Many of us will be familiar with the brooding nature of some of our favourite characters, from books old and new, who have taken a drag on their cigarette at points throughout the story. This can be an integral part of the character’s nature, can be used to tie down events to a particular era, or can be used to exaggerate the emotions currently at play. What is clear about cigarettes throughout literature is that they are a consistent plot device and so for this reason, we decided to have a little fun with this recurring motif and swap smoking for vaping in classic novels . . .

The Lord of the Ring’s – J.R.R.Tolkien

Let’s begin with one of the most well-known and widely-loved characters in the fantasy genre: Gandalf. Throughout the books Gandalf frequently removes from underneath his clock a sizeable pipe and creates vast smoke rings. We like to think he would have had much more fun blowing vape rings with one of our e-cigs . . .

“Gandalf did not laugh again; and he did not answer, but looking keenly at Saruman he drew on his [e-cig] and sent out a great ring of [vape] with many smaller rings that followed it. Then he put up his hand, as if to grasp them, and they vanished. With that he got up and left Saruman without another word; but Saruman stood for some time silent, and his face was dark with doubt and displeasure.” – Unfinished Tales – Concerning Gandalf, Saruman and the Shire

Gandalf smoking

Money – Martin Amis

And we would like to think that our narrator in Money, John Self, would have had to worry about money a whole lot less if he’d have stuck to vaping instead of forking out for all those cigarettes!

“‘Yeah’, I said, and started [taking another vape]. Unless I specifically inform you otherwise, I’m always [vaping].”

The Idiot – Fyodor Dostoyevsky 

“Suddenly . . .the pale blue one snatched the [e-cigarette] out of my hand and flung it out of the window. The train was racing along. I gazed at her aghast . . . Her eyes glared at me. Without uttering a word and with extraordinary courtesy, the most perfect, the most refined courtesy, I delicately picked up the lap-dog by the collar in two fingers and flung it out of the window after the [e-cig]! It uttered one squeal. The train was still racing on.”

Though we definitely don’t endorse what the General from Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot claims to have done here, we understand his rage at having such a good piece of equipment treated so recklessly! Perhaps though, if he’d actually been vaping as we’ve imagined here, instead of smoking a cigar, then he wouldn’t have angered his fellow passengers so much . . .

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The Portrait of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

Dorian Grey Painting

Our altered version of Lord Henry’s speech before he, Dorian and Basil head to the theatre indicates his great love we all share for an e-cig. We have to disagree with his comment about them leaving you unsatisfied, however. With an unending list of e-liquid flavours, how could he ever be unsatisfied?

” “Basil, I can’t allow you to smoke cigars. You must have [an e-cigarette]. [An e-cigarette] is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can you want?– Yes, Dorian, you will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you have never had the courage to commit.” ”

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

“The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the [e-cig] out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice. ‘Who are you?’ said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, ‘I — I hardly know, sir, just at present — at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.’

. . . Alice thought she might as well wait, as she had nothing else to do, and perhaps after all it might tell her something worth hearing. For some minutes it puffed away without speaking, but at last it unfolded its arms, took the [e-cig] out of its mouth again, and said, ‘So you think you’re changed, do you?'”

Alice in Wonderland smoking

The Caterpillar from Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland is somewhat of a habitual hookah-user, though in our re imagining he becomes a more modern taken on this vintage classic. Perhaps if the caterpillar had been actually using an e-cigarette he could have paid more attention to Alice’s questions rather than balancing his pipe on the mushroom!

Are there any passages in famous novels you think could be improved with an e-cigarette? Let us know your versions in the comments section!