Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Prefer to hear him roar!

One of the delights of a good novel is that you are welcomed in to a different world: for that short time, to breathe its air, to swim in its sea, and know its people. It is why I always suffered from an inclination to speak like Shakespeare's, Austen's, or (Pope's translation of) Homer's characters, when emerging from their books. The author invites you to see the world through different eyes: such is the power of words well set. 

Some books permeate so deeply that the effect is longer term. I revisited Narnia so much as a child (and teenager, and adult!), and then Malacandra and Perelandra, that our own Silent Planet took different meaning. It is as if a character from those worlds lent me their glasses, and now I see our own in fresh and sometimes strange hues. It is not simply that I love that world, but that I know this world, better. Having breathed that air, I can survive more ably here where the air is thinner.

Which is why I was so sad to read this article, which describes, with evident pity rather than trigger-happiness, how the creators of the recent Narnia films seem to have failed to taste Narnia's air, so found it strange, and have inadvertently replaced it with filtered air pumped in from our silent, twisted world. I'm sure they found it unrealistic - Miraz, Weston, are more like us, so we find the children stay like them rather than being transformed to be like the great Lion, the Son of the Emperor, who is not safe, but is good. 

Of course, Lewis was merely writing under the influence, himself. The influence of the Bible, which paints us into the ultimate reality, and gives us eyes to see and know its Painter. The loss of Narnia's oxygen in the films merely goes to illustrate that we need to draw on what is outside of ourselves to understand this world - not just revert to being true to ourselves. This world, and our hearts, does not have within it what we need to get through it alive. We need to breathe Narnian air*, and then we will find ourselves transformed by it.

Read Narnia Invaded, by Steven Bower.

* I mean, of course, its greater and perfect Idea and source. 

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