Why Narnians dont Keep Pets - and why it matters

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

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Re: Why Narnian's dont Keep Pets - and why it matters

Postby Varnafinde » Jul 18, 2012 7:16 pm

wolfloversk wrote:
Dernhelm_of_Rohan wrote:While this is clearly a symbol of the saving grace of God, it can also be argued that Aslan is giving the Talking Beasts stewardship of nature, just as God gave it to Adam and Eve.
I'd agree with some underlying themes like this in the Chronicles (stewardship of nature that is) especially given the events of PC and LB.

Also it seems to me that the talking Narnians almost consider themselves seperate (almost as seperate species except they can be reverted back, like Ginger) from their simpler mute counterparts... which makes sense... I think... but I've always found that at least intriguing.


Stewardship of nature, like Adam and Eve were given it in the Creation story - a good parallell to our world. The Talking Beasts got this stewardship during their Creation story, too, so to speak. They are told to show responsibility.

As for them seeing themselves as separate - well, Aslan did separate them out from the other animals. The Dumb beasts walked away, to live their lives as natural animals the way we are used to see them in our world - while the Talking Beasts stayed and were touched and gifted by Aslan.

Perhaps it's because they are similar, but separate, that they don't usually have their dumb counterparts as pets. Our pets aren't similar to us in the same way.
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Re: Why Narnian's dont Keep Pets - and why it matters

Postby Narnian_Badger » Jul 19, 2012 6:56 pm

Are horses considered "pets"? Because we certainly know that the Narnians rode dumb horses (and only talking horses in grave circumstances). And, I'm not quite sure which book it's mentioned in--possibly VDT--but I'm fairly certain that they mention using falcons for hunting, which I assume were dumb.

Anyway... I suppose they might keep pets, but likely not from closely related species. For example, it'd be fine for a Human to have a pet (dumb) dog--and I imagine a few probably did--or a Badger to have a pet... I don't know, fish, I guess. I can't see a Badger having a pet Badger, though, even if it's only because it'd be a rather lousy pet--why would you want a dumb friend when you can have a talking, thinking one?
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Re: Why Narnian's dont Keep Pets - and why it matters

Postby Narnian_Archer » Jul 21, 2012 9:31 am

I think the fact of having a pet (even an animal that did not talk) would be like a human having another human being who was illiterate as a slave in a pen just to look at. I mean, that's crazy - that's just not right. I think it's something that just would not be done - I don't think it even came into the minds of Narnians. Naturally, the Kings and Queens may have had falcons or dogs for hunting (not talking animals to hunt beside, but plain, normal animals to hunt with.), but Narnian creatures having animals for pets? No, I don't think that even makes sense because it just isn't right - like I mentioned above, it would be like having a slave in a pen to look at because it can't talk.
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Re: Why Narnian's dont Keep Pets - and why it matters

Postby Narnian_Badger » Jul 21, 2012 10:05 am

Narnian_Archer wrote:I think the fact of having a pet (even an animal that did not talk) would be like a human having another human being who was illiterate as a slave in a pen just to look at.

No, there is a difference here. The talking beasts of Narnia do more than just talk--they think, feel, and act in a way totally dissimilar to the dumb beasts. Dumb creatures react purely on "instinct", if you will, whereas their talking counterparts are capable of acting beyond those instincts. I suppose the closest real world relation would be having a pet of someone in a vegetative state, but even that doesn't quite hit home, as the alleged vegetative state is... well, alleged.
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Re: Why Narnian's dont Keep Pets - and why it matters

Postby coracle » Sep 15, 2012 8:58 pm

Ithilwen wrote:Narnia is a Christian series. If you don't like Christian things or stories, then of course you won't like Narnia, or view it as the kind of story you'd want to read. But that doesn't mean Narnia is bad, or useless, or silly, or forgettable. It just means it's not the type of story you like. Which is fine. You certainly aren't forced into liking, or expected to like, a sort of story that goes against your beliefs.


Over my time here and in other site forums, I have heard people with no Christian background talk about how they loved the books and never saw them as Christian.
One woman said was horrified to have it all explained as Christian symbol and felt angry and cheated.

Lewis himself said he wanted it to be a good story, which helped take his readers past the Watchful Dragons of formal church, into a place of adventure, heroism, nobility, magic etc. He said it was not meant to be a Christian story. And he should know, he was the author!
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Re: Why Narnian's dont Keep Pets - and why it matters

Postby Ithilwen » Dec 10, 2012 2:11 am

coracle wrote:
Ithilwen wrote:Narnia is a Christian series. If you don't like Christian things or stories, then of course you won't like Narnia, or view it as the kind of story you'd want to read. But that doesn't mean Narnia is bad, or useless, or silly, or forgettable. It just means it's not the type of story you like. Which is fine. You certainly aren't forced into liking, or expected to like, a sort of story that goes against your beliefs.

Over my time here and in other site forums, I have heard people with no Christian background talk about how they loved the books and never saw them as Christian.
One woman said was horrified to have it all explained as Christian symbol and felt angry and cheated.

Yes, of course people without a Christian background can enjoy it. What I'm talking about is people who do have a Christian background -- a negative one. People who dislike Christianity (for whatever reasons) and dislike anything that resembles it. Being written by a Christian man, Narnia is going to have elements that quite clearly resemble that religion. And if someone who dislikes Christianity notices those elements, they will most likely dislike the books.

I'm sure that woman did feel cheated. Not having a Christian background, I'm sure she must have found her own personal meaning in the books. And to have that personal meaning stripped away and replaced by a religion/philosophy she didn't believe in, that is sure to be a painful thing.

C.S. Lewis's primary goal was to tell a good story. But that doesn't mean he didn't mean for his books to be Christian. They most certainly are, and not by accident. :)


~Riella =:)
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Re: Why Narnian's dont Keep Pets - and why it matters

Postby Lady Rosalia » Dec 10, 2012 12:06 pm

I'm trying to think of the instances where pets are kept in the Chronicles. Chronologically, I think the first recorded pet (after Strawberry) is... Uncle Andrew! :D
In HHB, it mentions Lasaraleen's pet monkey, and the Hermit's goats. (Though whether or not they were exactly pets is up for debate) And dogs at Anvard. (Does it mention them being in kennels/etc?) None of these examples are actually in Narnia, though.
In PC, it mentions dogs and cats at the castle. (But that was under Telmarine rule)
In LB, Rishda offers that most of the (talking) animals' lives would be spared if they would surrender and become domesticated.
Yes, I do wonder if the Narnians might have had some pets (non-talking, of course) as they did have non-talking domesticated animals. Just an idea!
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Re: Why Narnians dont Keep Pets - and why it matters

Postby Louloudi the Centaur » Jul 13, 2013 5:33 pm

Yeah, it doesn't make much sense for the Narnian animals to keep dumb animals, since I think it would be silly for a Horse to keep a horse or a Squirrel to keep a squirrel (Can you imagine the more intelligent leading the other on a leash?). However, I feel it's fine for the more human species to keep dumb animals because of the differences of power given by Aslan. The humans were the ones to rule Narnia, so there's a difference.
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Re: Why Narnian's dont Keep Pets - and why it matters

Postby Varnafinde » Jul 14, 2013 12:59 am

Narnian_Badger wrote:Anyway... I suppose they might keep pets, but likely not from closely related species. For example, it'd be fine for a Human to have a pet (dumb) dog--and I imagine a few probably did--or a Badger to have a pet... I don't know, fish, I guess. I can't see a Badger having a pet Badger, though, even if it's only because it'd be a rather lousy pet--why would you want a dumb friend when you can have a talking, thinking one?


To me, this makes sense. I mentioned earlier the issue of separation, and in having a dumb pet from a species not your own, you would get enough separation that a Talking Animal might have a pet.

I don't think we get any examples of it in the Chronicles, though - the only ones in the books keeping pets, are the humanoids. Perhaps they are also the only ones that are mentioned to have domesticated animals, but I'm less sure about that.
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