What links ‘A Christmas Carol’ to ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’?

This month’s challenge, from Kate, at  #6degrees, is to create a chain of books that starts from A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. The call for participants always goes out the first Saturday of the month, but I can find no deadline, so I’m going to arrive fashionably late – do people still say and do that at parties, I wonder? 

If not, they should.  You might say that’s what Scrooge does, after the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future have provided their version of shock therapy, and transformed him from an obsessive miser into an avid party-goer. His crisis may have happened a little after mid-life, but does result in a turn-around on his personality.

Whereas the businessman, John Thornton, in Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, is approximately thirty when he meets nineteen year-old Margaret Hale. That’s when his world begins to tilt.  He’s never seen any young woman the equal of this southern lady, and has no idea how to respond. If he’s to have any hopes of winning her, he has to transform.  Margaret too has a few things to learn.  She’s never met the likes of John, transplanted as she’s been from the softer, genteel climates of London and Hampshire.  

Another transplant is the feisty and knowing Flora Poste, who must move from super-sophisticated London to Cold Comfort Farm in the rural backwaters of Howling, Sussex. Stella Gibbons’ novel is a wonderful comedy that parodies a variety of writers.  When Flora is orphaned, and discovers she’s penniless, she invites herself to stay with some relatives she’s never met.  There, because she’s a very-well-read young woman with modern ideas and no fear, she is able to predict and counter the primitive conservatism and various oppressions that have held her unfortunate family in desperate misery for decades. Yippee, don’t I keep saying all we need are stories? 

millenium trilogyThe orphan Lisbeth Salander, in The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larson, is also modern and fearless, and proves to be a powerful ally for friends in trouble.  She has created a code of rights and wrongs that she adheres to, even though this often brings her into conflict with conventional authority. 

Another orphan in conflict with authority from an early age is Jane Eyre.  Charlotte Bronte’s feisty heroine provided a role model for generations of girls. 

The bullying she experiences at the hands of her Aunt Reed are mirrored, one hundred and fifty years later, by the orphaned Harry Potter who is taken in by his aunt and uncle Dursley. J.K. Rowling’s central character will also be enrolled at a boarding school.  There he will find mentors and friends, and learn the extent of his inner strengths by facing up to some challenging situations.

Well, that’s my chain. I wonder which links you would choose for A Christmas Carol

If you want to check out how other people created theirs, have a look on booksaremyfavouriteandbest. You’ll also find information about next month’s challenge.  

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17 thoughts on “What links ‘A Christmas Carol’ to ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’?

    • Thanks Lynda, the North and South connection was fairly straightforward, as I’ve been reading it with groups since around the beginning of October, and once I’d made the first link, the others seemed to flow easily.

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  1. This always looks a fun meme which I’m often tempted to do but never have. I like your linkages, logical and obvious once you describe them! If I did it (and that’s a big ‘if’!) I’d possibly go from ‘Christmas Carol’ to Jostein Gaarder’s ‘The Christmas Mystery’ (an obvious link), Gaarder’s ‘The Solitaire Mystery’ (author and/or mystery), Joan Aiken’s ‘Dangerous Games’ (games, naturally), Blyton’s ‘Five on a Treasure Island’ (both the last two are set on islands) and Buchan’s ‘The Thirty Nine Steps’ (numbers are the final link). A bit convoluted, I grant you, and I’d have liked to angle it back to Dickens, but there we go.

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  2. So the seven degrees of Kevin Bacon–Book edition! Here I was thinking, “is she getting into the ghost stuff?” Nope! You surprised once again and showed we can see the connection via the protagonists and what makes them memorable with us. Fantastic post, my friend! xxxxxx

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    • Thanks, Jean. Yes, this meme is a spin-off from the Kevin Bacon seven degrees challenge. I’ve followed one or two of the recent ones, and found the responses intriguing. I love hearing how people connect books up. This one was just too tempting for me to resist joining in.

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  3. ‘A Christmas Carol’ is one of those precious books about which one can say that all human life is there. More links than Marley’s chain, one might say, which is by no means a disparagement of your polished and well-wrought linkages here. Plus you’ve reminded me that ‘Cold Comfort Farm’ is sitting in my Unread pile …

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