Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The

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01/03/06..........Classics of Science Fiction


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Wikipedia Entry:


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Newsletter Account


The following account is reprinted with permission from  THE STARSHIP EXPRESS  Copyright 2006  Philip J De Parto:


THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE by C S Lewis was examined by the Classics of Science Fiction Group on Tuesday, January 3, 2006.  The event was attended by Association members Elizabeth Belisle, Ann-Marie Brown, Josephine Brown, Philip De Parto, Todd Ehrenfels, Chris Hasslkus, Steve Herr, Gene Mc Grath, Michael Piazza, Samantha Shortino, William Wagner, and Barry Weinberger.  When the discussion turned to Aslan, Todd observed that Aslan exhibits few of the attributes commonly associated with divinity:  "He's not omnipresent.  He's not omniscient.  Maybe he's off-stage googling."  After the discussion, everyone except Samantha and Bill continued the evening with food and conversation in the store's cafe until it was closing time.


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The following review by Evelyn Leeper is reprinted with permission from THE MT VOID:




[From "This Week's Reading", MT VOID, 12/23/2005]


Last week I read KING KONG; this week it was THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE (ISBN 0-060-76489-9). While the book KING KONG is but a pale imitation of the movie, the movie THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE is not as good as the book. However, this does not mean I think the book is great either. But while the movie has some stunning visual scenes, it cannot convey some of what can be done with narration. Take the children's reaction to Aslan. When they first hear of him in the book, Lewis writes, "And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everybody felt quite different. Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something that you don't understand but in the dream it feels as if it had some enormous meaning--either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmare or else a lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into that dream again. It was like that now. At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in his inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you get when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer." So you have some idea of what the children feel about Aslan. In the movie, all you can see is that they seem oddly deferential to a talking lion.


Lewis's background as a professor shows through in some odd ways. When Mr. Beaver calls out, "It's all right! It isn't *her*!", Lewis adds, "This was bad grammar of course, but that is how beavers talk when they are excited; I mean in Narnia--in our world they don't usually talk at all."


And in what seems far too modern for 1950 (when the book was written), he writes "And when each person had got his (or her) cup of tea, each person shoved back his (or her) stool. . . ." (But I notice that Lewis's "battles are ugly when women fight" was changed in the film to just "battles can get ugly".)


There is some irony in that the film based on Lewis's work often seems to be a "Lord of the Rings" wannabee, because Lewis himself had disdain for Tolkien's Middle Earth and its "non-Christian" mythology. But when I read THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, it seems like a fairly mundane children's book, with some heavy-handed symbolism ladled on. (And it is arguably the best and most popular of the "Narnia" books, which makes me wonder how well the film sequels to it will do.)

And it's worth noting a recent change in the series. Traditionally, they have been numbered in the order of their publication:

  1. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  2. Prince Caspian
  3. The Voyage of the Dawn Trader
  4. The Silver Chair
  5. The Horse and His Boy
  6. The Magician's Nephew
  7. The Last Battle

Now, however, they have been re-ordered to match the internal chronology:

  1. The Magician's Nephew
  2. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  3. The Horse and His Boy
  4. Prince Caspian
  5. The Voyage Of the Dawn Trader
  6. The Silver Chair
  7. The Last Battle

Which is why we old folks think of THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE as the first book, while newer readers think of it as the second and may possibly wonder why Disney started with that one.


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