After traveling back to London this week, I’m catching up on my Christmas movies (The Holiday last night on BBC and Christmas Vacation on ITV tonight) now that I’m back in the slower-paced life of my London apartment. This officially puts me in movie-mode in conjunction with my post yesterday on British monarch films.
So today I’m going to present you with a Top Fiver that’s also a twofer, in that each of the titles below represent both film and literature. And if you enjoy one on the list, you can enjoy it a-plenty, as each title is a series.
British fantasy books and movies have ignited imaginations worldwide, providing us all an enchanting escape from reality side by side with their characters. When such titles become so popular, it’s easy to forget from where they derive—and if you’re moving to London, you’re especially in for a treat when you discover how much comes from this island alone!
1. The Chronicles of Narnia, based on the books by C.S. Lewis – Comprising 7 books, this series follows four London children as they escape WWII Britain through a special wardrobe into the magical kingdom of Narnia, of which they become kings and queens. Lewis himself was born in Northern Ireland and moved to England, where he studied, taught, and obviously wrote. (Related London sightseeing: Oxford University, Cambridge University)
2. Alice in Wonderland, based on the books by Lewis Carroll – The 2 books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass follow the young girl Alice as she escapes the tedium of her daily life down a rabbit hole into the fanciful and nonsensical world of Wonderland. Carroll was a mathematician who worked his games of logic into Alice’s stories, and he, like Lewis, taught at Oxford. (Related London sightseeing: Christ Church college, British Library [original manuscript])
3. Harry Potter, based on the books by J.K. Rowling – Comprising 7 books (and, as of next summer, 8 movies), this series follows young Harry, who escapes the oppressive home of his adoptive aunt and uncle through a brick wall in King’s Cross Station to discover a new magical life at Hogwarts that comes with its own challenges. Rowling evidently conceived this extended tale on a train ride from Manchester to London. And this series certainly joins the ranks of the rest here as a no-brainer for me to mention ;). (Related UK sightseeing: Oxford, Durham Cathedral, King’s Cross, London Zoo)
4. Peter Pan, based on the book/play by J.M. Barrie – Peter Pan is the boy who never grows up, aiding other children to escape a life of aging through their window into the enchanted terrain of Neverland. Accompanying the original novel Peter Pan and Wendy are Barrie’s stories collected in Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. In addition, in 2006 Geraldine McCaughrean was given permission to write the “official” sequel, Peter Pan in Scarlet, and Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson have written the highly imaginative and recommended prequel, the Peter & the Starcatchers series. (Related London sightseeing:Kensington Gardens)
5. The Lord of the Rings, based on the books by J.R.R. Tolkein – This trilogy begins with the quest of a young hobbit who does not seek to escape his life like the above characters do, but nonetheless has a strong sense of duty that compels him to leave behind the quiet refuge of his shire to destroy a ring that breeds an evil thirst for power. Tolkein was good friends with C.S. Lewis, as they taught at university together. (Related London sightseeing: Oxford University…if you want to see Middle Earth, you’ll have to head to New Zealand!)
When I review the above, I find it very interesting that all but 1 of the authors use initials as their first name, not to mention that all but 1 of the main characters are seeking to escape their dull realities…hm, I wonder if all these imagined getaways into colorful worlds have anything to do with UK weather :).
Any one of these books or their film incarnations will surely help you sneak through a magical portal (a.k.a., your imagination) into a realm outside your day-to-day experiences—and if you’re looking for a literal escape from the tedious, challenging reality of moving to London, don’t open a book or DVD case so much as dial London Relocation‘s phone number or complete our web form. We’ll be standing by to whisk you off to the London apartment of your fancies!