The very definition of awesome. Calloo callay!

By Phil Plait | March 23, 2010 3:00 pm

If I had to define awesome, it would be: Sir Christopher Lee reads my favorite poem, "The Jabberwocky".

Yup. Awesome.

Original link: Times Online Entertainment. Tip o’ the vorpal blade to Fark.


Comments (31)

Links to this Post

  1. R. F. Long » Blog Archive » Oh frabjous day | April 1, 2010
  1. I can’t help but hear him as Saruman! Still totally awesome!

  2. Dawn

    AWESOME! I memorized the Jabborwocky (along with many other of LC’s poems in the Alice books) years ago, but hearing Christopher Lee read it is wonderful. I love that poem.

  3. Great reading – ‘Saruman Reads Carroll’. I do like the fact that Christopher Lee, in his later years, has retained a place in acting and the arts that befits his earlier career.

    On a related note I’m still trying to work out if the author of ‘Vorpal Blade’, ‘Manxome Foe’ and ‘The Claws that Catch’ is playing a large early April Fools joke with the publication of “The Sceince behind ‘The Secret'”.

  4. Mark Hansen

    Is there anything that he can’t do well?

  5. Eric TF Bat

    Did you know you can sing Jabberwocky to the tune of Blake’s Jerusalem? My now-wife and I discovered this years ago. We sing our son to sleep with it. The only tricky bit is that there are an odd number of verses, so you insert a voice of “Galumph galumph” in after the verse where he kills the Jabberwock. It works!

  6. jearley

    You can sing it to Greensleeves as well. It used to be a standard at SCA events and SF Cons years ago.

  7. Alisha

    Fantastic! He’s so awesome.

  8. John Paradox

    Remember using graphics for words (e.g. IIRC, the TV game show Concentration?




    Have a frabjous day!!!


  9. Zucchi

    Christopher Lee has had an amazing, and amazingly long career — and obviously it’s not over yet.

  10. Steve Ulven

    Holy Hell… His voice can be terrifying. I am too young to be familiar with his older performances, but I love what he’s done recently.

  11. Sean McCorkle


    I really liked Depp’s recitation in the Burton film too, with a scottish or scot-like accent – brilliant.

  12. HP

    “I think I could turn and live with animals. They are so placid and self-contained. They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins. They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God. Not one of them kneels to another or to his own kind that lived thousands of years ago. Not one of them is respectable or unhappy, all over the earth.”
    –Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee), The Wicker Man, (1973)

    One of my favorite lines spoken by Lee. Somehow he manages to be sympathetic, thrilling, and sinister all at once.

  13. Davros
  14. HP

    Confidential to Steve Ulven @ 11: Psssst . . . you’re not too young for DVDs.

    (For that matter, some of early pre-Hammer work has fallen into public domain, like, say, Horror Hotel for example. You could start learning tonight.)

  15. glued

    We must join with Him, Gandalf. We must join with Sauron. It would be wise, my friend.

  16. Pieter Kok

    If you like this, you’ll love Christopher Walken reciting Poe’s “The Raven”. Poetry and actors is a very happy combination.

  17. Genesius

    Let us not forget this classic version (starts at 1:30):

  18. uudale

    Count Dooku rules!

  19. Arthur Maruyama

    I memorized “Jabberwocky” long ago while listening to a recording by someone whose name is thoroughly lost to me, but it is obvious that Sir Christopher has the correct reading for “Came whiffling through the tulgey wood / And burbled as [it] came”–to me that part never was so sinister!

    The original has “he” and not “it”.

  20. Yojimbo

    Check out this page – translations into German, French, Czech, Welsh, etc.

    I once had all of The Hunting of the Snark memorized – but that was long ago… Charlie Dodgson was a genius.

  21. CGM3

    And appropriately enough, Sir Christopher does the voice of the Jabberwock in the Tim Burton “Alice in Wonderland”.

  22. wye

    Lee is good, but I have issues with his pronunciation of gyre. The Muppets duplicate him, but Arnaz in the SNL skit gets it right I think. I have to side with Humpty Dumpty over Carroll on the hard (go) vs. soft (gem) g. If Dumpty says gyre means to go round like a gyroscope, then it must be pronounced the same. Compare: gyrate. Also, see British and American pronunciations of gyre, here:

    Carroll got it backwards when commenting in his author’s note 24 years after the fact, mixed up his hard and soft g, or whatever – I don’t believe he intended gyre to be pronounced in a non-standard way. Dumpty, by giving the meaning, gives the best evidence for Carroll’s intended pronunciation. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it unless someone can show me that gyroscope, gyrate and/or gyre were pronounced with a hard g in England the later 1800s.

  23. Donnie B.

    Nitpick: the name of the poem is “Jabberwocky”, not “The Jabberwocky”. The name of the monster itself is “the Jabberwock”.

    I’ll have to wait until I get home to hear Lee’s reading, though.

    Speaking of Saruman, I finally finished “The Silmarillion”, a book I’ve owned since 1975-ish but never could make it through before. It’s a slog, what with the stilted, archaic style — but my oh my, it sure is worth the effort.

  24. OrionHntr

    Donnie @24, if you liked the Silmarillion, you need to read the Book of Lost Tales (vol 2). The fall of Gondolin brought tears to my eyes.

    Back on topic, my students look at me with dread in their eyes when I mumble snicker-snack as I pass out exams.

  25. Jasty Nasty

    I’m expecting nik nak to come stumbling out of nowhere and then drop him into a trap with nothing but his Golden Gun lol

  26. RayRay

    Man. I have tears in my eyes. This reminded me so much of my dad reading this wonderful poem to me almost every night when he came home from work. I read it all the time to my niece now, but I never can get the feelings into it like my dad was able to.

  27. gremlins fanatic

    oh man! it’s that guy from Gremlins 2! The one from the lab! I wonder what hes done since then?


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