An Audience with Cressida Cowell

Monday, 28 September 2015

It’s time for you all to see my slightly more nerdy side! A couple of weeks ago an old family friend invited me to go with him to an evening event at the theatre. As children we both loved the books How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, in fact I no longer owned my own copy of the first book because I gave it to him. 

When we arrived at the theatre we were greeted by little goodie bags with “I train dragons” badges, a poster of the Viking Map and a paper crown. However. it quickly dawned on us that we were the only people not accompanied by a parent…whoops! 
Despite the young age group the talk was aimed at, we thoroughly enjoyed it. Cressida read out extracts from the book and taught us some “Dragonese” (the language spoke by the dragons for those of you who haven’t read the books). She is a fantastic speaker and told us all about her childhood holidays on a remote island in the Hebrides and how these fuelled her imagination and stories of ancient Vikings and dragons. 

It was very interesting when Cressida spoke about the movies made by Dreamworks as they actually don’t follow the stories in the books. Although the basic idea of learning to be a hero the hard way and how greatness is something to be striven for, rather than a pre-wrapped gift, is the same for both formats. Cressida actually has quite a lot of sway over how the plot changes and manages to keep the characters similar to those in the books. 

One of my favourite parts of the story is the fact that she illustrates the books herself, I feel that this really helps the reader to see the characters exactly the way Cressida imagined them from the beginning. The Dreamworks team tried to stick as closely as possible to these character designs too.

The talk was really interactive and Cressida asked the audience questions and answered many at the end. Even as an adult it was a really enjoyable evening. At the end of the talk we had the added bonus of getting our books (I repurchased the first one…shush!) signed and having a photo with Cressida herself. I had never been to an author meet up before, but I will definitely be trying to go to more in the future! Let me know in the comments if you have met up with any authors recently =)


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