Friday, 10 June 2011

Magic Wardrobes, Running into Walls and 'The Iron King' by Julie Kagawa

Who doesn't want to find a door into another world? I reckon I know where they are...
I'm half way through the brilliant 'Iron King' by Julie Kagawa, a young adults book about a girl called Meghan Chase who discovers her connection with another dimension, known as Faery Land. The first time she goes there she accesses it through the back of a closet. Remind you of anything?
What is it about going through the back of wardrobes and finding magical worlds? In fact, why the massive appeal of all the other doors into enchanted worlds that you read about in children's stories? Rabbit holes, trapdoors, or this one, so appealing that real people injure themselves trying to go through it...

The Iron King is a great read, which employs all the classic ideas of magical worlds. Dwarves living in hollow trees, cats appearing and disappearing, and dragons eating you up. For me, though, the charm is the idea of the portals, or 'trods' offering an escape from harsh reality to something entirely charming. There's a reason of course, why such things only exist in children's books. As adults, we know there are no magic doorways leading to enchanted worlds. But maybe we're wrong.
Last year I travelled to Damascus. I went through a doorway in a cold and rainy London and emerged at 2am into 90 degree heat. The road from the airport was lined with parked cars and picnicking families. I wound through the silent, shuttered alleys of Damascus old town to a hotel with a sparkling fountain in a tiled courtyard. Exactly like a magical world.
More recently there was the Azores, enchanted in a completely different way.
So if you're looking for a trod, a magical wardrobe, or an otherworldly doorway, look no further than the arrivals door of an airport in an exotic destination. You can only go through it one way, as is the case with all magical portals, and who knows what you may find on the other side.
If you're really luckyyou might emerge into a land like arrivals at this Cuban airport. If it's not a magical world I don't know what is.


  1. Also the screen of a computer can be a portal ... sometimes what we need is not a magical world but a world different from ours, we need to detach ourselves from reality when it overwhelms us and look at something new, which reflects our hidden desires. And then a trip with our body or mind, a book, a movie ... is our way to live moments that fill us but it is important that they remain limited in time because then we can go back and live peacefully our reality.

  2. The anonymous post above is mine ;-)

  3. I wish the departures at any airport had the magical charm you write of. I am excited about the unknown when you disembark a plane, or maybe just the freedom.However the airport is no Narnia I dream of. Travel is escapism, that is my Narnia.