Friday, July 15, 2011

What's What: Queen of Spades

Lewis was dreaming that he was being chased by the Queen of Spades [The House with a Clock in its Walls; 19].

We’re not brave enough to attempt interpretation of Lewis’ dreams – let alone the dreams of any character – but we thought we’d toss out of some trivia about the Queen of Spades.

While the figures on today’s king, queen, and jack cards don’t recall anyone in particular, there was a time when the French card manufactures associated each figure with a historical or mythological name; the Queen of Spades was associated with the goddess Athena.

In a more literary sense, The Queen of Spades is the name of a short story by Alexander Pushkin, written in 1833. It was turned into the opera The Queen of Spades by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and there were a handful of films based on either the story or opera during the Twentieth Century.

Knowing John’s penchant for the obscure it wouldn’t surprise us that he had heard of the opera – but we doubt it served as stimulus for the scene.

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