View Full Version : The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
12-22-2005, 09:10 AM
If you are in any way associated with children, you might be compelled to take in "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" this holiday season. I was. Surprisingly, I found the experience more intellectually stimulating than expected. Some thoughts:
1. The Witch was more courageous than the Lion. She faced death like a lioness--he faced a sham death from which he knew he would arise.
2. The Lion was self-absorbled, heavy, and frankly a downer to hang with. (contrast with Sabatini's hero: "He was born with the gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad.")
3. The Witch would have gladly loved the Lion, if only he would have taken her in. The trope of destroying something external-Evil, is so un Christ-like.
4. The boy Edmond was tricked in his betrayal, and robbed of his repentance.
I found it remarkable that this film is being touted as a great Christian epic.
In reading about C. S. Lewis, I learned that his beloved mother "deserted" him by dying when the boy was ten. Similarly, in a Harper's discussion of the director Lars Von Trier, I read that Von Trier considers all women "betrayers" because his mother played some necessary trick on him--which he continues to wave about like a bannered coat of arms. These men have never grown past their infantile demand for the world to be how they want it to be.
The Witch is doing God's work--we are still waiting for the Lion to grow up.
That's an interesting interpretation Willoweyes. I've not seen the film, but the books were read to us in infant school. As I recall, all the kids are killed in a train crash at the end of the last book and they all go to heaven - except one. She didn't because she had discovered the joys of lipstick... That's as I recall anyway!
I think a lot of men consider women as 'betrayers' because the ego is eventually dissolved by the body. Sisters and mothers are sacrosanct, but lovers are always potentially Lilith. To misquote King Lear, 'When the body's free, the mind's delicate.'
I think C.S. Lewis' Narnia books are poisonous.
[ December 22, 2005, 12:32 PM: Message edited by: Thom ]
12-22-2005, 12:17 PM
This week’s New Yorker magazine has an interesting article on Philip Pullman who writes stories in the antithesis to C. S. Lewis & J.R.R. Tolkien.
It might be worth a look.
[ December 22, 2005, 02:25 PM: Message edited by: sidecross ]
I think Philip Pulman is wonderful. His trilogy, Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass are an interpretation of Blake, Rilke, Milton, western esotericism etc wrapped within a 'war in heaven' narrative. Completely relevant for our times. He's been fiercely criticised for writing overtly anti-religion books aimed at children, but has been a bestseller - in britain at least.
If you're looking for something to read to your kids, or even to yourself, i'd strongly recommend him. Awesome.
12-22-2005, 01:55 PM
i liked "self-absorbled" - sort of self-absorbed plus garbled.
i saw the narnia film and was disappointed. it was amazing to me how i remembered nothing of the story from many childhood readings! i found Lewis' trilogy of adult sci-fi very useful to me while writing 2012 - Out of the Silent Planet, etc. These are interesting books! Lewis was good buddies with the Steinerite Owen Barfeld. His vision of heaven in another novel is also very interesting, and his relationship to Christianity more complex than most commentators address.
12-22-2005, 02:12 PM
Sidecross, thanks for the link to Pullman's interview by Laura Miller. He's a hero. It was a treat to read his analysis of Lewis' work.
12-22-2005, 02:15 PM
To read the interaction of C.S. Lewis, J.T.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, Owen Barfield, and others check out The Inklings by Humphrey Carpenter.
[ December 22, 2005, 03:16 PM: Message edited by: sidecross ]
Another interesting related writer is George MacDonald. Both Tolkien and Lewis drew much from him. I've only read his, 'Phantastes,' but the descriptions of faerie in that book are amazing, deeply convincing and very unsettling. Lewis wrote that reading MacDonald had baptised his imagination. Washed the absorbledness away maybe!
[ December 22, 2005, 04:54 PM: Message edited by: Thom ]
12-23-2005, 10:56 AM
Well, absorbled was an accident. I wouldn't have noticed w/o Daniel's observation--now I feel clever and sort of Calvin-Trillinish.
Thanks for the book suggestions, guys.
Actually, the main purpose of this post is to erase Dawson Smith--polluter!
12-23-2005, 11:18 AM
Magician's Nephew was my favorite out of that series, after Lion. Last Battle was horrible. The others were fun. The Narnia movie, while fun to see (and technically flawless) felt robotic and was a disapointment to me, as well as to my 9-yr-old who enjoyed the stories. I particularly disliked how they handled Aslan.
The Golden Compass was a fantastic start to Pullman's Dark Materials series; the others seemed to really struggle under the weight of the plot. I found his standalone The Scarecrow and His Servant to be his funniest and most brilliant book.
In a similar category to the Lewis/Pullman books, I would also recommend The Pocket and the Pendant by Mark Jeffrey.
[ December 23, 2005, 02:56 PM: Message edited by: forteanajones ]
12-23-2005, 05:05 PM
i've enjoyed those books as pleasant diversions, but when it comes to the pompus moralizing (especially pullman's) i get all wistful for the turgid prose of a robret e. howard conan story...
... there's so much more inventive stuff in fantasy since them fellas started...
...try Tanith Lee's 'Tales from the flat Earth' much more interesting, and fluid...
Or Susanah Clarke's 'Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.' Not really for children though!
Anyway, merry christmas everybody!
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