Monday, September 10, 2007

What is a Babylon candle?

Saw Stardust yesterday. In it, Babylon candles play an important role. These candles, when lit, whisk the bearer instantly to wherever he wants to go--which isn't explained outright in the film, merely demonstrated (a good example of showing, not telling, BTW). However, given that there's no explanation, I rather assumed that Babylon candles were an established if perhaps obscure fantasy trope--like ten-league boots. Why "Babylon"? No idea. Didn't think too hard about it.

My sister, however, just figured it out: Remember the old nursery rhyme?
How many miles to Babylon?
Three score miles and ten.
Can I get there by candlelight?
Yes, and back again.

13 comments:

Keith said...

Would that be Linda who came up with the connection? Clever girl. Babylon candles, if I'm remembering correctly, were explained more thoroughly in the book (isn't it always the case?) and were used more freely in the movie to speed things along.

By the way, did you like "Stardust?" Lori and I loved it. I think it's almost as good a movie as the book is a book ... but the book is still better.

Elf said...

Yes, that would be clever Linda.

None of us had read the book before seeing the movie. Linda just read the book and, while indeed it's closer to the "how many miles to babylon" rhyme, it apparently seems bland and shallow compared to the film.

My comment to her was--as with most films, whoever reads the book first probably likes that better; whoever sees the movie first probably likes that better.

-ellen

Elf said...

Oh--forgot to respond to the second question. Yes, enjoyed it. L & P liked it enough to want to go see it again, and I'd have gone, too, but I had to go to class instead. (I was going to just say "but I had class," and somehow that didn't scan quite right--.)

-ellen

Anonymous said...

How many miles to Babylon?
Three-score miles and ten.
Can I get there by candle-light?
Yes, there and back again.
If your heels are nimble and light,
You will get there by candle-light.

Anonymous said...

I have heard the rhyme when i was little and when i grew up in 1460 i found a babylon candle and lit it but i didnt no where i was so i lit it again and went back home they are extremly powerful

Anonymous said...

you got one in 1460? really????
just saw the movie yesterday. love it soooo much :-)
wish I could have the candle

Anonymous said...

i hope i can have a Babylon candle.
Do you have a Babylon Candle?If have pls let me see.My e-mail is jiayie24060@hotmail.thank you

Elf said...

I wish I had one! Too bad they exist only in fiction.

Joseph said...

How can i get my hands on babylon candles? Is there a site to buy babylon candles, if there is please email me at spiritualjoe@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

When you have been away from this world you realize that anything is possible!

Anonymous said...

I`ve read the book, that is not even its name, actually, the name of those candles is not mentioned at all, and they are not instant, according to the book, the user sees a diferent area of the whole trip with every step... the movie is very inaccurate....

Elf said...

What a surprise that a movie doesn't follow the book very closely! [Just kidding.] But it is true that the idea works well in the film and is a clever name.

Grigori said...

Babylon candle is candle made from adipose undubbed child.