What do the characters from The Wind in the Willows have in common with Harry Potter and Peter Pan?
They are all colorful and unforgettable figures from world-famous and (sometimes) controversial works of English literature. But, they now also have a much more prestigious place in literary history. In particularly English grand-style, BOOKS and one of the most famous women authors in English history (J.K. Rowling) were pervasive--even center stage--at the Opening Ceremony in the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, East London. Were you one of the estimated 4 billion in attendance (onsite, and via the myriad of feeds)--listening to Rowling read Peter Pan?
Why did the producers select those particular works from English Literature? Of course, William Shakespeare could not be ignored (and he was part of the mix)! But, what other names really should have been included? Which books (or other nuggets from literary history) should have been mentioned, even in parody?
As for those who were featured... Here are lines from Kenneth Grahame's famous The Wind in the Willows: "I see you don't understand, and I must explain it to you. Well, very long ago, on the spot where the Wild Wood waves now, before ever it had planted itself and grown up to what it now is, there was a city--a city of people, you know. Here, where we are standing, they lived, and walked, and talked, and slept, and carried on their business. Here they stabled their horses and feasted, from here they rode out to fight or drove out to trade. They were a powerful people, and rich, and great builders. They built to last, for they thought their city would last for ever."
Then: "People come--they stay for a while, they flourish, they build--and they go. It is their way. But we remain... We are an enduring lot, and we may move out for a time, but we wait, and are patient, and back we come. And so it will ever be."
A spectacle for the book geek in all of us...
Cover Art © Penguin.