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Posts Tagged ‘Chronicles of Narnia’

(read before Part 2)

 

Saturday night I went with some friends to see Prince Caspian, the sequel to CS Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  Of the seven Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian is my favorite.  I try not to think of allegory unless it occurs to me when I read CS Lewis.  So my appreciation for the story is quite apart from any meaning of the novel.  The story moves quickly, and there are fascinating characters and a glorious victory. 

 

The movie, as Hollywood is wont to do with my favorite things, greatly altered the book.  The basic plot was there, and some of the same events.  I dare say the duel was taken call by call from the book.  A major battle was added, and important events were out of place, which puts a very different spin on the themes of the book. 

 

One point is the same in the book and the movie.  Narnia has been invaded by a tribe of humans called the Telmarines.  They killed or exiled every talking animal and mythological thing when they conquered, and have for some generations denied the existence of dwarves, fauns, centaurs, and talking mice along with anything supernatural.  King Miraz rules a world he understands and controls.  And in the story all of a sudden everything they never believed existed came marching up in front of their face.  

 

What a picture of our country!  So content in our insistent denial of the supernatural, we wander along in a world we think we can control.  If there is a God, he doesn’t interfere with the natural course.  If God does redeem the soul, He does not give any power to the Christian.  If a Christian has power, it is just excellence in normal gifts and talents.  There are no demons and no miracles.  Waters do not part.  Men do not come back to life.  Angels are legends for Christmas trees and graveyards.  Dreams are not prophetic.  Judgment is never more than consequences or human vengeance. 

So we seem to believe. 

 

If God sent undeniably fantastic events and figures upon the world, what would we do? 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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Prince Caspian takes place one year after The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe ends.  In that time, back in a country participating in a world war, expected to behave like a child and to study algebra and sit at desks and ride in trains and motorcars, dealing with a father who might never come back and a mother who is hardly there – how did the four children who had been kings and queens of Narnia for decades cope?  What questions did they ask? 
 
Why did that happen to them?  What purpose did it serve in their lives?  How could they use what they learned and what they went through in their own world?  Could they use it? 
 
Why had they been returned to earth?  Didn’t Narnia need them?  What would happen to their friends?  They didn’t say good-bye.  Would they see them again? 
 
Was it real?  Had anyone else been to Narnia?  That lion statue looks like Aslan.  The horse reminds them of their talking horses.  Icicles terrify them.  Fist fights are necessary, but way too boring.  Who wants to wear school uniforms when you used to dress in the most ornate brocades and silks with embroidery?  Why should you talk to any of these boring and impertinent human children?  Can you really be friends with someone to whom you can’t say anything about years of your life? 
 
Will they ever go back?  Can they get back?  How will it happen?  When?  Will they return as they were when they left?  Do they want to go back?  Is it worth going back to lose it all again when they return to earth? 
 
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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The Hobbit is being made into a major motion picture.  I’m sad.  There is a terrible fear in me that this will be like those daily cartoon spin-offs from excellent Disney movies.  All my friends tell me how necessary the story of The Hobbit is to the plot of The Lord of the Rings.  I am glad of its existence, and even glad I read The Hobbit.  There are some enchanting passages about moons and maps and elves and mountains.  Of course Tolkien’s fame and further publications were built on the success of The Hobbit, too. 

 

One part that excites me in seeing Peter Jackson’s skill at fantasy movies is to see Smaug, the dragon.  I love seeing dragons in action.  Not the silly Chinese paper ones that have hundreds of little human feet sticking out the bottom as they run in the parade.  But the dragon in Sleeping Beauty, or those in Reign of Fire, in the old Chronicles of Narnia movies…  and now The Hobbit.  What’s more, this dragon must talk.  That will be interesting. 

 

As I first pondered this one positive point of the upcoming Hobbit movie, I found myself being reproached.  “How could you be a fan of dragons?  You’re a fantasy lover, aren’t you?  Don’t you know that there is a group of Christians who reject fantasy literature because of things like dragons?”  The criticizer was also myself, so I suppose I could be as hard as I wished, in defense or offense. 

 

I think the defense began with a afore-unthought fell blow.  God used dragons in His stories.  Revelation is the most prominent example.  Though my interpretation is generally literal, I believe the dragon in Revelation is an image for a being invisible on the earth, but powerful.  But isn’t the imagery powerful?  Our imaginations are excited.  We shudder.  In most myths, the dragon is a feared and loathsome beast. 

 

God used dragons and other fantastic imagery to connect to our imaginations, which He also created.  Have you ever wondered why God gave us imagination?  Michael Card calls it “the bridge between my heart and mind.” 

 

Respecting Dr. Paleo’s reasoned position on fantasy literature, which he was so good as to share with me, the offense half of myself recovered from this powerful strike to offer further evidence (borrowed from my fellow blogger).  Why would you want to read a story in which the laws God created don’t exist? 

 

Testimonial rebuttal was provided by the defense.  When I read fiction – and fantasy especially, it is like a lens by which I can focus in on one issue.  CS Lewis wrote his Space Trilogy addressing hypothetical questions.  What if God hadn’t given Adam and Eve the choice in the garden?  Through his fantasy world in which there was no choice, I came to better understand my world where there is one.  Lord of the Rings is excellent at showing a strong line between good and evil.  There were falls, temptations, and betrayals.  But the moral right and the moral wrong were always clear.  Good guys could fight bad guys without doubting who was bad. 

 

Tolkien was Catholic, and his worldview is pervasive in his work.  Harry Potter is, I understand, also a series of fantasy books reflecting the author’s worldview.  The reason I am opposed to Harry Potter is that the book directs children to real Satanism, and employs real language from the occult.  There are other more minor issues, like the portrayal of parents and authority, that would make these books unsuitable for children. 

 

My objecting side refused to surrender the point that the two forms of fantasy are substantially different, and made another attempt at dissuading my Lord of the Rings loving side from its stand.  Don’t you have anything better to do or read? 

 

One of my best friends was aghast when I informed her that I am willing to give up my Lord of the Rings collection if the man I marry disapproves of them.  They helped form my philosophy and interests.  At this moment I do not believe God wanted me not to read them.  But it seems remotely possible that with the other characteristics and values I’m praying my husband will have, he might also disapprove of fantasy literature and even of dragons.  In which case there are a lot of things more valuable to me than my stack of Lord of the Rings books, movies, memorabilia, and games. 

 

For a black and white person like me, strong-willed and defensive, a resolution to change my mind if warranted in the future is an interesting position.  I am in a similar place regarding skirts.  I love skirts, and feel I can do almost anything in them.  But I enjoy wearing a good warm pair of jeans some days, too.  It’s always better to err on the side of excellence, isn’t it? 

 

At the end of the debate, the defensive me was winning.  That point about the Bible using a dragon to represent the manifestation of evil encouraged me.  Tolkien, at least, classifies dragons in the same way: representing embodied evil: greed and destruction and deceit.  Without familiarity with these or other mythological dragons, how could one even come close to comprehending the abhorrence intended by John in describing the devil on earth that way? 

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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