Why do you love Narnia? Think about it!

C. S. Lewis, his worlds, and his faith.

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Why do you love Narnia? Think about it!

Postby DestrierDragon » Mar 16, 2010 8:31 am

Hi Narnia Webbers, :ymhug:
I've been thinking a lot lately about why do i love narnia? being the deep person that i am ;) I think it's more than simply being an enthralling story with amazing characters in a world unlike any other. (so no answering that, because we all know that!) I think it's safe to say a lot of us also like other fantasy, mainly Lord of the Rings. (not trying to stereotype, just saying :) )Why is it that we love them so much?
Here's my theory, but I'd love to hear your thoughts, and get you thinking about the mystery behind Narnia that draws you in! :-\ :-\ :-\

I always go back to C.S. Lewis's quote, "If i find in myself a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, I can only conclude that i was made for another world." Fantasy draws us in becuase there is something in that world, that we don't have here. Everything is different and amazing, and things that couldn't possible happen here, but i think the key is there are themes in the fantasy worlds of Narnia and middle earth that could happen here, but are missing. This is why I put it in Narnia and Christianity section: God created this world perfect, but we messed it up. Now everything we think, that we do, is broken. The fantasy worlds have brokenness to, but something important in them is mended, or isn't broken in the same way.
No one in Narnia or in middle earth every says "I love you" and takes it back or forgets, or didn't mean it. People (and creatures ;) )die for each other. People sacrifice for each other. There are friendships that form that have to strings attached. Friendships don't fail, they flourish. Love grows, not diminishes. People don't lie saying they'll do anything for you, they don't even have to say it, they will die for you, and they might have to. People are willing to wait centuries to be together. The hard things they go through bring people closer together, and make them do greater things for each other. THIS is what captures me, beneath all the story and characters and epic plots and creatures and everything else, this is what really makes me love that world. When you read the Last Battle for the first time, didn't you cry at some point when Narnia was renewed, and didn't you think, "That's going to happen someday, I'm going there someday! I'm going to meet Him who was sacrificed for me, and see how the world was supposed to be" :) :D

Because something inside of me knows that something is missing in this world. Something inside of us knows we were made for another world. Praise God, that we are NOT forever in a broken world, but that this will be renewed. Christian writers like Lewis and Tolkien, without meaning to give us a glimpse of that other world though Middle Earth and Narnia, and I cannot help but be drawn into it, heart and mind. :ymapplause:
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Re: Why do you love Narnia? Think about it!

Postby Liberty Hoffman » Mar 16, 2010 12:01 pm

I like Narnia because it is an allagory of the Bible (LWW)!
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Re: Why do you love Narnia? Think about it!

Postby wolfloversk » Mar 16, 2010 1:25 pm

1) It's semi-biblical
2) Animals are given major character roles
3) Trees can talk, think, have feelings
4) Those old dreams of walking into a wardrobe and out of our world/ into another.
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Re: Why do you love Narnia? Think about it!

Postby Gilby's Angel » Mar 16, 2010 2:45 pm

Great post, DD. I think your explanation is spot on, particularly for believers. Nonbelievers that are fans simply can't realize why they enjoy these series so much. As Paul says, we all have embedded within us an appreciation that there is a God who created everything and who is in control. Until the nonbeliever accepts this, he just won't really get it! He knows he likes the stories but he won't be able to explain it as thoroughly as you have :) .
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Re: Why do you love Narnia? Think about it!

Postby Lady Galadriel » Mar 18, 2010 4:47 pm

DestrierDragon wrote: [/b] Fantasy draws us in becuase there is something in that world, that we don't have here. Everything is different and amazing, and things that couldn't possible happen here,


True. People want to read about something that is out of the ordinary. Someone who escapes their everyday life and suddenly needs to save the world in which there are enchantments, various kinds of magic, dragons, other mystical creatures, and so on. Something about fantasy enthralls us because it is about the unseen, the unknown, the unexpected. A character will live in our world, doing the same day to day thing, and suddenly get transported to another world. I really like the quote you gave by C.S. Lewis.

Narnia has a special quality to it for believers because we know of the stuff behind what Lewis wrote. Some fantasies are just fantasy novels with magic and all the usual elements, but if they lack depth, they just don't seem as worthwhile.

Thinking of the quote from Aslan to Lucy in VDT: "The reason I brought you into this world was so that you could know me better there." This is something I don't usually see in normal fantasies.
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Re: Why do you love Narnia? Think about it!

Postby DestrierDragon » Mar 20, 2010 1:54 pm

Gilby's Angel wrote: As Paul says, we all have embedded within us an appreciation that there is a God who created everything and who is in control. Until the nonbeliever accepts this, he just won't really get it!.


Absolutely! I also agree with Lady Galadriel, so many other fantasies have that fantastical element to it, but they just feel, well, empty. There isn't any truth behind it. It seems so strange that we should find truth behind fantasy, of all things, but it is so true! Readers recognize the lack of something, but they can't put thier finger on why Tolkien/Lewis type authors write better fantasy.

Gilby's Angel do you know the reference for that verse from Paul? I know the one you're talking about but i can't remember where it is! :-\ ;)

Wow, do you guys think that maybe this is one of the reasons why the narnia movies haven't been as popular as the books? (not that they would be anyway) But one of the elements that the directors have just not clearly shown through the movies is the truth behind the stories. I don't know if Adamson is a Christian or not, (and i'm not condemning him for not being one,) but maybe he himself didn't understand what sets Narnia so far apart from other fantasies. The movies weren't set apart from other fantasies as much, they were just another fantasy movie. A brilliant fantasy movie, but nothing more. I do think LW&W did a better job, though.
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Re: Why do you love Narnia? Think about it!

Postby Aravis Narnia » Mar 20, 2010 4:17 pm

Aslan!

And it is fantasy. And it has strong female characters. Who actually go on adventures and quests.

I like fantasy and speculative fiction in general. But without the Christian angle, it would have been just another fantasy series.

Curiously, I did not like LOTR/The Hobbit- even though it has at least moral undertones if not downright Christian ones as well. But Narnia has totally won me over.
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Re: Why do you love Narnia? Think about it!

Postby mm1991 » Mar 26, 2010 7:58 am

I like Narnia because it reminds me of Heaven. And innocence.
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Re: Why do you love Narnia? Think about it!

Postby Berserker » Apr 05, 2010 5:07 am

Gilby's Angel wrote:Great post, DD. I think your explanation is spot on, particularly for believers. Nonbelievers that are fans simply can't realize why they enjoy these series so much.


What an incredibly narrow-minded thing to say. As a non-believer, I can articulate perfectly well why I enjoy this series, along with any other fantasy series as a general rule.

A dragon, versus a helicopter.

Both fly, both have been known to carry men, but the dragon is sometimes beautiful, gracefully swooping beneath the clouds, representing the essence of nature and creatures on earth, in sea, and sky. The helicopter, on the other hand, is harshly angled, mechanical, spewing noxious fumes, loudly cracking the air as it rips along.

Travel back in time and describe the dragon and the helicopter to a viking. Which one would he think was real? Which one would he think was a monster?

This is the essence of fantasy. Fantasy is about symbols which represent things in this reality, in this world, and how we desire them. How we desire beauty, grace, and nature over the spiritless artificiality of modernity. It gives us a vision for a better life. If science fiction is meant to be a warning sign for humanity, fantasy is meant to be an instruction manual.

At the height of this genre, there’s a certain kind of idyllic fantasy to which Tolkien and C.S. Lewis belong, written with archetypes from a period of mythological history that seems unshackled compared to the harsh sterility of the industrial world. (Incidentally, this type of fantasy is often deemed out-moded, its quaint medieval fields and figures in shining armor made obsolete by the commercial pulp of towering steam cities and goggle-bearing antiheroes.) Tolkien himself writes in his essay "On Faerie Stories" that to create an ideal world with the inner consistency of reality is at the heart of fantasy, and from that desire (perhaps inadvertently channeling Jung) we glean images from mythology--dragons, unicorns, knights, castles, elfs, goblins--that epitomize on some fundamental level various aspects of that idealism.

This form of fantasy intentionally invokes archaic means to improved ends. Its spirit often hearkens back to the myths of our ancestors and upholds them, knowing the integrity of their messages; it pities any age where ancestral wisdom has become droll, considered useless in any situation where a plastic substitute can suffice, however transient that substitute may be. To save that certain once-known spirit from being lost by ever-collapsing walls, pure fantasy desires to paint an idyllic vision of reality; its dreamlike power and primal imagery breaths forth like an old magic, filtering to the part of our being that unconsciously asks the question: what should be? And answers it.
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Re: Why do you love Narnia? Think about it!

Postby HighQueenofNarnia » Apr 05, 2010 6:57 pm

I think that non-believers can enjoy Narnia just as well as believers- for the story. However, they cannot relate to the spiritual allegory of Aslan dying for the traitor Edmund and Jesus dying for sinful us.
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Re: Why do you love Narnia? Think about it!

Postby Gilby's Angel » Apr 06, 2010 5:12 pm

Berserker,
Dr Laura related the following conversation on her radio program:

A young woman called in and told Dr. Laura that she had always loved children. She managed a Day Care for 10 years and she really, really loved children. Or so she thought...until she had her own child. Then, she truly knew what it was to love a child.

Perhaps this illustrates more clearly the point I was trying to make in my earlier post. I believe my quote was taken out of context. I would never suggest that Believers are the only ones who can ARTICULATE their reasons for enjoying the Narnia stories. That would be silly. Even a 10 year old can explain why he likes a story--though not as eloquently as you did! No, my point, apparently poorly worded, was that since LWW is a Christian supposal, they who have not personally experienced the impact of Jesus' sacrifice and the grace of redemption cannot truly comprehend the depth of feeling/insight this story can ellicit. If that is narrowminded, so be it. I stand by my post.

Destrier, check out Romans, chs. 1 & 2, especially 1:18-20 and 2:11-16. :)
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Re: Why do you love Narnia? Think about it!

Postby Berserker » Apr 06, 2010 6:03 pm

Gilby's Angel wrote:Perhaps this illustrates more clearly the point I was trying to make in my earlier post. I believe my quote was taken out of context.


Sure. When you said, "He knows he likes the stories but he won't be able to explain it as thoroughly as you have," I took it to mean that non-believers couldn't possibly articulate an explanation for liking the story as well as believers. Thanks for clearing that up.
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Re: Why do you love Narnia? Think about it!

Postby Elsendor » Apr 17, 2010 8:30 pm

There are two sides of me, and both are attracted to Narnia.

The first is my godless side, which hungers for fantasy of all sorts, is bored with life, and wants to escape into a more "epic" (pardon the incorrect use of the word) world. Narnia, of course, draws that side of me--and many others like me as well, I would hazard to say. I think the fairy-tale satisfies a longing for the otherworldly that is inherent in humans--because we are not made for this world. That is why Narnia appeals to and attracts people of all sorts, including non-Christians.

The second side is the one that is trying to follow Christ. First of all, The Chronicles of Narnia identifies some of the prime struggles in the Christian walk... or at least mine. ;] I find some solace and comfort in seeing them worked out in the lives of the Pevensies and other characters--for me it's a picture of hope.

On a side, slightly off-topic note... I know a lot of people say that the movies were thoroughly un-Christian, but I found that when I watched Prince Caspian I got more out of it than when I read the books. (which is unusually for me... a serious bookwyrm.) The struggle against one's own self-will, one's own way to do things, and God's way, and our need to depend on him... it all fell together so well in the movie. Even when they changed it (the raid on Miraz's castle), it only accentuated my sense of gosh...they've done absolutely EVERYTHING they could do in their own strength, half-destroyed their own forces... they're at the end of their rope without a shadow of a doubt. And then, when they finally realize it and surrender to what seems reckless and stupid in the eyes of the world ("That's your next big plan? Sending a little girl out in the forest...alone?!"), that is when Aslan comes in. He's been waiting for them, all this time. Just like He's waiting for me.
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Re: Why do you love Narnia? Think about it!

Postby wolfloversk » Apr 19, 2010 12:10 pm

Elsendor wrote:

On a side, slightly off-topic note... I know a lot of people say that the movies were thoroughly un-Christian, but I found that when I watched Prince Caspian I got more out of it than when I read the books. (which is unusually for me... a serious bookwyrm.)


I'd have to say for the most part I agree with you on this. I can't say the movies were un-Christian, I think although there are different concepts there are just as many in the movies as in the books.
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Re: Why do you love Narnia? Think about it!

Postby Elsendor » Apr 19, 2010 10:15 pm

As there are in all movies, period. XD
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Re: Why do you love Narnia? Think about it!

Postby 220chrisTian » Apr 24, 2010 9:35 pm

1. I like Narnia for Lewis's clever handling of biblical allusions and themes.
2. I love the way he portrays the characters as well. I see myself in Susan, Edmund, and Lucy.
3. I like Lewis's portrayal of the relationship between Aslan and Lucy, ideally what our relationship with Christ should be. It's the closest thing I can find to Song of Solomon, i.e. to pure love for Christ, the kind Paul knew in Philippians 3. :)
4. I like how Lewis portrays Aslan as good and loving [with Pevensies and others] but also terrible and fierce with His enemies [esp. LWW, PC, LB]. When they meet Him, they fear and quake! Aslan embodies both love and judgment!

@DD: great post. :)

@Berserker: "Narnia's popularity -- Messiah narrative?" ... So what are your thoughts on this thread here on NarniaWeb?

Elsendor wrote:I found that when I watched Prince Caspian I got more out of it than when I read the books. (which is unusually for me... a serious bookwyrm.) The struggle against one's own self-will, one's own way to do things, and God's way, and our need to depend on him... it all fell together so well in the movie. Even when they changed it (the raid on Miraz's castle), it only accentuated my sense of gosh...they've done absolutely EVERYTHING they could do in their own strength, half-destroyed their own forces... they're at the end of their rope without a shadow of a doubt. And then, when they finally realize it and surrender to what seems reckless and stupid in the eyes of the world ("That's your next big plan? Sending a little girl out in the forest...alone?!"), that is when Aslan comes in. He's been waiting for them, all this time. Just like He's waiting for me.
Exactly! I've been saying this about PC the movie, which I'm a big fan of, forever! It seemed more Christian in some ways than the book [which I finally read for the 2nd time in my life ... last week :p ]. Or at least the faith theme stood out more.

Click here for my PC movie review. Your thoughts? :)
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