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Narnia

When I was in fourth grade, my grade school librarian handed me "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" because she thought I'd like it. I devoured it as I did many books then and spent a great deal of time thereafter trying to find the rest of the seven books to read. It sent me to the public library for the first time; it had me reading in the aisles of bookstores. And when I saw the small paperback collection of all seven at a tiny bookstore selling for the lordly sum of $6.95, I dutifully saved my allowance until I could afford to buy it for myself. I read those old paperbacks until the insides fell out of the covers and every page was creased and dogeared and "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" couldn't fit in the box really well anymore because some of the pages got wet when they fell out of the binding. I re-read them at least once a year for many, many years, going back to them like comfort food. I saw the British-made animated movie; the BBC mini-series (which sadly only went up to "The Silver Chair"); and anything else that had anything to do with it, including the full-size map (which hung on my wall all through college and beyond; I still have it). I finally was talked into getting rid of that old, old set of books when rahirah and I bought a brand-new set, and I also got the full-size, complete volume, with ALL of the Pauline Baynes illos (including sketches that hadn't been published before), in color. The only gripe I have with the new sets is the "chronological" re-ordering of the books; more on that in a moment.

Did the movie live up to expectations set that high?

Yes. Oh, yes. I cried happy tears of joy at the end. My only beef was making Susan quite a bit less sympathetic than she should have been (save that for "Prince Caspian," when she spends half the book disbelieving), and Peter not stepping up instantly to do his duty, as he always did. Still. I don't care. They made it, visually and spectacularly, perfect as such things can be.

The way they've been packaging the books lately, with "The Magician's Nephew" first and "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" second? STUPID!!!!! If anyone goes into those books for the very first time and reads TMN before TLTW&TW, all the magic and wonder of TLTW&TW is lost. If you know all the secrets which are revealed in TMN, it would lose so much. I'm so glad the movie producers realized that and started the story where it needed to be started -- with Lucy's step into that wardrobe. Leave it to wonder for a few books how the Professor knew about that wardrobe. Leave it to wonder for a while where the lantern at Lantern Wastes came from. Leave the mystery of why the witch was at the Dawn of Time with Aslan for a little while. Never, EVER start with "The Magician's Nephew." If giving any of these new editions to a child, start with "The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe."

I hope they continue, and do the rest of the books. Of course, I'm not sure where one would find a Puddleglum better than Tom Baker (who played it in the BBC mini series), but so far their casting is phenomenal. And they wouldn't have to worry about the kids growing up as with the Harry Potter kids, since... well, if you haven't read them, leave it to say we're introduced to more heroic children as the series moves forward, and I look forward to meeting poor Eustace Scrubb, as well as Jill Pole, one of the best of Lewis's female characters.

It's chilly today in Phoenix. I spent the weekend mostly doing little chores around the house. Tomorrow I start my new hours at work and I realized I'm glad I have some PT scheduled, because otherwise... whenever am I going to be able to get to the post office when I work until five?!?

I have to finish the CDs I'm making for Mom and Uncle Bob, package up their gifts, and mail them Thursday or Friday, I suppose, since that's when I have time off. I'm not really prepared for Christmas. I really wish I had more money. I don't think I bought that much this weekend and yet I'm already strained a bit. But it was a pretty enjoyable weekend, anyway. Went shopping, saw a great movie, got a few things done. Not bad, really.

I am down to 258,754 words. Okay, it is harder than I thought it would be. But that's down from 291,614, so...

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
ad_kay
Dec. 11th, 2005 08:49 pm (UTC)
I gotta know. Could this movie trigger any Christianity-induced wiggins? I grew up reading the Narnia books as a child, but grew disenchanted w/ his treatment of Susan (and the whole Christian evangelical stuff). I'm really reluctant to see the film as a result.
sillymagpie
Dec. 11th, 2005 10:39 pm (UTC)
Depends. The allegorical stuff is evident if you know what you're looking for, but the film doesn't get preachy.
wildrider
Dec. 12th, 2005 03:05 am (UTC)
I never once saw any Christian allegory in these stories until I was in college and they were pointed out to me, and I mean point-by-point. I just didn't see it in my pretty fantasy stories, and never once connected it to anything I'd learned in church. Either I just liked my fantasy pure, or I was hopelessly naive.

But I really think it boils down to anyone will find anything they want to find in something if they look hard enough, like penises in "The Little Mermaid."

sillymagpie
Dec. 12th, 2005 04:44 am (UTC)
See, I knew about the Christian allegory beforehand, which is why I put off reading C.S. Lewis for so long. I expected the books to be preachy and stuffy, which they weren't. The allegory is easy to pick out, but it doesn't get in the way of the story.
babyotto
Dec. 11th, 2005 09:03 pm (UTC)
Dude, I think they've always packaged the books like that, with TMN the first one. I know the set I was given in 1976 had that ordering - possibly it (like Maugrim/Fenris Ulf) is a UK/US difference.

Another series that seems to work that way is Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising - the second book is much more accessible than the first, Over Sea Under Stone.
fenchurche
Dec. 11th, 2005 09:54 pm (UTC)
Until recently, it was always packaged with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe first in the US... I'm not entirely sure why or where the trend has come from to stick it in later in the series -- because they were originally published in England with TLTWATW first and TMN sixth.

wildrider
Dec. 12th, 2005 03:07 am (UTC)
Oops, you're right, THB was fifth and TMN was sixth. Maybe it is time to read them again. :-)
rahirah
Dec. 12th, 2005 11:38 pm (UTC)
Lewis's son pushed for the re-ordering, I believe.
wildrider
Dec. 12th, 2005 02:57 am (UTC)
Nope, not here, not until fairly recently. That set I mentioned, I must have bought it in 1976 or maybe a little earlier, and "Lion" was first, TMN was fifth (with "The Horse and His Boy" sixth).

It stayed that way, as far as I know, until the mid-90's. Of course, I didn't have the urge to buy it for many years, so maybe I missed something in between those times.

There's no doubt at all that "Lion" was written first, and the original order I had was the order in which they were written and published. I don't understand why the UK would have changed it and the US kept it original (I would have guessed the other way around).

fenchurche
Dec. 11th, 2005 10:01 pm (UTC)
The way they've been packaging the books lately, with "The Magician's Nephew" first and "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" second? STUPID!!!!! If anyone goes into those books for the very first time and reads TMN before TLTW&TW, all the magic and wonder of TLTW&TW is lost.

I agree wholeheartedly (and have held similar rants -- much to the bemusement of my family and friends, since I have a tendency to start up about it right there in the bookstore). Plowing straight in with The Magician's Nephew ruins a lot of the setup for the sense of wonder that you otherwise would get when stepping through that wardrobe for the first time with Lucy. TLTWATW is really dependent on not knowing what's going on or why things are the way they are... and TMN is pretty dependent on already having been introduced to Narnia.

This is one of my hugest pet peeves, and I can't for the life of me figure out why they've started messing with the order of the books like that.
wildrider
Dec. 12th, 2005 03:00 am (UTC)
That's exactly what I did the first time I saw that setup in a bookstore. I was furious. Even my big combined volume came that way and it annoyed me (although I love it for the illos!). I always start with TLTWATW first, because that's the way I always read it. (In fact, I ended up reading TMN very LAST because neither my school library nor the public library had it; I didn't get to read it until I had my own set; after that, I always read them in proper published order.) :-)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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