CS Lewis (Was: Favourite books)

Dorian E. Gray israfel at eircom.net
Tue Dec 14 15:50:33 EST 2004

Minnow said...

> The bit that got to me was the bit at the end of *The Last Battle* when 
> the
> Calormene soldier meets Aslan, and Aslan tells him, as near as makes no
> odds, that it isn't what you *say* you are worshipping but whether you
> behave in good ways in the process that makes the difference.  I took this
> (at about age 8, I suppose) to mean that God was God was God and it didn't
> matter what we call Her, or to put it another way that a good Muslim was
> better than a bad Christian as far as God was concerned.  That was 
> probably
> the message I took away from the Narnia books more than any other, in 
> fact.

Well, yeah.  "Evil done in the name of Good is still evil.  Good done in the 
name of Evil is still good."  Quite a lot of people in this world of ours 
could stand to remember that, I often think.  Or to get down to brass tacks: 
"It's not what you say, it's what you do."

Though "The Last Battle" is still my least favourite of the seven.

> After which I found it very difficult to cope with critics of Lewis who
> said he was a bigot, because that was so not-bigotted, to me.  It almost
> made up for the horrid bias in *The Horse and His Boy*.

Mm, but that's still one of my favourites.  I think I dismiss the bias as 
"product of author's times" (which may or may not be an accurate dismissal) 
and just enjoy the story.  And I have to say that a lot of the depiction of 
Calormen seems to me to have come straight out of "The Arabian Nights"!

>>Oh, absolutely.  "Always winter and never Christmas", for instance, is an
>>image to strike dread into any heart!
> Well, apart from those of us on the list who either don't celebrate or
> don't enjoy Christmas.

Replace "Christmas" with "Midwinter festival of your choice", please.  I 
left the phrase intact because it was a quotation; I don't myself celebrate 
Christmas.  To me the very basic point of whatever most Northern Hemisphere 
people are celebrating at this time of year is "hurray, the year has turned; 
longer days, spring, renewal, etc. are coming so let's give them a hand 
along with celebrations and encouraging candles and so forth".  And without 
meaning to offend the Christians on the list, I do think you can (or at 
least I can) boil Christmas down to fairly much that - the birth of the 
Saviour has to be the start of the renewal, no?

> If for instance one of one's near and dear family
> died on Christmas day, it may not thereafter be a day one feels much like
> celebrating.

That is true.  But I was thinking bigger picture and symbolism and stuff.

> Always winter is a bit daunting, I agree, because after a
> year or so everyone would presumably start to starve.

Depending on how much of a stockplie they had, yes.


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