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.