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View Full Version : So what IS Mary Poppins?


Sampiro
09-04-2014, 01:39 PM
I've seen the musical play and the movie, but I've never read the books. Is it ever revealed what sort of being Mary Poppins is?

She obviously has powers, but is far from omnipotent, so I'd assume she's some kind of witch. OTOH, she blends in perfectly with humans and seems to relate to them. Is it discussed where she came from (a Hogsmeade type place, perhaps)? Or if Bert is what she is?

Straight answer or conjecture welcome.

silenus
09-04-2014, 01:43 PM
She's a witch. Burn her!

vd
09-04-2014, 01:47 PM
The internet consensus seems to be Time Lord.

Thudlow Boink
09-04-2014, 01:48 PM
She's a nanny.

Telemark
09-04-2014, 01:53 PM
She's a nanny.
Exactly. She's Mary Poppins. No further explanation is needed or offered.

running coach
09-04-2014, 01:55 PM
She's a nanny.

NILF.

phouka
09-04-2014, 02:01 PM
My theory is that she's a dream, escaped from Oneiros's realm during his century long absence.

Infovore
09-04-2014, 02:02 PM
I'm gonna go with Time Lord too, especially given the new "Missy" character in the latest series.

QuickSilver
09-04-2014, 02:05 PM
Practically perfect in every way. (http://youtube.com/watch?v=SBXPKA6i4Zg)

Inner Stickler
09-04-2014, 02:11 PM
I don't believe P.L. Travers saw fit to explicate her origins very much. I believe at one point one of the magical creatures they meet addresses her as a daughter of the Sun although whether that was meant to be literal or not is not clear.

As it is, you can make up pretty much any origin you like for her as there's very little official canon to contradict you.

Kamino Neko
09-04-2014, 02:16 PM
If we're going to go with 'Standard TV Tropes Insane Speculation', 'an incarnation of Haruhi Suzumiya' fits her far better than 'Time Lord'.

Chronos
09-04-2014, 02:16 PM
Beat me to it, QuickSilver.

Dendarii Dame
09-04-2014, 03:03 PM
She's someone there to save Mr. Banks, according the P.L. Travers in the Saving Mr. Banks movie about the making of Disney's Mary Poppins.

Johnny Q
09-04-2014, 03:52 PM
You don't want to know. (shudder) You really don't want to know....

johnpost
09-04-2014, 04:08 PM
the Green Hornet was descended from the Lone Ranger. both strong hero of different nature.

if you go deep into the original writings of Mary Poppins you will find she descended from Xena.

August West
09-04-2014, 05:03 PM
She's a witch. Burn her!

And how do you know she's a witch?

Flywheel
09-04-2014, 05:12 PM
Mr. Banks' ex-wife in drag.

YogSothoth
09-04-2014, 05:37 PM
Sounds like this calls for a rebooted, gritty origin story.

ftg
09-04-2014, 05:43 PM
The local 'shroom dealer. Uses the nanny business as a front. Doses up the brats to make them easier to handle and so they won't rat her out.

Bert is one of her regular customers. His brain is so fried he thinks he's a Cockney instead of an American.

njtt
09-04-2014, 05:44 PM
She turned me into a newt.

Southern Yankee
09-04-2014, 05:54 PM
A newt? You're not a newt!

Yllaria
09-04-2014, 06:08 PM
She's a nanny.

I'd go with that. She's the personification of a child's understanding of the ultimate authority figure in their lives.

Baker
09-04-2014, 06:16 PM
the Green Hornet was descended from the Lone Ranger. both strong hero of different nature.

if you go deep into the original writings of Mary Poppins you will find she descended from Xena.

Picking a nit here, but the Green Hornet is not descended from the Lone Ranger, but he is related. GH is LR's great-nephew, the grandson of LR"s brother.

Amateur Barbarian
09-04-2014, 06:40 PM
Now we have to figure out where Nanny McPhee fits in all of this, besides being a ripoff.

Cunctator
09-04-2014, 06:40 PM
For anyone who's interested, here's a photo of the house where Pamela Travers lived while creating the Mary Poppins character (http://mary-poppins-birthplace.net/mary_poppins_45hollyst.htm). It's in Bowral, a country town in NSW.

TBG
09-04-2014, 08:32 PM
I assume she's a witch, perhaps related in some way to the lady in Bedknobs & Broomsticks.

Ulfreida
09-04-2014, 08:46 PM
P.L.Travers was a highly unusual person. I used to subscribe to Parabola, the organ of The Society for the Study of Myth and Tradition, to which she was a regular contributor.

I think Mary Poppins was, in Travers' mind, an emanation from the Mystic Allknowingness. She also, most likely, possessed many character traits of her author, in my opinion.

The Tooth
09-04-2014, 08:51 PM
As it is, you can make up pretty much any origin you like for her as there's very little official canon to contradict you.

We can? Okay.

Mary Poppins is a Vorlon, and that's as official as anything.

Johnny Bravo
09-04-2014, 08:52 PM
I've put a little thought into this.

I don't know exactly what she is, but I think that whatever it is, Bert is definitely also one of them. He's been in love with her for centuries, and she reciprocates, but the nature of her work (or possibly a curse of some kind) makes it impossible for them to ever really be with one another. He spends his days wandering the earth and waiting for that particular wind that brings her, so that he can forget - at least for a while - that any time he spends with her is ultimately fleeting.

DrFidelius
09-04-2014, 09:01 PM
I've put a little thought into this.

I don't know exactly what she is, but I think that whatever it is, Bert is definitely also one of them. He's been in love with her for centuries, and she reciprocates, but the nature of her work (or possibly a curse of some kind) makes it impossible for them to ever really be with one another. He spends his days wandering the earth and waiting for that particular wind that brings her, so that he can forget - at least for a while - that any time he spends with her is ultimately fleeting.

Jesus fuck. Now I am sad.

Based on the Disney film, I presumed that Mary had been Bert's nanny during his loveless childhood as the bank president's son. He is play-acting with a bad Cockney accent at various menial jobs for years until Mary returns.

Barking Dog
09-04-2014, 09:34 PM
I think Bert was an american soldier during The War, where he took an injury to the head and was shipped back to the UK in a coma. He woke up in hospital a host of brain maladies resulting from severe head trauma, such as debilitating migraines and Foreign Accent Syndrome (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_accent_syndrome). It was here he met Mary Poppins, working as a nurse. They quickly became friends and later fell in love and Mary attempted to use her witch powers to try and heal Bert's brain injuries, to no avail. Eventually Bert asked her to marry him, but she turned him down as it would be unethical to have a romance with a patient. After being discharged from the hospital, Bert, still in love, stayed in England hoping one day she would change her mind. Unable to hold down better paying jobs because of his condition, he ended up getting by on a series of menial jobs like chimney sweeping.

Johnny L.A.
09-04-2014, 09:54 PM
Mary Poppins is a Vorlon, and that's as official as anything.

Not a Vogon, then?

rsat3acr
09-04-2014, 10:26 PM
A newt? You're not a newt!

I got better.

Clothahump
09-04-2014, 10:26 PM
I've seen the musical play and the movie, but I've never read the books. Is it ever revealed what sort of being Mary Poppins is?

She obviously has powers, but is far from omnipotent, so I'd assume she's some kind of witch. OTOH, she blends in perfectly with humans and seems to relate to them. Is it discussed where she came from (a Hogsmeade type place, perhaps)? Or if Bert is what she is?

Straight answer or conjecture welcome.

I've seen the movie. I've seen Saving Mr. Banks which is about how Walt managed to get the rights to make the movie. But I'd never read the books.

We watched Saving Mr. Banks again a couple of weeks ago and I finally broke down and ordered the first book from Amazon. And I have got to admit.....I was sorely disappointed by it. Mary Poppins, to me, is a totally arrogant snot. For the life of me, I don't see how that series of books got to be so popular. Mary seems to be a very autobiographical representation of P. L. Travers:

Travers died in London on 23 April 1996 at the age of 96. According to her grandchildren, Travers "died loving no one and with no one loving her."

GIGObuster
09-04-2014, 10:50 PM
I assume she's a witch, perhaps related in some way to the lady in Bedknobs & Broomsticks.

I would had loved to see one reference of her in the background paintings at Hogwarts.

A few critics noticed the similarities the Movie Chocolat (2000) (http://imdb.com/title/tt0241303/) had with Mary Poppins; with Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench and Johnnie Depp in the cast.

I think that movie was the answer to the question of what would happen if Mary Poppins stopped saving others, not moving away when the wind changed, and finally settling down and looking after her family.

Johnny Bravo
09-04-2014, 10:52 PM
Jesus fuck. Now I am sad.


Yeah, I watched the movie with some friends maybe 6 months ago, and it was probably the first time I'd ever seen it as an adult. Watching the relationship between Bert and Mary made me really sad for some reason, and that's why I started thinking about it.

Bryan Ekers
09-04-2014, 11:02 PM
English.

Penfeather
09-04-2014, 11:09 PM
My theory is that she's a dream, escaped from Oneiros's realm during his century long absence.

No; she's Domesticity, the forgotten Endless.

Trinopus
09-04-2014, 11:11 PM
Could she have been an angel?

a35362
09-04-2014, 11:38 PM
If she's a witch, why does she work as a nanny? Why does she have to leave when the wind changes (so she can't hang on to a job for more than a few days, I guess)? Has she got a job waiting for her in France, or maybe Kent? What's Bert's deal? Do the other chimney sweeps know what he is?

Mary can do better than a penniless jack-of-all-trades like Bert, for goodness' sake!

ricksummon
09-04-2014, 11:38 PM
"Damn it, Dawlish! She got away again!"

"Who, sir?"

"Poppins! That woman is a menace! Over 2,000 documented violations of the Statue of Secrecy in the last year alone, yet she always manages to slip away before the Aurors show up. But this time... this time, she's gone too far!"

"What do you mean?"

"Oh, at first, it was just the usual. Flying on a umbrella in full view of the public, showing off a carpetbag with an Expansion Charm to Muggle children... but, then, she nearly wrecked the Muggle economy by causing a run on a major City bank!"

"Tampering with the Muggle economy?! That's ten years in Azkaban, that is!"

"Oh, yes, and that's not even the worst of it! She dared speak the Ancient Secret Word of Merlin himself in the presence of Muggles — and taught them to say it as well!"

(gasp) "You don't mean... supercali —"

"YES! She dared to blaspheme our most sacred traditions! I swear to you, Dawlish, I won't rest until I see that witch sentenced to the Veil!"

--------------

Of course, we all know that Mary Poppins is actually the same sort of being as Tom Bombadil. Ding-a-dong-a-dillo... :D

Marley23
09-04-2014, 11:45 PM
Manic Pixie Dream Maid?

ricksummon
09-04-2014, 11:50 PM
All right... now I've got this image in my mind of Mary Poppins vs. the Anti-Poppins (aka Dolores Umbridge) in a final duel to the death!

It helps if you play this song (https://youtube.com/watch?v=ybq_waDfyDI) while imagining it.

"The hills are alive... with the sound of vengeance! :D

Tapiotar
09-05-2014, 02:23 AM
I've put a little thought into this.

I don't know exactly what she is, but I think that whatever it is, Bert is definitely also one of them. He's been in love with her for centuries, and she reciprocates, but the nature of her work (or possibly a curse of some kind) makes it impossible for them to ever really be with one another. He spends his days wandering the earth and waiting for that particular wind that brings her, so that he can forget - at least for a while - that any time he spends with her is ultimately fleeting.

Agreed with you on the love story. They are both from the same realm as guardian angels, but somehow they have gotten a dispensation to assume physical forms in certain cases. Bert's current assignment, not shown in the movies as we only see him taking time off, is to offer some protection to the children who work as sweeps, and we know Mary's assignment is with children of more prosperous families. There are limits to what they can actually do to change circumstances…their main function is to bring hope and belief in possibilities and the transcendance of limits.

Wile E
09-05-2014, 03:36 AM
Travers died in London on 23 April 1996 at the age of 96. According to her grandchildren, Travers "died loving no one and with no one loving her."

If she had grandchildren there had to be a little loving at some point.

Penfeather
09-05-2014, 03:45 AM
She's not a bloody jukebox.

BigT
09-05-2014, 03:52 AM
If she's a witch, why does she work as a nanny? Why does she have to leave when the wind changes (so she can't hang on to a job for more than a few days, I guess)? Has she got a job waiting for her in France, or maybe Kent? What's Bert's deal? Do the other chimney sweeps know what he is?

Mary can do better than a penniless jack-of-all-trades like Bert, for goodness' sake!

I think she just values helping children. The wind isn't so much something that makes her have to go, but a signal that there is someone else in need of her help. And, even if Bert is not Warlock, he's definitely more than he appears. And it's not like they are actually together, anyways. She probably has boyfriends all over the world, unless Bert also goes with her.

kaylasdad99
09-05-2014, 06:41 AM
If she had grandchildren there had to be a little loving at some point.

She adopted (a son, IIRC), but did not, to the best of my knowledge, reproduce.

C K Dexter Haven
09-05-2014, 07:34 AM
She adopted (a son, IIRC), but did not, to the best of my knowledge, reproduce.Yes, she adopted a son. IIRC, it's a horrible story: there were two identical twins, she adopted one but not the other, and never told her adopted son about his brother. They met by accident in a pub, as adults. I don't know exactly what she is, but I think that whatever it is, Bert is definitely also one of them. ... Bert as a character in the books is very minor, quite unlike the movie; Bert is mostly a Disney creation.I finally broke down and ordered the first book from Amazon. And I have got to admit.....I was sorely disappointed by it. Mary Poppins, to me, is a totally arrogant snot. For the life of me, I don't see how that series of books got to be so popular. I think that people who STARTED with the books feel the opposite (certainly, me wife does.) Yes, Mary P in the books is arrogant, rude, obnoxious, and never (NEVER!) has that insipid Julie Andrews smile.

ricksummon: BRILLIANT!!

OneCentStamp
09-05-2014, 07:40 AM
I think Bert was an american soldier during The War, where he took an injury to the head and was shipped back to the UK in a coma. He woke up in hospital a host of brain maladies resulting from severe head trauma, such as debilitating migraines and Foreign Accent Syndrome (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_accent_syndrome). It was here he met Mary Poppins, working as a nurse. They quickly became friends and later fell in love and Mary attempted to use her witch powers to try and heal Bert's brain injuries, to no avail. Eventually Bert asked her to marry him, but she turned him down as it would be unethical to have a romance with a patient. After being discharged from the hospital, Bert, still in love, stayed in England hoping one day she would change her mind. Unable to hold down better paying jobs because of his condition, he ended up getting by on a series of menial jobs like chimney sweeping.

If by "The War" you mean the Spanish-American War, maybe. The film, at least, took place in 1910.

Leaper
09-05-2014, 08:52 AM
God. (http://lxg.wikia.com/wiki/Mary_Poppins)

Thudlow Boink
09-05-2014, 08:56 AM
(certainly, me wife does.)Are we supposed to be reading this in Bert's accent? :)

msmith537
09-05-2014, 08:58 AM
if you go deep into the original writings of Mary Poppins you will find she descended from Xena.


Lisa Simpson: But Xena doesn't fly!!
Lucy Lawless: I told you I'm not Xena. I'm Lucy Lawless!

wolfman
09-05-2014, 09:08 AM
She's just a very effective con artist. She and Bert find targets with deep access to money,Bank Managers,CEOs and the like. Skillfully manipulating a situation where she will be invited into the home. She delights the children,but also instills a great deal of fear, to keep them unquestioningly in line, Then deftly using hallucinogens and stage tricks she ingratiates with the children, gaining the parent's trust, while destroying any credibility the children might have as they start to talk about magic and flying umbrellas.
Lying in wait, gathering passwords, Fingerprints and personal knowledge which she passes along to Bert, until the day they execute the big job stealing millions from the accounts they now have access, when they both flee suddenly off to the wilds, where they start scouting for the next victim.

Flywheel
09-05-2014, 09:18 AM
If by "The War" you mean the Spanish-American War, maybe. The film, at least, took place in 1910.

Specifically, sometime between January 1st and May 6th of that year, since Mr. Banks says "King Edward (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_VII)'s on the throne."

Flywheel
09-05-2014, 09:26 AM
(certainly, me wife does.)

Are we supposed to be reading this in Bert's accent? :)

Or the animated bass drum player (https://youtube.com/watch?v=tRFHXMQP-QU&t=1m35s)'s? :)

furryman
09-05-2014, 11:36 AM
Mary Sue

I liked the books much better than the movie. But I don't think the movie is bad... as long as you watch it with Disney Glasses on. :p

Trion
09-05-2014, 11:48 AM
God. (http://lxg.wikia.com/wiki/Mary_Poppins)

Ya know, now I'd like to see Phoebe Figalilly (from Nanny and the Professor), Mary Poppins and Nanny McPhee together in a kind of Maiden, Mother and Crone configuration.

Andy L
09-05-2014, 11:59 AM
Ya know, now I'd like to see Phoebe Figalilly (from Nanny and the Professor), Mary Poppins and Nanny McPhee together in a kind of Maiden, Mother and Crone configuration.

Glad to see some love for Phoebe Figalilly in this thread; I watched "Nanny and the Professor" often in my youth.

Sampiro
09-05-2014, 12:44 PM
Ya know, now I'd like to see Phoebe Figalilly (from Nanny and the Professor), Mary Poppins and Nanny McPhee together in a kind of Maiden, Mother and Crone configuration.

Or in the first scene of Disney's MACBETH.

Clothahump
09-05-2014, 01:05 PM
If she had grandchildren there had to be a little loving at some point.

Although she led a fairly free-style life for her day, the grandkids were the kids of her adopted son. And therein lies an interesting tale:

At the age of 40, two years after moving out on her own, Travers adopted a baby boy from Ireland whom she named Camillus Travers Hone. He was the grandchild of Joseph Hone, W. B. Yeats' first biographer, who was raising his seven grandchildren with his wife. Camillus had a twin brother named Anthony, but Travers chose only Camillus, based on advice from her astrologer. Camillus was unaware of his true parentage or the existence of any siblings until the age of 17, when Anthony came to London and knocked on the door of Travers' house.


Quite the dingbat, she apparently was.

The Other Waldo Pepper
09-05-2014, 02:22 PM
She's just a very effective con artist. She and Bert find targets with deep access to money,Bank Managers,CEOs and the like. Skillfully manipulating a situation where she will be invited into the home. She delights the children,but also instills a great deal of fear, to keep them unquestioningly in line, Then deftly using hallucinogens and stage tricks she ingratiates with the children, gaining the parent's trust, while destroying any credibility the children might have as they start to talk about magic and flying umbrellas.
Lying in wait, gathering passwords, Fingerprints and personal knowledge which she passes along to Bert, until the day they execute the big job stealing millions from the accounts they now have access

So is that a disguised Bert at the bank, in position and patiently waiting for the drugged kid that Mary's been coaching to create one heck of a diversion?

OneCentStamp
09-05-2014, 02:40 PM
So is that a disguised Bert at the bank, in position and patiently waiting for the drugged kid that Mary's been coaching to create one heck of a diversion?

For. The. Win. :D :D :D

wolfman
09-05-2014, 02:45 PM
So is that a disguised Bert at the bank, in position and patiently waiting for the drugged kid that Mary's been coaching to create one heck of a diversion?

You don't think a kid climbing on the counter to "drink tea on the ceiling" would work?

ricksummon
09-05-2014, 06:01 PM
She's just a very effective con artist. She and Bert find targets with deep access to money,Bank Managers,CEOs and the like. Skillfully manipulating a situation where she will be invited into the home. She delights the children,but also instills a great deal of fear, to keep them unquestioningly in line, Then deftly using hallucinogens and stage tricks she ingratiates with the children, gaining the parent's trust, while destroying any credibility the children might have as they start to talk about magic and flying umbrellas.

Walter Peck?! Is that you?

Wile E
09-05-2014, 06:20 PM
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
At the age of 40, two years after moving out on her own, Travers adopted a baby boy from Ireland whom she named Camillus Travers Hone. He was the grandchild of Joseph Hone, W. B. Yeats' first biographer, who was raising his seven grandchildren with his wife. Camillus had a twin brother named Anthony, but Travers chose only Camillus, based on advice from her astrologer. Camillus was unaware of his true parentage or the existence of any siblings until the age of 17, when Anthony came to London and knocked on the door of Travers' house.

Wow ... she was kinda messed up, huh? I'm thinking maybe the original Mary Poppins didn't do such a bang-up job.

eschereal
09-05-2014, 06:33 PM
She turned me into a newt.
A newt? You're not a newt!

are you sure?

Penfeather
09-05-2014, 06:58 PM
Of course, we all know that Mary Poppins is actually the same sort of being as Tom Bombadil. Ding-a-dong-a-dillo... :D

She's Goldberry after she dumped Tom's feckless hippie ass and moved to the city to get a job.

GIGObuster
09-05-2014, 09:49 PM
Camillus had a twin brother named Anthony, but Travers chose only Camillus, based on advice from her astrologer.

:rolleyes:

Stephen Fry should had been her judge at the gates of the underworld:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=WnoaNLaq1Mo
I can picture him saying to Travers:

'In fact if you believe in Astrology, you are banned from going in.

You are not allowed to come, you must turn around now!'

RivkahChaya
09-05-2014, 10:29 PM
She Pops-in, she Pops-out. That's what she is, exactly what her name says. She's like the magic social worker, who solves problems rather than just identifying them-- from a time when the social working profession didn't even really exist (charitable aid societies that would eventually become CPS, and DCFS, etc. existed, but they weren't part of the government yet). What if these people were really powerful and helpful, instead of well-intentioned, but largely ineffectual?

I think there's a lot of social commentary that goes unnoticed-- and even probably did when the books were first published, because the audience was children who had not lived through the time represented. Believe me, though, if you read stuff from around WWI that happens not to be about the war, or watch movies from the time, there's lots of commentary about social workers. Cf, "The Mother and the Law" segment of DW Griffith's Intolerance.

Mary Pops in to the Banks family a lot throughout the book series, whenever there is trouble, even just a morale crisis.

She has no backstory, because the fact that a problem needs a solution is self-evident.

C K Dexter Haven
09-06-2014, 07:51 AM
Mary Pops in to the Banks family a lot throughout the book series, whenever there is trouble, even just a morale crisis.Not in the books. There's no crisis in the family, ever; she just pops in. There are mentions of minor situations such as the male servant Robertson Ay -- not in the movie -- being very lazy, but it's nowhere near "crisis."

The movie adds that dimension of Mary P as psychologist/social worker, the mysterious stranger who resolves problems. (Like Joseph Cotten in Hitchcock's SHADOW OF A DOUBt :) )

The Tooth
09-06-2014, 09:17 AM
Or Harvey Keitel in Pulp Fiction.

JackieLikesVariety
09-06-2014, 11:08 AM
Ya know, now I'd like to see Phoebe Figalilly (from Nanny and the Professor), Mary Poppins and Nanny McPhee together in a kind of Maiden, Mother and Crone configuration.

yes, me too! :)

Prof. Pepperwinkle
09-06-2014, 11:27 AM
There was an SDMB post I read years ago (at least four, probably more) that was brilliantly written. It had her as a witch and the head of a coven of chimney sweeps that performed rituals on the rooftops of London. Repeated attempts at the search function find nothing.

Zeldar
09-06-2014, 11:33 AM
NILF.

Band Name!

Aquadementia
09-06-2014, 11:40 AM
She is a rogue galactic space officer that depends on the energy vortexes in childrens brains to do her job.

RivkahChaya
09-06-2014, 11:44 AM
Not in the books. There's no crisis in the family, ever; she just pops in. There are mentions of minor situations such as the male servant Robertson Ay -- not in the movie -- being very lazy, but it's nowhere near "crisis." I haven't read the books since I was a child, so we're talking about 38 years ago, and I don't remember many details, and I never read all of them, but to the best of my recollection, things were happening that were crises to children. Think about the Beverly Cleary books. If you read those for the first time as an adult, you might think they were kind of silly, but as far as tapping into real worries of children, she nailed them.

Mary Poppins, to the best of my recollection, was an adult who took the problems of childhood seriously.

I saw Saving Mr. Banks, and I remember thinking that if there was any truth in it, PL Travers probably wished her childhood problems had been typical. Kinda like Allan Sherman, who wrote "A Letter from Camp" (Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah), and had grown up in a children's home, where he probably wished his worst problem was that it didn't stop raining when he was at camp.

It doesn't seem ironic at all to me that she was a bad mother, because in my experience, sometimes people with real, genuine empathy for children don't make good parents or teachers, because they can't step back and be the adult in the situation. But they do make great writers of children's books. Some of the best writers for children didn't have children. I know Meg Cabot personally (we were friends in high school), and I'm not surprised that she writes popular books for children, nor that she doesn't have kids.

Anyway, so from an adult perspective, "crisis" is probably to strong a word, but the kids' needs are not being met. Or, I just don't remember them well enough, having seem the Disney movie five or six times since the last time I read one of the books.

I seem vaguely to remember liking the books better, though.

Anyway, a lot of the things that people are proposing Mary Poppins is, didn't exist when the book was written, including the Samantha Stevens-type witch.

I think what she was, was a person with a child's sensibilities, but an adult's power and control over the world. You know, that fantasy you have of being able to go back and fix some of the bad things that happened to you as a child with the sense and ability you have now as an adult? I think she's the fulfillment of that wish, if you must have an answer.

Thudlow Boink
09-06-2014, 02:45 PM
Good post. I particularly appreciated this insight:in my experience, sometimes people with real, genuine empathy for children don't make good parents or teachers, because they can't step back and be the adult in the situation. But they do make great writers of children's books.

Penfeather
09-06-2014, 05:45 PM
Not in the books. There's no crisis in the family, ever; she just pops in. There are mentions of minor situations such as the male servant Robertson Ay -- not in the movie -- being very lazy, but it's nowhere near "crisis."

The movie adds that dimension of Mary P as psychologist/social worker, the mysterious stranger who resolves problems. (Like Joseph Cotten in Hitchcock's SHADOW OF A DOUBt :) )

On reflection, she belongs to a specific genre: the mysterious itinerant stranger with access to powers who arrives, solves the problem of those rooted to a location,and then departs. She has to depart to fulfill the rules of the Wandering Helper genre: neither Shane nor the Doctor can ever stay. She may be a Time Lord, she can't be Tom Bombadil, whose powers are tied to his own location: he's the opposite of itinerant. Tom may help you if you stray into his domain, but he will never arrive to assist in yours.

eta: That's why the last Matt Smith episode of Doctor Who was so deeply unsatisfying: it broke the rules by having the Doctor stay in Trenzalore. He's been marooned before, but he's always striven to escape.

RivkahChaya
09-06-2014, 06:36 PM
Hmm. There are lots of examples of those from TV, aren't there? The Fugitive, Touched by an Angel-- even Scooby-doo.

Those are usually from the strangers' perspective, but you know, if you were a child before about 1914, the world was full of problem-solving itinerant strangers, albeit, not so good as the fictional ones. Doctors made house calls, there were door-to-door salesmen, with miracle products, and door-to-door repairmen, who fixed pots and pans, carriage upholstery, and all sorts of things.

Maybe what Mary is, is a "Poppins," someone who pops in, and fixes things, and then pops out. Just because we only see Mary, we don't know there aren't other "Poppins." She is like the people who went door to door fixing things, except she could fix anything, even psychic wounds, fixed them completely, and they stayed fixed.

Chronos
09-06-2014, 07:04 PM
I can't remember who it was who said "There are only two stories: A man goes on a journey, and a stranger comes to town".

And of course, those are both really the same story, just from different points of view.

RivkahChaya
09-06-2014, 07:23 PM
And, of course, the story about the baby shoes.

Penfeather
09-06-2014, 07:33 PM
I can't remember who it was who said "There are only two stories: A man goes on a journey, and a stranger comes to town".

And of course, those are both really the same story, just from different points of view.

Yeah; Doctor Who is basically Mary Poppins from the nanny's point of view.

C K Dexter Haven
09-07-2014, 08:41 AM
I haven't read the books since I was a child, so we're talking about 38 years ago, and I don't remember many details, and I never read all of them, but to the best of my recollection, things were happening that were crises to children. Think about the Beverly Cleary books. If you read those for the first time as an adult, you might think they were kind of silly, but as far as tapping into real worries of children, she nailed them. I reread some recently (after the SAVING MR BANKS movie) and I don't see much there about real worries of children. They're fantasy, pure and simple, and they're episodic (each chapter is a different adventure that stands on its own, with no connection to any other.) I'm on the road now, when I get back home to the books, I'll try to do a quick spin through to make my point.

Count Blucher
09-07-2014, 09:40 AM
She's a Mage In Service to the Queen... part of a small elite staff going back almost 1000 years.

Count Blucher
09-08-2014, 10:47 AM
She's a Mage In Service to the Queen... part of a small elite staff going back almost 1000 years.

I *Owww* retract the above statement *Owww* in its entirety. She is an *Owww* a... lovely human being... and has no connection whatsoever with The Royal Family.

please. send. help.

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