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Jan. 22, 2023

Season 3 Premiere! - Rabbits in Fantasy

Season 3 Premiere! - Rabbits in Fantasy

Best place to be a rabbit

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Welcome to the Mythmakers Season 3 premiere! Please share and tell a friend...we're so glad you're along for the journey!

22nd January ushers in the Year of the Rabbit. In this podcast, Julia and Jacob discuss rabbits in fantasy. Why are there more hares than rabbits? Who is the White Rabbit? Should you eat a rabbit in Narnia (if it doesn't talk)? We go from Beatrix Potter to Bugs Bunny - see if we missed any of your favourites. And find out which story we think is Rabbit Armageddon! Stick around for our top fantasy tips on what to watch or listen to.

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Speaker 1: Hello and welcome to Mythmakers. Mythmakers is the podcast for fantasy fans and fantasy creatives, brought to you by the Oxford Center for Fantasy. My name is Julia Golding. I'm an author, but also director of the Center. Speaker 2: And I'm Jacob Breener, a fantasy scholar enthusiast, and I work in creating fantasy board games and trading cart games. Speaker 1: And today, in honor of the arrival of the year of the rabbit on the 22nd of January, Jacob and I are devoting this program to discussing the role of rabbits in fantasy. Now, the first thing, Jacob, I came across when I looked into this is the big difference between the hair and the rabbit. That would be another program. But I think one of the reasons for this is that in terms of UK mythology, rabbits are actually a fairly new arrival. One story is that they came over with the Normans, and the second is that they came over before that with the Romans. So we're very much regarded as a a food source. They had Warrens, which they managed and obviously rabbit fur was used in cloaks and all that kind of thing. So they're relatively new arrival in terms of the uk. So I reckon that's why they've missed out on a mythological status. So Jacob, what were your first thoughts when you came to thinking about rabbits in fantasy? Speaker 2: Yeah, I was immediately hit with the same issue and looking through the different familiar fantasy images that I had in my mind of what I just figured all were rabbits. And turns out they weren't, that is not technically the case. And so, yeah, I had a kind of crash course in what is it, lapd is that the technical name? Whatever their Speaker 1:, technical Latin. You're taking us down the Latin route. Yeah, Speaker 2: Yeah. For genus and species purposes at a crash course in hairs versus rabbits. And I think, yeah, that one of the reasons that you said was that rabbits are fairly newcomers to the UK and with hairs. And I think also socially from myeducation this past week or so on rabbits by no means an expert but that hairs generally are more independent and only associate in groups of maybe one or two whereas rabbits have Warrens. And so there's different types of behavior associated socially. And so that fits. And I think with some of the stories that we'll talk about today, that certainly fits well with the technical rabbits versus the hairs that I was having to filter out of this conversation who do definitely come across as more independent functioning on their own. Speaker 1: And the other thing about here is of course, is they get all the exciting stuff of as mad as a march hair to them, whereas there's definitely a coziness to rabbits, which I don't know if in the Chinese culture, which has obviously incorporated it very importantly as part of their well, their zodiac, their cosmology, whether or not the same associations are true over there. But anyway, let's think about rabbits in fantasy. And the first place we're going to stop because the Oxford Center is with potentially the most famous fantasy rabbit that is the white rabbit from Alice Wonderland, who is always late with his pocket watch. And he's the one who is actually the call to adventure for Alice and of course follows him down the rabbit hole. So what do you think about the qualities of the white rabbit and its role in that story? What's, what use has Louis Carroll made of our friendly garden creature in that case Speaker 2: With the white rabbit? I thought it was interesting that Carol uses both a rabbit and a hair. And I'm sure that that's intentional, that particular difference in terms of the rabbit itself you certainly have a sense, and it's hard to talk about the white rabbit in my mind without talking about the hair as well. So we'll just Speaker 2: Mention in passing the hair or just for the purposes of comparison. So with the rabbit, yeah, it seems to be more anxious and I more tightly wound which perhaps is mirrored in its pocket watch, its personality versus the hair who is nottightly wound or is what is a different type of winding. And so the rabbit, yes, is constantly and his character seems to be anxious and serves the function of a herald, really right for the king and queen of hearts. So yeah, it's interesting that is the portal into this world was this character who is the herald of the monarchs for this larger area or one of the larger areas that she is kind of inducted to? Speaker 1: Yes. And usually one of the reasons why in Lewis car is there is somebody with a rabbit in his real life and he puts it into his book. There's a lot of in jokes and coding that goes on. But extrapolating from that, I think the rabbit is, I think what he's actually picking up is if you actually watch a rabbit, they have that kind of twitchy nose that there hardly still. And I think there's an element of the anxious bureaucrat. The person who is serving a term again really isn't a difficult, no wonder he's so worried that he's going to be late. Speaker 1: And also he's constantly running on a head. So is that sense of restless and is the fidgety side. So I think that's a very good way because as you say, a lot of the other characters Alice meets are hair. But people like the caterpillar and the Cheshire cat, they're all quite zoned out and that energy is a good one to actually start on an adventure. So that's the lovely white rabbit. We'll leave him where he is running around wonderland. And I suppose the next most famous stop in fantasy literature for me is Beatrix Potter. And here I will bring evidence number one, which this sits on my mantle piece. It's actually a money box but of course it is one of Beatrix potter's rabbits. There are a number of them. We have obviously the Flopsy bunny is Benjamin Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, sorry, and Peter Rabbit. Speaker 1: So clearly in the world of Potter rabbits are absolutely central where you get that association of the cuteness of rabbits and also the family of rabbits. It's one of the illustrations I remember best. The Peter Rabbit story is the mum, the mother rabbit with all her little baby rabbits. And then she's sort of pushing Peter Rabbit into a jacket. Looks a bit small for him, which I think many children have experienced that. So there's a association that been sort of children and the rabbit family and it's all quite, and it's the family pet. There's a sense of many people would've had as kids, family, pets. So there's that coziness. But what happens in the story, it's actually a bit like Bambi or one of those things where a child is suddenly confronted with the fact chance of deathin Mr. McGregor's garden. So it's it's got that darker side and isn't his father if I remember correctly, you've got younger children than me, but I seem remember his father's already ended up in a pie. Exactly. Yeah. So it is a dark world and Beatrix Potter was not sentimental, even though her pictures are very sweet and beautiful. There is always this memory of nature read in tooth and claw. Thank you Tenson for that wonderful phrase. In her world of rabbits, do you have a favorite Beatrix? Potter Rabbit is, Speaker 2: I think Peter. Yeah, p Peter's the iconic and I brought mine again. So I have a almost three year old. And so he has his Peter Rabbit with his jacket, which is a little short and another little figure there that actually tells stories. I know we'll be talking about tips later, but for those of you with children and who appreciate stories, but don't always reading them stories or the same stories there's this wonderful little device called a Tony Box, t o n i e box. And they have these little figures and coded to the figures are stories. So you can have a narrator recite to your child Peter story of Peter Rabbit. So you don't haveall the time. Keep busy. Speaker 1: Well, I do know what you mean though when you've said it, you've read them a news story and they actually speak six times. I can see it having a rise. Speaker 2: That's nice. And they can do it on their own. So, it's great entertainment. Anyway, so it's available. Peter Rabbit can be in your child's ear as constantly as they want if you have other things that you need to be getting onto. That's just so parenting as well as a story tip regarding Peter Rabbit. So yeah, so that one for Peter, it's iconic. And I think I was thinking through, I was actually looked to some of the early reviews of Peter Rabbit and some critical responses. And one of the kind of trends that I noted was that this was, Pader kind of created a new form of animal fable where the anthropomorphic animals behaved as real animals that had true instincts. Like you were saying Julia, with a nature red and tooth and claw. So you have animals acting like more like animals than just humans, anthropomorphized animals in a medieval setting or in a whatever, a acting as humans. Speaker 2: This was kind of more of an attempt to give them an actual animal flavor with the animal fable. And I think another critic noted that with the illustrations, especially that these were anatomically correct animals they spoke, but they're clearly, they have the proportions of rabbits, right? Yes. And the other animals there that are speaking and then they call it, I like this phrase, it was the perfect marriage of a word and image and a triumph of fantasy and fact. So you have these blending of the natural world that we experience and this fantasy world kind of woven together in a unique way there. So yeah, Peter, for me, and something that I came across, oh this was several months ago that when you mentioned rabbits, it was one of the first things that came to mind again as a tie to the Oxford Center for Fantasy is CS Lewis. CS Lewis came across cause CS Lewis quote where he was talking about Peter Rabbit when he's in preface to Paradise Lost when he's discussing Milton. Yeah. Are you ready for this? Yeah. So this is, yeah, great. I remember up here Milton, right, right. Speaker 2: But Lewis was doing those, he was addressing in preface to Paradise lost one of his predecessors at Madeline College had written something about the great moral message of Milton in Paradise Lost is the most universal and useful, which was that obedience makes people happy and disobedience makes people miserable. So they said that that's the big large scale. That's what the message is of Paradise lost. There was a contemporary critic to Lewis who kind of was poking at this particular statement and they said that this amazed him because it was a vague statement. They felt that this moral of paradise loss was kind of vague. So this was Lewis's response was and I have it quoted here, would you like the quote or do you want for it? Go for the quote. No, go for it. Alright. So he says responding to this critic who called that reading a paradise lost as vague Lewis says dull it amazed him because dull if you will, or harsh or jaun. Speaker 2: But how vague has it not rather the desolating clarity and concreteness of certain classic utterances. We remember from the morning of our own lives, go to bed, write out, I must do as I am told a hundred times, or do not speak with your mouthful, how are we to account for the fact that great modern scholars have missed this? So dazzling dazzlingly simple. It is after all the communist of themes, even Peter Rabbit came to grief because he would go into Mr. McGregor's garden. So you have this tie, the Garden of Eden and Paradise Lost and Mr. McGregor's garden that Peter Rabbit is in and saying that the message that Lewis is drawing in here is that obedience to his mother Mrs. Rabbit to stay out of the garden, to do not go into Ms. McGregor's garden that is met with consequences of misery for Peter because of disobedience. Speaker 2: That was that moral message. And essentially he saw that functioning in the same moral sphere as paradise law. So for Lewis or for, yeah, so for CS Lewis, he seems to, he plays can switch gears between Beatrix Potters, Peter Rabbit and John Milton. And so I think most people and scholars wouldn't necessarily make that sort of connection. But that's something that fascinates me about Lewis is how he's able to put these stories into conversation with each other and the sort of interestingresults that you get when you take seriously children's literature and compare it to any other literature. Speaker 1: So this's given me three thoughts, Jacob. The first is I do hosting a doctorate on the Milton Echoes in Beatrix Potter. That that'd be great thing is that there's a difference here between allegory and applicability, the old sort of Tokin and Lewis conversation, which is that the medieval use of animals, the parliament of thousand things was allegorical and what Beatrix Potter is all. So you could apply Peter going into Mr. McGregor's garden as a Garden of Eden Echo. It's applicable, but it's obviously not an allegory of that because it's just not it. It's not a one-on-one fit that you would expect of an allegory thought, which moves us on for am Beatrix Potter to CS Lewis himself is that raising the Narnia treatment of animals and putting them alongside Beatrix Potter. You can see that that is where I think Louis is coming from. So his erit, for example, feels like a kind of swashbuckling Beatrix Potter character in many ways. So I'm not sure he's the own, she's the only Victorian doing this or Ed Edwardian. But I does feel as though Naia and the world of talking animals wouldn't exist without Beatrix Potter. Do you agree? Speaker 2: Yeah, no, I absolutely agree. And Louis in surprised by joy, he talks about three specific instances in his early life where he had this feeling of quote, joy, this kind of sharp distinctive sense that he describes as joy. And one of those three, one was the little toy garden that he had this world and miniature the other was the poem by Longfellow, the saga of King. and then the third of these was the idea of autumn in the Tale of Squirrel nut Kin by Beatrix Potter. So that was one of his specific instances that were kind of set him on. His quest for joy in life was this experience with Beatrix Potter book. So he was very tied to this Beatrice Potter. He said, I think often when he was sick he would read Beatrix Potter even as an adult when he had the flu and he would lay up in bed, he would always return to Beatrix Potter. He even tried, made a pilgrimage out but unfortunately was not able to meet Beatrix Potter. Speaker 1: You can today. So today if you people are listening to this and come to the uk, you can actually stand on the beach esk and look at the picture of all the squirrels on sort of paddling over to the island. You get exactly that view. You were such a brilliant, as well as her animal pictures, she captured the real places. She wasn't creating a fantasy world in that sense. It was very often the garden, the lake district and others. Wonderful stuff. So I also, that reminded me of boxing and the creation of boxing with his brother, which of course was that not an animal world, an animal kingdom as well of sorts. Speaker 2: Exactly, yeah, right. No it wasn't. They had just separate lands. You did have a rabbit land. They had these kind of different apportioned kingdoms and so they didn't have a specific rabbit land and rabbit characters in boxing. But this was different. So, so clearly influenced by their interest the Lewis Children's interest in Beatrix Potter. But this, theirs was kind of the just animals set in Medieval society didn't necessarily act as animals. But certainly you see influence there and you do have differences. I don't know if this is a good time, if you want to take a side quest into Narnia brief side quest for rabbits. Speaker 1: It's not a side quests cause is it not the animal the Christmas party that gets turned to stone. They have rabbits sitting at the table, right? Speaker 2: Yeah, yeah. Speaker 2: There's two others. Oh, okay. One of them is in the horse and his boy Shasta gets when the, there's the impending attack on Arken land. Shasta gets, there's a group of rabbits that he has spread the word that the attack is coming. So you have rabbits specifically there as again kind of heralds as you did in Louis Carroll. And then in the last battle, and this is interesting for Louis's world building within Narnia there's different types of animal creatures and sentience or moral action possible in animals. So Jill, do you have this section here that says Jill had succeeded in shooting a rabbit and then parenthetically not a talking rabbit. Of course there are lots of ordinary kind about in Western Narnia and and it was already skinned, cleaned and hanging up. So you have these sentientrabbits that can talk and then these non sentient rabbits that you're okay to eatand skin. Speaker 2: So there's a differentiation, kind of a hierarchy even within each animal grouping which is really interesting. I don't know if that was just because if this was kind of a last story, if he's kind of thinking this through on his feet. So he wasn't as meticulous of a world builder as Toki was, right? By any stretch of the word. But I wonder if this is him thinking through, okay, how do animals carner carnivorous animalsin Narnia? What do they eat and are they eating other these sentient creatures that we've come toknow and love? Or is there another way possible? So this seems to be kind of a foray into a bit of world building kind of differentiation that I don't see done quite carefully in Narnia cause that's not what Lewis's purpose is. But I do see a nod towards a thinking through of how this world functions with speaking animals and the possibility of non-speaking animals in that world. Speaker 1: You think it's also terribly practical, many children of that era and probably even today experience of there are some animals on the small holding and our pets and there are some that you don't name because you might end up eating them. And I can imagine that's a very, having come through the war and with the evacuee staying up at the kilns and what have you, no doubt they would've looked for opportunities to have off ration book protein. So you don't want to name them Benjamin Bunny Speaker 2: Me. Then Speaker 1: I can see in a talk during a sort of practical solution into NAIA there we've sort of gone naia, but before we come up to close to the present time, the famous rabbit is Rabbit in Winnie the poo. Obviously this is a rabbit who's based on a soft toy as are most of the creatures in that rather eclectic group that around Winnie the Poo. But Rabbit there is perhaps unlike the other rabbits that we've met in that he is a kind of good friend, sound person not silly or scatty a sort of as serious as Al, but just a good sort. I think he's also most famous in the story where Whitney, the poo comes from tea and gets stuck doesn't he? In the window, right? Cause he is eaten too much. And so rabbit just goes round the back and kindyou go, oh well or the door, whatever it is the hole to get into the house. So that seems to be playing a little bit against type in that so far have been the twitchy, go to the garden and get eaten. He seems to be a different kind of creature. Speaker 2: Yeah rabbit comes across less as kind of a scattered and more of a clever, but in the wrong kind.a kind of an incompetent cleverness in sense because he has a few different plans. He doesn't like change. And so when Kaa comes in, he's very uncomfortable with newadditions to their group. So he has this elaborate plan to scare Kaa away by hiding Rue and trying to create issue where Kango would want to leave. And he also has a plan to unbalance Tigger that doesn't end up working out. So he's the one, he seems to be the practical organizer where he tries to take the lead with the group but never quite manages and he sees himself as the one that Christopher can depend on. So you have this kind ofhubris of his own plans. And yeah, I do see the anxiety a bit similar to the White Rabbit, more emphasized in the Disney cartoon adaptation. Speaker 2: He does come across more as an anxious kind of a control freak, right? I don't get that sense as much in the book itself, but the cartoon definitely is kind of a worrywart write with a short temper who just really is kind of agitated. So he seems moreish in the Disney adaptation. And what's interesting, I think there is that you'll see at least in that adaptation Rabbit is kind of placed as a foil for Tigger. So you have Rabbit as kind of order and Tigger as chaos. So you have these two kind of archetype OK images that keep butting up against each other. That's a ready made source of conflict within the hundred acre wood. So I think I thought that that was a interesting adaptation that actually works from a storytelling perspective is kind of leaning into some of those tendencies within those characters. Speaker 1: And I think now we need to go to the I suppose it's the Fiesta resistance for Rabbit and Fantasy, which is the wonderful water ship down which I think shows us, it blows all the rest out the water in a sense. It shows us a completely different way of doing a animal-based fantasy story. I grew up at the time when the cartoon came out, the apps King terrifying but very memorable adaptation with the famous Bright Eyes soundtrack, which I think went to number one for many weeks when it was around. And there he's dealing with mixed miosis the, and imagining what it's like to live in these sort of commune style rabbit Warrens with different groups being moved on out being killed. And again, you've got this line taking a different approach obviously to Beatrix Potter, but you've got rabbit behavior interpreted through a sort of human anthropomorphic lens. But they aren't people, they are relationships between the characters are perceived more on a human level than one presumes a rabbit level. So did you read it? Have you seen the film? How did you come acrossDown? Speaker 2: Yeah, my first encounter was with the film which was I think that some of the most memorable that kind of felt similar were the rats of Nim. Yeah, yeah cartoon, the Don Bluth film, they came out I think around the same time, or at least they did in my child's mind they're kind of linked there that also, so animals as protagonists that were both not wouldn't be Disney, notrelease. Those films right there, there's something about them that you do have real threat, real terror real stakes clear stakes and haunting. And there's sadness, right? There's real sorrow. And I think just a little later you have the last unicorn that was released as well. So these, those three cartoons for me were kind of imbued my sense of what fantasy could be with sorrow. There's this sense that later I came across with when I'm reading in and Lord of the Rings, where he captures that really well is there's there there's kind of this under undercurrent of sadness or sorrow that everything else is kind of playing off of and against. And so that what, you don't necessarily get that with a lot of the Disney children films with animals as protagonists. So this was something that was my exposure to it was in the cartoon and then also then later reading it as the book and then getting more into the culture itself and just being fascinated especially with the mythology, the kind of a native from the perspective of a rabbits, what mythology would look like from a rabbit's perspective. Fascinating. I dunno, what do you think? Yeah, about the world building that Adams did there? Speaker 1: It's very recognizable on the downs, right? It's very close to, is set very close to where I actually live. And so you get an acute sense of the landscape though his is not in a mythical landscape in any sense. This is happening on the hill up behind your house sense, but it's only the beginning of a real environmental consciousness in that kind of animal fable because there is the sense of development moving people on and the introduction of this mysterious illness, which we know as mixed miosis to wipe out rabbit colonies. So I think it, it's extraordinary. And in a way I think there are other fantasy series that have come on from that they feel different, but the Brian j Queens Red Wall series that's more of a heroic animal tale take. But these sort of almost operatically grand scale pieces where the animals are the heroes and taken very seriously I think is quite a strong thread within children's fantasy and crossing over into ya fantasy as well. Yeah. So I just remembering it being in my childhood is up there with Star Wars. I think it's because I was shocked. I thought I was going to see a nice film about rabbits and I got a kind of rabbit Armageddon snuggles. Speaker 1: So yeah, I think that's exactly what fantasy should do is just shake you up. And so I think it is a really great book and if people haven't read it yet or seen the film please, I think it's well worth looking out as in the Year of the Rabbit, make it the thing to watch in the Year of the Rabbit. Ok. Speaker 2: So yeah, Julia, I have really quickly, I went and got the Guardian Review when the book came out. Oh, that's, see what they said initially. And I know that it was turned down for those again, for interesting for everyone, but for creatives in particular is that looking at the publication history of this book, because it is wildly different from the other animal centric books, it's hard to categorize. You can't just say that this is a children's book of some of the themes that it deals with but it was turned down from several publishers and then finally found its way after several rejections and then ended up winning awards once it was published. So for those of you who are working on something, just because you receive a rejection, keep going, doesn't mean that your work is not valuable. It's not the final word, right? So the Guardian Guardian Review was very positive and this is how it started out. Speaker 2: This is great. It said it simply isn't possible at this date, 1972 you cannot write a story about rabbits 413 pages long and hold a reader riveted. But Richard Adams has done exactly that in Watershed Down. This is a great book establishing a more than plausible and totally fascinating psychology and physiology for its rabbits together with their own mythology and language. So that if I could make somebody write something like that about anything that I wrote, I just put that and stamp that on my tombstone and I might as well just crawl into the grave. Cause I think that I would be tickled and happy to No, don't that just yet felt that way about my I have not to. Right? So this is, yes, clearly this was something that for people who were looking at books and world building and this person understood what the author was trying to do and taking the author on their own terms and just the world that was created there some people didn't quite get it because it didn't fit in with how they approached, they were probably thinking about when they picked up a book we're thinking or were thinking Mil or anything else. Speaker 2: But this was something that was definitely new, but it had its own logic to it. And it was consistent. Tried to be internally consistent, which is something that Tolkien was adamant about, fantasy worlds creating as the quality of a fantasy world can be judged against its internal consistency. That was one of his criteria in on ferry stories. So this is something that he does really well and just, I thought that was interesting to see what at the time people thought of the book and how revolutionary really it was in terms of just storytelling with animals. Speaker 1: So I've come up origin stories and I'm wondering what I don't know about rabbits. I'm sure there's a lot, but Jacob, did you come up with any other own thoughts about rabbits in fantasy? Speaker 2: Yeah there was. Velveteen Rabbit was one I think we missed earlier. That was, and that one that that's, and that's another one that is for its simplicity. I think the theme and the subject matter there is reality itself. What does it mean to be real? And it's a bittersweet tale, it itself. So I think the tone of that one fits the film, the kind of watershed down where it's not dealing with a rabbit as a rabbit, as an animal, as a creature. It is a stuffed animal. It's a toy, but it's what does it mean to be loved and what does love do to you as an individual? So it's in a part, I think probably you do have, I sense a little bit of allegorical, maybe seasoning on it. Certainly not a one-to-one allegory, but you do have that kind of sense for me comparing that to Beatrix Potter. Speaker 2: I feel there's a little bit more, I think mythic weight in the Velvet Rabbit, of course, in part because a ferry does appear at the end and grants the wish. So you do have ferry the land of fairy and magic kind of intersecting with these kind of talking toys. So in that way it's kind of different from some of the other so it's certainly different from Winnie the poo and that you don't have kind of fairy and that the animals themselves don't seem to be aware that they are toys. They think that they are actual living creatures, but we're I Speaker 1: Be your part toys, they're friends. Speaker 2: They're way, Speaker 1: Even though they get caught on the way to bed, Speaker 2: Right? Yeah. Yes. Exactly. Exactly. So this is one of the, that I think is highlighting the distinction between the imaginary and the real world. But I do like that that internally in Winnie the Poo, you have creatures, how do they function versus how the narrator is seeing the creatures function in the story. Yeah. What is their, that's quite sense of awareness. Speaker 1: Yeah, Speaker 2: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And so clever. So Velveteen Rabbit is another one from that era, but the only other ones I think kind of more contemporary, the Red Wall books, that one was a kind of foundational series for me with fantasy growing up. I just really got into that series and there, yeah, you have a few rabbits there but hairs are by and far this hairs in every book in the series, in the extensive series, but only a few R that's scattered throughout. Speaker 1: I fear, I may have pronounced his name wrong. Is it Brian Jacks or Brian Jaquez? I'm very Speaker 2: Shakespeare. I was pronounced in Jacques Jacques. Yeah, I know I pronounced it Jo Jacques. But yeah, that was just how I pronounced it inside my head when I was. Speaker 1: Okay. And so Apologi years old if we've got it wrong. And also just a correction in case someone's wanting to put it in the comments, I'm Ms. Lewis's College is Marlin, not Magdalen. Speaker 2: Malin not Magdalen. Yeah. Speaker 1: Said old member of Morlin. I better just say that before they chuck me out on my ear and say, never dark you. Anyway. So going back to rabbits any red wall, anything else that you came up with Speaker 2: There? Yeah, I was seeing, right. So Harry Potter has a kind of brief reference. Harris though take on a mythological magical dimension there. But there is one rabbit, I was thinking rabbits, I know that somebody's patronus is a rabbit but it was so like Luna Love Goods is a hair, but tonks ni fedora tonks is a jackrabbit. But that jackrabbit then transforms into a wolf because of her love for lupin. So it starts as herself as kind of a shapeshifting character. Her patron shifts from initially being a jackrabbit. And perhaps that, I think you do see that in her character as kind of a shifting character, kind of a clever, and that's where you really get, I think in watershed down when they're talking about the mythology and what rabbits represent. Speaker 2: The trickster rabbit, right? The oh L Herrera character, this kind of archetypal, the first rabbit that was the from whom came All the world's rabbits, that kind of first myth. Mythic Rabbit was meant to be smart, devious, tricky, and devoted to the wellbeing of his warren. So you have this idea of that rabbits are Wiley trickster characters. And so I think you see that in tonks in Harry Potter, right? This shifting can't quite pin them down. But then she settles, settles down when she finds Luin and connects there with him. So that was one there. The only other ones coup couple other ones. One was Yugi Jimbo which is a graphic novel a comic book series where it takes a kind of anthropomorphic animals standing in for humans at the beginning of the Ido period in Japanese history. Oh, interesting. So he's a samurai. He's based on a famous Japanese swordsman. Speaker 2: And I first encountered this creature was in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the cartoon, which was one of my favorites. And so this rabbit character, when he came in, it was from a different franchise independent comic book writer. So it didn't belong to a Marvel or dc but one of the few islands of a independent comic publishers as was Teenage Ninja Turtles was a, started as a comic book, then was adapted into the cartoon. But this Yu saw Guo Jimbo was another independent comic. And so they had some crossover in the cartoon. And I remember when I saw that rabbit in the cartoon that I was stricken with how different that character seemed. And so then that introduced me into the larger world that the author Stan Secai creates in the comic series. So it it's really well done and it's drama it's action, and it's serious. Speaker 2: It's not the Ninja Turtles cartoon that was kind of silly and bouncy. This one is much more kind of subdued and serious in tone. So that one you saw, you Jimbo and then the last one that I thought of just kind of randomly came up with Bugs Bunny. Yeah. If that world, the Bugs Bunny World Warner Brothers cartoon, if that, there's certainly fantasytype rules in that world. So Bugs Bunny as the own, the last kind of elephant standing and plain sight, but hiding in his cartoonishform, I think can technically be considered. I don't usually think about that in the context of fantasy, but when I thought about it, I thought, I think you make a case for those cartoons being fantasy storytelling as opposed to science fiction storytelling. Speaker 1: Yeah. So Speaker 2: It's not realism. So Speaker 1: Yeah. So what's going on there is the hunter and the hunted dichotomy, isn't it picking up on the Wiley aspect. And also he's a slightly cooler dude than someone like the one, and he's, the way he's verging more towards a hair in terms of being bigger and longer ears and things sort of ears. So I think Bugs Bunny has definitely his place in the year of the rabbit fantasy pan. And if we're allowed such a thing. So Jacob, just to round it all up, I mean we always have a section where we say, where in all the fantasy world is the best place to be a rabbit? Well, I mean, sorry, we have a general theme, but to today's is where to Be a Rabbit. Where would you choose all the ones we've talked about? Speaker 2: Yeah, I was wrestling with that one because with some of these, there's such terror, especially watershed down. Yeah, nolike the Game of Thrones of world wise, of where you would exist and what would happen there. But I thought, yeah, I know with the inclusion, if we do include Bugs Bunny, I would have to say the Warner Brothers cartoon world because as a rabbit I would never actually incur actual physical harm.Bugs Bunny is never hurt. No, it's always true. The hunter who is hurt. So if I could come across unscathed I think the rabbits have it off bestin terms of doing things their own way perhaps that would be fun without the sense of impending disaster or doom that sometimesis present in some of these other rabbit tales. Speaker 1: Yeah, I think I'd probably, I'd be a talking rabbit in naia. That's where I'd go. I wouldn't get involved in this stuff going on at care. I'd just have a little house somewhere with my friends and living the rabbit life vegetarian. Lots of kids. No, I think that would be fun. Speaker 2: I guess my question for you is, would you be an advocate for non-speaking rabbits in Narnia? Speaker 1: Oh, thisSpeaker 2: As a rabbit yourself? As a sentient rabbit. Speaker 1: Kick me into political my Speaker 2:. Speaker 1: I think you'd have to be, wouldn't you? Because I'm not sure there's much difference between a talking rabbit and a rabbit that hasn't yet talked. We're not quite clear on our boundaries here. So yeah, freedom for rabbits from being hunted. Yeah, they shall be vegans in Naia. That would be the way to go. And finally I thought we should introduce a new segment to have one fantasy tip each time we're having one of our conversations, Jacob. And you can interpret that tip in whatever way you like. So do you have one tip to leave with the listeners? Say? Speaker 2: Yeah yeah. Just actually this past week or so I listened to the official Rings of Power podcast. So I know we had oh, a session here in the Oxford Center Fantasy on Rings of Power, kind of evaluating it as an adaptation and as a creative act in and of itself. And so I've been meaning to listen to this for a while cause I knew it was official. So it's produced by Amazon and so it's completely official. So they interview different creators. They have the showrunners to talk about their kind of philosophy for the series and what they're explaining, what they're intending to do. And they do it each is, there's a series of eight with a bonus ninth episode, eight episodes, each kind of focusing on one of the different episodes of the season. And so every episode they bring the showrunners on at the end to give a big picture overview of the themes and what's happening there and the world itself. But then they also interview somebody else one of the actors, they have a few different actors that they interview to get to see what their creative process was. Speaker 2: Bear McCreary, who's the composer, they interview him and they talk a lot about musical approach and comparing to the Howard Chore the work that he did, which is the shadow that's looming over any thing. Lord of the Ring's music related. And so it was fascinating to hear his, again, philosophy of music composition and explaining some of the different themes, why he does certain things to look out for. They talk about the costuming, the sets and how different Easter eggs of different talking story bits and pieces that are there in the background that I didn't notice. So my tip would be it, it's called The Rings, the Rings of Power podcast on Amazon. It's produced by Wondery. is the podcast production company, which I believe is owned by Amazon. So you find on normal podcast whether or not you liked, Speaker 1: Is it on just an audio or is there visuals as well? Speaker 2: It's just audio. Speaker 1: Okay. So it'd be on podcast platform. Speaker 2: Yeah, it's just audio. Yeah. Yeah, you should find it. You might have to. I'm not sure if you had to listen to it. I think I couldn't find it on the regular general podcast platforms. I listened to it with Amazon Music, which you can get a free account for Amazon music and thenlisten to it if you do. But yeah, so it was well worth, regardless of what you thought about the Rings of Power series, it's valuable in and of itself listening to for storytelling, the immense amount of work and care and detail and thought that goes into making not just an adaptation, but any sort of creative world or storytelling. Fascinating. And definitely will and reach, I'm sure I'll go back and watch the first season before the second season goes out, just for consistency's sake. So my rewatching will certainly be enriched by this podcast series. So fascinating, especially from those of you who are interested in storytelling cinematically this is so something I would definitely recommend. Speaker 1: Thank you. That's great. I didn't know that existed for a fantasy sort of thing this time is I sometimes struggle to find fantasy prequels or series that I actually stick with that I start, oh, not so sure about this. And one that I will go back to which other people have discovered of course, is the new Netflix Wednesday which is a follow on from the Adams family. Now just first of all would say it is not very original in that if you just look in, there's a whole series of magic schools followed on from the sort of Harry Potter esque world with the sort of Frankenstein Dracula field. So the actual school, the Nevermore Academy, I did not find particularly new or anything like that is the characterization of Wednesday. The show creators are Alfred Goff and Miles Miller. And I heard them being interviewed on the script notes podcast and they're American one's English, clearly very experienced creators of story, very interesting interview to listen to about how a writer's room works, if that's something you are interested in. Speaker 1: But I then went and watched it and thought, yeah, this is actually done very well. The story is very good and I like the fact that Wednesday is, well, she calls herself a little psychopath. She is, and it's quite against type for girls to be caste like that. And I like that. And there's lots of star power, very strong pacing. It's just a really good program and fun. So with the edge of a gothic horror drama. And of course you should mention that the director is Tim Burton, so you get the Tim Burton feel. So yeah, my tip is if you're looking for something to try and you haven't already noticed the Wednesday on series on Netflix is worth Beth a look. See if it is something you like. Now for me, have you watched this Jacob at all? Speaker 2: Yeah, I watched the first, watched the first episode. I also listened. I give a hardy second to your recommendation of the script notes episode. I think you believe the title is any Given Wednesday with the showrunners and it's Yeah, that that's worth listening to. Definitely. Yeah, I did watch, yeah, I watched the pilot one of the lead males the Normy, the normal guy that Wednesday ends up with the Sheriff's son. It was a coworker of my wife's at Universal Studios in Hollywood, so we're watching it there to support him, but it is, yeah, so we're working our way through that along with several other things that were working in and out. So Speaker 1: Were you brought up on the Adams family? Because for me, Speaker 2: Yeah, I was the black and white. Yeah. So I watched, I watched it in reruns, the black and white Adams family series was, that was part of my, again, foundational childhood was the Adams family and the Monsters but mostly the Adams family. So then the films both of the films big fans of those films. And then now this series definitely in the spirit of and one of my friends helps work on the composition of the music with Dan Danny Elman for the music for that. So yeah, it's a great show. I'm eager to keep watching it. But yeah, it was, the school itself wasn't original but in terms of some of the characterization and things that they were doing was certainly fun and interesting, I think in line with certainly kind of a spiritual successor to some of those earlier Adams family stories. So yeah, definitely worth watch, worth watching Speaker 1: And it would make a great board game. Just saying Speaker 1: You can imagine your company coming up. So I hope one films we have done honor to the year of the Rabbit Springs round and good luck to everybody who is born this year. I'll have to look up what characteristics you're supposed to have. I was sort of expecting it to be turning into something like the Year of the Dragon or whatever and when I thought it was the rabbit, oh no, that's slightly less exciting. But actually I've really enjoyed thinking about BS fantasy creature. So thank you very much, Jacob, for joining in this conversation with me and we look forward to speaking to everybody next time. Speaker 3: Thanks for listening to Mythmakers podcast, brought to you by the Oxford Center for Fantasy. Visit Oxford Center for to join in the fun. Find out about our online courses in person stays in Oxford. Plus, visit our shop for great gifts, tell a friend and subscribe wherever you find your favorite podcasts worldwide.