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Lily Wight

Updated 18/12/2014

     There are four Solar Quarter Days (two equinoxes and two solstices) on The Wheel of The Year calendar.  Yule or The Winter Solstice is celebrated during a twelve day period from December into January.

     Yule commemorates the demise and rebirth of the sun’s powers because The Wheel continues to turn and daylight hours begin to lengthen again beyond The Shortest Day.

     The name “Yule” is thought to derive from the Old Norse ” jólnar”  – a collective term for the gods or “Yule Ones”.   Jólfaðr (Yule Father – interchangeable with All-Father) is one of many names attributed to Odin.  In Old Norse poetry names and terms for Odin are frequently synonymous with celebration and feasting.  Odin The Gift-Giver is undoubtedly the origin of our Santa Claus.

     The Midwinter period between the last harvest (Samhain)…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 11/12/2014     

     Students of English Literature should be eternally grateful for this Graphic Novel adaptation of a core curriculum classic.

     The simple black and white noir-style graphics contemporise the satirical content whilst aiding differentiation between the many realms and circles in Dante’s compelling trawl through a unique afterlife.

     Chwast’s vision is a brief and entertaining read that may just inspire you to seek out – and perhaps better appreciate – Dante’s original.

     More Graphic Novel interpretations of Literary Classics please!

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     Click the link for this amazing post from Lily Wight’s award-winning blog #CumberbatchIsSauron

https://lilywight.com/2012/11/21/benedict-cumberbatch-is-sauron/

Lily Wight

Updated 27/11/2014

     Recommended reading because Graphic Novels are about more than Superheroes…

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Lily Wight

     Samhain – pronounced “sow – inn” and known presently as Halloween – is celebrated from sunset to sunset on 31st October to 1st November.  It is the most important Fire Festival or Sabbat on the ancient Wheel of The Year calendar.

     “Samhain” has been variously translated as “first frost” or “Summer’s end”:  opposing suggestions with the same meaning.  It is the name for November in ancient and modern Gaelic.

     Samhain lies between The Autumn Equinox and The Winter Solstice.  It marks the death of the year and the end of the annual agricultural cycle.  Many ancient cultures throughout The Western Hemisphere regarded Samhain as their New Year’s Eve.

     Samhain is the third and final harvest on The Wheel of The Year calendar.  After Lughnasadh (grain and cereals) and Modron (fruit and vegetables) herding communities drove livestock back from…

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Lily Wight

     The diligent Christopher Reuel Tolkien seems every bit as inspired by and devoted to Middle-earth as his much celebrated father.

     The Unfinished Tales: Of Númenor and Middle-earth is the first compilation of findings and fragments edited by Christopher for publication after J.R.R. Tolkien’s death.

     Be warned adventurer!  The more you delve into Middle-earth the further you will want to go!

     The revelations concerning major characters from The Lord Of The Rings, which bridge The Hobbit to its epic sequel, will make readers’ believe they have stumbled on their very own treasure horde.

     Considered editing makes it possible to simply enjoy the tales or refer quickly to the copious notes for a more enlightened, academic experience.

     It is an ideal read for anyone keen for some Hobbit…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 09/10/2014

     Another full-length prose novel from (the admittedly deceased) J.R.R. Tolkien is too good to be true and infinitely more satisfying than all those collected fragments with endless footnotes.

     It’s business as usual with The Children Of Húrin as ancient oral-storytelling traditions pervade Tolkien’s reliably rich and evocative prose.

     Húrin has much in common with Norse dragon slayer Myths and is almost unbearably tragic.  It’s a great place to start with pre-Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings’ history and the maps and glossaries are essential – although why Tolkien is the only author who can get away with such things remains a mystery.

     It is a book to make you homesick for Middle-earth all over again.

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Lily Wight

     Updated 30/09/2014

     The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies arrives in UK cinemas on December 12th!  If you can’t wait that long Lily Wight ~ The Arcade of Arts & Arcana can satisfy your Middle-earth cravings with a variety of Tolkien related posts (just click the category in the sidebar).

     Let’s get started with a flash review of a book that definitely deserves a trilogy of movies… are you listening Peter Jackson!

     

     The Silmarillion

     Genius is not a term to be attributed lightly but if any author deserves such an accolade it is John Ronald Reuel Tolkien.
     Traditional Mythologies contain a vast body of evolving materials collected over time by countless storytellers and authors.  So, for one man to invent arguably the finest and most emotive…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 23/09/2014

     The Wheel Of The Year calendar comprises four Celtic fire festivals interspersed with two solstice and two equinox celebrations.  September’s Equinox denotes the height of the Autumn season.

     The Autumn Equinox is named variably as Modron (Mother Goddess) or Mabon (Divine Son) – deities from Welsh Mythology who can be found in The Legends Of King Arthur.

     Modron is a harvest and fertility goddess who shares characteristics with the Roman Ceres.  On the agricultural calendar Lughnasadh (August) is The First Harvest (grains and cereals) and The Autumn Equinox (September) is The Second Harvest (fruits and vegetables).

     At the Equinox the year wanes, yet the harvest is plentiful.   The ancient tribal people of The Western Hemisphere believed their Mother Goddess entered the third trimester of her pregnancy whilst her…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 16/09/2014

     The episodic structure and super simple YA-style prose mire a book worth reading for its genius premise: pensioners battling the supernatural in UK Goth Capital, Whitby.

     Magrs inventively homages all the genre classics with warmth and wit whilst Brenda and Effie disguise cracks in an episodic narrative with the sheer force of their personalities.  Two great roles for Dames Judi Dench and Helen Mirren perhaps 🙂

     A silly, frothy yarn perfect for Sunday tea time telly.

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Lily Wight

      H.P. Lovecraft’s longform novel makes a fine introduction to the author’s original mythos and recurring themes but, like Poe before him, the style and structure of his weird tales has not aged well and demands patience from modern readers.

     The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward reads much like a dry historical legal document and Lovecraft’s obsession with architecture is interesting but not thrilling.  The lazy dénouement owes much to Dracula – and vampire fans might catch the name “Ferenczy”: a major player in Brian Lumley’s superb Necroscope series.

     Lovecraft’s short fiction is far more satisfying but completists and occultists will love this nonetheless.

     View a trailer for The Resurrected (adapted from The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward)…

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Jago By Kim Newman

Lily Wight

     Updated 21/08/2014 

     Kim Newman’s Glastonbury set tale of a year 2000 millenium apocalypse may have passed its sell by date (without incident) yet still offers a gorily fun interpretation of The Book of Revelations for horror fans who enjoy the likes of Stephen King, Clive Barker, James Herbert and Brian Lumley.

     There is a comfortable soap-opera quality to the slow-burn character-building of colourful locals and visitors but, in the final act, as chaos descends, the diversity of their living nightmares causes a loss of focus.

     Some of the sexual-horror is just plain nasty and there is a missed opportunity to explore the dynamics of cult religions with more intelligent depth.

     As an entry into the sub-genre of supernaturals versus psychic spies it makes a sufficiently fun but hardly a life-changing…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 12/08/2014

     A short sharp review of Once…

     James Herbert does little to shift his low-brow Stephen King associations with this perfunctory foray into the world of faerie.

     A spooky house and a missing testament provide Scooby Doo plotting while flat characters and shallow research create a strangely uninvolving tale of mixed-up folklores.

     Frequent sexiness will keep you reading but Herbert’s work remains dogged by seventies style misogyny.

     If you’re a Herbert fan you’ll love it regardless, but this is lazy work.

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Lily Wight

     NBC’s Constantine TV show is set to air on 24th October with Matt Ryan in the lead role so there’s plenty of time to familiarise yourself with Vertigo’s paranormal PI.

     Grubby, British, sociopolitical and astute, Constantine’s adventures will appeal to those who want smarts with their supernatural.

     There are bigger, more epic story arcs than the standalones in this graphic novel collection but time in Constantine’s company is always well spent.

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Lily Wight

     Updated 29/07/2014

     Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-na-sah) is one of eight festivals celebrated on the ancient Wheel Of The Year seasonal calendar.  It marks the midpoint between The Summer Solstice and The Autumn Equinox.  It was once observed when the first sheaf of corn was cut and now, most commonly, on 1st August.

     The First Harvest is named for the Irish Sun God, Lugh, who also lends his name to the Modern Irish name for August.  In Gaelic Mythology Lugh held a funeral and athletic games to honour his foster-mother, Tailtiu who died of exhaustion after clearing the land for agriculture.  Tailtiu represents an earth or harvest deity whose labours feed and nurture the people.

     At Lughnasadh tribal people throughout Western Europe and The Northern Hemisphere gave thanks for their grain and cereal harvest and sought blessings for…

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Lily Wight

   

     Updated 22/07/2014

     Billy Majestic’s arresting Graphic Novel, Humpty Dumpty is a Science Fiction/Horror yarn and definitely not recommended for children.

     Vivid colours and smooth digital blending achieve a film-like look; entirely appropriate for a snappy origin tale which plays like a movie storyboard and makes no qualms about its B-Movie intentions.

     Redneck grotesques, small-town cops and ethereal aliens provide familiarity whilst the titular Humpty is an atrocity to remind you of the heyday of direct-to-video prosthetic horrors.  Humpty’s conception and birth stray into uncomfortable exploitation territory but once the monster madness is underway sequels seem both likely and gory good fun.

     For more unique images follow the link to The Gallery.

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Lily Wight

     Audrey Niffenegger, best known as the author of The Time Traveler’s Wife, spins a macabre yet enchanting novel in pictures.

     The Adventuress, an ethereal yet tenacious heroine, is created by an alchemist, has a love affair with Napoleon and gives birth to a cat in a quest of Fairy Tale subversions and surreal post-feminism.

     The text may tell us of wedding revelry and honeymoons but the fragile images betray subjugation and abuse as The Adventuress is repeatedly betrayed by the promises of love and motherhood.  This is a story in which transformation can lead to madness and happy-ever-afters may only be attained through cleansing fire or the release of death.

     Niffenegger’s images combine the uncanny distortions of German Expressionist cinema with  a sketchiness which invites universal interpretations.

     A truly beautiful, unique and inspiring work.

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Lily Wight

  

*Postage stamps, matches, refrigerators, lightbulbs, antiseptic, inflatable tyres, cars, buses, telephones, iron bridges, railways, cameras, bandstands and promenades are all Victorian inventions.

*After the death of Prince Albert (1861) Queen Victoria dressed in black and had fresh clothes and a wash-stand prepared for Albert every day.

*She also spoke of “the mad, wicked folly of women’s rights”.  No comment.

*Only two British monarchs have reached their Diamond Jubilee.  Victoria celebrated hers in 1897.

*Britain and China went to war… over Opium trafficking!

*A large part of the world still speaks English today because of Victoria’s empire.

*The Commonwealth is made up of countries which were once under British rule.

*The River Thames was so thick with sewage that paddle-steamers could hardly move.  After 30 years of work a new improved sewage system was completed in 1875.  It is still in use today.

*Victorian architecture favoured Medieval Gothic and Classical…

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     Did you know that cute baby bats are actually known as pups?  What a blog, eh?  Informative AND adorable!

     Pop back next month for a brand new and totally gratuitous gif 🙂

Cute Baby Bat Gif

 

Amazing Lego picks every month at Lily Wight ~ The Arcade of Arts & Arcana 🙂

Lily Wight

     Updated 24/06/2014

     The ancient seasonal calendar – known as The Wheel Of The Year – has reached Litha (meaning “wheel”) also known as The Longest Day, Midsummer and The Summer Solstice.

     Litha marks the height of the sun’s powers at the middle of the year before the inevitable shortening of daylight hours.

     Midsummer has been observed since Neolithic times.  It held special significance to the Scandinavian, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon people and is still celebrated throughout The Northern Hemisphere today.

     Litha was a time to urge the growth of crops in the hope of a plentiful harvest.  A wheel would be set on fire and rolled downhill to “warm” the fields, a practice first recorded two thousand years ago.

     Golden-flowered  Midsummer plants, such as Calendula and St. John’s…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 17/06/2014

     Here at The Arcade of Arts & Arcana we are not ashamed to trawl kids’ books for fascinating factoids.  Here are few of our findings…

 

*Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital opened in 1852.  If you scroll down the sidebar you will find a link to Children With Cancer UK, this site’s nominated charity 🙂 

*Edward Jenner helped to wipe out smallpox in just 40 years when free vaccinations became available in 1840.

*The bell residing in the Houses of Parliament clock tower was cast in 1858 and named for building supervisor Sir Benjamin Hall.  Big Ben of course.

*Building ships from steel instead of heavy iron was a very good idea.

*Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies (1863) influenced Parliament to pass the Chimney Sweeps Act.  The use of children as sweeps was finally stamped out in 1875.

*Today southeast…

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Lily Wight

     

     Updated 14/06/2014

     It takes a writer as bold as Game of Throne’s George R.R. Martin to pen a Southern Gothic vampire novel just three years after the publication of Anne Rice’s genre-bending Interview With The Vampire.

     Martin’s Fevre Dream includes plenty of Rice’s familiar tropes – such as setting, era and two bickering immortal dandies – but Fevre Dream has less romance and more grit, as though two writers used the same remit to inspire very different tales.

     Martin pens marvellous prose in any genre, he is descriptive but never dull and poetic without being florid.  He has a knack for authentic, character-crafting speech and an ability to make even the driest detail fascinating so readers will come away with a new love and comprehensive understanding of life as a Mississippi steamboat captain even if…

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Lily Wight

Updated 09/06/2014

     All these amazing facts have been borrowed from the Snapping-Turtle Guide, Victorian Life by John Guy.

*The average life expectancy for a Victorian city-dweller was a measly 40 years!

*At the beginning of Victoria’s reign (1837) 20% of the population lived in towns.  By the end of her reign (1901) this figure had risen to 75%.

*Beer was less than a penny a pint causing problems with drunkenness… especially amongst children.

*This was probably because both boys and girls wore dresses until they reached about five years old.

*Thomas Edison didn’t just invent the phonograph (1877) he suggested talking-books for the blind.

*The Railway Age created affordable travel for all and inspired that Great British pursuit: a day-trip to the seaside!

*Victorian Artists and Poets reacted against The Industrial Age by incorporating romanticised Myths, Legends and The Natural World into their work.  (Click the…

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Access Denied!

Lily Wight

     Updated 05/06/2014

     Pat Brien’s Denied is a refreshingly old-school vampire yarn that owes more to Hammer era Dracula than Twilight style teen romance (cheer or boo here as you prefer).

     
     Brien does an admirable job of honing and reinvigorating gothic folklore by finding ingenious and refreshing ways to reconnect disparate vampire archetypes.
   
      Monstrous Nosferatu and brooding immortals share an intriguing new evolution and the inclusion of werewolves takes the tale to new levels of adventure, mystery and page-turning excitement.
   
     The novel has two distinct parts, the first  – which acts as an extended prologue – is quite different in tone and location to the latter.  It’s a bold structural move, as readers may prefer one part of the book over the other, but Brien’s commitment, combined…

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