Pigroot’s School of Witchyness and Wizard Stuff

If someone wrote a series of books with the above title, they’d be risking legal action, if J. K. Rowling did herself, you’d be wondering if she was short of cash and had the tax man on her tail, yet Enid Blyton pulled that stuff all the time, for no good reason.

Malory Towers and St Clare’s, both series of books about girls’ boarding schools, that were misleading then as they are now, with regards to school life, pupil and teacher behaviour. Secret Seven and Famous Five, were also very similar. To get away with sets of stories like this, there needs to be a significant differences, such as those between Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot.

 

malory towers

And it seems people getting wet whilst fully clothes was popular at both schools.

st clares

 

I think Enid Blyton created a lot of great characters, but I’m glad these our quality control is much better, no matter how much a cash cow someone is. I saw a documentary where her second husband was saying she wrote 10,000 publishable words a day, and how great that was. I’m not sure it was, because as we’ve seen, a lot of these stories were recycled, but also, ‘publishable’ isn’t the best of compliments. It was a basic requirement of someone in her position, also shared by the person who has to write up a report of a cat show for the local paper, it has in the least to be ‘publishable’. And that kind of word count also explains why she didn’t see much of her own children.

I feel sorry for her in a way, her childhood was miserable and she was mentally broken, leaving her unable to deal with reality or be a good mother herself. Google Enid Blyton and there will be as many returns about her cruel and cold treatment of her children and how she, in a calculated and spiteful way, ruined her first husband and cut him off from his children, the very thing that had traumatised her so much, as there are about her books.

However, aside from the personalities and sad history, I’m interested as to how she would fare as a new writer today. Since Harry Potter we have seen an influx of witchcraft, since Twilight and such an influx of Vampires, and zombies too have taken off in a big way this last ten years. Trends will always be ignited and publishers will follow them, but I am very glad that these days we ask a little more from individual authors than regurgitating their own work.

A little while ago a lost manuscript of Enid Blyton’s was found, although it was never really lost, just so similar to a picture book about Mr Tumpy and his caravan that it was thought to be the same story. However, her daughter says “It’s a whole book, written with words, about a completely different Mr Tumpy and indeed a completely different caravan.” Ah, I see, a that makes it okay then.

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