Matilda turns 30
September 18, 2018 8:21 AM   Subscribe

Illustrator Quentin Blake imagines Matilda at 30. “I am sure that someone who had read so many books when she was small could easily have become chief executive of the British Library, or someone exceptionally gifted at mental arithmetic would be perfectly at home in astrophysics. And if you have been to so many countries in books, what could be more natural than to go and see them yourself?”
posted by ChuraChura (16 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Quentin Blake is a treasure. I'll never forget him live-cartooning Lester stories on Jackanory in the 1970s.
posted by scruss at 8:50 AM on September 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

I love Matilda but at 30 I would hope she was doing more than working at a library or astrophysics. She was a gifted and talented kid, but she had magic powers! For her to not utilize that as she got older seems odd to me, she could help magnitudes more people in myriad ways with proper application of her unholy blessing of magic power. Then again, I don't know much about having magic powers and I also couldn't really blame her for wanting a normal life with a boring job instead of the burden of healing the world or people through limited magic. Still, I have to imagine she helps troubled kids like Ms. Honey did for her.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:21 AM on September 18, 2018

But *spoilers, I guess* she loses her magic powers at the end of the book, because her brain is finally occupied with challenges to match her abilities. She only had them in the first place because she wasn't given the chance to reach her potential. That being said, I could see her using her non-magical brain power to help kids just as much as I could see her as a physicist.
posted by saturday_morning at 9:35 AM on September 18, 2018 [8 favorites]

I did not know that actually, never actually had the book version. I do think my own imagined adult Matilda would do as you said, helping kids in some way.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:47 AM on September 18, 2018

Aw I love Matilda and Quentin Blake, but I reject the idea of her being something as dull as a CEO so hard a pencil just moved across the table.
posted by threetwentytwo at 10:05 AM on September 18, 2018 [15 favorites]

With her powers and propensity to use them to act out her rage and control issues? You're looking at the God Empress of the Matildan Empire!

Yes, I'm very well aware I should never be entrusted with any level of power.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:27 AM on September 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

If she's 30 in today's world I unfortunately thinks she's probably adjunct faculty at a small liberal arts school and grades GRE essays in the summer.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:35 AM on September 18, 2018 [15 favorites] inevitably would get her powers back?
posted by biffa at 10:43 AM on September 18, 2018 [7 favorites]

If anyone else here was shoved into classes that didn't challenge them and used creative outlets to cope with the neverending boredom, frustration, and being singled out as different, you'll understand why Matilda neither needs nor wants to get her powers back.
posted by capricorn at 11:34 AM on September 18, 2018 [6 favorites]

I thought Matilda changed her last name to Honey at the end of the book, but she's still Wormwood in these illustrations?
posted by airmail at 11:48 AM on September 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

“We are surprised by Matilda because there aren’t many modern female characters like her. We shouldn’t be, but we still are because times haven’t quite changed enough.”
I think there are quite a lot, but Matilda is a classic (and my cat's name because of this book).
posted by jeather at 12:05 PM on September 18, 2018

I read Matilda and saw Star Wars both for the first time when I was about 8, and subsequently spent all of 3rd grade trying to move pencils with my mind powers.

And Quentin Blake is the greatest illustrator alive, fight me. His illustrations of Roald Dahl are great, but I like his illustrations of Russell Hoban stories even better.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 12:38 PM on September 18, 2018 [6 favorites]

I love Matilda but at 30 I would hope she was doing more than working at a library or astrophysics.

I dunno, Matilda was one of my favorite books as a kid, and now as a 30-something archivist who works in a rare books library (which is much of what the British Library is) my non-library colleagues think I work with magical stuff and I am awed by astrophysicists so there ya go.

I'd be delighted to count Matilda among our ranks.
posted by mostly vowels at 6:34 PM on September 18, 2018 [7 favorites]

Mara Wilson on Matilda at 30:

That’s why I see her the way I do: as everyone’s favorite librarian at the Phelps Memorial Library, always ready with a copy of Moby Dick or A Tale of Two Cities. Telling patrons that N.K. Jemisin’s books are as good as everyone says, and that War and Peace is nowhere near as intimidating as it seems. Sharing a book with a six-and-a-half-year-old girl and promising her that she is appreciated, that she can grow up to be herself. She’ll smile at you even if you interrupt her reading, and she’s always warm and friendly. Like the perfect big sister.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:05 AM on October 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

And Quentin Blake is the greatest illustrator alive, fight me.

Well, Kay Thompson and Roy Doty are both dead, so... no fight here. Quentin Blake is pretty damned awesome.
posted by asperity at 12:45 PM on October 2, 2018

Er, wait, I'm mixing up names and Hilary Knight is not dead. Hmmm.
posted by asperity at 12:46 PM on October 2, 2018

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