Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Narnia revisited.

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 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.


Mary said...

Sometimes, Kathryn, the resonances in our lives seem so exact as to be uncanny.... though I never coloured the picture and I don't refer to Emmeth and/or the dwarves as often as once a year(yet). Do others have favourite quotations I wonder? My vicar's is "He's not a tame lion you know".

I thought one of the strengths of the film was that by fleshing out Peter's priggishness into humanity, and focussing on his sense of his own inadequacy as he faced something that he could see was quite simply impossible, it made him far more convincing and likeable. I was interested in Susan too - and I wondered if the characterisation was influenced by the knowledge of her rejection in The Last Battle.
I assume a series is in the making - but I'm sure they won't ever make TLB!

silverfish said...

I enjoyed the film much more than I thought I would. The children's acting was particularly good. Just compare it with the first Harry Potter.

What happened to them in their adult lives in Narnia? Did they ever marry, and what adult knowledge did they carry with them when they left Narnia and returned as children? I haven't read the book so it struck me as curious.

Running2Ks said...

I, too, worried the movie would ruin it. I am glad to hear it is intact!

Lorna said...

Kathryn, this is a WONDERFUL post.

I still have my original paperback. Priced 3/6 and it's well worn, well thumbed and yeah with tear stains in places too.

My daughter has her nose in the Narnia cronicles now. Doubt we'll see her again for a few days.

I read most of them to the kids when they were small. "just another chapter mummy, p l e a s e !"

I want to add I thank you for your friendship and for what you write here in your blog. Much of what you write and say resonates in me, much of what you do seems similar to the path I'm on

only the love of music differs, and I want to receive your deep love of the classical stuff - I enjoy it, but it's nothing like your passion and rapture!

Ballet - well that's a different thing :)

blessings and love
Lorna xx

Kathryn said...

Silverfish, you just need to read the books, truly you do...It won't take you long, and then we can have an impassioned debate as to which is best...To answer questions, though there are moves towards Susan's marriage in The Horse and his Boy they never really become adults...In the Last Battle, they, and other children who have visited Narnia return as their adult selves, but they come without the confusions of adult life, and one feels that their true selves are unchanged from the children who emerged from the wardrobe at the end of LWW. Most of them always remembered Narnia and their lives chose to forget and "grow up"'ll need to read the books to find out which.

Caroline said...

LWW overwhelmed me with wonder as a child also. However, the book that always stood as my #1 was "The Secret Garden." BTW, what didn't you like about the beavers?

Kathryn said...

Wrong voices mainly (I definitely "heard" them with a country burr)...and I missed Mrs Beaver's glasses and the sewing machine...and Mr B's diffident pride in the dam. He was much more upfront and less charming about it in the film, imo.
Sorry,- geekiness will out.
Loved Secret Garden too, but later on, so it's influence was less enormous. I must have been at least 9!