I was pondering media that was influential to my life as I grew up. I started thinking out along the lines of television. My sister and I did not watch much television when I was young. Although I remembered several shows very fondly I don’t recall incorporating them into my life. I moved past television and onto other types of media. Primarily books because I read a ton of them when I was younger. Ever since elementary school and my parents and I always would have story time at night. By the time I was in elementary school though I didn’t want them to be reading picture books so we started in on different series. The one that stood out from all the rest though was The Secrets of Droon by Tony Abott. The series revolved around three regular kids, Eric, Julie and Neal, who discover a rainbow staircase in Eric’s basement that leads to the magical land of Droon. There they meet the princess, and wizard in training, Keelah, and with her they fight to defend Droon from evil forces including the evil sorcerer Sparr and a moon dragon named Gethwig. They have the help of the first wizard of Droon, Galen Longbeard, and many others friendly races including a race resembling purple pillows, the Lumpies. Conviently of the kids days in Droon could pass and it would only be a minute or two on earth so they could go on all their adventures and still be home for dinner.
In conjunction with scholastic books, Tony Abbot created the Droon series which consisted of 44 books and ran for 11 years. The Secrets of Droon was targeted at elementary school aged kids drawing influence from tales such as Arabian Nights. The land of Droon was filled with secrets, magic, adventures, magic carpets foreign lands and adventure. Through the tales the three kids learn about themselves and the world and through these lessons the target audience learns similar lessons. The books teach lessons on honesty, friendship, loyalty, courage, determination, as well as clearly delineating between good and evil, right and wrong.
My best friend of the time, Anna, and I loved the series and were always waiting for the next book to come out so that we could read it. As I got older I would read it to myself and then have to read it again with my dad because I didn’t want to have to read it over several night and not know what happened. Perhaps the biggest way in which we incorporated the books into our lives was by ‘playing’ Droon whenever we had play dates. Although Julie is a rather strong female character, she is the smart one, get them out of trouble etc., both of us wanted to be Keelah so when we played we were twin sister princesses. Keelah was a wizard, a princess, going on all sorts of adventures however she did often need saving. Her life was incredibly exciting. Although Griffin cites that the realm of space in which the child was allowed was shrinking we were given full range of the neighbor hood which we made into our our version of Droon. We played throughout my back yard and the empty lot behind my house and down into the playground at the elementary school down the street. When we didn’t want to play with our little sisters we would cast them as the evil forces that we were battling.
We rewrote the stories though. In the books Eric is always the hero, the ones that saves the day and all his friends. But we were playing that we were Keelah and thus made her into our ideal female character. We rewrote her as the hero who always saved the day, found the solution and defeated the evil forces. Thus adopted the characters to suit what we wanted and framed it all in the context of Droon. We applied the lessons that the book taught to the characters that we wanted to associate them. This is not to say that the Droon series put girls and boys into particularly stereotypical roles we changed the narrative to be centered entirely around the female characters.