Holiday Reading – Asterix and the Laurel Wreath
It has been a long time since I read this one last, but some scenes come back as if only yesterday. The eighteenth volume of our heroes involves a bet between Chief Vitalstatistix and his brother-in-law, Homeopathix about who has access to power. In a drunken fit of rage the chief promises a stew seasoned by the wreath worn by none other than Caesar himself.
Of course what that means is Asterix and Obelix must get it, and via slavery, a riot at the Circus Maximus, a turn at street thuggery, and finally by chance they locate Caesar’s personal slave who is ‘coerced’ into stealing the wreath and swapping it for one made of parsley.
This story is not bad, but lacks some of the cleverness of others, and as is often the case comes in with names that are frustrating to figure out, if in fact they hide puns. But there are a couple of doozies, as usual, such as Tapioca, wife of Homeopathix, Kumakros (a slave in Caesar’s palace), and Fibula, Tibula and Metarsus (wife, daughter and son of Osseus Humerous, which in itself is a bone condition!).
It is interesting to note that this volume takes on more ‘adult’ themes such as drunkenness, slavery, debauchery and androgyny, to the point where they openly discouraged kids from reading purposely left Dogmatix out of the story (he shows in only two panels) and even the font was changed to a more difficult one for younger readers to decipher.