Narnia Posted by CK-Auctions
CS Lewis' classic children's book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe holds a special place in many readers' hearts, usually alongside Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. The authors, in fact, were long-time friends who (as members of a literary group called the Inklings) even critiqued each others' work. The parallel between the two books continues in the fact that the narrative power and visual appeal of both these stories beg for them to be brought to the screen... and that the very nature of the stories made this difficult to do well. That is, until computer-generated animation came of age in moviemaking. Now we can have believable fauns, centaurs, giants, and lions inhabiting a gorgeous fantasy landscape; we can (if it's done well) have a Narnia (as we had a Middle Earth) that allows us to see it, at least to some degree, the way we have imagined it.
The film does one other thing that warms my heart for its authenticity. It starts off the Narnia series as it should be: with the first book that Lewis wrote, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. In the past few years, it has become a new fad to re-order the seven Narnia books in internal chronological order rather than publication order, thus placing The Magician's Nephew, the next-to-last book, in first place. This is a really, truly dreadful thing to do, because The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the book that introduces us to the world of Narnia, just as the four children are introduced to it. In The Magician's Nephew, many of the mysterious magical elements of Narnia are explained... but unless you've experienced the preceding five stories, you don't know why these particular elements are special and interesting. Furthermore, this ordering of the books spoils some of the events in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Why did we all get put into such a mess? The official word is that this is Lewis' preferred order, but in fact it is not – and as a scholar of literature who did her dissertation on the fantasy novel, including Lewis' novels, I've done the research and I know where the problem arose. Years after the books were all published, one of Lewis' young fans wrote a letter to him suggesting that it was a good idea to put the books in internal order. Lewis wrote back saying he thought that was a fine idea. (And it is – if you've already read the books and want to re-read them in a different light.) But I don't think we should consider this one offhand comment as an indication that Lewis genuinely thought it was the best order; in fact, while Lewis was alive, it stayed as just that, an option that readers could take for themselves. (My 1970 printing of the series has the spines numbered correctly!) Only in recent years has the fad for reordering them taken over, much to my dismay.
So I have to give a big thank-you to the filmmakers for proving my point, and the point of all the other devoted Narnia fans: the best way to start out experiencing Narnia is with this story, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe!
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Posted by CK-Auctions