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Posts Tagged ‘Prince Caspian’

We got Prince Caspian for Christmas at our house.  Some movies offer what no books can: moments of sight and sound and emotion woven together.  My favorite in this movie is Peter, High King, sitting back against the table of Aslan’s sacrifice staring at a carving of Aslan’s face and realizing that in his humanness, Peter is insufficient.  Peter fails.  And Aslan is always faithful.  Perhaps he imagines the look on Aslan’s face when Edmund returned, forgiven.  Now Peter knows too.  And has to go on. 

 

At the beginning of Prince Caspian is another moment.  If you’re not watching closely, you’ll miss it.  For just a second the view that had been following Lucy and Susan beneath the rail-station arch pauses to focus on the lion statue beside it.  The sight is full of memory, as though the roar from Narnia is trapped in that lion.  For a while I ignore the scene’s progression and I think of the year between leaving the Wardrobe and now.  

 

One of my dear friends had the opportunity to spend a semester at Oxford, England.  Surrounded by faith-friends and the sites of our favorite literature, my friend whose strength is imagination was four months in legendary England.  Now she is home, just in time for Christmas.  She grew while she was away, I know.  And maybe we all could have predicted how her return would affect her: “It’s like stepping back out of the wardrobe,” she says.  I see four children tumble onto the wood floor of a clean old attic. 

 

And I want to ask her, “Do you look for Aslan everywhere you go?”  I mean, you might hear a tune and think of fauns, or see some architecture like Cair Paravel’s.  A turn of phrase might bring back the voice of an old friend.  Just looking at the face of one who was with you there could bring it all back.  But mostly I think that those who have returned from Narnia would have learned to watch for Aslan. 

 

Of course Aslan is only a type of the true Lion, my King forever and Redeemer coming-back.  Jesus is the ever-present, always active One whom I can always seek.  Do I look for Him everywhere? 

 

It always reminds me of John, the disciple Jesus loved.  After three years of a close relationship – three years walking and talking and eating, crying and laughing, with God Himself! – this man says good-bye to his Friend.  Buoyed by the hope translated to the gospel he would write decades later, the hope of presence and return and friendship and comfort, he marched on through life.  But I wonder if sometimes he didn’t sit in the darkness and miss his Savior with all that he was.  Imagine his excitement to literally be a part of Revelation, to be in those visions, to see again One – hesitantly, as though John had pictured this moment so many times that he might only be dreaming again – like the Son of Man.  Familiar face, glorified, more like the few moments on the mountain than the months in the dust.  And John is back, Jesus speaking to him, comforting him, rewarding his hope.  But there is more to do.  John’s work on earth is not finished.  He is sent back to write the last words of the hope of new testament. 

 

Sent back.  Held back.  Cannot follow.  Kept waiting.  Watching.  Can’t sleep because you’re standing on the walls, straining eyes to see.  Can’t despair because the words are true, Jesus is coming back.  Must follow, because readiness is imperative for the return of the Bridegroom.  Readiness that glows with anticipation and faith-full faithfulness. 

 

Do you look for Him everywhere? 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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Prince Caspian struck me in another way.  In a world trying to live without God, the story points out the vanity of any battle.  If God did not intend the effort, then why are you fighting?  And if you are fighting without Him, is there hope of success?  Can there be success when you have no aim?  In the movie asked the war council comprised of Prince Caspian and his council: a black dwarf, a red dwarf, the badger; and of Peter, Edmund, and Susan – “Who are you doing this for?” 
 
The black dwarf a little later suggested to Prince Caspian that they seek supernatural help – but not from Aslan.  Like Abraham trying to fulfill God’s promise for Him, Prince Caspian nearly took matters into his own hands by giving them to the White Witch’s.  “You can’t do this alone,” she coaxed the prince and then the high king from her icy prison. 
 
Were there only two options?  Was Peter forced to decide between losing to Miraz when no help would come, or surrendering to the White Witch?  Was it so hard to wait for Aslan?  My favorite scene of the movie is Peter leaning back against the broken stone table in Aslan’s Howe, gazing at the sculpture of Aslan carved against the wall behind the broken ice curtain in which Peter had been tempted by the White Witch hours before.  He is deep in humble thought, feeling the weight of his mistakes and rebellion.  I know what it is to fear getting up again, because you’ve let yourself fall so many times.  I know what it is to only wish to see the face of my Lord. 
 
How do you follow in a world without answers?  What is this faith that demands you choose when you don’t even know all the options?  Is it fair to ask us to wait on what we are not sure will come?  Why is losing sometimes the plan? 
 
Peter’s story is different from ours in two important ways: First, Peter had seen Aslan, long ago, and witnessed his power firsthand.  Secondly, Peter did not have any written instructions to guide him, but we have the Bible.  Prince Caspian had neither benefit and so, as Jesus told Thomas, was more blessed for believing truth he had not seen. 
 
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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(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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(read after Part 1)
 
If God sent undeniably fantastic events and figures upon the world, what would we do?  After we had reconciled ourselves to a new world completely different from that we’d imagined, would our lives be better or worse?  In Narnia (spoiler warnings, but these books have been out for fifty years, so I don’t feel sorry for you) after Aslan was back and the dryads and nyads were dancing about with the fauns, badgers, giants, mice, bears, and chipmunks, there was a celebration.   Flowers bloomed.  Telmarines joined the festival, freer than they had ever been for seeing the world as it truly was. 
 
I imagine that, even if it were in a catastrophic form of judgment that God reasserted the reality of things outside our world able to pierce through, there would be a revival of saving faith.  There would be joy and wonder and courage.  Even if the awakening is slower and more gradual, even if it is happening to the unsaved as much as to the believer and a mass of the world reembraces paganism in a revolt against naturalism, GK Chesterton points out that the last things the pagans did is convert to Christianity.  That was their climax.  CS Lewis hints at that, but I think he sees paganism as something to be fulfilled, or seen without human’s taint.  The revelry at the end of Prince Caspian is a pagan one redeemed because it is governed by, and centered around Aslan. 
 
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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