What do you think about "The Narnia Code"?

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What do you think about "The Narnia Code"?

Postby Alambil Stark » Oct 15, 2014 10:47 am

There is a book called "The Narnia Code" that explains a theory about the Narnia series. It says that each book symbolizes one of the Seven Heavens. Have you read it? Did you like it? Do you agree with it?
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Re: What do you think about "The Narnia Code"?

Postby Anhun » Oct 19, 2014 10:18 am

I haven't read it, but based on what you've said, and what I was able to google about it, it sounds implausible. Lewis himself said that he didn't have one overarching vision or organizational scheme for the books in the series. Why would he lie about that? :-\
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Re: What do you think about "The Narnia Code"?

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Oct 28, 2014 2:17 am

I've been reading The Narnia code, and yes, Michael Ward's arguments do seem strikingly valid, that is, if you know anything about the culture of Medieval Europe before Copernicus, and the way people thought in those days. At the moment I am up to the chapter which deals with Magician's Nephew, which Michael Ward relates to the planet Venus. This has an obvious relationship with Digory's dying mother, the apple and the creation of Narnia, especially as C.S.Lewis wrote Perelandra, the second of his space trilogy.

Ward indicates that, after all, Aslan selects both male & female to carry through his plans for Narnia, and when King Frank needs his Nellie, Aslan summons her, as well. Also, Aslan, having given his animals the power of speech, also gives them permission to laugh and enjoy life.

However, there is a dark side to Magician's Nephew's Venusian undertones. This is Jadis and her propensity to insist on her right to do everything the wrong way. Though she has power to destroy her world she finds herself laughed at in London. And there I see a bit of a weakness in Ward's argument. Unlike Lewis, himself, so far, there has been no reference to why the London crowd might jeer at Jadis, and find her a bit of a joke. This would be that the crowd who had in 1901, that year, had seen buried their own Queen and Empress, a most formidable tartar of a woman, who would have agreed with Aunt Letty's assessment of Jadis, but who, without deplorable words, magic apples or any real challenge to her authority to be where she was, managed to rule the UK roost nonetheless for some 63 years.

Well, Ward has made a plausible argument, and in some of the Chronicles I think it works better than in others. But I still have to finish the book, and come to a final conclusion.
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Re: What do you think about "The Narnia Code"?

Postby narnia fan 7 » Jul 23, 2017 5:08 pm

I've been going through the Planet Narnia theory over the past two or three weeks. And I've also watched a few lectures from Michael Ward. So I thought I'd throw in my two cents on the topic.

I do think Ward does make a few good arguments and there are certainly some parallels between the chronicles and the seven heavens. Though lot of the imagery is, I think kind of vague. And lot applies to more then one book. For example Ward links LWW to Jupiter, but then Bacchus who is the son of jupiter appears in PC. He links VDT to Sol because of gold, wisdom, and dragons, but Sol is also associated with music and healing of disease which is more fitting with MN and so on. Ward does admit that imagery from different planet's appear in different books. Thought he maintains that imagery from one planet dominates one book. but still I find it to be unconvincing. I don't doubt Lewis was probably inspired by elements from the seven heavens. Just like he was inspired by Greek and Roman mythology, as well as biblical influences. But I don't really see the influence from the planet's to be any more significant then the others.

I also I don't really buy Ward's claim that Lewis not only based each book off one of the seven heavens, but also intentionally kept it complete secret. He claims that Lewis "delighted in secrets" which I find very unconvincing.
Lewis seemed very open about his intent with The chronicles. If you read letters he sent to fans The only "hidden meaning" he ever talks about are the chronicles' christian themes. The idea also contradicts otherthings Lewis said. Like how he didn't plan out the series in any way, which in and of its self casts doubt on Ward's theory for me. Lewis also had a low view of critics who tried to find hidden meanings in his works and reconstruct the history of their composition. Something Ward acknowledges thought he clams Lewis said it so often that "that it begins to look almost like a pre-emptive diversionary tactic" which at best seems like grasping at straws to me.

And finally I kind of object to is this idea Ward seems to have. That there was something wrong with the Narnia books before, something missing, that they were just a “hodge-podge” and now the he's uncovered this "secret" it all makes sense now. And all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. Frankly I find this idea utterly ridiculous. Whether or not Lewis did secretly base the books on the seven heavens, does it really make the books any better or more significant? Does it make the story's and characters better? Does it make the themes and idea's more meaningful or resistant? For me the answer to all those questions is, No.
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Re: What do you think about "The Narnia Code"?

Postby AJAiken » Aug 09, 2017 10:38 am

I would be interested to know the difference between The Narnia Code and Planet Narnia. I believe that the first is a simplified version of the latter? I could be wrong though.

narnia fan 7 wrote:And finally I kind of object to is this idea Ward seems to have. That there was something wrong with the Narnia books before, something missing, that they were just a “hodge-podge” and now the he's uncovered this "secret" it all makes sense now. And all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. Frankly I find this idea utterly ridiculous. Whether or not Lewis did secretly base the books on the seven heavens, does it really make the books any better or more significant? Does it make the story's and characters better? Does it make the themes and idea's more meaningful or resistant? For me the answer to all those questions is, No.


I never got the impression from Ward that he finds Narnia a hodge-podge, at least not in a negative way. He writes frankly about the Chronicles being considered so by others, and that they have an unusual mix of characters and mythology. And I don't think he ever felt there was something missing.

When I first read The Narnia Code I felt I was being given a new way to see Narnia. It didn't take anything away from what I'd read before but instead added a whole new dimension. In re-reading the Chronicles I have found elements of the story and characters better and themes more significant.

The comparisons with Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength were what convinced me, I believe. These themes run through all of Lewis' fiction. And the twinning of things in HHB. I think the planets must have been a strong inspiration/theme for Lewis.
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Re: What do you think about "The Narnia Code"?

Postby johobbit » Jan 17, 2018 1:47 pm

AJAiken wrote:I would be interested to know the difference between The Narnia Code and Planet Narnia. I believe that the first is a simplified version of the latter?

This is a very tardy answer, but yes, AJ, The Narnia Code is a simpler adaptation of the original scholarly book, Planet Narnia. There is also a BBC DVD documentary called The Narnia Code, which I am about to order, actually. ;))

Over the past while, in bits and bites, I viewed a fascinating 2015 interview (link below) involving two people I greatly admire: Michael Ward (a CS Lewis scholar) and Eric Metaxas (my favourite living biographer). The video is an hour and a half, and well worth the listen/view when you have the time.

I, myself, am a bit skeptical, but nevertheless admit that Ward presents a compelling argument.


https://www.socratesinthecity.com/watch ... of-narnia/
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Re: What do you think about "The Narnia Code"?

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Jan 20, 2018 6:58 pm

I did watch that interview from 2015, if the copyright at the end of the interview reflects the date accurately. I noted that all three of the movies were also mentioned, so read the book again to see if the Narnian Code, too, mentioned at least the first two movies. Apparently, Michael Ward talked about the woods in LWW the movie being rather too pretty and not dreary enough as well as what he said in the book about the relevance of Father Christmas. However, I never had a problem with that.

Right through the series there are children from the present world from 1901 to 1949 in all the books and even if later Narnia did not have a Christmas tradition of its own doesn't mean it wouldn't have had one at any time in the past. Magician's Nephew has a London Cabbie from the turn of the century becoming King Frank of Narnia. This particular character seems to be the sort of person who likes church hymns, such as for the harvest, and would have enjoyed perpetuating a tradition of Christmas parties and singing Christmas carols. Maybe a Christmas Carol about, say, We three kings of Orient are. Or, Good King Wenceslas, who "first looked out, on the Feast of Stephen, where the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even". What is more, King Frank was quite as well acquainted with the White Witch as he ever wanted to be, having come from the same Victorian era as did C.S.Lewis' Professor, most of Dickens' novels and Sherlock Holmes, whose statue is around the corner from Baker Street in London.

We, where we have Christmas in Summer, have a Church of St Stephen the Martyr (Feast day 26th December) and 100 metres away down the road, another one called St Nicholas of Myra, (feast day 6th December?) the original bishop from Lycia, now part of Turkey, whose career led to both the original notion of Father Christmas and to the present very secular Santa Claus (Dutch Sinterklaas).

In both Calormen and Harfang we hear about Autumn feasts, and though Christmas, itself, does not appear elsewhere in any other seasonal Narnian festivities mentioned, doesn't mean it might not have been as much of a secular and seasonal tradition there as finding a decorated Christmas tree on display in Beijing in the Foreigner's shop a week after Christmas in 1986. The point Michael Ward is making about the planets is about the influence and atmosphere each planet in Medieval Cosmology brings to each Narnian book. In LWW that planet is Jupiter, the kingly, jovial, festivity loving Spirit of Christmas present in Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol, and in other similar works of literature, medieval folklore, and music, specifically Gustav Holst's suite, The Planets.

In LWW Tumnus tells Lucy right at the start that the White Witch has made Narnia all winter and no Christmas, that she has specifically banned Christmas, refers to the Christmas feast as gluttony, waste and frivolity and petrifies the participants. The result of the White Witch's reign is a dreary, threatening, wet and cold land which feels like it has been like that for a hundred years even if it hasn't. Father Christmas' arrival is actually to show that Aslan is on the move and that the White Witch's power is waning.

I found what Michael Ward said rather interesting, in particular, what he said about the Silver Chair, water, mirrors, reflections and the "upside down" state of Rilian when he is finally located within the Dark Castle. I'm intrigued. /:) What do other people think about how the Narnia Code might apply to that book?
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