1. Galadriel says:

    I love reading these notes, and can’t wait for more.

  2. Timothy Stone says:

    You have good points, with my only statement being a caution about those who read the next book. The characters WERE well-developed, but there is little evidence that Lewis intended as early as PC to have Susan turn from Narnia. 
    My thoughts on the novel are being saved for when you reach that point.

  3. Bainespal says:

    Read Genesis 1: 28-30. How does this inform our enjoyment of stories (even though only food and growing things are mentioned there)

    This could be related to the sense of communion with nature that is often evoked in good fantasy, and which Tolkien seemed to think was an integral part of fairy-stories.  Nature has been given to us to “subdue.”  I wonder if “subduing” nature can include casting it in our own image by inventing all the mythical and fantastic creatures that are close to the heart and spirit of the undefiled land — Fawns, Elves, and all the rest.

    Read Exodus 28: 2-5. Why would God ask His Old-Covenant people to make priestly garments “for glory and for beauty”?

    The craftsmen who were instructed to make the “holy garments” used the raw material of the earth (gold, etc.), things put under the dominion of man in the Genesis passage.  By taking the natural material and then making something out of it, the craftsmen were sort of personifying the elements of Earth itself, bringing out the beauty that they saw by the creativity that God gave them.  So, there is a sense of genuine communion with the Earth and with nature, and it’s not pantheistic or “pagan” in any way.

    Now, read Deuteronomy 18: 9-14. God is very specific here about the things He does not want His people to do. What do all these words mean? What do they have in common? (Answer: they are pagan methods of trying to control your life and predict the future.) How are they different from how God says He will reveal His Word, in the next verses?

    I agree with your explanation of why those things were prohibited.  The difference is between communing with nature and trying to subvert nature (loosely defined as God’s ordained order) for one’s own purposes.  “Good magic” (in the sense of our fantasy fiction) should be in subjection both to the spirit and the external workings of nature — and to the Creator of nature.
    The next verses are a prophecy of the coming of Christ, the fullest revelation of God.  Although His coming was supernatural according to the ordinary meaning of “natural,” that doesn’t mean He broke the laws that God ordained, rather He was supernatural, natural and beyond natural, the true essence of Nature as the way that God ordained things to be.  And of course, Christ’s Incarnation was the great breakthrough of the fantastic to our world.

    A hint: what does Tumnus say about the “four thrones”? (If you’ve read the book, you know who fills those thrones. Like the Creator in Gen. 3:16, Lewis is foreshadowing his happy ending.) Does he seem to believe they will be filled and the White Witch will be defeated? Does he also seem to doubt? What about how he views his old father?

    The four children are Messianic figures to Narnia, in more general way than Aslan is.  Aslan might represent the divinity of Christ, but the children better represent His humanity and his role as the fulfillment of prophecy and destiny.
    The humans are coming into the land of magic to redeem that magic, perhaps redeeming those pagan myths, as you suggest.  The magic has gone dark, and the four children are the Chosen Ones who bring back the Light, while Narnia’s magic itself serves as their own light.  Lucy is as fantastic to Tumnus as Tumnus is to Lucy.

    Redeeming myth, magic, and other things that people think irredeemable will be a key concept in this reading group. How about you? Were you “pagan” and evil (Eph. 2)? What did Jesus do to redeem us anyway? How does that make us feel, and how can it help us redeem other things, as Lewis did with fauns, fairy tales, and fantasy fiction?

    Do you believe that Jesus was also the generic fulfillment of the pagan Gentile myths, while specifically fulfilling the promises given in the Old Testament?  Can Bacchus, a twisted perversion of the Devil though he may have been, have had something of Christ in the mythology associated with him.  And now that Christ has come and died and risen, now we can identify the true glimpses of Christ that existed in all the false gods and rejoice in them, depriving the Devil of his own toys?

What do you think?