This video was filmed during my summer abroad trip in Oxford, England, and submitted as my final project for the fantasy literature course taught by UCD inst...

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Comment by Jennifer Dang on November 1, 2011 at 12:43am

This video was filmed during my summer abroad trip in Oxford, England, and submitted as my final project for the fantasy literature course taught by UCD instructor John Stenzel.


The goal of this project was to depict British lifestyle in a creative and innovative way that incorporated the academic aspect of the trip, which was primarily based on the following seven books: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Wind in the Willows, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Golden Compass, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Howl’s Moving Castle.


The story: A girl accidentally stumbles into The City of Dreaming Spires through a wardrobe (does that sound eerily familiar?) and she spends the day running around town, exploring the pleasures and delicacies of Oxford. Hints of the seven books are sprinkled throughout this video, as well as some few depictions of the British lifestyle. Some are quite obvious while others are more subtle; see if you can spot them! 


Special thanks to Nicolette Bocolam, for without her generous assistance, this video would not have happened.




Here is a list with scene references to the books + notable culture references:


-Takes place in the City of Oxford (where part of The Golden Compass takes place)

- Nicolette steps out of the wardrobe (The Lion, the Witch, and the Warddrobe), wearing her Hogwarts uniform

- Her curiosity to explore is inspired by Alice’s curiosity. “Curiouser and curiouser!”

- The necklace she wears is inspired by Frodo (LOTR)

- She runs up to a shop selling Harry Potter merchandise and eyes it weirdly

- Enters the covered market, which portrays Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade

- The Hat Shop, Cake Shop, and Flower Shop are all taken from Howl’s Moving Castle

- Trying out English food (drinking tea, eating jacket potatoes, etc.) (culture)  

- Passes by a rack of Oxford postcards and old-fashion street-signs (culture)

- At 1:31, she enters a narrow brick pathway, which is a play on Harry Potter’s brick wall leading to Diagon Alley

- Passes by a tall lamp post (The Lion, the Witch, and the Warddrobe)

- Passes by the Bridge of Sighs, which is a notable landmark of Oxford (culture)

- Visits the graves of Kenneth Graham (author of The Wind and the Willows) and J. R. R. Tolkien (author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy)

- At 2:15, she checks her watch (mirroring the White Rabbit from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)

- Special appearance by Stephanie Hartfield who is reading The Golden Compass when Nicolette walks by

- Walks through the busy shopping district of Oxford (culture)

- Features an ad on Fish and Chips (culture) 

- Nicolette looking wistfully back when she is about to return to her world (mirrors Harry Potter’s wish to stay in Hogwarts, but knows he can’t)

- Returns to her world through the wardrobe (LLW)




- The title of the video “A Fantasy: Portal to Oxford” is actually a play on the title of the study abroad trip: “Oxford: Portal to Fantasy”

- The music by Orisinal was chosen to create a whimsical lighthearted adventurous feel to the video.

-Inspiration for this video struck me at 12 o’clock midnight, two days before the project was due.

- Thank you, John Stenzel, for encouraging your students to embrace creativity, and giving me the opportunity to do something I really enjoy. Thank goodness, I didn’t end up writing that twenty-page story.




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