Here is the highest-res version I could find of the only illustration I could find of her. It’s by Lauren Child — not longtime Dahl illustrator Quentin Blake. I’m not sure what it was actually for, but it’s labeled as being Miranda.
An excerpt: “You villain!” [Mrs. Piker] screamed. “I know your tricks! You're grinding them into powder! In two minutes my darling Miranda will come pouring out of one of those dreadful pipes, and so will my husband!” “Of course,” said Mr. Wonka. “That’s part of the recipe.”
Although I can’t access the Times posting of the “Spotty Powder” chapter, I did find the entire passage here. She even gets her own Oompa-Loompa eulogy. Best lyrics: “So we said, ‘Why don’t we fix her / In the Spotty-Powder mixer / Then we’re bound to like her better than we did.’”
It’s perhaps a grimmer elimination than was met by any of the children in the final version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. You’ll remember that the book’s final pages tell you that the four bad kids all survive despite the seemingly fatal circumstances of their exit from the tour: Veruca emerges from the “bad nut” bin covered in garbage, Mike gets taffy-stretched to enormous proportions, Violet gets juiced (but remains purple), and Augustus gets squeezed thin by the fudge chute. Given that only Miranda’s “death” scene exists, it’s tempting to imagine that she wasn’t so lucky, though getting pulverized into Spotty Dust is maybe better than never existing at all.
At some point, Roald Dahl spared Miranda from complete obscurity, however. Outside the context of Wonka Enterprises, Inc., Miranda was fed into a peanut brittle machine:
|via the illustrator, p.j. lynch|
Miranda is not the only Wonka victim to be blinked out of existence. The Roald Dahl Museum has posted a revision-by-revision roster of all the golden ticket-winners, their personal failings and how they “died” in their respective versions of the story. (It’s rather like a slasher film, isn’t it, with virtuous Charlie being the final girl?) The revisions offer a peek at Dahl’s creative process and his wilder visions of terrible children and the nasty fates they met.
In the first 1961 version, for example, it’s Charlie plus these nine other kids:
- Augustus Pottle, who falls in the chocolate river
- Miranda Grope, ditto, despite Augustus’ example
- Wilbur Rice and Tommy Troutbeck climb in wagons running from the vanilla fudge mountain and end up the Pounding and Cutting Room
- Violet Strabismus
- Clarence Crump, Bertie Upside and Terence Roper who each cram a whole mouthful of warming candies and overheat
- Elvira Entwhistle, who falls foul of the squirrels in the Nut Room
- Augustus Pottle, who falls into chocolate river, and goes to the Choc Fudge room
- Miranda Mary Piker, ditto, but who goes to the Peanut Brittle room
- Violet Beauregarde, turns purple after chewing gum
- Henry Trout, climbs in a vanilla fudge wagon
- Marvin Prune, [pages missing from draft, so we never find out what happens to him]
- Veruca Salt, tipped down the garbage chute in the Nut Room
- Charlie Bucket, a nice boy
- Augustus Gloop, a greedy boy
- Marvin Prune, a conceited boy [we never find out what happens to him, as his exit isn’t included in this draft, and he was then dropped]
- Herpes Trout, a television-crazy boy
- Miranda Mary Piker, a girl who is allowed to DO anything she wants
- Veruca Salt, a girl who is allowed to HAVE anything she wants
- Violet Beauregarde, a girl who chews gum all day long.
Final discussion question: Is it strange that the first movie adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory put the emphasis on someone else by titling it Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Even if the plot itself still treats Charlie as the main character?
Pop culture minutiae, previously: