It’s the penultimate post in our month long celebration of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series and this time we’re exploring The Magician’s Nephew as a traditional creation story. The Magician’s Nephew is most clearly and most simply a creation story in that it shows us the creation of the world the whole series centers on, Narnia. But the novel also takes us to places beyond the ones we thought we knew; it shows us the nothingness before a world and lets us witness the birth of the physical and spiritual elements of a new world. And in doing so, it echoes the many creation myths and folktales around the world.
“Sometimes fairy stories may say best what’s to be said”
–C.S Lewis ‘Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories’
“There is indeed no better medium for a moral teaching than the good fairy story”
-J.R.R. Tolkien ‘The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays’
Last week Kris Swank explored the ways in which Silver Chair pulls from traditional English fairy poems like “Tam Lin” and “La Belle Dame Sans Merci.” But the dark and enchanting Faerie world that we glimpse in C.S. Lewis’ novel also echoes the “Perilous Realm” of medieval tales like Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Lanval, and Sir Orfeo, where mortals are not only confronted by a fay, but also actively seek out the land Faerie. Like Prince Rilian they are tricked, seduced, and enchanted by the land of Faerie and its inhabitants. Continue reading
One of the things I loved doing from when i was a young teen was making costumes and finding excuses to wear them. It started from when I became interested in role-playing games. I’d already had an interest in sci-fi from my childhood. I usually made warrior-type costumes. I’m doing what I can to get my kids going this way. I just made this breastplate for my almost three year old son…
He cried until I took it off…
It’s 2013, some of us are still sweeping up bits of confetti left over from wizard crackers–surreptitiously, when Aberforth isn’t looking–and there are a few bits and leftovers from 2012 to be picked up and discussed as well. For instance:
…and though the Christmas season is almost over (it’s the tenth day–perhaps you’ll get some lords-a-leaping from your true love!), there’s a Godzilla Christmas tree to be seen, fifteen ice planets for a guaranteed white Christmas, Bryan Thomas Schmidt’s picks for Top Ten Christmas Reads for Kids, and a little mixup over the generous nature and white beard of Gandalf.
It’s the third day of Christmas, the feast day of St. John the Apostle–patron of authors and publishers–and a good day to sit around the common room, drink some spiced pumpkin juice, and contemplate magical things. To start, we have Christie over at Spinning Straw into Gold posting about Father Christmas as Fairy Tale:
[St. Nick’s story] is a fairy tale. Or a folk tale, if you prefer. Many elements of a fairy/folk tale are present: an ordinary person called to do or be something extraordinary; a journey, whether symbolic or literal; dealings with faeries (elves); reward and justice; the sense of mystery or more questions left than answers. Here is a figure as universal but specific as Baba Yaga.
Going on with news and commentary:
King’s Cross Station has now opened a little official Harry Potter memorabilia shop at Platform 9 3/4.
Jon Michaud over at the New Yorker argues that The Hobbit is a better book than The Lord of the Rings.
It’s release day for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey! On account of which, there are a nearly infinite number of relevant articles and such this week, some of which are aggregated here:
In not-so-small Harry Potter news: the stars of the Potter films are getting together to film a Potter mini-movie, which will be shown at the theme parks containing Potter attractions. Over at The Guardian, Ellie Lewis makes a guess at what the movie may be about.
We’re just days away from Halloween, and have a few good links well suited to the holiday. First, Fantasy Faction has quite the aggregation of SFF links and v
ideos, including information on how to zombie-proof your house and dress as a famous work of art for your Halloween party. Kirkus Reviews has a piece up on H.P. Lovecraft, Off the Mark imagines out a soft drink for werewolves, and all the Top [n.] lists of the week seem to be horror-related: 10 massively awesome giant movie monsters, 10 stereotypical horror movie victims, 8 things Hollywood can no longer make creepy, the 15 greatest mad doctors of nerddom, and–in a nicely meta twist–the top 10 lists about horror movies.
Excellent non-Halloween news for Tolkien fans: Mythgard Institute has announced Mythmoot, a Tolkien/The Hobbit conference in Maryland, running December 15 and 16 with a private screening of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. From the site:
It’s not particularly Halloweenish–though The Hobbit certainly has its creepy moments–but perhaps owing to the upcoming first The Hobbit film, Tolkien seems to be in the news a lot. This week, we’ve got Buy Cheap Viagra Onlineilynews.com/blogs/pageviews/2012/10/harpercollins-to-publish-jrr-tolkien-epic-poem-next-year”>HarperCollins announcing publication of a never-before-published epic poem by the good professor, USA Today weighs in on why we still love The Hobbit, Blastr has 17 little known facts about Tolkien and his work (did you know he was briefly kidnapped as a baby? I didn’t), Warner Bros. is creating a couple of free online Hobbit games, and a man from Bainbridge Island, WA, not far from where yours truly lives, has built a Hobbit-like house.
On that last note: whimsy, often very enjoyable whimsy, appears to be making the rounds. Example A: Introvert fairy tales. Also, The Weather Channel thought it would be fun to start naming winter storms, and especially fun to use mythological names–which include Draco, Luna, and Gandolf (yes, spelled that way; named after a different fantasy character, apparently, but their chosen namesake is hardly the one everyone will think of.) Author Shannon Hale recently hosted a competition looking for the best pictures of boys reading ‘girl books’ and got an enthusiastic and rather adorable response. A very well-done Simon and Garfunkel filk on Battlestar Galactica has hit the interwebs: The Sound of Cylons. And I find myself wondering whether this customer is unusually uninhibited, or if she just lost a bet.
Meanwhile, Rowling claims her next book will be for children, and English professor Ben Yagoda credits her with introducing a lot of British words and phrases into American common speech. (I know I use “nicked” and “mental”, “ginger” and “snog”, and occasionally even “effing.” Don’t you?)