Summer 2015 reread!

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Summer 2015 reread!

Postby songsmith » Thu May 14, 2015 4:51 pm

Ok, gang, here's the plan: gonna do this really low-key. Last time, we aimed for 3 chapters a week and that seemed to work pretty well, so that's the suggested pace. But! Read at your own pace, don't read at all, it's all good. Jump into discussion wherever and whenever you like, and feel free to spin any topic into its own thread. If people would like, we can have threads for each book (and/or movie), or we can have general discussion here and spinoff threads for whatever topics gain traction.

Happy adventures!!
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Re: Summer 2015 reread!

Postby the_rck » Sat May 16, 2015 6:57 pm

Do we have a target date for starting to discuss the first three chapters?
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Re: Summer 2015 reread!

Postby songsmith » Mon May 18, 2015 2:20 am

Hmm, week from now? That'd be the 24th. Or we could do two weeks to give people time to locate their copies - say June 1 for memorable date?
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Re: Summer 2015 reread!

Postby the_rck » Wed May 20, 2015 6:50 pm

1 June works for me. May has been kind of packed with things going on. It should ease off after this weekend, so the 1st is better for me than the 24th.

I do have my copy sitting next to me right now, though. It's been on my bedside bookshelf for a couple of years now. I think I brought the whole set upstairs to try to find a seed for a fic at some point or another.
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Re: Summer 2015 reread!

Postby AviaTantellaScott » Thu May 21, 2015 2:34 am

Forgive the reread novice's question, but in which order are we rereading? :)
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Re: Summer 2015 reread!

Postby the_rck » Thu May 21, 2015 10:34 pm

I assumed we'd start with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but it's entirely possible I'm wrong. That's the order I grew up with (I think I was in college when I first encountered an edition that put The Magician's Nephew first), so it's what I default to.

So that's the book I've pulled out to start reading.
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Re: Summer 2015 reread!

Postby songsmith » Fri May 22, 2015 1:10 am

We generally do start with Lion, but if anyone is interested in an internal chronology read, there's no reason we couldn't have a Magician thread running too. People can swap threads when they get there. :)
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Re: Summer 2015 reread!

Postby songsmith » Mon Jun 01, 2015 5:15 pm

Happy June 1st! I'll kick us off a little, asking: Did you notice anything on this read you hadn't picked up on before? For me, I noticed Tumnus's tail! I always assumed it was short and goat-like, and indeed that's what they went with in the movies, but Lewis describes it as "neatly caught up over the arm that held the umbrella so as to keep it from trailing in the snow" -- so maybe more like a cow? or a devil, considering how much of that visualization is owed to pagan mythologies?

I also started thinking about Tumnus's books. Silenus, the Nymphs, and "Is Man a Myth?" all make perfect sense to establish the world, but what is going on with "Men, Monks, and Gamekeepers: A Study in Popular Legend"?? That seems like a strange set of things, almost like it was meant to reference something particular, but I've no idea what.

Also, the time dilation effect -- I've thought about this before, but it's much sharper in the book than the movie. Edmund sees Lucy go into the wardrobe. In the movie, she's a fair bit ahead of him, and he gets to the wardrobe room after she's gone, but in the book he actually sees her step in, so he can't be more than a few seconds behind her. And yet she's gone on the Narnia side -- long enough gone not to hear him call.
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Re: Summer 2015 reread!

Postby the_rck » Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:18 am

Sorry to be coming in late. I got busy yesterday. I haven't finished all three chapters yet, so I'll be back to say more. I just couldn't deal with Edmund right then.

It's interesting for me to note that, when I read this as a child, the stuff about the war and the air raids went completely over my head. That seems strange to me because I had read books that were specifically about children being evacuated during the war. I think, at the time, I was just so eager to get on with the adventure that I didn't care how the children ended up there.

I did find myself wondering-- Does the family know the Professor already or were they just assigned to stay with him by chance? The children definitely don't seem to know him before they arrive.

I'm not sure that my mental picture of the wardrobe is correct. Lucy didn't seem at all surprised that there was more than one row of hanging coats, and all the wardrobes I've ever seen have been shallower. Of course, none of the wardrobes I've seen have been big enough that four children could expect to fit inside all at once.

I noticed Mr Tumnus' tail, too. I'd never noted that before.

I do wonder where all of his parcels come from. I wonder, too, how people get food in Narnia. Do they import it? From where? What do they trade for it?

I found myself wondering, with Mr Tumnus' books, just how old they were. Does anybody produce books in Narnia at this point? Are they hand copied or printed? Does the Witch have a long list of forbidden books?
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Re: Summer 2015 reread!

Postby transposable_element » Thu Jun 04, 2015 1:31 am

The first thing that struck me on this reread is how remote the wartime setting is. There's no sense of threat; no mention of any wartime activity, or rationing (even though one of the first things that happens to both Lucy and Edmund in Narnia is that they get fed). They don't seem to have any worries, or to mind being separated from their parents. Peter is excited about being free to do whatever he wants, which is play and explore. So it seems like the professor's house is already another world. (Either that or the evacuation is just a plot device to get the children into a strange new place, away from their parents, where anything could happen.)

I've noticed before that there are no physical descriptions of the children, but this time I was struck by how that contrasts with the detailed descriptions of the professor, Tumnus, and the Witch. The children are viewpoint characters, so that makes some sense, but since it's third person there's no reason not to describe them. It seems part of a general dearth of information about them -- ages, background (is the name Pevensie ever mentioned in this book?). I wonder if there are class markers that I, as an American reader, am not picking up.

I love the descriptions of the children going into the wardrobe, how they try to rationalize what's happening until it becomes impossible to deny it.

Wow, that is a long tail on Tumnus! It's funny that you mention it, because my reaction was to read over the description in a "that can't be right, I think I'll just ignore it" kind of way. Tumnus seems more surprised by Lucy than Lucy is by Tumnus!

The repetition of the warning about the foolishness of shutting oneself into a wardrobe is one of those things that seems like it ought to be foreshadowing, but isn't.

I've noticed before that the chapters in the Narnia books sometimes begin and end in at very weird points in the narrative, but the end of chapter 3 has to be one of the weirdest. It's the middle of a scene, the middle of a conversation, and it doesn't end on a cliffhanger! Why end the chapter there? Very strange.

It's funny, but until I started reading fanfic I didn't really worry very much about how people in Narnia got food and clothes and so forth during the Winter. I just assumed it was magic. :D
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