You may remember that a few weeks ago I did a guest post all about Coriolanus and the body on the lovely Rosie’s blog for her Simply Shakespeare feature. This week Rosie’s post for Simply Shakespeare was a themed tag and it would feel downright rude of me if I didn’t join in with the tag for today’s Tag Thursday – head over to Rosie’s blog to see her tag post or keep reading to see my response below!
1. Much Ado About Nothing: Your favourite bickering couple whom everyone knows really care about each other (can be romantic relationship or friendship)
Considering I’m definitely of the Harry Potter generation could I ever say anyone but Ron and Hermione? They are the ultimate bickering couple, for me it’s on a level with Elizabeth and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice or, indeed, Beatrice and Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing. For me, growing up, Ron and Hermione were just constantly arguing and Harry was the linchpin that held that trio together somehow despite the moments of genuine falling out.
Can I also do a quick shout out for Matthias and Nina from Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology? I’m not sure they quite “bicker” because it’s more Nina constantly pokes and prods at him and he refuses to rise to it because it’s undignified or whatever, but we all know they do bicker really… or at least they do in fanfics, and I LIVE for it.
2. Measure for Measure: A book whose plot or genre is really hard to explain to other people
American Gods by Neil Gaiman – I have literally no idea what happened in the plot of this book, but I have utmost confidence that Neil Gaiman knew what he was doing at every point. As long as you have faith in the author’s ability to plot, I think it’s ok if you don’t know what happens at every stage!
On a less confusing note, I still also struggle to explain the plot of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater to a satisfying degree. Yes, it’s about a group of kids who go to a fancy school searching along ley lines for a dead Welsh king, that might be the “plot”, but it’s also not really what the book is “about”. It’s weird and inexplicable.
3. A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Your favourite book featuring fairies or elves
Unfortunately, I don’t much like this resurgence of sexy/dangerous fae that seems to have become a fad as of late – I totally blame my dislike of Sarah J Maas’ writing for putting me off anything that now mentions ‘fae’ or ‘faerie court’ in the blurb! So I’m going to have to reach back into the depths of my childhood for one…I used to love the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer which told the story of the eponymous pre-teen criminal mastermind as he kidnaps for ransom one of the fairies who live in the core of the Earth – not kidding. It was amazing and I actually really want to re-read it this year to remind myself just how great it was and maybe this time I’ll actually finish the series too.
4. Hamlet: An underutilised female character
Maybe it’s because I’m Harry Potter obsessive, as previously mentioned, but I always find myself wondering more about the Hogwarts professors – like what does their day-to-day life outside of the classroom actually consist of? Do any of them have families and/or friends, outside of those castle walls? I wish I knew everything about the likes of Professor McGonagall, so whilst she might not be strictly underutilised (she definitely does things in the series) I do still find myself wanting more.
5. The Sonnets: Choose your favourite poem
I find it really hard to choose my favourite anything, and I’m not a big, big poetry person so I never feel educated in poetry enough to pick one single favourite poem ever – I did a post for National Poetry Day a few years ago though which has some of my favourite poems, and a subsequent post last year on National Poetry Day about performing poetry.
6. Richard III: A protagonist willing to do anything to get what they want
You know who has utter conviction and does whatever it takes to get what he wants? Kaz mothereffin’ Brekker from Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows. Need I say more? (I probably shouldn’t actually because spoilers!)
7. Antony and Cleopatra: Your favourite trope/bookish buzzword/historical figure/etc. for which you still haven’t found that perfect book
I’m a fan of Victorian-y steampunk-y feel… but kind of less with the steampunk and more with the gaslamp?? That kind of time period when the Georgian/Regency tipped over into the Victorian age is really interesting to me but I haven’t yet read a fantasy novel set in that period that completely satisfies me. The likes of Alison Goodman’s The Dark Days Club, Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons, Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Angel, and even Grey London in V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic are kind of the vibe though? I just need a huge mashup of all of them, please and thank you.
Side note: numerous people have suggested the answer to all my prayers may well be Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell but we shall see. If you’ve read the book, can you let me know if it is that vibe? I’m so scared of being disappointed that I dare not try it (and also it’s HUGE).
8. Titus Andronicus: A lesser-known work by a popular author, one which you want more people to read
I struggle with this question because I’m not any kind of authority on most authors… probably because I don’t think about reading things “by” author specifically; I read titles, author is irrelevant in the first instance, apart from my normal auto-buy YA fantasy authors. So I’m going to have to go with quite a big author – Jane Austen, and urge everyone to not just stop at Pride and Prejudice but also read Persuasion. It’s slower, more mature, and a hell of a lot more emotional. Captain Wentworth’s declaration SHITS all over Darcy’s, sorry/not sorry for thinking it.
9. King Lear: A complex female villain or antihero
I’d definitely say Astrid Dane from A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, if you’d consider “absolutely psychotic” to mean “complex villain”. I love her for it though.
10. The Taming of the Shrew: Choose two polarizing books, one you loved and one you hated
Oh another chance for me to say I didn’t like A Court of Thorns and Roses?! I’m here for it! Yeah, no, I hated this book. I do not get it. But I get that some people do get it and love it and I have no issue with this. Each to their own!
On the other end of the scale, I think it’s pretty obvious from my answers to these tag questions that I’m quite a fan of V.E. Schwab and Leigh Bardugo’s books (and also Samantha Shannon and Maggie Steifvater) but I’m going to stick with a book I rarely mention in tags but that I do love – Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. Its characters are THE WORST so they’ll never get mentioned in tags about beloved characters or great relationship but they ARE the worst and that’s kind of the point??
11. “Give me your hands, if we be friends”: Tag some people!
I hate the expectation of tagging people but, for argument’s sake, I’m tagging housemate Liz from Travel in Retrospect and Stephanie from Adventures of a Bibliophile. Obviously, it goes without saying but if you’re reading this and want to participate in this tag, please consider yourself officially tagged by me! If you do answer it, be sure to link back to this post and/or comment below with a link because I’d love to see your responses!