Humour in the Bond novels

DariusDarius UK
in Literary 007 Posts: 354
I've scoured existing threads, and there doesn't appear to be a discussion on this topic, so here goes.

The literary Bond is notorious for having little or no sense of humour, unlike his movie counterpart, who wisecracks and double-entndres his way through many a tough situation. However, I don't believe this is really the case for the literary Bond, and although this character's humour is definitely there, it's so dry and subtle it's easy for it to go unnoticed. Not only this, but Ian Fleming does write with a not infrequent dollop of witty humour that never fails to bring a smile to my face.

For example, in From Russia With Love, in the gypsy camp, Bond is obliged to eat his ragout with his fingers and the gypsy woman sitting next to him helpfully dips into his meal to find the "choicest" bits before offering them to him. When faced with Tee Hee's comment that "those who deserve to die, die the death they deserve," in chapter 8 of Live and Let Die, Bond replies with: "Write that down. It's an original thought." A wisecrack, I think, worthy of the movie Bond.

Very often, the humour becomes as dry as Bond's famous martini, with a strong dash of irony. In chapter 6 of The Man with the Golden Gun, Scaramanga tells Bond that some people who hadn't heard of him are dead and Bond replies: "A lot of people who haven't heard of me are dead".

And then there's the typically British saucy postcard double entendre. In chapter 9 of Diamonds Are Forever, Tiffany Case flirtatiously tells Bond, "If you don't like my peaches, why do you shake my tree", to which Bond replies, "I haven't started to shake it yet. You won't let me get my arms round the trunk".

Being a Fleming-o-phile, I'm not that familiar with the inheritance novels, but I'm sure there are many people out there that are, so let's see what aspects of the novels (Fleming or otherwise) that amuse you.


  • Posts: 1,009
    Just now, I'm re-reading Thunderball. The first time I read the novel, I remember reading those lines about M being a menace to Humanity and laughing my ass off (even shedding tears). In the local Underground (Metro, Subway... Call it what you want: here it's Metro) no less. I guess people thought I was nuts.

    I never laughed like this to a Bond movie. The closest I got there was on DAF, when Bond is rescued and says he was taking his rat for a walk.
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