starlady: Queen Susan of Narnia, called the Gentle and the Queen of Spring (gentle queen how now)
Lewis, C.S. The Last Battle. New York: HarperCollins, 1994. [1956]

I can't believe this book won the Carnegie Medal. There, I said it.

I said in my post on The Silver Chair that Caspian and Rilian seem spoiled to me, and on rereading this book, I have to say that some of the same feeling lingers about Tirian (whose best friend is a unicorn, for maximum symbolic significance), too. He's not quite spoiled, but he's definitely rather impractical. I keep comparing his reaction to the news of the felling of Lantern Waste with Peter's matter-of-factly taking charge of Caspian's war against Miraz and finding Tirian greatly wanting. If nothing else, I think we can all agree that Tirian is fatally unprepared to confront the challenge that Shift presents; he's a good man, but he lacks truly effective leadership and has an entirely mistaken notion of honor and justice and truth, with fatal consequences. He doesn't quite lack all conviction, but he does lack all sense of politicking, and--are you listening, Suzanne Collins?--I've said before that I don't think that the answer to the wrong side getting political is for the right side to withdraw from politics altogether.

Further up and further in )

Which is also why, in the end, I've undertaken this reread. Narnia was central to my reading experience as a kid, as it was for many other people, and I've been concerned here to investigate both what Narnia was and is and what it absolutely wasn't. Lewis falls short by many of the rubrics I now use to judge the stories I read, but his influence on all of us is undeniable--I think everyone in the room raised their hands at FOGcon when, in the Rhetorical Argument in SFF panel, someone asked who'd read the Narnia books. If you try to imagine how your reading and the possibilities it opened up might have been different if the Narnia books had been different, you'll get a sense of the potential and the necessity, I think, of doing better, and of not giving Lewis a pass just because most of us read him in childhood. For all my criticism of the Narnia books on multiple levels in these posts, I haven't managed to diminish their own appeal to myself or to anyone who's read them, I'll wager. And as much as I still love Narnia--in some ways, I love Narnia all the more for having done this reread; the books really are fiercely good overall, but when Lewis falls down, he falls hard--and I would unhesitatingly recommend the Chronicles to just about anyone from age eight to one hundred and eight, we owe it to future readers to see if we can't do Lewis one better.

Prior posts:
TMN | LWW | HHB | PC | TVDT | TSC
starlady: the Pevensies in Lantern Waste (narnia)
Lewis, C.S. The Silver Chair. New York: Harper Collins, 1994. [1953]

This travel poster is pretty awesome. Also, TSC is not the next Narnia movie; that honor goes to TMN! Color me surprised, though I still think TMN is one of my favorite books, so yay. But onward, to the book itself.

to breathe again the air of Narnia )

Unhappy postscript: Perry Moore, who wrote the book Hero and who secured the rights to the Narnia movies before working as an executive producer on them, died recently at the age of 39.
starlady: King Edmund the Just of Narnia, called the King of Evening & the King of Shadows (it's king actually)
Lewis, C.S. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. New York: Harper Collins, 1994. [1952]

Now with 100% more quotations!

I claimed earlier that HHB is a pivot in the series, but upon rereading this book, it's clear that I spoke too soon: it's VDT that is the crux.

To Aslan, all times are soon. )
starlady: Peter, Susan, Edmund & Lucy foment a revolution in Narnia (once & always a king or queen in narnia)
Lewis, C.S. Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia. New York: Harper Collins, 1994. [1951]

Though my copy of this book is also well-read, I recall clearly not liking it very much until eighth grade, when my second grade reading partner insisted we read it because it was her favorite, and I came to see its good points--namely, Pevensies in Narnia! But despite some things about it that I like very much, I have real problems with it on multiple levels.

The Return to Narnia )

Also, if you haven't seen the two Narnia festivids, Never the Same and The Greatest Day, you should, because they're both pretty damn awesome.
starlady: Queen Susan of Narnia, called the Gentle and the Queen of Spring (gentle queen how now)
Lewis, C.S. The Horse and His Boy. New York: Harper Collins, 1994. [1954]

This book, by contrast, is the most well-thumbed of all my copies of the seven, and I remember quite clearly rereading it many times as a kid. I know why I liked it so much; it's the only book of the seven set entirely in the world of Narnia, and the only book in which we get to see (some of) the Pevensies as adults there, in the Golden Age.

This book is problematic, and a pivot. )
starlady: the Pevensies in Lantern Waste (narnia)
As well as being Martin Luther King, Jr., Day in the States, today is the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the first elected president of what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. I recommend Adam Hochschild's piece in the Times to everyone.


Lewis, C.S. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. New York: Harper Collins, 1994. [1950]

I can remember this book not being my particular favorite when I first read the books in fourth grade, and I can see why; it's one of the shortest of the books, and on reread it's surprising to me how much of it doesn't actually take place in Narnia--not until the beginning of chapter 6 do Peter and Susan get into Narnia--and how quickly it feels like things wrap up once they do. Not know the Queen of Narnia? You shall know us better hereafter. )
starlady: the Pevensies in Lantern Waste (narnia)
So I'm rereading the seven Chronicles of Narnia, in internal chronological order. It's been probably a dozen years since I read all of these books, and in the following entries my thoughts are a jumble of reactions on at least four levels: Watsonian, Doylist, and fannish of both a critical and laudatory variety. I loved these books as a child, and I still do; it's still possible for me to access, dimly, the spirit of following the author's lead in which I first read them in fourth grade, but that doesn't preclude criticism, not anymore at least; like so many other books of children's fantasy, I do find them in some ways flawed, or at least, they're not everything I want them to be on the page. So, you know, depending on your reaction to Narnia, you may just want to look at this cat macro instead. But I shall do my best to be honest about my own reactions, and the reasons behind them.

Lewis, C.S. The Magician's Nephew. New York: Harper Collins, 1994. [1955]

The Wood Between the Worlds, and what they found there )

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