*nom nom nom*
I’m eating my words, in case you couldn’t tell. Haven’t met any little princes, haven’t killed any mockingbirds.
Instead, I’ve been ambling through a book of Simon Schama‘s non-fiction writing I was given for Christmas. He’s an entertaining and witty writer who comes up with some tangible descriptions, but has a real tendency to waffle. There is a point to each essay/article/thing he writes, but I’m blowed if I know some of them were – he covers a wide variety of tangential trivia (usually history-related, but that is his field, so no surprises there), all of it following clear links from one detail to the next, but not seeming to head anywhere in particular. On the whole, I have enjoyed the book, though his art-icles about Dutch modernist painters are a bit hard to follow when one is not familiar with the artworks he cites (and I don’t have a spare ticket to the Louvre or the Guggenheim).
At other times, I’ve been reading The Magician’s Nephew to Rose Red (who does like bedtime stories). We watched a couple of the movies over Christmas, and quickly decided that they adapted the Lion, Witch, & Wardrobe better than they did Prince Caspian.
I’d forgotten the avuncular tone of the narrator in the books (complete with little asides of the “you know how boring grown-ups can be” variety). It lends a certain safe distance to the narrative, so any tense situations don’t seem as scary.
It’s also interesting to see what aspects of Christianity are involved in the story*. The series as a whole has an allegorical slant, which may be more or less overt depending on the book. Being a story of the creation of Narnia, this has parallels to the story of Adam and Eve, but also to other types of creation myth (animal spirits, emergence from one world to another, etc).
The specifically Judeo-Christian ideas seem to be in terms of the selection of some animals to be Talking Beasts (related to predestination of some as “God’s Chosen People”, which is a whole other can of worms I’d rather not open), and the ideas behind the gate around the orchard, but I don’t think either comes across as proselytising a particular world-view**. It’s an unfortunate trait of us humans that what would otherwise be viewed as quite reasonable, or truthful, is mistrusted because we don’t see eye-to-eye with the person saying it.
* Full disclosure: I’m a Christian, so don’t feel the knee-jerk reaction to it, though I understand the barrier it can pose. I expect to be occasionally annoyed when I come to the His Dark Materials series, but I will do my best to be objective.
** I’d be fascinated to see if anyone has read any of the Narnia series without being aware of the Christian association and has interpreted them in light of some other myth or religion.