Tag Archive for: Fantasy

There are spoilers for THE SILVER CHAIR in this post.

The Silver Chair: A Discussion

THE SILVER CHAIR is the fourth book in the Narniad (in published order). I finished reading it for the Narniathon21 I’m participating in on Thursday of last week. (The Narniathon’s hosted by Chris at Calmgrove.)

This is the only book in the Narniad that I remembered nothing from my previous read 14 years ago. Okay, I remembered that Eustace Scrubbs was one of the main characters, but that’s it. Other than that, I was basically reading this installment as if it were my first time again. I thought once I started rereading THE SILVER CHAIR, the story would come back to me–it didn’t.

I really liked THE SILVER CHAIR. It was a lot different than the previous three books, which I found kind of refreshing. I did get annoyed by the owls “tu-whoos” and Puddleglum’s negativity, but not enough to make me hate the story. There were also a couple of times I was frustrated because I understood what was happening a lot sooner than the characters did (e.g. Autumn feast, Rilian’s enchantment). I had to remind myself that these are children’s books so I wouldn’t get too mad, lol.

I thought the allegory was more subtle in THE SILVER CHAIR than in the previous installments of the Narniad until the end, anyway. Then the allegory is obvious when Aslan asks Eustace to pierce his paw with a thorn. Even though the imagery’s unmistakable, I thought how Lewis tied it in with Caspian’s death was beautiful. It’s my favorite ending so far in the series.

The more subtle parts of the allegory are the four signs that Aslan gives to Jill to follow so she and Eustace can find Prince Rilian. Aslan tells her to recite them when she wakes up in the morning and before she goes to sleep at night so she doesn’t forget them. Over on Chris’ blog, he commented:

I think Aslan’s insistence that Jill repeat the Four Signs rubric morning and night is deliberately redolent of saying prayers before and after sleep.

I agree that by having Jill recite the signs like Aslan asks, the signs are reminiscent of morning and nightly prayers. And, the fact that Jill, Eustace, and Puddleglum don’t recognize the signs before they come upon them reminds me of the “signs of the times” that Christians look for as signals of Christ’s second coming. As a Christian, I’ve been brought up to believe the “signs of the times” can help me prepare and be ready for when Christ comes to reign again on the earth.

I also think, and I don’t think I’m alone, that there are many interpretations of the signs. Look at the book of Revelations, for example. Scholars and theologians can speculate what they think John the Revelator meant by what he wrote. And, I think we’re all going to be surprised as to what he meant by what he wrote when everything happens. (This is, of course, if you believe like I do that the book of Revelations is a book of things to come.)

I also thought of the signs in conjunction with following Christ’s commandments. Jill and Eustace do their best to follow the signs. They try to keep their minds from getting confused as Aslan warns. They, as Jill puts it, “muff it up” a few times. Aslan is gracious and forgiving and gives them many chances to follow the signs as Christ does with us. I believe as long as we’re trying to follow Christ and do good, He will give us as many chances as we need to follow Him and do as He asks.

I’m looking forward to reading THE HORSE AND HIS BOY this month. It’s one of my favorite installments in the Narniad.

Have you read THE SILVER CHAIR? Did you like it? Why? Why not?

There are spoilers for THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER in this post.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: A Discussion

THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER is the third book in the Narniad (in published order). I finished reading it for the Narniathon21 I’m participating in on Monday. (The Narniathon’s hosted by Chris at Calmgrove.)

This is my favorite installment of the Narniad. I love how Edmund, Lucy, and Eustace get to Narnia, and I love reading about their adventures while sailing the Dawn Treader with Caspian and his crew. I think all of the different circumstances they find themselves in on each of the islands are interesting. My two favorite islands are Dragon Island and the one with the Dufflepuds.

I’m glad Dragon Island is one of the first islands they sail to. I don’t think I could’ve taken Eustace’s constant nagging, complaining, conceitedness any longer. The interesting thing is that Eustace actually becomes one of my favorite characters in the Narniad after his time as a dragon. I love getting more of Reepicheep in this adventure. He’s such a fun character. If I had a chance of meeting him, I’d be exactly like Lucy, wanting to pick him up and cuddle him. I him so much.

I said this with LWW and PRINCE CASPIAN, but I think every one of these books in the Narniad ends kind of abruptly and a little bit weirdly. THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER is probably the least out of the three so far because it at least winds down unlike the previous two.

As with the previous two, a few things regarding the allegory stood out to me during this read. I thought the way Eustace explained how he transformed back into a human with Aslan’s help was really interesting. It was almost like he was baptized and had his sins washed away. And, instead of Aslan bleeding like Christ did in the Garden of Gethsemane, CS Lewis turned it around by making Eustace hurt and bleed after Aslan cut through his dragon skin with his teeth or claws (I can’t remember which).

The other thing I noticed about the allegory is how Aslan was really only in THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER via second-hand accounts and the characters seeing visages of him when they were in danger. It was almost like CS Lewis was trying to portray Aslan as those of us who believe in Christ talk to Him through prayer.

I do like the ending when Aslan tells Lucy and Edmund the reason the Pevensies came to Narnia in the first place was so they’d recognize Him in their own world. It helps me make sense of why Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are now too old to return to Narnia, even though in my mind no one is too old to be in Christ’s presence since, you know, Aslan is Christ.

Also, over on Chris’ blog, he asked what we thought the significance was of the characters sailing east. I think the significance is part of the allegory. There are many scriptures that say when Christ comes again, He’ll appear in the east. Chris commented:

“I’ve no doubt that the journey to the east is meant to allude to Eden. Most medieval graves and many modern ones are literally oriented towards oriens, the ‘rising sun’ so that on the Day of Doom the faithful are facing the Second Coming. Lewis signals the symbolism very strongly with his references to the sun getting bigger, and the very name of the ship alludes to the theme.”

I didn’t even think of the name of the ship alluding to the theme of going toward the rising sun or pointing toward Christ, if you will. I think THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER has a lot about it that is very interesting to think about in terms of the allegory, again making it my favorite installment of the Narniad.

I’m looking forward to reading THE SILVER CHAIR this month. I don’t remember anything about it, except that Eustace returns to Narnia.

Have you read THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER? Did you like it? Why? Why not?

There are spoilers for PRINCE CASPIAN: THE RETURN TO NARNIA in this post. ( Don’t click the “View Spoiler” link below if you don’t want to be spoiled for THE LAST BATTLE.)

Prince Caspian: A Discussion

PRINCE CASPIAN is the second book in the Narniad (in published order). I finished reading it for the Narniathon21 I’m participating in about a week ago. (The Narniathon’s hosted by Chris at Calmgrove.)

I really love this installment of the Narniad. I love that all the Pevensies are back in Narnia. I think it’s interesting to see Narnia in ruin and that the story takes place many years after the Pevensie children ruled as kings and queens in Cair Paravel.

I also love the new characters, except Nikabrik. I wanted to strangle him, especially when Peter, Edmund, and Trumpkin happened upon the council in Aslan’s How. It frustrated me so much that they waited as long as they did to go into the meeting. My favorite new character is Reepicheep. I him. I love him more in upcoming stories, though.

I forgot that the ending of PRINCE CASPIAN is just as abrupt as LWW, but for whatever reason, it doesn’t bother me like it does in LWW. I think it’s because I love the last line:

‘Bother!’ said Edmund. ‘I’ve left my new torch in Narnia.’

I think that line is rather funny whereas LWW tries to end on a more serious note.

As with LWW, a couple things regarding the allegory stood out to me more during this read. I thought it was interesting that Lucy, the youngest, sees and believes Aslan has returned first. This reminded me of how pure a child’s faith is compared to an adult. Children believe so easily and so strongly (e.g. Santa Clause, Easter Bunny) whereas adults are much more skeptical and cynical. When I was a child, I believed wholeheartedly in the tenets of my own faith. Now, as an adult, I have to work at it much harder. CS Lewis captures my own journey with faith and religion perfectly in the chapter “The Return of the Lion.”

The other thing I noticed about the allegory this time was the timeframe of Narnia and Aslan’s return. In the Christian faith, most believe that Christ will come again to deliver the faithful when the world has fallen into sin, ruin, war, and chaos. When the Pevensies return to Narnia in PRINCE CASPIAN, it has been thousands of years and Narnia is in ruins and war. As the children and Trumpkin head to Caspian and his army, Aslan returns to help the Narnians who believe in Old Narnia.

The parts of the Narniad that don’t make any sense to me start to crop up in PRINCE CASPIAN. At the end, Aslan tells Peter and Susan they’re too old to return to Narnia. If Aslan is Christ, or as CS Lewis says:

Since Narnia is a world of Talking Beasts, I thought He [Christ] would become a Talking Beast there, as He became a man here. I pictured Him becoming a lion there because (a) the lion is supposed to be the king of beasts; (b) Christ is called “The Lion of Judah” in the Bible; (c) I’d been having strange dreams about lions when I began writing the work.

Companion to Narnia: Revised Edition

Then why would Peter and Susan outgrow being in Aslan’s presence? View Spoiler » You can see how much CS Lewis’ choice here bothers me. I am trying to keep an open mind as I read through the series a second time, but it’s hard in these instances because they bother me a lot.

Have you read PRINCE CASPIAN: THE RETURN TO NARNIA? Did you like it? Why? Why not?

There are spoilers for THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE (LWW) in this post.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: A Discussion

As I stated in my post Joining the Narniathon21, I’ve decided to participate in a reread of The Chronicles of Narnia hosted by Chris over at Calmgrove. I’ve wanted to reread the series for a couple of years now as I want to see if my feelings, for THE LAST BATTLE in particular, are the same after a reread. I won’t say more than that as I want to discuss those feelings when we read THE LAST BATTLE.

I first read the Narniad 14 years ago as an adult. I read it with a couple of friends and they told me to read it in chronological order rather than published order. Even though it was my first time reading the books, I was familiar with the story of LWW as I had watched a TV adaptation with my mom when I was a teenager.

One of the things that I always thought was weird about LWW (from the adaptation) was how abrupt the ending was. I had always thought the TV people didn’t have the budget to end the story properly. Nope. I was very surprised to find out that the book ending is just as abrupt and that the adaptation was actually quite faithful to the book. The ending is the thing I least like about LWW.

The thing I like the most about LWW (or the Narniad in general) is the Christian allegory. I’m not sure if I knew about the allegory when I watched the adaptation, but I know I knew about it when I read the Narniad 14 years ago. During this read, certain parts of the allegory made more of an impact on me. Of course I understood Aslan’s sacrifice the first time I read LWW. This time, I noticed the wording surrounding the Deep Magic regarding Edmund’s treachery. CS Lewis termed the Deep Magic as “law” and when the White Witch and Aslan discussed what to do about Edmund, the White Witch said the law stated that anyone treacherous belonged to her. It immediately brought to mind an image of Satan and Christ bargaining for a wayward soul.

I’m also much more well-read this time around and I noticed that Lilith, Adam’s first wife in Jewish lore, was mentioned as part of the White Witch’s heritage. I felt like Captain America in Avengers:

I actually really like the Lilith lore and I love reading stories that include her in them. Do you know anything about Lilith? Have you read any other books that include her lore in them?

I wasn’t a reader as a child. I despised reading. In fact, my reading adventures didn’t begin until about 14.5 years ago. I wonder if I had read LWW, or any of the Narniad for that matter, as a child if I would’ve liked them more. I’m also curious if reading them for the first time in chronological order has any bearing on my feelings about the books. What do you think?

Have you read THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE? Did you like it? Why? Why not?

P.S. My two favorite characters from LWW have always been Lucy and Aslan. I think it’s obvious why Aslan’s one of them. Lucy’s one of them because I relate to her the most. She and I are both the youngest in our families, seen as small (her in stature, me in manner) but fierce, wear our hearts on our sleeves, think of others, and are especially fond of animals. Who’s your favorite character?