Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Notes from the Upperground: Perelandra

This is the first in my new post cycles. Notes from the Upperground will appear on the titles of posts that are about things, books or movies that I have posted on before. Notes from the Underground is book by Fydo (I can't spell this guy's real name, but he also wrote The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov.)

This one is on Perelandra and the Lord of the Rings. I was just thinking on the way home about the differences of Perelandra from The Lord of the Rings.

Perelandra is shorter and it isn't exactly an epic. Tolkien's has an immediate epic feel about it. Perelandra is so real and surreal all at once. It begins with Lewis himself as a character, and that grabs our attention and we see emotions and inner thoughts so clearly in his characters...Perelandra is in a class all by itself.

The Lord of the Rings is much, much longer. Tolkien really didn't want it to be a trilogy to begin with; he didn't have a choice in splitting it up. The Lord of the Rings isn't quite as heavy with emotions as Perelandra is, and there are a lot more characters to deal with, and therefore there is a lot less personal thought. However, the feelings of the characters come through clearly none the less.

The Lord of the Rings follows several characters on their journey to save Middle-Earth; Perelandra follows the journey of Ransom as he saves Perelandra from falling as Thulcandra did. There are very few characters in Perelandra compared to The Lord of the Rings; all of them being ingenious. I think that one of the main points in Perelandra is the atmosphere and setting. I felt like I was there most of the time when I was reading it, because I had a very clear picture of what it was like. The Golden Sky was so peaceful...it made me wish we had a gold one rather than blue. I wanted to really be at Perelandra. Another cool thing about it is that for several chapters, Ransom was blissfully (if not maddeningly) alone, and he could explore the floating islands in peace...there was little or no fear of harm, but there was still that horror of being alone, so it was an adventure. Lewis focused himself on smaller circles than Tolkien, and Tolkien created a complete world with mythology and cultures. I often have visions in my head of places in the Lord of the Rings that are not mentioned in the book or movie that I found myself because of the many rich descriptions of the world...I know it well enough that I know what other places must look like. I'll probably return to this topic later....but I have a new book to get started on!


lisatatj said...

I like your insights into Perelandra.. I didn't read Lord of the Rings (only Return of the King) but I can really appreciate what you mean from the thoughts I had as I read Perelandra. I want to read Perelandra again and let my imagination 'see' things a little more next time! thanks

Anna said...

Thank you very much! I remember really feeling like I was there. Perelandra is my favorite Lewis book so far....but I'm reading Till We Have Faces. Even from what I've read, I still prefer Perelandra to it!