Narnia Reread: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Talk about the books and movies here.

Narnia Reread: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Postby songsmith » Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:52 am

Hello all! Time to reread and discuss the Narnia books. No one's complained about the plan, so we'll just go ahead with it, shall we? First three chapters of LWW to be discussed here next Friday (1/24)!
songsmith
 
Posts: 53
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:19 am

Re: Narnia Reread: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Postby songsmith » Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:56 am

It's Friday! Let's inagurate this discussion!

Chapters now open for discussion:
1. Lucy Looks Into a Wardrobe
2. What Lucy Found There
3. Edmund and the Wardrobe

Which takes us right to Edmund meeting the Witch, but not into their conversation yet - that's chapter 4. So: what things did you all notice this time around that you'd never seen before? What spots do you find yourself fixing on every time you read it?
songsmith
 
Posts: 53
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:19 am

Re: Narnia Reread: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Postby rthstewart » Sat Jan 25, 2014 3:13 pm

Thanks, Song! A couple of things that always interest me.

First, the setting and the timing. There were several waves of evacuations. The dubious timeline sets LWW as 1940 and that's consistent with the primary Blitz of 7 September 1940 and 21 May 1941. I'm jumping ahead but if you set LWW then, it does create some problems with the timing of the other books, including DT, SC and TLB. So, I'm just putting that out there. Does anyone have any other time period that makes more sense? Also, I'm curious, if the three older children were away at school (which we now from PC) why were they evacuated?

Also, what's the theory on the Professor's connection to the family? Is there a connection? Or is it just Aslan's paw?

Also, the food. Lewis demonstrates right away that while he really doesn't care much about climate, geography, language, timing or timelines, he cares deeply about Tumnus' larder and the wonderful tea he serves Lucy. To our tastes, of course, some of it is yucky, but when superimposed upon a wartime rationing scheme -- which if we set the story in the fall of 1940 hadn't been going on that long -- it must have surely been a banquet. Leading then to the question that Tumnus has been living under occupation for far longer than Lucy has (the threat of it, anyway). There's an interesting juxtaposition there.

Hiding fandom in the underwear drawer since 1977
User avatar
rthstewart
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:06 pm

Re: Narnia Reread: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Postby adaese » Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:22 pm

Both the food issue and the timing of Voyage of the Dawn Treader make me place LW&W in 1944. There were several waves of evacuation; the way people brought their children home after the evacuation of 1939 when the expected blitz didn't happen, only to have to send them off again when the blitz finally arrived is best known but there was also a massive evacuation in response to the V1 and V2 attacks.
adaese
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:36 pm

Re: Narnia Reread: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Postby adaese » Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:51 pm

To expand that a bit; all four children are swayed by the offer of food. Lucy and Edmund being tempted by cake and sweets respectively is quite understandable, but Peter and Susan are old enough to know better than to accept a dinner invitation from a strange beaver. This all seems more likely if rationing has been in full swing for years.
adaese
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:36 pm

Re: Narnia Reread: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Postby philippos42 » Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:37 am

I notice that Tumnus is living at the far side of the country from the capital. Oddly, no other humans have shown up for Tumnus to abduct. But presumably his location gives him access to non-winter foods?

The lamppost is never explained in this book.

The White Stag is mentioned here, to be used later, but it never gives wishes.
philippos42
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:06 pm

Re: Narnia Reread: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Postby heliopause » Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:12 am

The main thing I noticed that I had before was the times of arrival in Nanrnia! Lucy first went in at night-time... I had imagined it being afternoon, since they went on to have high tea, but it is clearly called night-time, which I suppose could possibly be applied to a time as early as six o'clock in winter, but anyway is after sunset; even so, that makes it horribly late at night (midnightish?) when Lucy and Tumnus, hours later, make their furtive dash back to the lamp-post.
And conversely, Edmund arrives just at sunrise—and he's trailing Lucy, so I suppose she also arrived at dawn. I can't see any particular purpose in the times, though. I guess Lewis just liked the idea of winter sunrise in a snowy forest?

I like Lewis thumping away that you shouldn't shut yourself in a wardrobe. :) (Visions of the Lost Bride of Wherever-it-was, which is a horrible story.)

There's serious emphasis on how child-like and non-threatening Tumnus is- his feet go pitter-patter, he has " a strange, but pleasant little face, with a short pointed beard and curly hair", he refers back to his childhood " if only I had worked harder at geography when I was a little Faun", he lives in " It was a little, dry, clean cave of reddish stone with a carpet on the floor and two little chairs" (he uses "a neat little pair of tongs") and there's two references to his father (which places him as a child, though for the story's sake he has to be a grown-up). (All the bold bits are my emphasis of course.) :)
heliopause
 
Posts: 118
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 4:38 am

Re: Narnia Reread: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Postby heliopause » Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:34 am

And... thoughts sparked by some of the posts above.

Ruth mentioned the "dubious timeline". Yes, totally. I don't think it's reliable at all. Edenfalling has recently put her personal timeline out there, and I think I might try to go through the same exercise (but haven't as yet). I like your point about the later evacuations, Adaese! That would make the post-war settings of the later books more sane.
As to food - I think Tumnus's high tea would have been seen as a really good one even in late 1930s England; I'll try to find a 1930s Enid Blyton or something describing a high tea, to see how it compares.
I don't think food is really a temptation for Edmund; it's offered as a distraction by Jadis, so she can pump him for information, rather than temptation; the temptation is more about power, and putting himself above the others. For Lucy, I think she goes out of social politeness, and the idea of cosiness, not for the cake.
About why they were all evacuated, despite some being in boarding school - it was the long summer holidays, as Edmund tells Jadis - at least, he says he's on holiday, and Lucy tells Tumnus it's summer.
I hope this goes through - I'm on a very dodgy internet connection here. :)
heliopause
 
Posts: 118
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 4:38 am

Re: Narnia Reread: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Postby edenfalling » Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:18 am

Things I noticed, in no particular order:

Peter is interested in birds! He confidently identifies a random night noise as a owl, and specifically mentions that the Professor's house must be "a wonderful place for birds," and goes on to mention that there might be eagles and definitely will be hawks. He also mentions mountains and woods, which a quick check determines are also mentioned in MN, as is the suit of armor the children find when they go exploring. Apparently the house also has stables, kennels, a river, a park, hot-houses, and vineries -- as per MN -- while LWW tells us there is a room "all hung with green, with a harp in one corner" and "a whole series of rooms that led into each other and were lined with books--most of them very old books and some bigger than a Bible in a church," that it's about ten minutes' walk from the Pevensies' two bedrooms down to the dining room (!!!), and that there is heather in the general vicinity since the Pevensies spend some time lying in it between Lucy's first two visits to Narnia. Also, the river is apparently good for fishing.

But birds! They go "birds' nesting," which I assume is something generally agreed upon but possibly suggested by Peter. I don't recall anything much coming of that interest later on, but it might be interesting to explore in fic.

Jadis's wand is specifically described as golden, as is her crown, and she's gilded the horns of the reindeer that pull her sledge. I wonder if that's just generic royal symbolism -- I am queen, I am rich -- or if it has something to do with Aslan, who is heavily associated with the color gold.

Lucy's nighttime visit may simply be so that the wardrobe door is visible -- daylight from England shining into the dark Narnian woods. I do wonder that Mr. Tumnus doesn't seem to notice the inexplicable patch of light. Possibly it's only visible to people who have traveled through the wardrobe? I am also now curious how Lucy and Edmund find their way back from Narnia, since A) Edmund closed the wardrobe door, and B) it's day in Narnia on the second visit, so there isn't any beacon effect to show them the way home.

Mr. Tumnus definitely comes across as very young. He is described as small (and many things associated with him are likewise "little), and his behavior is very... well, he lives on his own and can cook quite nicely, but emotionally he seems stunted, wavering between maybe late teens/early twenties and younger even than Lucy. Possibly Lewis is (consciously or otherwise) painting Narnians as childlike so as to justify their plot-imposed need for human rulers? It's very white-man's-burden, come to think of it, and I dislike the effect.

As for the WWII timeline, I confess that I'm not very interested in the England side of the wardrobe. But beyond that, I am of the opinion that Lewis's version of England is as fantastical as any other world shown in the Chronicles -- it has magic wardrobes; it is clearly not our world -- and therefore any discrepancies with regard to actual WWII events can be handwaved away as alternate history differences.
edenfalling
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:37 am

Re: Narnia Reread: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Postby songsmith » Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:51 pm

Gracious, I have so many things I want to think about and respond to in this conversation already! I think I'm going to have to take it a little at a time, though.

Regarding Tumnus's age, that was actually something I wanted to bring up myself in regards to his actual age. He certainly does come across very young and harmless -- or, hmm. I seem to recall thinking when I read the books as a child that he was very old and harmless, like the nice old couple 'round the block from me that used to give the neighborhood kids milk and cookies in exchange for weeding work. Looking back as an adult, I think there was a certain oncoming senility involved with the way they acted, and Tumnus does remind me of them. But anyway -- how old do we think Tumnus actually is? He talks to Lucy about the days before the Winter, which would make him better than 100; on the other hand, later on (I think it's HHB) Lewis describes him as gotten quite middle-aged, which would make sense if he was a young adult in LWW and aged at the same rate as a human, but if Fauns age more slowly and have a longer lifespan, he must have been quite close to middle-aged already. Or Lewis could just be making it all up as he goes along, of course.

Tumnus's bookshelves! We get four titles; three of them are fairly self-explanatory, dealing with Silenus, Nymphs, and the ever-popular 'Is Man a Myth?' The fourth has a rather intriguing title: 'Men, Monks and Gamekeepers; a Study in Popular Legend' It would seem to go with the mythological humans theme, but that's an interesting set of identities. I don't know quite what to make of it; I only noticed it on this reading. What does anyone think?

The Witch appears to have been paying Tumnus for... a while? He talks like the capture order is a standing one that he's been operating under for some time: "I had orders from the White Witch that if ever I saw a Son of Adam or a Daughter of Eve in the wood, I was to catch them and hand them over to her. And you are the first I've ever met." It seems a bit strange, if she's got Narnia locked down, that she's actively recruiting people to watch for humans.

The list of punishments for failure includes, I think, the very first mention of the four thrones prophecy: "she'll have my tail cut off and my horns sawn off, and my beard plucked out, and she'll wave her wand over my beautiful clove hoofs and turn them into horrid solid hoofs like wretched horse's. And if she is extra and specially angry she'll turn me into stone and I shall be only statue of a Faun in her horrible house until the four thrones at Cair Paravel are filled and goodness knows when that will happen, or whether it will ever happen at all." Two interesting things: first, the Witch seems to go in for torture before turning people to stone (the hoofs bit is interesting for a worldbuilding/cultural perspective... actually, it seems like the whole list is rather targeted at things that make a Faun identifyable as a Faun, which is... intriguing). Second, Tumnus doesn't yet seem to have connected Lucy, as a human, with the possibility that the thrones might be filled.
songsmith
 
Posts: 53
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:19 am

Next

Return to Narnian Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron