Monday, December 7, 2009

Chronicles and Religion

I just watched The Chronicles of Narnia The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe last night because i was bored and it was on. It had been a while since i had read or thought about the books. And i forgot just how much Lewis modeled the story after the bible. As each new event occurred and i was reminded again and again of the link between the two.

Aslan is obviously a God/Jesus hybrid, although God and Jesus are said to be one so i guess it doesn't matter anyway. The first reminder i got of this was when Aslan sacrifices himself to make up for the sins of Edmund who betrays his siblings for candy. Aslan is killed by the white witch who represents Satan in that she is in charge of the liars and traitors(sinners). However she does not understand the "deep magic" and therefore does not know that Aslan will come back to life because he willingly gave himself up. And so Aslan is gloriously reborn just as Jesus was.

Something i always found pretty funny was the animals complaint of a hundred years of winter without it ever being christmas. As if the witch not inlcuding it on the calendar meant they couldn't celebrate it. None of them ever thought to just clebrate in secret, or have an analog holiday that meant the same thing but had a different name and reason. Obviously it's a childrens story so Lewis included it because he wanted to connect with the children and new that denying the narnians christmas would invoke pity from the readers.

And the last book in the series The Last Battle, represents the end of the world. Aslan returns, and saves the children by taking them to the equivalent of heaven whic is a world of happiness identical to narnia but more beautiful and all the characters from the previous books who believed in Aslan are present. Except for Susan who no longer believes in Narnia and consequently goes to hell. Which is Lewis's way of warning kids to not lose faith.

I remember the first time i read the series and watched the old BBC movies, i was too young to recognize the potential double meaning of the story. To me it was just a story about a fictional world with talking animals and giants and a mean witch. I am not a religious person and i was not convinced by these stories to become religious, but if i had to wager a guess i would say that might be one of the reasons Lewis wrote the series.

It's also of interest to note that Lewis and Tolkien were friends and that while they were alive Lewis was the better respected and more well known of the two. tolkien was a professor and many of his colleauges thought The Hobbit was a very silly story and they used to make fun of him for it. While today i would say that the two roles were a little more reversed. Tolkien being considered one of the most important fantasy authors ever. Although Lewis is certainly up there too.

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