Monday, December 26, 2016

Of Angry Birds and Rath-ful Pigs

I can find no evidence that Jaakko Iisalo, the Finnish designer of Rovio Entertainment's "Angry Birds" franchise, owns up to any influence from Lewis Carroll. But I see a connection!

At its simplest, the goal of the "Angry Birds" video game is to catapult birds through the air in an attempt to destroy fortresses constructed by green pigs.

In Chapter One of Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, Alice reads the poem "Jabberwocky", which famously begins:
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves 
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
In Chapter Six, Humpty Dumpty explains parts of the poem to Alice, including that a rath "is a sort of green pig". Furthermore, in Martin Gardner's The Annotated Alice, Gardner states that in Carroll's day, rath "was a well-known old Irish word for an enclosure, usually a circular earthen wall, serving as a fort and place of residence for the head of a tribe."

So the word "rath" connotes both "green pigs" and "fortresses"! Also, "rath" is a homonym of "wrath", which is a synonym of "anger", which again reminds us of those catapulting birds. Is Iisalo a reader of The Annotated Alice?

No comments:

Post a Comment