Heroic Fantasy

There is one thing a heroic tale is not. It is not episodic. It is cumulative. The heroic questor has a destiny. There is a magical leap from one world into another. We have a glimmer of that experience when we suddenly realize something with such great clarity that we are amazed that it hadn’t occurred to us before.

The key elements of the tale are human nature and world affairs. For C. S. Lewis, history is folded into myth. In the Chronicals of Narnia, specifically in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, he uses the phrases white magic, black magic, and deeper magic. Interestingly, the White Witch represents the evil of the fallen world with an eye-for-an-eye mindset: in ancient times this was a major innovation since some would kill a whole family or village in retribution over one murder. Rabbi Yeshua is a historical figure, but Lewis carries the analogy further into a Christology of Jesus as Savior and Aslan who follows the deeper magic. Resentments are to be cast aside and potentially transformative forgiveness is encouraged: restorative justice was born.

Fidelity and love under stress are the take-aways for this epic series as the children grow into their personal integrity and matured into elevated functions. We grow into maturity at work. It can take time to get the feel of one’s “sea legs” in a new environment, but with patient mentoring and functional strategies, a seasoned boss, manager, employee emerges. As for writing technique, the children’s Christmas gifts suggest their nature. Lucy is a valiant healer with a small dagger; gentle Susan sports a bow and arrow and an ivory horn; the brave, courageous Peter wields a shield and sword. Their social advancement is demonstrated by high style rhetoric of nobility.

Edmund missed out on receiving a Christmas gift because he was hanging out with the White Witch at the time. The White Witch had taken over rights that actually belonged to Aslan. Ed’s character serves to represent negative traits: greed, ambitious to be king instead of his older brother (as if we hadn’t heard of that before), puts Lucy down, disbelieves, mocks, and is a glutton. The White Witch had got into his head, and his young inexperienced age ill prepared him to resist his impulses. The boy had a major turn-around and became Edmund the Just who lived fidelity and love under stress.

Reality and the mythological world exist side by side, yet time is moving slower in the “real” world.

This is a gentle read while being sufficiently engaging. In my opinion, it is suitable for all ages, even for those of us long in the tooth.

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