How to have a (literary) ball

Image credit: NAPOLEON SARONY

Picture this: you are the host of a party, but no – not just any party. The guest list is all yours, and everyone on it is a fictional character! Sound amazing? Of course it does. I mean, in real life, it’d probably be about a thousand times as terrifying as it would be amazing (no, seriously – how many different kinds of wizard can you put in one room and still escape with your eyebrows and prosecco intact?) but that’s exactly what wishful thinking is for. Let’s begin!

Jay Gatsby, from The Great Gatsby. I know, I know, this is almost disgustingly cliché, but hear me out. The guy’s got cash. He’s also got a stupid-huge mansion and an alarmingly blasé attitude towards rampant consumerism, all of which make for a truly excellent venue. The only thing deeper than his pockets are his metaphors about time and lost love, so if you’re not the type to get utterly plastered and play hide and seek in the fountains, you can always spot him hovering around the party expectantly, and ask him some cryptic questions about his backstory. He’ll love it. Also, he might offer you a ride in his symbolically yellow whip.

Thorin and his dwarves from The Hobbit. Not only are they unafraid of turning up without an invite, they know how to make even the most introverted grump of a hobbit into a party animal (or at least, how to turn his beloved home into a drinking den). Also, Gandalf is the guest of honour. Remember how turnt he got everyone at Bilbo’s eleventy-first birthday? Absolute legend. Any wizard who can make you your own custom fireworks is getting locked down on that guest list, with a holographic VIP pass, with a cherry on top.

Lord Henry and Dorian Gray from The Picture of Dorian Gray. These lads bring all the hedonism you could want; plus, Henry might even hook you up with an artist who can magically immortalise you in oil paints. (Yeah… at a certain point, having a bit too much money makes everything kinda weird.) Actually, forget fictional characters – I’d just get straight to the point and invite the great Oscar Wilde himself. I bet he and Gandalf would get on like a financially careless nouveau-riche man’s house on fire.

The Mechanicals from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Now, these guys might get a bit flustered when it comes to performing, but rest assured, they’ll be an absolute riot to watch when you’re so smashed that champagne is running through your veins instead of blood, and you could swear you’re seeing fairies. Plus, if you’re lucky, Bottom (the absolute madman) might turn up in a donkey’s head and really get the whole raving farmyard animal vibe going. Although, if you wake up outside the next day and it all seems like some strange dream…one that happened on a midsummer night…probably take an aspirin and try to forget about it. Ignorance, in this case, is definitely bliss.

Those are just a few of my ideal fictional ball invitees, but the opportunities are literally endless. I cannot recommend doing this enough – and let’s be honest, it’s summer now. You kinda have the time to waste. Your only limit is your imagination (and probably also your imaginary self’s bank account. But there’s the beauty, see. You can just imagine all of your massive party’s debt away…) 

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