"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Narniathon: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Narniathon: A delightful project, to read one Narnia book a month and discuss it. 

Chris has posted his first discussion prompt, which I answered here and posted there:

1. The first inkling of magic comes when Lucy enters the wardrobe and passes through into the snowy landscape. If this was your first ever read of this fantasy what was your reaction to this? And if it wasn’t your first read, was the magic still there and did Lewis sustain it through to the end?

  • I first read the Narnia series when I was a preteen, then again as a teenager. Later I read it to my small children, and later we read it to read other in preparation for the movie. Every single time I read LWW I am struck anew at the magic and easy acceptance of it after the initial reluctance to believe Lucy. (Would you?) Imagine stepping into a world of fauns, talking beasts, and a massive lion, who is the king and very wild. I'd be hiding and working frantically to get back to the wardrobe ASAP.

2. If you initially read this as a child, were you aware of and, if so, curious about the Christian allegory Lewis enfolded into the narrative? But if your first experience of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is as an adult does knowing that this is regarded as an allegory affect your appreciation of the story?

  • I was too young my first time through it to recognize the Christian allegory but I'm certain as a teenager I read it expressly to look for the hidden Christian messages. LWW has the most symbolism of the seven books, I think, especially the bit about crucifixion and resurrection of Aslan. As an adult I can dismiss some of my teenage ideas since I've read that Lewis didn't intend the series to be a Christian allegory.

3. And now a more light-hearted question: who is your favourite character, and why? (Or maybe you have more than one favourite character.) Because if story is, to paraphrase Hamlet, the thing that catches our conscience, it’s individuals, whether human or otherwise, with whom we feel affinity or antipathy and who drive most stories forward.

  • I've always been a Lucy fan. She remains sweet and innocent from start to finish and so devoted to Aslan and his message of a deeper love. 

One more idea that I want to explore is the idea that Lewis tried to match each book with a certain planet. In his review of Planet Narnia by Michael Ward, Chris over at Calmgrove examines the idea in his post, Contemplating the Narniad. Ward proposes that Lewis, who was a classics expert, likely wrote the seven books of the series to match the qualities of different planets. Chris wrote: "Each book of the Narniad is based on the mood, atmosphere and characteristics of one of these bodies as personified in pagan mythology and appropriated by medieval Christianity. Lewis, so Ward suggests, wanted to suffuse each book with those planetary aspects that he had assigned to them, such as joviality, saturninity, mercurialness and so on." He goes on to describe LWW as the most jovial of all the books, so Lewis must have wanted its planet of influence to be Jupiter. Ward proposes that Lewis “took certain old familiar pictures in his head and threw them into a pot labelled ‘Joviality’; and as they simmered there, marinading and reducing, they began to smell somewhat of the gospel story. But only somewhat…”

Now that is a fun idea to play around with and one I will attempt to revisit as I continue on with the other books in the series.


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