Do you need a laugh? I did, and I got one.

Screen shot 2013-03-04 at 11.43.45 AM[Still grading. Bleah.]

Providing midterm grades for so many students is always a chore — even with the help of my TA. I won’t grouse about grading today, but mention that yesterday it was getting so bad that I had to leave the Internet and my laptop grade in a place with absolutely no distractions to keep myself on task. As my mood progressively worsened, even though the stack of graded papers was finally growing, I asked myself what I could do to alleviate the mood and remembered that several weeks ago, I had downloaded a North & South spoof that Trudy told me was hilarious onto my Kindle. I’m not the most humorous gal but any port in a storm, especially when the alternative is ingestion of massive quantities of beer, which does make it impossible to grade.

I agree with Trudy that this is one of the most fantastic humorous works from our fandom that I’ve ever read. I started off thinking it was just funny and cute, but very quickly I had accumulated a bunch of belly-laughs that began to mitigate the pains of grading. The spring of the joke is that Mr. Thornton is renamed “Mr. Thorinton” and is, well, the world’s tallest dwarf. Running gags from potentially annoying moments in North & South and LOTR / The Hobbit are combined delightfully, and the author’s unerring sense for a potential pun had me gasping for breath over and over again. As someone who periodically wonders what Armitage is talking about when he mentions that a character in The Convenient Marriage has sat down on a surfer, I especially liked all the pronunciation misunderstandings between the northern and southern characters. Now, I’m sure I didn’t get all the jokes, because I’m not much of an LOTR-head, but just the North & South jokes are worth it. And the ongoing discussion of the color of fruit — well, I’ll leave it at that.

I’m not done with the book yet — as Osborne herself has said, in an interview with Maria Grazia, parody is best “savoured not scoffed” — and I’ve got a lot more grading to get through. Right now, though, I want to know:

  • Will Thorinton’s “Softenings” ever be followed by a “Hardening”?
  • What is going on with the Book of Grudges?
  • What will Margaret do with that lemon squeezer she just bought?

I was told that this piece could be read for free on C19, but I just went ahead and bought it and I was really glad to have it on my Kindle last night and not have to rely on the Internet. At $4.99 US, it was completely worth it. Buy it via and generate a donation to one of Richard Armitage’s listed charities.

Since I have only just finished chapter 10, I’m hoping that it will get me through at least one more night of grading. I see, if I run out, that Damaris Osborne is also the author of another Armitage / Spooks spoof called, appropriately, Spoofs. Maybe I should download that one now. Just in case.

[This is an unsolicited review. I purchased my own copy of the work from The opinions expressed in it are solely my own.]

~ by Servetus on March 4, 2013.

11 Responses to “Do you need a laugh? I did, and I got one.”

  1. So glad you loved it. Not everyone has the same sense of humor…
    Damaris’s humor is her touchstone trademark, but she also writes poignant moments beautifully. Don’t forget to check out her ‘Thorin’s loss’ under Tales of Middle Earth at C19. Thorin falling in love before the horror of Smaug makes a great back story.
    For those into Tolkein, she’s also written a heart-wrenching story called ‘Boromir’s Bride’ as well as a LoTR parody – ‘The Art of Ring Flinging.’
    And her N&S fic, ‘True North’ remains one of the oldest and best of continuation stories. All these are at C19.
    There. Thanks for the opportunity to promote Damaris’ talent. She’s been on board the RA train for a good long time. 🙂


  2. Thank you for the recommendation. I just ordered it.


  3. I wonder what I could buy myself for my 50th birthday?… [Thank you!] 😉


  4. I am blushing. So nice to see that North & Spoof has an educational purpose. Think how all that grading would be if marked by one jaded and laughless.

    I can assure you that Thorinton’s ‘softenings’ are accompanied by the reverse as well, but in a very Hitchcockian ‘North by Northwest’ way as you will see at the end – you know, Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and the train shot cutting to . . .

    As for Spoofs, in all fairness I ought to warn any US potential readers that the first of the three ‘declassified files’ featuring Lucosade Upnorth has quite a few puns based upon British children’s television programmes, and the whole spying genre. Also it helps if you have seen Spooks (MI-5) to get some of the characters I have modified on the grid, and there is some Bond in there too. However, if you can cope with the way I pun my way through, I think there is plenty that needs no ‘translation’. I never thought I was writing for an international audience and so some things are very British, such as Upnorth and his wife Itzkolda Upnorth (yes, really it is) having spent years under deep duvet cover in a shepherd’s hut on the far side of Skiddaw (which is a mountain in the Lake District).

    If you think you can cope with the evil plot of Dr Ohnoitsyu, with his Japanese PA in her tartan catsuit, the threat of ‘Death to Pies’, and a foreign risk to the British sausage, whilst Itzy Bitsy tries to keep her hubby ‘hoppink into bedski’, it might be for you. Of course, how many more grade papers have you to work through?



    • Ah, the author shows up! Thanks for leaving a comment, Damaris Osbrone!

      I just finally finished grading today. And yes, you have to find a way to keep your sense of humor, or else it just becomes this punitive exercise in which you punish the students for their mistakes and yourself for yours …

      thanks for the warning on the sequel, but I will probably eventually try it out. I am sure I didn’t get all the jokes in “North & Spoof” but it was still very enjoyable. I think that via North & South and all the fanfic, many of us elsewhere are becoming very familiar with the potential geography of “Upnorth”. (It’s a great name — where I grew up, in the northern U.S., we joke a lot about going ‘Up Nort’.”


  5. She also seems to have written a Spooks thing: “spoofs – declassified files” (found on amazon)


  6. […] Via Trudy, “J Tea’s Proposal,” a new North & South proposal scene spoof by Damaris at C19 (you must be a C19 member to read). Damaris is the author of that wonderful parody, North & Spoof. […]


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