Finally got to see The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe yesterday evening...and it was better than I'd feared. LWW was the first book I remember reading all the way through to myself...my parents gave it to me for Christmas when I was 5 and I loved the first chapter so much when my mother read it aloud to me that I launched myself without further ado into the full text and that was it. Full-fledged life-long bookworm status conferred overnight...(though the image of a feathered worm is at least interesting). I remember being so distressed by the sacrifice of Aslan on the Stone Table that I always had to skip that chapter...I tried desperately colouring in the illustration of his shaving, as if this might somehow soften the unbearable pain of the text, but this didn't work. I seriously considered glueing those pages together, so the sadness couldn't get out and overshadow the whole book, but I knew that this would be equally unsuccessful...Finally, that first Puffin paperback copy began to fall apart and I set the book aside for a while but not its legacy. An only child, I read and read and read some more and LWW was always in my top 5 books, - I had it practically by heart very soon and know that so much of my theology is filtered through the lens of Narnia to this day. I seem to mention Emmeth, the Calormene soldier from The Last Battle at least once a year when my views of the truths found outside Christianity are challenged...and as for those dwarves in the stable. Allow me to introduce you to some members of a church I know...
Beyond this, for some time I worried hugely that my relationship with Jesus was totally inadequate.Instead of his pointing me to the Father, I felt as if I could only connect to him because the Father made it possible...talking about this with my Spiritual Director one day, we realised that I was still mostly trying to connect with Aslan,- which kind of skewed the picture. (Incidentally, one of the gifts of finding myself in the kind of (almost Old Testament, holy of holies) Father-centred parish that St M's undoubtedly is was to find myself more focussed on the Incarnation and on the person of Christ than ever before...and, goodness, He dominates my preaching)
Bearing all this in mind, it felt like quite a brave step, actually seeing the film at all..but I enjoyed it. The children were excellent,- Peter was suitably priggish, so that Edmund's treachery was really quite understandable, -the White Witch was pretty nearly perfect (if by perfect you mean coldly evil, which of course I do) and the location utterly perfect. I was sad about the Beavers, who just weren't right, in our opinion, and overall the film was a tad more "action epic" than I felt necessary...and with maybe a shade too much underlining in red of the allegory.
A few distortions too....when the battle ended (a battle where the emphasis is very much on the fighting skills and valour of the children) Aslan said "It is finished". As I recall, those words belong rather earlier in the Real Story...and the victory isn't won by our meeting violence with violence, but by His grace.
Ah well, only a film...but one that has left me my Narnia intact, I'm happy to say.