Friday, September 14, 2012

The TCABSC goes to: Ell and Saturday from The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland...

The Tiny Cooper Award for Best Supporting Character (TCABSC, pronounced Tuh-Cab-Skuh) was created to honor those special guys and gals who, while not the main focus of the book, are still extraordinary. The
Tiny Coopers (Will Grayson, Will Grayson), Anitas (West Side Story), and Robins (Batman) of the fictional world may not always get the girl (or guy), but sometimes they fulfill their role of supporting or obstructing the lead character in such a phenomenal way that it deserves special notice. This attention now comes in the form of an imaginary award made up by me. Hey, they’re not the main characters, so they have to take what they can get.

This Tiny Cooper Award for Best Supporting Character goes to: Ladies and gentleman, this is unprecedented! For the first time in YA Department history, IT’S A TIE! Two of the supporting characters from The Girl WhoCircumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente are so awesome that they are sharing the award! A-through-L (nickname Ell) and Saturday, come on down and claim your prize!

In lieu of five other nominees, here are five reasons why Ell and Saturday are awesome (with one bonus reason so they both get three):

Illustration by Ana Juan*
1) Ell is the son of a wyvern (a dragon-like creature) and a library, thus necessitating a new word to describe him. He is choosing between Lyvern, Libern, or Wyverary, but his friend September’s favorite is Wyverary.

2) Ell is an expert on all things that begin with the letters A through L (his siblings M-through-S and T-through-Z cover the rest of the alphabet). Unfortunately, this means he can’t tell you about things that begin with other letters, like Pandemonium (Fairyland’s capital city). But if you are clever enough to find a synonym that begins with a letter from A to L, for example, Capital, then Ell can tell you what he knows, no problem.

3) Ell is such a loyal friend that even though he knows September has to be alone for the last portion of her quest (because that is the way it is done in stories) he still tries to go with her. He says “I shan’t let her go anywhere without something large and fire-breathing and double smart behind her!” (2011. Square Fish, New York. page 146)

4) Saturday is a Marid, a magical creature who grants wishes, but only to people who can wrestle him into submission, and he is one fierce wrestler.

Illustration by Ana Juan
5) Saturday is quiet, but when he speaks, it is often very meaningful. Like when he says the following to the alchemists in the Autumn Provinces: “It seems to me...that the country of Autumn is a strange place to conduct experiments. Nothing here changes, yet alchemy is the science of change.” (2011. Square Fish, New York. page 141)

6) For Marids, time is fluid, with many events from their lives occurring one on top of another. For example, Saturday ran into his mother on the beach one day and recognized her because she looked so similar to him. And meeting him let her know that it was time to get married, because even though he is already alive and having adventures, she has yet to give birth to him. (If you were a Marid, this would all make perfect sense to you.) This becomes important in a wonderful way that I won’t reveal because it happens at the very end of the book.

Congratulations on your win, Ell and Saturday! And don’t worry, we have award statues for each of you.

*The gorgeous illustrations of Ell and Saturday that are featured in this post are from the book and were drawn by the amazing Ana Juan. Check out her awesome web site:

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