In Moonraker, James Bond is attempting to put the current popularity among the English people of Sir Hugo Drax into some sort of context.

“Well, sir,” said Bond finally. “For one thing the man’s a national hero. The public have taken to him. I suppose he’s in much the same class as Jack Hobbs or Gordon Richards.

With these two names, Fleming not only named the greatest cricketer and the greatest jockey England had ever known, but also two men who had been knighted in 1953, the year before Fleming wrote Moonraker. They were thus very much in the public consciousness at that time, and remain so to this day, at least for those in the United Kingdom.

For some modern readers, outside of the UK, at first glance, the context may not mean as much in this day and time, but for the time when Moonraker was published, these were two of the biggest heroes the country had at that time. Putting Sir Hugo Drax in their company is making a statement, indeed.

sir-jack-hobbs
Sir Jack Hobbs
Sir-Gordon-Richards
Sir Gordon Richards

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