instead have the ability to get ALL the stories in my head written down Just Right, because YES. #moregoals


#FantasyMonth is nearly over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hop onto this fun “What if” fantasy tag wagon (don’t ask whether that sentence made sense) and do it any time!

I’m not sure who-all’s been tagged or not, but if you haven’t and it looks fun, consider yourself tagged! 🙂

(Though I retroactively tag Sarah @ Dreams and Dragons since I said I was going to and she already did it. XD)

Or answer one or more questions in the comments!

What do you think? Thanks for reading! And happy Fantasy Month! ^_^

Top 6 Types of Epic Mentors in Fantasy

Ah, mentors.

One of the staples of the Fantasy genre, mentors are often underappreciated (and often quickly dead, at that, but we won’t go into this right now…) but so important — and can have their own very striking personalities as well.

Where would all of our heroes be without mentors?

Well, certainly not saving the world, for one thing; probably not very knowledgeable, for another; and most likely dead, for a third.

In short, they’d be sunk.

So it’s high time we paid homage to some amazing mentors!

Today’s February #FantasyMonth (hosted by Jenelle Schmidt) prompt is “Best mentors in fantasy” and that had me stopping and thinking: “Wait. I have so many favorites!”

Rather than make a little tweet about it and not do these fabulous gentlemen (and ladies!) justice, I decided I’d do a whole post about it instead.

A strong mentor is one you remember vividly and who is knowledgeable about something necessary to the quest or story you find yourself in, and one you’d love to have at your side in a pinch, to help you out of this mess — or at least teach you how to do so yourself.

(I was afraid, when making my list, that I’d have to leave some out for not being from fantasy. But it turns out all the great mentors I can think of ARE from fantasy, so… there you are! This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s most everyone I could think of at the moment.)

So I’d like to share with you twenty of my favorite mentors from page and screen, and I’d divided them into six types of epic mentors. Enjoy!

1. Classic Mentors

You know what I’m talking about. Grey or white hair, often a long beard, sometimes grouchy, or alternately quite merry with twinkling eyes and a sense of humor (sometimes at your own expense…), but very wise and prone to getting you swept away on an adventure you weren’t expecting — and likely didn’t want — but there it is! These elderly gentlemen are wise beyond their already extensive years, and you definitely want them at your side as you step into your adventure.


  • Gandalf the Grey/White (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien) — Do I really need to say anything here? Honestly? Gandalf is the epitome of Fantasy Mentor; though he’s not ACTUALLY as grouchy and extreme as people act like he is, and he’s definitely more to be reckoned with than the weak film versions of him. I do like him in the movies, but right now I’m talking about the real, BOOK version of Gandalf. 😉 Wise, dependable, and lit with an inner fire of goodness, whether as the Grey Wanderer or the White Rider, Gandalf is one of the great protectors of Middle-earth, and wherever there’s an effort of Good fighting against Evil, you’ll usually find him at the center of the adventure, guiding the heroes!
  • Great Uncle Merry (Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper) — Oh, Great Uncle Merry! He’s one of my favorites. Later revealed in the rest of the Dark is Rising Sequence in a more classic mentor role as Merriman Lyon, I still love him most in the first book, when he’s just the Drew children’s “great uncle” (Gummery, as young Barney calls him), and he makes you feel SAFE, you know? He’s also very wise, and fun, and just the absolute best.
  • Thomas Warvold (The Land of Elyon series by Patrick Carman) — I’m going to have to start talking less or we’ll be here all day, so I’ll simply say that Warvold is another classic example of one of the great wise old men — and he rather shapes young Alexa’s adventures, even if he’s not as much a part of them as one would like… He’s great, and I’d love to go to the library in Bridewell and eat strawberry jam on buscuits with him!
  • Cosimo Livingstone (The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead) — The great-grandfather of our hero Kit, old Cosimo was my favorite character in this book! The one who starts it all and gets Kit off on his adventure (what did I tell you about these older fellows sweeping heroes off!), Cosimo knows so much and is just fabulous. (I may be stretching the “fantasy” genre a tiny bit on this one, but it’s a rather unpidgeonholeable series, so we’ll just go with that… And of course I needed to include him in this list!)

2. Grizzled Mentors

These are the ones that aren’t quite as old as the Classic Mentors. These are maybe in their fifties or sixties — still seasoned veterans of life, but have a bit of fire. They often have a grizzled appearance: might have a short grey beard or salt-and-pepper stubble, or just hair flecked with grey, and they’re often weatherbeaten and not who you expect them to be. They can be sarcastic or warmhearted (or both) but they’re to be reckoned (but not trifled) with! These are one of my favorite kinds. 😀


  • Halt (Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan) — I read the first Ranger’s Apprentice book this month specifically so I could include Halt in this post. XD I’d heard so much about him and I was pretty sure he belonged in my list, so I up and read it. And I was right — he so belongs here! Definitely one of my favorite mentors EVER. ❤ He’s such a great mentor and he’s indescribable, honestly. I just really like him. 😀 (You can read my thoughts on the first Ranger’s Apprentice book in my post from yesterday!)
  • Rayad (Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L. Knight) — I mean. Anyone who’s read this series should know he belongs here. 😉


  • Brom (Eragon movie) — I confess, I haven’t read the book. *cough* But I’m aware that the book-Brom is more of the Classic Mentor type. Anyway, I’m here to talk about movie-Brom, who is great! He’s definitely the grizzled, grouchy, sarcastic mentor type.


  • Karn (Ren: The Girl with the Mark – online TV series) — I love Karn! We didn’t get to see a lot of him due to the series only being about 50 minutes, but what we did see was great and he seems like he has huge potential as a mentor, the kind in this category, but a bit more friendly perhaps. XD
  • Prince Gwydion (Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander) — I don’t always think of Gwydion as a mentor character, but it fits for this post, and Taran definitely looks up to him. He’s wise and epic and just generally amazing in most ways. Can you imagine having Gwydion as a mentor? That would be awesome.
  • Romanov (The Merlin Conspiracy by Diana Wynne Jones) — I’ll be honest and say I don’t remember him very well; I read this book from the library while I had the flu, and some of it’s a little vague in my head to say the least… But I do remember that Romanov was absolutely awesome and I think he was this grizzled type and I really liked him.

3. Handsome-Young-Magician Mentors

(Yes, this is a thing; sorry.) These are the charming, somewhat debonaire magicians, who are young, handsome, and completely unexpected in the mentor category, but here they are all the same. I was surprised by how many I found in this category!


  • Chrestomanci a.k.a. Christopher Chant (Chrestomanci series by Diana Wynne Jones) — Oh, Chrestomanci! How awesome would it be to have him as a mentor? I mean, he’d likely be slightly terrifying, really, with his hard stare and biting sarcasm if he was annoyed with you. But he’s so calm and powerful in a quiet, elegant way, and you’ll often find him in one of his many extravagant dressing-gowns or in a beautifully tailored suit. When you have a magical mishap (er… world-shattering disaster?) and you call Chrestomanci, you know the moment he arrives that everything’s going to be all right.
  • Howl (Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones) — What is this? Howl? A mentor? He may be a great many things, but is a mentor really one of them? Well yes, it is — let’s not forget his apprentice, Michael! Howl sometimes may seem irresponsible or dramatic, or dreamily absent, but he actually is a pretty good mentor to Michael and seems to teach him well enough — and he took orphaned Michael in off the streets, so that’s another good quality in a mentor. And Howl being one of the most magical people in Ingary, of course he’s an ideal teacher to have, despite his seeming flaws of character… *cough*
  • Mairelon the Magician a.k.a. Richard Merrill (Magician’s Ward by Patricia C. Wrede) — I need to read the first book in this duology, but in the one I read, Mairelon is a great teacher for the heroine — and has some sort of quality rather like Chrestomanci or Howl, which is part of why he fits in here. He doesn’t care about what high society thinks of him, but he’s all gentleman at that, and if anyone can get a street-thief girl turned into a magical lady, it’s him.
  • Mr. Wicker (Mr. Wicker’s Window / The Sign of the Seven Seas by Carley Dawson) — A bit different than the three above, he still fit into this category better than any of the other categories. He’s from the 1700s (it’s a time-travel fantasy series), and he and the young hero, Chris, end up on adventures on the high seas or in Asia or Mexico, and he’s very patient and capable and usually has a few tricks up his sleeve — just the one you want to help you out.

4. Young Headstrong Mentors

These are the ones who are epic heroes in their own right, but somehow (against their own wishes, in fact) they find themselves saddled with another, younger hero. They may not have completed their own training, but they’re definitely more qualified than THESE kids, and, well, somebody has to take them in hand… They might be a bit gruff or not get along, but deep down they really care about their pupils… at least eventually. 😉


  • Jet Valinor (Sentinel Trilogy by Jamie Foley) — Oh, Jet. The best. 😀 He’s got to rank as “youngest, most awesome hero-in-his-own-right mentor EVER.” XD He has quite the attitude himself, and obviously didn’t want to end up with annoying puppy-dog-like Darien as his apprentice, but he’s pretty good at mentoring… kinda… even if Darien finds HIM annoying. XD It’s like a buddy-story turned mentor-apprentice relationship and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Jet’s awesome in aaaall the ways.


  • Kanan Jarrus (Star Wars: Rebels TV show) — I’m sliiightly stretching the “fantasy” genre here, but we’ll call Star Wars science fantasy and go with that. Just because I really, really wanted to list him. XD I know people usually think Obi-Wan or Yoda or maybe Qui-Gon when they think Star Wars mentor, but Kanan is my favorite. (Note: I’m talking about the first season of Star Wars: Rebels here.) He has to put up with Ezra (who I also love) and even though he never completed his Jedi training, he does pretty well with teaching his young Padawan. And he’s just awesome, so.

5. Dragon Mentors

Okay, so I don’t know if there are a lot of these or not. But I realized when I was making a list of my top 20 favorite mentors that two of them were dragons. So this category clearly had to be made. 😉 Grouchy, dangerous, and always with the possibility they could lose their temper and roast or eat you, dragon mentors are actually one of the best kinds of mentors otherwise, because they are often extremely wise, and… well… dragons. That’s a plus right there. (Even if you’re not always sure whose side they’re on. :P)


  • Scales (Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones) — Oh my. It’s very hard to talk about this dragon without spoilers, but let’s just say he has a VERY forceful personality, and he’s an excellent (if unexpected) mentor and I love him! (When he puts Kit in his place, it’s great. XD)
  • Malcolm Blackfire (Afterlands books by Kyle Robert Shultz) — Still waiting for some more screen (I mean… page) time for Malcolm in other books (*cough*waitiiiing*cough*), but he was apparently Lady Cordelia’s mentor, and he seems like he’d be a great one — plus, he does kind of look after the Mythfits and his school. Malcolm is one of the coolest dragon characters (he can also shapeshift between his dragon/human forms), and while he’s rather gruff and sometimes it seems uncertain whether he’s actually on “our” side, you can tell deep down he’s actually heroic. 😉 MALCOLM’S AWESOME.

6. Lady Mentors

These do exist! As much as we often imagine old bearded men as mentors, there are some amazing ladies who have been incredible mentors in their time. The two I’ve picked are actually extremely different than each other, so I’m not going to generalize their “type” since they don’t really have one, so I’ll discuss them each individually. 😉


  • Princess Irene the older (The Princess and the Goblin & The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald) — The “grandmother” of little Princess Irene, and her namesake, this fascinating lady sometimes seems old and other times young and beautiful, but she’s the one to go to for counsel — as young Irene or Curdie often end up doing. Sometimes you won’t want to do what she says needs to be done, but you’ll end up doing it all the same, because it’s right, and she’ll show you why. She’s a classic mentor lady, and so ageless. I’ve always loved this character. 🙂
  • Beana (Veiled Rose, Moonblood, and Fallen Star by Anne Elisabeth Stengl) — Well, well. Who would think to find a nanny-goat in this category? Ahem. 😉 Those who’ve read these books will know that Beana is not what she seems! I absolutely LOVE her, and her relationship with Rosie. Beana is just so SOLID, and always knows the right thing to say — even if sometimes it seems a little blunt. XD Where would Rosie be without her Beana to tell her things?

So there you are!

Have you read (or watched) any of these? What do you think of my categories, and do you have any to add? And who are some of YOUR favorite mentors, fantasy or otherwise? 🙂 I’d love to hear what you think! Thanks for reading!

Sunshine Blogger Award

(photography by me)

I don’t know about you, but personally I could use a little sunshine during this cold time of year! So it’s fortunate that I was tagged by Daley Downing @ The Invisible Moth for The Sunshine Blogger Award! Thanks, Daley! ^_^

And I’ll get straight to the tag questions…


I’m going to steal Daley’s answer and say it’s not fair to make me choose. XD I will say my family (particularly my sister) and my lovely online friends (particularly Christine). I have SO many beautiful sunshine people who brighten my life, and chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re one of them! ❤


Definitely happy! I won’t mind if some of it’s sad as long as it turns out okay (and my favorite characters live. XD) but really sad ones are not my favorite.



Fettuccine Alfredo or Chicken Tortellini — they’re the best! ❤ (And hey, strawberry Häagen-Dazs ice cream — that’s a food, right? 😉 )


Any time someone reads my little scribbles and leaves a comment with their thoughts. I so appreciate you guys! ❤


I… don’t know. Maybe kayaking, if we’re talking unusual kinds of fun. Or wandering around in bookstores and libraries.

Or, if I’m being honest, giving myself an internet/computer vacation and turning off my laptop for a day and giving myself permission to just read anything I want, not just books on my current need-to-read list. XD



I don’t go with the flow; I have to do things MY way, even if my opinions make me feel like I’m the only person who feels that way. XD

(quote from Captain America: Civil War. Image designed by me on Canva.com)


I love when people encourage each other and lift one another up, just being there and understanding. 🙂



Howl’s Moving Castle can always be counted on to make me smile. ^_^


I love to curl up in my big comfy chair in my room and read or write or journal, or just stare at the books on my bookcase. And sometimes there will be a literal beam of sunshine on my bed, where I might curl up with my kitty and nap (particularly during NaNo. XD).


Forest green, and light blue. I’m also partial to silver and gold colors…


How about the Pixar short film “La Luna”? That one ALWAYS does. ^_^


I tag Jenelle, Madeline, Mary, and Christine, and anyone reading this who wants to! No pressure. 🙂 Just let me know if you do it so I can read your thoughts!

On a related note, if you like to be tagged for things, let me know in the comments below! I haven’t done one for awhile, so I’m a little rusty, and I’d like to know so that I might remember to tag those of you who want to be tagged, in the future! ^_^

Thanks for reading! ❤

The Diana Wynne Jones Experience

Last week I posted the first in this two-post series on How to Read a Diana Wynne Jones Book and What Your Fantastic Journey Along the Way May Look Like, in honor of March Magics (celebrating Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett).

Last week’s was the how, and I now invite you to examine the what.

Part the Second:

What Your Fantastic Journey Along the Way May Look Like

Please note that word: “may.”

May is a word which can mean either (a) one of the 12 months of the year, i.e. as it appears in “May Day” which is May 1st and happens to be the birthday of Michael Fisher from Howl’s Moving Castle, for instance, or (b) “might possibly, perhaps, at certain times or for certain people, or, you know, just generally maybe; so don’t quote me on this because it might be different, dontcha know”. I’m referring, in case there was any doubt, to the latter.

In other words, everyone’s Diana Wynne Jones Experience will vary, naturally, as will the individual journeys of each reader consuming each of her books, which is how it should be.

That being said, here are some basic guidelines of some things you may (there’s that word again…) be likely to find or feel in the course of reading a DWJ book.

a map of Fantasyland from DWJ’s “Tough Guide to Fantasyland” seemed appropriate to put here

A book like you’ve never read before

No matter what you think of the story, or which one it is that you read (despite them all being different than each other) this one’s pretty much a guarantee.

All the humor

These books are funny, I tell you. DWJ has a unique brand of humor in her books which I’m unable to describe, but I absolutely love it, whatever it is.

Mind-bending plot twists

Plot twists, surprises, and reveals, that are entirely mind-boggling and CHANGE EVERYTHING. This often results in the need to immediately re-read the book when you finish. (This is  good sign. It means you’re reading it right.)

Things/animals/items which are not what they seem (and might even be people)

This is a big one. Almost nothing in these books are what they appear to be. Cats and dogs? Eh, they might not be what they seem… A piece of furniture? It could be something else. A character you just met? They could turn out to be totally the opposite of what you thought they were. And that’s one of the most fun things about these books! Possibilities are absolutely endless and keep you on your toes.

Genre? What genre?

Most of these books are hard to pinpoint exactly where they fall in the genre pigeonholes. “Fantasy” is generally the broadest one they fit, but after that… well, you’re on your own. There will be dashes of sci-fi, contemporary, historical/time-travel… and they’re all done in a new way and defy categorization. She has, in effect, created her own genre, which is “Diana Wynne Jones”. (I think we writers could learn from this.)

Multi-worlds, magic, and fantasy like no other

These are self-explanatory. The multi-worlds aren’t always present, but multiple words do feature in more than a few of the books, and are always fascinating. Magic and various fantasy elements usually play key roles in the story and are very original and SO interesting.


Nobody does chaos quite like Diana Wynne Jones. She’s excellent at it. Magical chaos, family chaos, just general chaotic explosions of THINGS happening all at once and confusingly and hilariously.

Fascinating character-growth and insight into human nature

Often, these books will feature a young hero or heroine who is being used by some unpleasant acquaintance or relative, for some purpose they don’t understand, and they don’t realize because they’re used to it; they find it out in the course of the story and become their own person, and end up doing the right thing in the end. But the way all of these characters are . . . these books SHOW me things about people, and it’s fascinating and so informative.

The best way to learn things about this confusing thing we call life, is accidentally through awesome fiction. ❤

Families (see Chaos)

You don’t see entire families of characters involved in books much these days, which is a shame. DWJ books often involve not only a hero or heroine but often their entire family… and sometime extended family too. This is not only fun but can be amusing as well, and the dynamics are fabulous.

It may make you want to eat sandwiches

I’ve no idea why, but when the characters eat sandwiches or crumpets or something, it makes me WANT TO EAT SOMETHING LIKE THAT RIGHT AWAY. I have been known to spontaneously make cucumber sandwiches or stop reading just to bake shortbread cookies in the middle of the book. (Note: I don’t cook. Ever. [Well. Hardly ever.] So this is extreme.)

How you feel…

At the beginning:

Well. What a fascinating/unique opening. WHAT am I reading?

In the first third or so:

This book is so… strange… and seemingly random… But I’m hooked anyway! So much strange… This is funny. 😀 What is going on? I’ve never read a book like this; my brain cannot compute, but I’m too busy laughing or wondering where this is headed to notice.

Halfway through:

You may realize at this point that as strange as the beginning started out, you suddenly realize you’re UTTERLY CAPTURED by this book and that everything feels perfectly normal to you and makes perfect sense. And also that you’re entirely attached to the characters and story and don’t want it to end.

During the climactic ending parts:


How you feel when it’s over:

  • ALSKJDFLKDJ!!! ❤ Wait… what about…?? WHAT HAPPENED THERE? *mind readjusts* *works out twists* Oh. O_O EEE!! ^_^ But wait… Let me go back…
  • A feeling of joy or elation and a general feeling of extreme well-being toward the book, mixed possibly with confusion on some little point or a feeling that it ended a little two quickly, which instead of causing outright discontent, has a tendency to make you think about the book for hours (and sometimes days) after finishing.
  • I LOVED IT. I need to read it again. NOW. THIS INSTANT.

On that note…

Regarding Re-Reading

Please note that DWJ books are always even better on the second round. You will never catch everything the first time because there are so many layers and twists. The second time will be even richer, since now you know all the plot twists and what everything actually MEANS. It will, of course, lack the wonder of first-time-discovery* but will be full of delightful details and a better understanding/appreciation of it.

*Not always; I’ve sometimes re-read only to discover that I forgot almost entirely about some aspect, and got to re-experience it a second time almost like the first!

So what are you waiting for?

If you’ve never read a book by Diana Wynne Jones, you’d best get started at once so that you can get to that re-reading… (Since one can presumably only re-read a book after one has read it the first time… unless there’s time travel or some sort of magical confusion involved, of course. With DWJ, either option is quite likely.)

With this handy guide to How to Read a Diana Wynne Jones Book at hand, I wish you joy in discovering or re-discovering her works.

(If you need some ideas of where to start, I suggest Howl’s Moving Castle, or glancing at this list of many DWJ books that I’ve read, with some thoughts on each. I’ve also started a DWJ Project page on my book blog which I plan to add to at some point.)

You know what I think we should do now?

I know exactly what we should do.

In the words of a certain charming wizard (in more ways than one) from Howl’s Moving Castle:

“I think we ought to live happily ever after”

So let’s do that, you and I, with our Diana Wynne Jones books. 🙂

As said wizard added, “It should be hair-raising.”

Won’t it just.

I can’t wait. ^_^ I hope you can’t either.

(Thank you for reading. <3)