Chapter Three – The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe

In chapter three Lucy returns from Narnia, is disappointed when the Wardrobe yields no magic, Edmund takes his first steps in the snow, and we meet one of the key figures for the rest of the book.
Without further ado, on we go; into the land of Narnia.

The title of this chapter is ‘Edmund And The Wardrobe’. This serves to reassure us that others will find Narnia as we read the next few pages whilst Lucy cries and the wardrobe is found, by the others, to be entirely ordinary.

What a dreadful thing! Imagine experiencing something so magical so clearly and then when you tell someone they half believe you, but when they investigate they find no evidence of it. No woods. No snow. No fawn. For standing for what truth she believed in we must commend Lucy; especially after the confusion of the strange ratio of the elapsing of time, and for it to be her siblings that she stood up to also. What a dreadful thing. So dreadful that the poor girl cries and remains downcast for the following sunny, bright days.

Thankfully, her curiosity and belief remain mostly intact, so she takes the next opportunity when she is free from people to discover whether it all really was real. Edmund is also presented with an opportunity. An opportunity to tease Lucy. Throughout this chapter we ae shown glimpses of, and great hints at, Edmund’s cruel and self-serving nature – and to what he may do in the future.

Now, here in this passage, we are given for the first time a viewpoint separate from Lucy’s. We follow Edmund on his travels into Narnia, and he is a rather different character to her. While she found beauty, wonder, and magic in the new and mysterious land around her, he finds loneliness, fear, and a conscience. He begins to notice his unkindness and apologises aloud, but when he receives no answer this is quickly replaced by a stereotypical young boy’s line of:

“Just like a girl”.

Some may say this is CS Lewis’ sexism clearly presented, but I would simply call it character. It adds another depth of flaw to Edmund.

Then we hear bells ringing, and some reindeer pulling a sledge draw into view. Before now I considered these reindeer to be decent sized, but having seen Shetland Ponies (thanks to my fiancée’s love of horses) I now realise how dinky these must have been. The description surrounding this sledge, the dwarf, and the Witch shows to me that Edmund is impressed by material things rather than the nature around him. The pompous show put on by the Witch and her small entourage impresses him so much that he wishes to impress her also. This placement of description is an example of CS Lewis’ skilled writing as he executes a switch of point of view while also providing us with a show of Edmund’s character.

Finally, I wish for us to consider what the Witch represents. Satan. The Devil. That is quite clear in these books, and even here – just in this chapter and the next – it shows. The material presentation. The claiming of royal office. The preying upon impressed minds. The less than subtle threats, the slyness, and then supposed friendship as the metaphorical arm is placed ‘comfortingly’ around Edmund in the next chapter. CS Lewis nails the character so well that you can almost see the horns poking out from either side of her crown.

In the next chapter we have a conversation between the Witch and Edmund, and Lucy returns to find him also in Narnia. I hope that it has been an interesting read. I am fully open to all feedback.

Best wishes,

Andrew Davies

Chapter Two (Part Two) – The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe

Ahead of us is the second part of chapter two. So far in this chapter I have covered up to the point of Mr Tumnus’ tearful breakdown and his subsequent admittance of his planned betrayal. In this piece my main focus shall be CS Lewis’ writing style and what we can gain from it.

We come back as Lucy wakes up to the fading light of day and Mr Tumnus’ begins to look sad – about what, we are not yet told. He then begins to cry and expounds to her what he had been planning. What I want to make a note of here is the kindness and care that Lucy displays, and also draw attention to who (or whom) CS Lewis’ audience is. We recall that he is writing this story for his goddaughter, called Lucy, and other young children. Since his main character (in this book I consider her such) is named after his main audience, we must consider whether he also took her attributes or if he assigned the character attributes that he wished her to have. I suppose the point I am trying to make remains the same: when writing always keep in mind the message and values you are presenting to your audience, and be especially careful with influential groups – such as children.

Presently we turn to the last two pages of the chapter in my copy of the book. Here we find a well-executed change of tone shown by sentences that are sharp and empty of the beautiful description that was once on display. Still, right at the end of the chapter, CS Lewis brings a light of hope and continued friendship in the way of Lucy allowing Mr Tumnus to keep her handkerchief. This I find to be a proof of his wonderful story-telling and writing ability; as if it was doubted.

This has been a very short post, but I wasn’t originally planning on one this week, so I hope that it has been an interesting read even in it’s brief nature. Next Friday I shall resume my usual slot at 14:00 with chapter three where Lucy returns to the normal word. I am fully open to all messages and wish you well throughout the week.

Best wishes,

Andrew Davies

Review of From The Center by Steven Faulkner

This review was written for Kellan Publishing. The book may be purchased here: http://kellanpublishing.3dcartstores.com/From-the-Center_p_28.html# 

From The Center by Stephen Faulkner opens in a psychiatric hospital with our main character, Elmore, introducing himself and his roommates. I am afraid the review of this book must start on a negative note, but thankfully, like the novella itself, it won’t stay that way for too long.

(Please bear in mind that I write this only with the author’s best interests at heart, and I do understand the difficulties involved in writing a good book. I do this review for his benefit, so that he may improve in his work and go on to better things, and for you the reader’s benefit, so that you may know what this book may bring up in terms of enjoyment.)

The prologue of this book should have been left at the writing desk. It takes the story nowhere and it’s a shame it is there to put off any reader that may enjoy the rest of the book. Personally, it was the lack of writing skill that really shook me off wanting to read the rest, and if I hadn’t chosen to review it I would not have continued. The way we are introduced to ‘the other crazies and losers’, as Elmore puts it much too apathetically, is bland. Small hinting details could be given here to whet the readers’ appetite; with possible expansion on them later. Maybe history between some of the inmates could be in there (if placed carefully)? Something needs to be added to these people, because that’s what they are. They are people, and people have depth. Depth which is not found at all so far. As well as this there are several instances of dodgy sentence structures, stray ‘and’s, some carelessly placed punctuation, and bland uses of adjectives. There isn’t even a metaphorical image added in when the opportunity to do so is present.

This only brings us up to the first chapter. Though the same basic problems are present, it begins to improve here as we are exposed to an interesting development in Mr Faulkner’s tale. Elmore is in Nowhere (wherever that may be). As mentioned, the writing is not the best it could be and we don’t learn too much more about our character than we did in the prologue. He pees himself a lot, and is too horny (which puts me off reading it more than the lack of character development does. This sort of thing, if written at all, should be written with great care and consideration for the audience). The first chapter is very short, so we are swiftly on to the next.

(A short note here: I think you could safely skip up to this point and still be in the loop; which gives further case for them to be dropped.)

(Here’s where it gets better) By chapter two the writing has improved vastly, the main character develops, and we have a supporting character given to us who adds something worthwhile to the story. It is here that I finally WANT to read the story; rather than continue to trudge through it in order to write this short review. I begin to tear through the pages and digest, with reader’s delight, all the way through to Part II. Stephen Faulkner starts to open up, and write an interesting story; with imaginative ideas that are employed well and that I enjoy.

In closing I would say that anyone wishing to read this novella should skip to chapter 2, as that is where the story really begins, and that I am now most keen to read the rest of the book myself. I hope you will join me on this adventure ‘From The Center’.

Chapter Two – The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

Here we meet again. For to view the second instalment in my ongoing series on The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. In this chapter we find interesting writing techniques, naming of a Greek god at a fawn’s tea party, and the twist in the fawn’s tail; his unwilling betrayal.

I have decided to split this chapter into two parts as I found so much material  that I wanted to cover within it. In this first part I will write about CS Lewis’ interesting writing techniques, and his choice of naming Greek gods. In the second I shall deal with Mr Tumnus’ secret.

Without further ado, on we go; into the land of Narnia.

When beginning his next chapter­­­­­­ CS Lewis wastes no time in getting back into the story. There is no ‘fluff’ dialogue as he sends Lucy into conversation, and then he doesn’t throw around words on an unnecessary detailed description of the fawn. He gives us what we need to have good character, no more and no less. This writing helps keep the atmosphere based in wonder and excitement. It is also perfect writing for a child to read; there is nothing to bore them and slow them down, but it holds enough detail to make it interesting and developable.

On another point of writing, we see the Faun halt in the middle of his sentence showing Lucy and us quite clearly that he is hiding something. CS Lewis does this in such a way that makes it very easy to pick up on. This serves two purposes: The first, that a young mind can get a sense of the trouble that may begin, second, that Mr Tumnus is shown to have an inability at subtlety.

Before we move on any further, I actually want to move back up the text to Mr Tumnus’ question. Asking Lucy if she is a Daughter of Eve is the first mention of creation in our book so far. These Adam and Eve references will come up quite often throughout all the Narnia series; most times with a prophecy in mind. Still, we have yet to come with a deep doctrinal parallel to the Bible, and (as you shall see) we will soon face the naming of a Greek god. So, from where I stand, despite strong Christian tones later in the book, the use of Greek myth and woodland fairy-tale quite undermines any message that he, CS Lewis, may have wished to convey. I will of course take this point up again later, and if I make it to The Voyage of The Dawn Treader (my plan is to do overviews of each remaining book in the series in one piece each), and if my memory is correct, I will show a defence against myself. Back to Lucy now.

Where Lucy almost laughs at the fawn’s geographical fumbling I most certainly do! The thought alone of him pronouncing ‘spare room’ as “Spare Oom” brings another laughter line to my face. The author most definitely has a good sense of humour that can capture even the grumpiest child’s heart and smile. Or maybe I’m just simple to please!

And so, all of a sudden, Lucy finds herself:

“walking through the wood arm in arm with this strange creature as if they had known each other all their lives.”

This displays Lucy’s trusting nature that all the world can be lovely if you just give it a chance, and (in part) Mr Tumnus does prove that a stranger can be lovely and become a lifelong friend. As adults we lose this natural trust through various ways – whether something bad happens to a friend or us, or someone we thought we knew well does a terrible thing – , but here in Narnia perhaps even we would have taken tea with Mr Tumnus; after all, it is a rather magical land. Soon we shall see Edmund face a stranger too, but with that encounter the signs of danger he ignored were far more obvious.

Now we arrive at the fawn’s house after a quaint walk through the woods, past trees, hills, and finally some rocks. Lucy sits down to wait.

“And it really was a wonderful tea.”

And some wonderful stories too no doubt! I have an interest in all fairy tales and mythology, so I would have loved to sit and listen to that fawn talk away for hours on both of these, but what CS Lewis has written here shall have to suffice.

And what he has written here is fine up to a point. Just before his stories end we are given the first proper mention of religion in Narnia. Even before Aslan. Two Greek gods are named: one; Silenus, Greek god of drunkenness, and two; Bacchus (called by his Roman name here, rather than Dionysus), god of fertility and wine. Why CS Lewis felt the need to put these two into his book I do not know. I see no advancement to the tale, and no point is made of them. They aren’t even referenced again throughout the series. It only serves to tie his tale early on to mythology rather than Christianity, which is quite sad from my point of view. He could have kept it a pure tale, free of wine and drunkenness, but he chooses not to. He panders to his own love and knowledge of myth rather than stand by a message solely consisting of Christian views. How sad that is, to have confusion passed on to so many. This confusion comes even clearer in the final Narnia book The Last Battle when the god of the Telmarines, Tash, is revealed as being real and that some of his followers can even enter Narnian heaven.

I shall have to end it there I’m afraid. Apologies to stop this part on a negativity, but there’s a large chunk of the chapter to go and we all need to be fresh to pay it attention. I plan to post the second part for this chapter next week, and then start on chapter three the week after that. I hope that it has been an interesting read. I am fully open to all feedback.

Best wishes,

Andrew Davies