Bringing this back for this year’s Halloween season - the radio play of Diana Wynne Jones’ brilliant Chrestomanci novel Witch Week! This mp3 was ripped directly from BBC iPlayer and the show doesn’t start at the beginning or finish at the end, but I’m sure you’re intelligent enough to work it out…
- called for Chrestomanci three times and been genuinely disappointed when he hasn’t shown up
- listened to quartets and imagined it as The Dumas Quartet!
- seriously doubted your memories to the point where it becomes just really damn confusing
- sort of wanted to die just so you could find…
Christopher Chant (Chrestomanci) Crochet Doll
From The Chronicles of Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones
I recall reading Charmed Life as a child… but only last year did I finally pick the series back up and read it all the way through. Once I picked up a volume of the series, I found that I couldn’t stop reading until I had finished the entire book— with the exception of The Pinhoe Egg, I read each of the books within a day or an afternoon. It was a captivating but quick and easy read; I realize that it was of course aimed at the early teens for an audience, and I am now an undergrad in English Literature who has read much more difficult texts, but it was still very worth my while. I absolutely loved the Chrestomanci Chronicles because each book was a little bit different, and it didn’t have the same plotline for the entire series (hooray for variety!). I’ve really come to expect that of Diana Wynne Jones, though, so while she sometimes lacks consistency, she more than makes up for it with spontaneity and a wide range of events in her books.
The inspiration for the Christopher Chant doll’s appearance came from a very descriptive paragraph in Witch Week. While I am very fond of Chrestomanci’s entire wardrobe, I think I like this suit the best.
“He seemed utterly bewildered. His first act was to put his hands up and smooth his hair, which was a thing that hardly needed doing, since the wind had not disturbed even the merest wisp of it. It was smooth and black and shiny as new tar. Having smoothed his hair, this man rearranged his starched white shirt cuffs and straightened his already straight pale gray cravat. After that, he carefully pulled down his dove-mauve waistcoat and, equally carefully, brushed some imaginary dust off his beautiful dove-gray suit. All the while he was doing this, he was looking from one to the other of the five of them in increasing perplexity. His eyebrows rose higher with everything he saw.”
—From Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones
I tried to be as true to Jones’s description as I could in making this doll. Unlike all the other dolls I’ve made, Chrestomanci’s hair didn’t take very long at all— I “embroidered” it onto his head so that it would stay in place all the time. I’m also quite proud of the fact that I managed to get the colors really close to how he was described (this took several trips to a couple different craft stores in order to collect the yarn), and I added a few details as well. I’m not sure if I should say *spoiler alert* for this or not, but Chrestomanci has a sort of magical allergy to things made of silver; with this in mind, I made all of his buttons gold in color instead. I think my favorite parts of his outfit are his waistcoat and cravat— both turned out really well and the waistcoat, although one probably cannot tell by simply looking at the picture, actually has a satiny texture thanks to the yarn I used. I’m so proud to own a dapper nine-lifed enchanter doll, haha.
Because they are both characters created by Diana Wynne Jones, I decided to take a picture of the Christopher and Howl dolls together. Christopher turned out quite a bit taller than Howl in doll form (oops, considering that I think they would probably be the same height or thereabouts in real life), but I suppose that’s all right considering how often Jones mentions that Chrestomanci is quite towering.
I rather laughed out loud at a Chrestomanci comment near the end of Witch Week that reminded me of Howl.
“Chrestomanci looked almost irritated. ‘My good man,’ he said, ‘that really is a most ignorant assumption. Only a hedge wizard would stoop to using a demon.’”
—From Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones
Really, Christopher. You sit on the same bookshelf as the guy.
It’s things like these that make me wish that I still wrote fanfiction
Christopher Chant (Chrestomanci) and Howl Jenkins/Pendragon belong to Diana Wynne Jones!
I’d actually like to know this myself! — sdn
Does anyone make dressing gowns based on DWJ’s descriptions of the Chrestomanci’s expansive wardrobe? I would totally buy one of those, assuming it was affordable. (If it wasn’t, I would certainly stare at it a lot and make Tumblr posts about it.)