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The Narnia Secret

If the title Planet Narnia makes you cringe, you’re not alone. And if the title The Narnia Code makes you think “Lewis would have hated this,” well, me too (although upon reflection, I realized it was Tolkien who would have […]
| Aug 31, 2011 | No comments |

If the title Planet Narnia makes you cringe, you’re not alone. And if the title The Narnia Code makes you think “Lewis would have hated this,” well, me too (although upon reflection, I realized it was Tolkien who would have hated it–and he didn’t much care for Narnia anyway).

Added to the list of things I don’t much care for is literary theory that imposes something on a book that I don’t believe the author meant to put there. But Michael Ward, author of Planet Narnia, insists that he is not imposing a theory on the Narnia books. The subject of his thesis is, he claims, a “discovery”–the uncovering of “a genuine secret”: a thematic unity in the Narnia books that Lewis himself constructed and deliberately hid.

Skeptical but willing to give the theory an ear–especially since it was mostly presented by British academics, and I can listen to those accents all day long–I settled in to watch the BBC documentary The Narnia Code with family the other night. And . . . it was fascinating. Quite possibly a genuine discovery.

You can watch the trailer here. It is not as intriguing as the actual documentary. And I am very much looking forward to reading the book, which you can learn more about here. Be prepared for a delightful mesh of literature, medieval cosmology, Christian worldview, and, as Michael Ward puts, a deeper understanding of Lewis’s view of a “meaning-drenched universe.”

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Sherwood Smith
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Sherwood Smith

Hmm, this sounds possibly good–I am beyond tired of “Lewis was an Evil Xtian who hated women.”

Nikole Hahn
Guest

That does sound interesting. I would be skeptical, too. Probably would have bypassed it until I heard more about it from others. I’ll have to keep this one on my ‘to read’ list.

Greg
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Greg

I now want to read this book. I had always wondered as a kid why Lewis chose to include Bacchus in Prince Caspian (and was thoroughly disappointed when the recent movies left it out, by the way), among other things.

Rebecca LuElla Miller
Admin

Interesting stuff, Rachel. I want to see the documentary!

 

Becky

Galadriel
Guest

I’m …cautious, to say the least. There is only so much to be said that hasn’t been said before. On the other hand, I’m a diehard Lewis fan, so I might investigate it later.

Christian
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Christian

I’ve read Planet Narnia and found the book to be a compelling and thought-provoking, if difficult, read. I made the mistake of watching The Narnia Code documentary after having read the book. I found the documentary light and insubstantial (but honestly, anything based on the book would pale in comparison to that complex academic tome). The book was far superior but the documentary is probably a good starting point for interested people.

Rachel Starr Thomson
Member

Those of you who have read it: thanks for your brief reviews. It keeps rising higher in my “want to read” list, not least because of its purported “brain-stretching” abilities! Yes!
For those still skeptical, check it out. The documentary all by itself, light and insubstantial though it is, has pretty much convinced me that Ward is right. And this doesn’t feel at all like something tacked on to Narnia: it’s something that actually makes sense, as Stephen said, of the “hodge-podge.”
I kept thinking that Lewis was probably laughing up his sleeve at Tolkien and the other critics.