Did Aslan eat?

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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby Ithilwen » May 14, 2012 1:26 pm

glumPuddle wrote:One final question: Suppose Aslan had simply replied "I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors." Do you think we would be having this discussion now? Do you think you would have still interpreted the line as a metaphor?

Oh, definitely. :) Like I said in my last post, when I read the book for the first time, I hadn't even finished the sentence and I was already interpreting it that way. My eyes hadn't reached the part in the sentence about cities and realms yet, and I had only read the part about girls and boys and women and children, and I already took the phrase "swallowing up" as conquering rather than literal eating. :)


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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby SnakeEyes » May 22, 2012 7:04 pm

He would have to eat, otherwise he would starve to death and die. I think that because he is a lion his diet would consist of a lot of meat, probably beef or pork. Things like vegetables or sweets wouldn't give him the needed nutrients.
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby 7chronicles » Jul 08, 2012 3:34 am

I don't think Aslan had to eat, I don't know why I just have never pictured him having to eat to stay alive.
As far as the quote "I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms." I think glumPuddle and Ithilwen have said all there is to say. :)
I personally do think it was said as a metaphor, from the time I first read that line because of the words "Swallowed up" it always came across that way to me. :)
And I don't think Aslan slept either, mostly because of this line from PC:

"but all night aslan and the moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes."
Chapter 14, Prince Caspian.
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby Andriel » Jul 08, 2012 4:17 pm

Hmm...Good question......
I think he eats, but he doesn't necessarily need to.

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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby stargazer » Jul 08, 2012 9:37 pm

I confess I'd never thought about this until this thread was opened, but on reflection I think Aslan would eat just like a regular lion might (there were plenty of dumb beasts around for him to select from).

And while Narnia isn't an allegory and this isn't N&C, one reason I think this way is that Jesus ate when he walked the earth.

Not to elaborate on the 'swallowing up' discussion too much (the previous posts have summed it up quite well), but I always thought of it as metaphorical, and figured Jill would interpret it that way.
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Jul 09, 2012 10:05 am

Gazer wrote:I confess I'd never thought about this until this thread was opened, but on reflection I think Aslan would eat just like a regular lion might (there were plenty of dumb beasts around for him to select from).


I don't think that Aslan actively hunted and killed anything, nor did any of the other talking beasts. They were told not to go back to the ways of the old beasts (which would include hunting and killing).

In my view, Aslan (and all other talking predators) obtained their food just as human would; by visiting a Narnian Butcher, or something like that.
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby Narnian_Badger » Jul 09, 2012 6:25 pm

Well, I should expect that he can eat, as, since Aslan is the Christ-figure, there is nothing he physically can't do. As to whether he would wish to or not, that'd be pure speculation. ;)

Aslan wrote:I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms.

I interpreted this as a metaphorical speech, but more in the fashion of Gollums's riddle in The Hobbit, wherein he speaks of "This thing all things devours / Birds, beasts, trees, flowers / Gnaws iron, bites steel, / Grinds hard stones to meal, / Slays king, ruins town, / And beats high mountain down." Aslan created, guides, knows, is greater than, and will outlast any sort of human fixture, and thus "swallows them up."

DiGoRyKiRkE wrote:In my view, Aslan (and all other talking predators) obtained their food just as human would; by visiting a Narnian Butcher, or something like that.

Wouldn't that meant that only the Narnian Butchers would be hunting, though? And why would that be the case? It seems most impractical, perhaps impossible on a large scale--or, for that matter, even on a very small scale, such as in PC. In SC, Puddleglum and Eustace are quite fine with eating the stag until they discover it talked, so I'd imagine the talking animals would eat in a similar fashion. They are allowed to eat their normal diet, and the talking carnivores hunt the same as a dumb carnivore one would.
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Jul 09, 2012 7:15 pm

You also have to realise, though, that Narnian carnivore diets were probably not necessarily solely based on raw meat. The Fox in LWW was eating a figgy pudding of some sort. Either way, it still doesn't make sense that they'd be so animalistic, when Aslan clearly said not to go back to the ways of the old animals.

Can anybody remember how that one bear reverted back to a non-talking beast (or even what his name was ;)) ).
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby Narnian_Badger » Jul 09, 2012 7:38 pm

Fair point. I still think they'd eat meat of some kind, though, as the humans clearly do... and relying on the humans for meat doesn't make sense, either. Admittedly though, I doubt this is something Lewis thought through in earnest, as the plots were always more focused on the children than on Narnia. ;)

Susan calls it "Bruin", which, if memory serves, was the name of a bear in some fable or other. I think it comes up again in SC, as a general title for bears. Erm... I can't recall it being explicitly stated how it turned back, but I imagine it was similar to what Lewis wrote in The Magician's Nephew: "The trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed."
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby Varnafinde » Jul 10, 2012 2:22 pm

DiGoRyKiRkE wrote:Lions are not the "nicest" killers in the animal kingdom either. They usually don't even wait for their prey to "die" before they start eating them. (Although, the prey usually goes into shock very, very quickly). The idea that Aslan would do such a thing is just unthinkable to me.


Even when Aslan kills the White Witch, Lewis gives no gory details, only tells that Aslan "flung himself upon" her and that "the Lion and Witch had rolled over together but with the Witch underneath." There's certainly no mention of eating her, but then again Lewis doesn't even use the word "kill".

I've always seen Aslan's words to Jill as metaphorical as well.

To me part of the reason is that Aslan changes the verb.
Jill asks him, "Do you eat ..." but he doesn't answer "I have eaten."
He changes to 'swallow up', and this to me is an indication that he is also changing the statement from literal to metaphorical.

DiGoRyKiRkE wrote:Can anybody remember how that one bear reverted back to a non-talking beast (or even what his name was ;)) ).


Do you perhaps mean the Bear of Stormness Head, that Corin boxed? We're not told how he had gone back to the old ways, only that after Corin had boxed him, he became a reformed character :D

With the one Susan calls "Bruin", we aren't given any information of how it happened, but I think the quote from MN is a good, general explanation.
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby wild rose » Jul 11, 2012 9:06 am

Personally, I never really thought of Aslan eating and I don't really think it that important if he does or doesn't. He's not really your 'normal' type of animal (but then most animals in Narnia probably aren't). He's the creator of Narnia, he can appear and disappear, he can change into different creatures, so it would seem that the laws of nature don't really apply to him. Maybe he does eat, maybe he doesn't, maybe he does when he feels like it, but it's not like he has to, because he is not even a citizen of Narnia, he doesn't even belong to that land, he was there before Narnia was and is there after Narnia is no more. Time and Space hold no meaning for him, why should food?
That quote about him swallowing up girls and boy etc. it could be metaphorical and it could not be (oh if only we could write C.S. Lewis and ask what he meant when he wrote it :p ). In a way I could see Aslan swallowing all that for some reason if he had too, thought at the same time, my brains defines that as 'very weird'. I think of it as partly metaphorical and partly real. I don't think Aslan would just say that to frighten Jill, cause I think she's frightened enough as it is, I think there is something slightly mystical about this statement and honestly I don't really understand it, it could be Aslan 'swallowed' all those things because they needed to be destroyed and so he swallowed it all up to get rid of it forever, I don't know, it's just a thought :)
Also, the statement 'I have eaten' doesn't nesseccarily mean 'I eat all the time' or 'I eat on a regular basis'. Aslan is speaking in the past tense, just another little something that came to mind when I was writing this post.
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby Varnafinde » Jul 13, 2012 6:12 pm

wild rose wrote:Personally, I never really thought of Aslan eating and I don't really think it that important if he does or doesn't. [...] Time and Space hold no meaning for him, why should food?


I would think that he can eat if he wants to, but that he has no need to eat to sustain his body. He is above those things, as the timeless creator.

If he does eat, I guess he might eat whatever is served at the time. Narnian animals in the books don't always eat or drink the same as their natural counterparts in world would do, so he would not be confined to the diet of a "normal" lion either.
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby Narnian_Archer » Jul 14, 2012 9:02 am

I think it's extremely unlikely that Aslan would ever physically really eat - that's not to say he couldn't, for he is Son of the Emperor and, as a metaphorical representation of Christ, has all the power in the earth, so I'm sure he could eat, but I just think it unlikely that he would. And I honestly think his reference to swallowing men, women, children, and kingdoms was, also metaphorical and is another link to him being a metaphorical representation of Christ.
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Jul 14, 2012 6:10 pm

I remembered something from the books that might add some credibility to the debate that Aslan did kill and eat other animals (although, even though this is possible, I still don't find it probable).

The scene in question is when Jill is riding Glimfeather. Glimfeather, being a talking beast, takes time throughout the flight to stop and kill a bat, consuming it as they fly. So I guess it is not out of the question for talking beasts to continue hunting. . . . . it is a rather gruesome thought though.
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby Aravanna » Jul 14, 2012 8:05 pm

I always got the impression from the end of LWW that the Pevensies hunted. I knew they weren't going to kill the white stag, but it seems to me like they might have killed dumb beast before. As somebody mentioned already, in SC the children and Puddleglum are okay with eating stag until they find out it's a talking beast.

So that said, I don't think it would be out of the question for some of the talking animals to hunt dumb beast in Narnia and for Aslan to partake in some of the feasts with them. I certainly can't see Talking Animals killing for fun, and I think they probably killed quickly, then brought their kills home, cooked them properly with herbs and spices and apples, and had potatoes as a side. ;))

And as long as we're comparing Aslan to Christ, Christ had to eat while he was on the earth. Yes, he went for a supernaturally long time without food while he was in the desert being tempted, but I think he was pretty ravenous after that. ;)

And *gasp* I agree with glumPuddle on the passage about Aslan "swallowing up" girls and boys,women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms." I took it fairly literally when I read it. Maybe I'm a touch autistic about some human reactions and tend to take things literally, but there was no doubt in my mind when I read the passage that Aslan could literally eat Jill... I figured the those great realms might not have all been eaten by Aslan... at least not in his present form, but that many people did die at his paws and teeth. I find it a little weird that your family laughed at poor Jill for not knowing whether to take Aslan literally Ithel.

Now, I don't want to get into even a friendly debate with you, because you'll clearly win, but I don't think we should take Aslan lightly when he says that he could swallow someone up. Although at the same time, the image that comes to mind where the animals and men that vanished into his shadow to the left in LB, so I suppose it depends on the context for whether I think Aslan is literally eating people.

And I would also like to add that I think Jesus is literally going to be leading the battle and doing all the fighting at his second coming. And Bible is pretty graphic on that front. It talks about birds gorging themselves on the flesh of the armies the rider kills. Not exactly neat and tidy... or tame.
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Re: Did Aslan eat?

Postby narnialuver » Jul 21, 2012 12:28 pm

when aslan said "I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors." I do not think that was a source of food. I do not think he needs to eat but sometimes does like when he swallowed up people.
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