James the Red Engine – Rev. W. Awdry

More in the Series – The Railway Series
“More in the Series” scores the other books in a series where one (or more) of the books have made it into the 1001 Books list. Mostly because I’m a bit of a completionist. 

POINTS: 1 out of 10.

Bechdel: 0 points
Variety of characters: 0 point
Good story: 1 point
Discretionary ideological points: 0 point

Out of all the Railway characters, I think James is my least favourite. He is petulant and conceited, and has very few redeeming features. He’s stupidly proud of his red paint (being the only red train in the yards), and is a brat in a world where there’s something of an abundance of childish characters.

As I mentioned in my original Thomas posts, my child is a very avid fan of all things Sodor, so I have had years of getting closely acquainted with these stories. And in all that time, no other character has annoyed me more than James.

So let’s get the official stuff out of the way first. No female characters, so no Bechdel. No characters who are anything other than whitewashed British.

On top of that James’ petulance and brattiness straight up causes much “confusion and delay”. In theory it is supposed to make him “sadder and wiser”, but there isn’t much actual evidence for that in the later stories, in my not-so-humble opinion. Yes, he does an excellent job pulling the express later, but he has no compunction about being gloaty about it to Gordon (who, frankly, kind of deserves it).

The truth is, I find none of the characters or stories in this book terribly deserving of all the hype they get. But, as with all things Thomas, C sure does love it.So James the Red Engine gets that point. I won’t be giving him any others though.

What do you think? Am I still being too hard on these books? Who’s your least favourite denizen of Sodor?


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