Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

Hello virtual peoples!

I recently finished reading TLWW for the second or third time, along with a chapter-by-chapter commentary on it, and tonight I watched the movie, so I thought I would post some thoughts.

The Book:
First, I have always thought that Narnia was great, but not fantastic or amazing. Or at least, it feels like that. Rereading TLWW made me change my mind; Narnia is amazing. Rereading the book with the commentary deepened my appreciation for what many consider Lewis's greatest work.

Reading it with the commentary was eye-opening to all the little details and also the way that Lewis writes. There are so many hidden meanings...or at least the author of the commentary says so. Note before I go on: I wonder if the author of the commentary (Devin Brown) was reading stuff into the story, or if he was just suggesting things? It just makes me wonder how much was really behind Narnia. Maybe people think that there is more than there is. It's possible.

Anyway, the book was a lot more enjoyable to read with a commentary, because I understood and appreciated so much more of it, and I got lots of cool facts about C.S. Lewis and his writing style and stuff like that.

When I reached the chapter where Peter, Susan and Lucy first meet Aslan, I was moved. I don't remember being moved before...Aslan was completely majestic, and literally awesome. (I use the word awesome a lot, but most of the things that we use it for aren't really awesome. Does anybody pause to actually check what that word means? It comes from the word awe, and the word awesome has become slang for 'cool' or 'neat.' Here's a link to see what the word awe actually means. I'm not saying you shouldn't say awesome...I'm just saying that I like to know what awe actually is if I'm going to use 'awesome' for slang. ) Aslan is really awesome. It is one of the greatest parts of the book when they first meet Aslan. It makes me wonder how great it's gonna be to meet Christ!

(Although Aslan is not an allegory for Christ, he is a Christ-figure.)

Then, when the White Witch killed Aslan on the stone table, I empathized with Susan and Lucy, and I was actually kind of sad! It was a sad chapter, and I don't remember really having my thoughts provoked by that. I might have nearly cried; I can't remember.

I just remember that it was reminscent of that chapter in Red where Justin dies, and was sad then too.

Then there was the Eucatastrophe when Aslan came back to life, and he and Susan and Lucy had their amazing and wonderful romp before they rode Aslan to the Witch's castle, and Aslan breathed on the statues! Just like I had been sad when Aslan died, I was happy that he came back to life and that he and Susan and Lucy spent time together having fun before saving Narnia.

The book was more meaningful for me when I finished it this time, and I'm really looking forward to reading Prince Caspian now.

The Commentary:

Inside Narnia was a great chapter by chapter book on TLWW that has lots of great insights to C.S. Lewis and the world he created, and it deepened my appreciation of Narnia a lot. Maybe sometime I'll put some quotes up.

Devin Brown discusses characters, Lewis's writing style and Lewis himself, along with a myriad of other things in and out of the story that helped me to understand it a lot better. I'm going to read Devin Brown's commentary on Prince Caspian with the book, and I'm looking forward to it. For serious Lewis readers, this is a good book to get.

The Movie:

I don't have a whole lot to say about the movie, but I'll say a little.

First, the movie was well done. I like James McAvoy as Mr. Tumnus, and I like most of the other actors they got to be in it.

The parts with Aslan aren't quite the same, although I like the CG design of the lion. If you haven't read the book, you obviously won't appreciate the part when they meet Aslan as much, and the part when comes back to life isn't as meaningful either. I don't think that part did the book justice at all.

When Susan and Lucy go with Aslan and then watch the Witch kill him, I think that there are some things they could have done better, but the part from when Lucy and Susan go from their tent to when Aslan is resurrected, I thought it was done pretty well. The music was good there, and there was quiet emptyness in the feel of the movie that fit the part well.

However, Aslan lacked the majesty and awe that he has in the book, and as many others have noted....he is too tame in the movie, even though a character quotes from the book and says "After all, he is not a tame lion."

This is book of the month over at Sock Monkeys.


Martin LaBar said...

The Silver Chair is my favorite of the seven. There's a eucatastrophe in it, too.

Anna said...

It has been a while since I've read the Silver Chair...I have a very difficult time picking favorites, so I don't have a very favorite. I like all of them.

Mythopoeia said...

Silver Chair and Voyage of the Dawn Treader are my absolute favorites, and I agree with you that when I was seven the books were good but not outstanding--but when I was fourteen and decided to read them again--wow. They are now one of the top books on my list. Same thing happened to me regarding Lloyd Alexander's Prydain series.

Oh, and bravo for using the word Eucatastrophe!!! You know Tolkien invented it, right? :)

Anna said...

Yes, he talked about it in his essay "On Fairy Stories," which I should really read again!

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is toward the top of my Narnia list. Outstanding! It's also my brother's favorite.