I don’t think I like these literary themed houseboats (and here’s three reasons why)

Book Thoughts, literary london, London, Uncategorized, Writing Thoughts


I saw these two barges whilst walking along Regents Canal. At first it was a pleasant surprise, a feeling of connection. Someone else loves that book too, hooray!

But really, underneath, I wasn’t so keen, and I’ve worked out why:

1. It doesn’t really work.

Swallowdale is a place, not a boat. It’s the place the Swallows are stranded and set up camp in the book of the same name. The flags, then are for the Swallow and the Amazon, which are two different boats. Sailing boats, not a houseboats. This feels as though someone has thought: “this is a boat, that is about boats, hahaha.” Not good enough. If it was named after their uncle’s houseboat, fair play.

And Northern Lights’ Serafina Pekkala? The cold, noble, elegant woman who races through the sky on a cloud pine, shooting arrows and leading a group of powerful women as they live through the ages? A houseboat? It just seems disrespectful.

2. It’s unoriginal.

Originality is impossible, I know, I know. But, like I’d hate to have a tattoo because it would be someone else’s drawing on my body (amongst other reasons), I’d hate to have a boat named after someone else’s thing. You have a chance to create something thoughtful and magical. Sure, these names evoke the magical and worlds we are fond of, but nothing new or imaginative or creative.

3. Fictional things should stay fictional.

At university on my degree I learned a word that describes when the real world begins to imitate art. Like a Harry Potter theme park, or just a house built to look like one in a film.

I suppose my problem with this is that once something is pulled into the real world, it solidifies somewhat. One must have a sturdy, robust imagination and imagining for it to weather something seen. Over the years my Harry, Hermione and Ron have definitely begun to resemble their film versions.

With film this is perhaps unavoidable. But who wants to think about a houseboat whenever you read of Serafina Pekkala?

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