S is for Serafina Pekkala

Selecting an “S” subject for this week was tough. My other two candidates were Sydney Hen from Charles Portis’s Masters of Atlantis and Sukie Rougemont from The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike. Ultimately, though…

S is for Serafina Pekkala — from His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

As you can see, I mixed things up a bit with this one visually… but she just didn’t look right hovering on that newsprint background I’ve been using for these illustrations so far. If I ever do a post card set or something along those lines though, I’ll whip up a version of her–without her dæmon Kaisa–on the newsprint background so she’ll match.

I haven’t seen any of the movies (are there any besides the initial Golden Compass adaptation?) so it was pretty easy for me to stick with the book’s description of Serafina, the Finnish witch queen:

She was young–younger than Miss Coulter; and fair, with bright green eyes; and clad like all the witches in strips of black silk, but wearing no furs, no hood or mittens… Around her brow was a simple chain of red flowers. She sat on her could-pine branch as if it were a steed, and seemed to rein it in a yard from Lyra’s wondering gaze.

I couldn’t seem to turn it up in the text, but I’m pretty certain she’s described as having blond hair. Inexplicably, they cast a brunette to play her n the movie:

Is there some reason a witch can’t have blond hair? Clearly the casting director here didn’t grow up watching Bewitched:

Of course, when I first started thinking about a witch and her bird familiar, what immediately came to mind was one of my favorite webcomics, Megg, Mogg and Owl:

Next week: “T”…

You can find all the AlphaBooks entries to-date at the AlphaBooks tumblr: http://alphabooks.tumblr.com. You can also follow many of the entries as they’re posted in real-time by following the #AlphaBooks hashtag on Twitter on Mondays.

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