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Thirty years after Matilda stood up to her despicable school headmistress in Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book, she has a new foe. And she’s proving that the U.S. president is no match for her, either.
The responses to the statues are glorious.
LOOK: To celebrate 30 years since Welsh author Roald Dahl's book 'Matilda' was published, a statue of her staring down President @realDonaldTrump has been unveiled near where the author used to live in #Buckinghamshire #CapitalReports pic.twitter.com/YlqhUoplzG— CapitalSWales News (@capitalswanews) October 1, 2018
A statue of Roald Dahl's Matilda staring down Donald Trump has been unveiled near the author's old home in Great Missenden in Bucks - to celebrate the book's 30th anniversary #Matilda30 #HeartNews pic.twitter.com/VH3GXXoOtL— Thames Valley News (@HeartThamesNews) October 1, 2018
Matilda is a delightful book for all grades.— Beth Foraker (@inclusionchick) October 1, 2018
Her wit + intelligence defeat the Trunchbull...and well, her current nemesis has no idea what he’s up against.
Little girls rule. ❤️ https://t.co/90ZS2P6mQG
In the novel—and the subsequent movie, starring Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman, and the Broadway show that earned five Tony Awards—5-year-old Matilda overcomes her parents’ disinterest and the reign of terror caused by her headmistress, Agatha Trunchbull, by using her extraordinary telekinesis powers.
Not everybody was pleased, though, with bringing 2018’s problems into Matilda’s world.
There is something seriously warped & wrong that you can’t just honor the writer & books. @realDonaldTrump has claimed space in your heads!— Not My Pocahontus 🇺🇸 (@HuntingOregon) October 1, 2018
TDS is real.
JFC who makes a children's literature hero a political symbol? What kind of new world psychopath are you???— Rhaebeka Targaryen 🐲 (@Babs_Bunny420) October 1, 2018
Happy fucking 30th Matilda...welcome to the insanity of 2018 🎁🎂🎈🎉
You’ve ruined it. No way Matilda would be a die hard dem. She’d be an independent thinker. She wouldn’t get caught up in performative liberalism. However, I do agree that she’d dedicate her life to helping children.— Poons Haunted 💀🖤 (@LalalaLindseyJ) October 1, 2018
She wouldn't be a race baiting, man bashing, Marxist communist! Matilda had common sense thought for herself, she took risks, she helped her friends. Matilda would be a MAGA cap wearing proud President Trump supporter! She'd read all about Qanon have a WWG1WGA sticker on her car.— ❌Deplorabella❌ (@ElisaLenz4) October 1, 2018
Leading up to the anniversary, the Roald Dahl Story Company created a poll that asked fans to vote on the person who Matilda would most likely face off against today. As the Independent notes, Trump won the popular vote with 42 percent, beating out British Prime Minister Theresa May and TV personality Piers Morgan. That’s why the statues of Trump and Matilda were created.
“Matilda demonstrates that it’s possible for anyone, no matter how small and powerless they feel, to defeat the Trunchbulls in their own lives—a message that feels even more relevant today than it did 30 years ago,” Bernie Hall of the Roald Dahl Story Company said, via the Independent.
So, why was Trump the most popular choice?
“Female rage has always been quite a big taboo, but what Matilda shows is if you channel it effectively it can be a hugely important agent of protest,” Susie Dent, a lexicographer who helped create the project, told CNN. “… Trump was voted the most likely person that she would stand up to, and I’m assuming that people saw in him similar traits to Miss Trunchbull.”
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.