Susan Cooper

hannibal at hannibal at
Wed Oct 29 04:39:14 EST 2003


Oh help, there's a horrid moment in C.S. Lewis' *The Magician's Nephew* 
that is the reverse of this. Uncle Wossit is trying to get Digory to join 
the magical dabblers, and he says "Ours, my boy, is a high and lonely 
destiny", and Digory sees through it and realises that it just means that 
his uncle thinks he is entitled to do whatever he wants to get whatever he 
wants. The Old Ones really *do* have a high and lonely destiny. It 
doesn't seem to me that there is very much in it for them, when it comes 
down to it. Our reaction to them makes it fairly clear that they can't 
exactly hope for a great deal of sympathy, even, if they ever let ordinary 
humans know what they are. 

How does this compare with the Magids, I wonder? 
Your point about Uncle Andrew reminded me that Cooper does indeed make the an explicit distinction between the Old Ones, who are born to their destiny, and the Lords of the Dark, who choose to be that because they want to have power over their fellow men. I'm not sure what would happen if an Old One turned out to be conscientious objector and refused to take part in the quest - presumably the Light's prophecies would remain unfulfilled and the Dark would accordingly triumph. (Didn't Zola say something on these lines?)
OT, and just thinking about Uncle A again - I  have a vague memory that Charles Williams, CS Lewis's great chum, was a member of the Golden Dawn or at least on friendly terms with magicians like A.E. Waite - anyone know if that's right?
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