Roald Dahl and me

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Roald Dahl is one of those authors who is so beloved that we quarrel over his Nationality. The British will claim he is theirs as he was born in Wales, whereas Norwegians will say he belongs to them since his parents were both from Norway. His name is certainly Norwegian (he was named after the Norwegian explorer Roald Ammundsen), and we know that he spent most of his childhood summers in TjΓΈme, Norway, with his extended family who lived there. This is where most of his stories in his autobiographical book “Boy” takes place.

When I was very small my parents used to read to me. All kind of books really, but I especially loved Fairy stories, and stories of a more fantastical character. I loved stories so much that I wanted to read them all the time, so by the time I was four years old, I taught myself to read. After that there was no stopping me. I skipped the picture books and I dived into the whole bibliography of Roald Dahl.

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In one year I read most of his children’s books. My favorites were “Matilda” ( Well, it was about a four year old girl who teaches herself to read and then discovers she has magical abilities!), “Charlie and the Chocolate factory”, “The BFG” and the “Witches”. “Matilda” got me interested in classics, like Charles Dickens, and I started reading the abridged children’s versions of “Oliver Twist” and “David Copperfield”.

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A couple of years later, when I was maybe 6 or 7, I watched the film “The Witches” based on Roald Dahl’s book. I watched it at my granny’s house with my cousins and we were all frightened to death by those super scary witches! To this day, I still feel that it is the scariest movie I’ve ever seen ( and I saw the “Jaws” movies around the same time!).

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My cousins and I were so inspired by the film, that we enacted many of the scenes in our make-believe games, and made up our own stories about witches, often featuring the local elderly ladies, and the ancient paintings my granny had of farms and farmer’s wives. We were just convinced we saw the ladies in those paintings move!

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When I was seven and started school I believed wholeheartedly that I could move things with my eyes, like Matilda in Roald Dahl’s “Matilda”, and I was so ready for a Trunchbull to overcome!
That year I also started writing my own stories, and many of them were inspired by characters, ideas and plots from Roald Dahl’s magical books.

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Most of the kids in school read Roald Dahl’s books, not because we had to, but because we wanted to. We discussed his books during recess and swapped books if someone had a book someone else hadn’t read. I remember my best friends favorite book was “George’s marvelous medicine”.

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Roald Dahl and his magical universe is still inspiring me and my writing today. I have re-read “Matilda” many times, and I continue to take great pleasure in his wonderful books and his marvelous imagination. He is one of my childhood heroes, whose stories I have brought with me into adulthood and into my own stories.

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Image credit: All the art work is by the wonderful Quentin Blake. The stills are from the movie “The Witches”. The other pictures are from Wikimedia.

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39 thoughts on “Roald Dahl and me

  1. Lovely article Trini. Being Welsh I would like to claim Mr Dahl master storyteller, totally unaware his heritage is Norwegian. Live and learn :)! Thank you for the gorgeous story. ❀

  2. I do not particularly like Roald Dahl, but I have to admit he was a great writer. And it is so funny that you think “Witches” is scarier than “Jaws” πŸ˜›

    • πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„ yes, I do! I laugh at Jaws, but Witches still scares me! πŸ˜„πŸ˜„. Those childhood monsters are quite persistent and powerful! πŸ‘ΉπŸ‘Ή

    • But I have to admit, that many of Roald Dahl’s books does not have the same appeal to me now when I’m all grown up, but I think that is the point. It’s for kids. 😊

  3. One must have an imagination, and the material to fire it up Trini. And I would think that your upbringing was rich in the ‘good stuff’, because it sounds like your journey has been shaped immensely from the writing that you have already shared, and I would say, what is to come πŸ™‚
    Thank you for sharing your imagination my friend, it has encouraged many to fire up their imagination as well, to step into your stories πŸ™‚

    • Oh, yes! Mine too! 😊😊. Many children today don’t read, it’s a shame really. I think J.K Rowling helped a lot, but even her books are failing to intrigue today’s children. But I do find that very little kids still like to be read for, so maybe we should also encourage adults to read lots and lots to their kids!

      I remember one of the most magical winter holidays of my childhood. My mother, my father, my big brother and me, went to this tiny cottage in the mountains. There was no electricity nor any water, we had to unfreeze ice to get water, and there was only an outside privy 50 meters away from the cottage. Every night we all took turns reading this amazingly thrilling book. We only had candles for light, and outside there was pitch dark since there was no civilization around. I remember hearing deer trotting and wolves howling outside. That book that we read is very dear to me today, it will always take me back to that cottage on the mountain. 😊😊😊

      • What a marvelous memory. I had a room in the pantry in a flat in London. It was cold and damp with a magical moss garden in the rain gutter. Fairies lived in it and used the stalks for lanterns, so I imagined. I used to read under the covers with a flashlight. I used a mix of dry instant coffee and sugar to stay awake all night. I dipped my finger in it now and then. I like your memory better. πŸ™‚

      • Oh, but yours are magical too!!! I love them! You should write stories about it! 😊😊. Especially the fairies, even I feel like writing a story inspired by that memory. 😊😊. Thank you so so much for sharing! I saw it all in my head as I was reading. 😊😊

  4. Great article! I didn’t even realize Roald Dahl wrote many of those stories (I know, under a rock, right?!) Well, I learned something new today πŸ˜‚ Now I can’t wait to go check them out! New stories to fall in love with, yay! ❀️

    PS – I too was scared to death of the Witches movie! πŸ˜‹

    • Oh, yay! I’m so happy to find someone else who were just as scared as me of that movie!! πŸ˜„πŸ˜„. I really really hope you will find some of Roald Dahl’s stories fun and entertaining! I just re-read The BFG, and I laughed so much! πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

      • Yes, I’ve heard of that movie! I really want to see it! There is also a wonderful animation film made from the same book. But it’s old, from the 80s perhaps….but I love it πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ‘πŸ».

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