It’s Just Allegorical

27 Aug

J.R.R Tolkien was famously annoyed at people saying the One Ring was the atom bomb, the hordes of Mordor were the advance of industry, etc. He felt that yes, you can relate aspects of the story to many different things, but they’re not meant to be any one particular thing.

It helps to remember that when reading The Last Battle. There’s always been fairly strong linkings in the Narnia series (Aslan = Jesus, and so forth), but in this book it’s a bit more front-and-centre. Probably because the main issue of the plot – instead of “stopping the White Witch”, or “finding the lost prince” – is dealing with a false Aslan. The obvious allegory being any sort of charlatan who claims to speak for God.

As an aside, I personally am reluctant to make any claims of what God thinks on any issue. The probability of being wrong is high, and the consequences of being wrong could be dreadful. The best I can do is present my considered opinion; acknowledging that while I’m aiming at an ideal, I’m only human.

Anyway, if they religious connotations bother you (indeed, if any particular allegorical interpretation of a story bothers you), it’s quite possible to reframe it in a less-contentious manner. For example, how well would the iPhone have worked if – while it was being developed – someone had disguised themselves as Steve Jobs and wandered around Apple making decisions. Not only would the final product be muddled, people would be unsure about listening to the real Steve Jobs*.

* Which may not have been such a bad thing. Guy was a great designer, but apparently a real jerk.

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Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Narnia


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