In Competition No. 3093 you were invited to submit an extract from a novel that chronicles the adult life of a well-known fictional hero from children’s stories.
I enjoyed Jess McAree’s account of Paddington Bear’s Conrad-esque voyage — ‘evicted by Brexit, residence visa revoked’ — to the heart of darkness in deepest Peru. Hugh King, D.A. Prince and A.R. Duncan-Jones also shone with their portrayals of the later lives of the stars of the Just William and Noddy stories.
In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the play based on J.K. Rowling’s books, the boy wizard has grown up and become a father of three who works for the Ministry of Magic. David Shields, one of those who made the final cut this week, imagined him taking an altogether different path. He and his fellow winners take £30 each. The bonus fiver belongs to Bill Greenwell.
Mr. Speaker glared. A glare from Mr. Speaker’s eyes, which were of an incandescent character, was generally enough to quell all opposition. It had the force of an arc lamp, the strength of a projectile sent forth by a ballista. Hannibal would have quailed.
But not William George Bunter, the Fat Owl of the Conservative party, against whom the said glare was most forcibly directed. Bunter, despite the heat-seeking glare repeatedly sent his way, gave no sign of being aware of it. It was a glare, indeed, of which he was entirely unaware. He merely shifted his tight trousers upon the green leather, staring, apparently vacantly, into the middle distance.
Bunter’s mind was not empty. On the contrary, it was full. It teemed. He was remembering the moment, that very morning, when his chum Jacob Merry had said to him, during chapel, Tu quoque Caesar eris. Bunter licked his lips.
Hundred Acre Wood seems smaller now, plagued by ramblers and their dogs, its silence irregularly shattered by Christopher Robin and his City pals down for the shooting.