How to remember an English word
Süddeutsche Zeitung | Discussion from May 28th, 2020Political fairy tale
by J. K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling has a knack for referring to famous role models from English literary history without unimaginatively copying them. The diverse monster Ickabog, for example, is reminiscent of Grendel from “Beowulf”, the Jabberwocky from “Alice Behind the Mirrors” and the Gruffalo. It can be "snake-like", "dragon-like" or "wolfish". Some say it roars, others that it hisses or that it "floated as quietly as the mist that descended on the swamp without warning".
This is how Rowling describes the eponymous monster in a story that she will publish online free of charge, chapter by chapter, every day until July 10th. "The Ickabog" is designed to help children and families stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic pass the time during the lockdown.
According to her own account, the author wrote the story more than ten years ago as a bedtime story for her children. It is her first children's story that is not set in the Harry Potter universe. In the first two chapters, in addition to the legend of Ickabog, "King Fred the Fearless", ruler of Cornucopia and the five-year-old Bert Beamish are introduced.
Rowling has called the story, which has been "lying in the attic for years," a "political fairy tale" for children between the ages of seven and nine, which is about "truth and abuse of power". Rowling's children, who are now teenagers, were "touchingly excited" by the idea of reactivating the story and publishing it for free. The book is due to appear in print at the end of this year; The proceeds will go to projects for the benefit of those particularly affected by the pandemic. Parallel to the online publication, children can send in pictures for individual chapters as part of an illustration competition; the winners' drawings will be printed in the finished book.
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