22 February 2016

Notes on Narnia

If you have read the Narnia books, you know the charm and beauty of these stories. They are more than stories, and you saw that easily, but while the books all have a central character, Aslan, it has seemed to some to be just an imaginative conglomeration of seven books that do not wholly relate to one another, but somehow do relate to one another.

There has been a mystery surrounding Narnia, as well as a search for a deeper meaning in the books. Up until now it has remained a myriad of speculative assumptions. But now the mystery has an answer. The source has been found, and Planet Narnia, by Dr. Michael Ward is the book about what he discovered. In his book, he describes all the deeper meanings of each book in the series and how they all relate to the seven different planets of Medieval times. Each book is a planet, or each planet is a book.

The beginning of discovery came about when Dr. Ward was reading the poem by Lewis called "The Planets" (lines 89-90) late one night, and there was one phrase that stuck out suddenly  - "Winter past and guilt forgiven" which was part of the Jupiter sequence in the poem. He realized that the phrase is a perfectly summed up synopsis of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. And the light bulb went off in his head. Jupiter has a kingly nature, and "the jovial character is cheerful, festive, yet temperate, tranquil, magnanimous." All those words describe aspects of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and as he go through all the connections, it is reveals more and more of Lewis' creative, hidden genius.

So, Dr. Ward began to research and come to find out, each book has countless connections with a certain planet. Remember, C.S. Lewis was a scholar of Medieval literature, so his knowledge on the time period was very deep. This was pre-Copernican times, so the earth was at the centre. The planets were the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The book with battle scene after battle scene, Prince Caspian, for example, corresponds to Mars, the god of war, and there are themes which reflect the nature of Mars throughout the book, which Dr. Ward explains. 

What this new discovery reveals is the depth of C.S. Lewis' genius in secrecy. He did not tell anyone about this hidden feature of the Narnia books (which is itself a mystery - I mean, wouldn't you want to tell one person, maybe your close friend, about a hidden meaning in the books you were writing?), and yet, the signs are all there. And they are not there by accident.

 For those interested in looking deeper into the themes of Narnia, this book dives into those with a scholarly look. I enjoyed it very much and when I re-read the Narnia books again, I will be looking for these planetary and Medieval connections.

No comments:

Post a Comment