January 3, 2014

lewis / tolkien linky par-tay

Hello, 'ello, 'ello, kind country people (and country people in spirit)!  If you don't know this about me already, I am a huge fan of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, and I tend to jump at any opportunity I have to nerd about their work.  Aspirer of Heavenly Aspirations and Peregrine of Traveling Home invited me to join a link party in which I can talk about these two wonderful people, and a few of their masterpieces.  With the inevitable chaos of the holidays, I wasn't able to spend as much time on this as I would have liked, but this'll do for now, eh?  I know some of the discussions will warrant another post of their own down the road.

Favorite character from Lord of the Rings? (And why?)

First of all, this question is TOTALLY UNFAIR.  There are just too many amazing characters in those stories...  If I absolutely had to choose one, though, I would say Boromir, because he is just so human.  While he has many graces, he also has many faults, and while those faults get the better of him sometimes, he repents for his misdeeds in the end.

Favorite character from Narnia? (And why?)

My favorite character from The Chronicles of Narnia is definitely Aravis, because we are so much alike in certain ways, and because I want to be like her in others.  We're both horsewomen, and we both have an arrogant side that we need to keep in check, and we're both storytellers yet fairly cynical.  She is brave, smart, and loyal, and I'd like to be that.

Favorite scene from Lord of the Rings?

My favorite scene is the charge of the Rohirrim, the horsemen of Theoden's army.  "Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red dawn!"

Favorite scene from Narnia?

To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of the Narnia movies, but the scene I like most is the resurrection of Aslan.  I just think it's masterfully executed, coming from an allegorical and cinematic point of view.

Which one did you read first?  
Is one especially “ingrained” in your memories of childhood as something iconic?

The first series I read was The Chronicles of Narnia.  Well, my mom read them to my brother and I for years before we could read them ourselves, and then we took the reins when we were old enough.  Both are ingrained in my memory, and honestly, I find both to be very iconic.  The Chronicles of Narnia because it is the story of Salvation History, and Lord of the Rings because it tells of the human struggle.

Which soundtrack do you enjoy more? 

Definitely Lord of the Rings.  I think the track from The Chronicles of Narnia is a little too action-movie-ish for my taste.

Favorite quote from each?

From Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers:  “It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass.”  (And the same quote from the book, albeit a wee bit different.)

From The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: “I am [in your world].’ said Aslan. ‘But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.” 

What do you think about the movie versions of them?  
Pros and cons, final judgment?

I am in love with the movie adaption of Lord of the Rings, including the first two parts of The Hobbit that have been released, even despite their imperfections when it comes to following the book.  Wonderful special effects, the script was absolutely perfect, superb cast and acting, and it stuck to the book pretty darn well apart from a few things.  Yes, The Hobbit is straying more than the previously made films, but I'm willing to forgive that.

As for The Chronicles of Narnia, I am not so much a fan.  To be fair, though, I only made it half way through The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and I don't even know if there have been more movies made, but I was very disappointed.

Most valuable lessons from both?

I'll keep this on the most literal level for now though.  I'm beginning to think some of these questions are going to warrant another post or two down the line.

From Lord of the Rings:
First, have courage.  There are so many different kinds of courage, too...  For instance, Frodo's courage was to complete the journey to Mordor.  For Gandalf, courage was his wisdom and guidance, even when the Fellowship wasn't interested in listening.  For Eowyn, courage was setting out to accomplish the thing only she could do.  Tolkien lived in a time when Hitler's army threatened to conquer the world, and I'm positive he saw ordinary people perform the extraordinary.  "Even the smallest person can change the course of the future."  And even the meekest, most unexpected followers of Christ can have tremendous courage.  

Second, what really matters?  One of my favorite passages at the end of The Hobbit takes place when Bilbo meets with Thorin once more before they go their separate ways.  Thorin tells Bilbo that "if more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."  Amen.

And finally for now, I think one of the most valuable lessons from these books/movies is that mercy is strength.  Gandalf thinks mercy is the thing that keeps evil in check.  "Many live that deserve death.  And some die that deserve life.  Can you give it to them?  Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.  For even the very wise cannot see all ends."

From The Chronicles of Narnia:
The lessons that immediately come to my mind are these:  First, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.  For one example, Edmund was given the Turkish Delight by Jadis (The White Witch), and quickly becomes addicted to it, asking for more and more, and being willing to do anything to get it - to the point of turning in his brothers and sisters, and those good creatures who were trying to help them.

Second, own up.  When Edmund realizes Lucy was right about Narnia being in the Wardrobe, he can't bring himself to admit that she was right, and lies about it, making fun of her, and throwing the blame around when he realizes that lying wasn't the best option.  (Poor Edmund gets a bad rap... but there is good to learn from him, too!)

Finally for now, forgiveness is always an option.  You just have to ask for it.  Another one of my favorite scenes in the series is the image of Aslan hearing Edmund's "confession," after his major change of heart.  The power of repentance and forgiveness is really a beautiful thing.

Which three characters would you enjoy having supper with and why?

Another unfair question... I'd have to say Thorin, Gandalf, and Aragorn, because I feel like we could get into some really great theological discussions.

If you could ask any two characters (from either works) one questions, what would they be?

Aravis, where do you find your courage?

Thorin, come be my friend?

What aspect of humanity that CS Lewis writes about do you most appreciate?  (For example, the Chronicles of Narnia touches on the mystery of the Person of Christ in a subtle way, and the Screwtape Letters discusses the downfall of man in sin.)

Nailed it.  The mystery of Christ as approachable by all, and understandable to even youngsters through the way he writes - using Aslan as the Person of Christ, and the other characters as us.

Which of his works is your favorite, and why?

Hmmm... I'd have to say The Chronicles of Narnia are my favorite, although I am fond of all of them.  The Chronicles are the story of Salvation History, as I've mentioned before (and I'll have to write more about that later), but the way Lewis writes it is so welcoming - in some ways more than the Bible - in some ways less foreboding.   Even someone just reading the series for entertainment would have to admit, and maybe even investigate, that there is definitely a spiritual level to those books.

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  1. I haven't read much of C.S. Lewis besides the Chronicles of Narnia. I enjoyed the books, but didn't really like the movies. I'm a huge Tolkien fan and started reading them when I was a teenager. My favorite quote is Gandalf when he reassures Frodo: "“I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo. ‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” I don't think I can pick a favorite character. Narrowing it down, I'd have to say Sam, Eowyn and Gandalf. Great insights. Thanks!

    1. Ooh. Stop everything immediately and go get yourself a copy of Screwtape and Mere Christianity (whether or not you're a Christian) ;).

      That's a tremendous quote... one I'm trying to live by. :)

  2. "THORIN COME BE MY FRIEND" <3 I literally stared at my computer screen for a minute and then burst out laughing. <3 LOVE IT. Why can't I think of asking questions like that. :)

    1. Haha, well it's true. What I wouldn't give for half of these characters to pop out of the pages as real people and be my real life friends. Being book friends sometimes isn't just enough. ;)

    2. happily many if not all fictional characters are based in the way the writer perceives in the imagination other people and their characteristics.

      God bless

  3. Love this!! Oh, gosh, can never get too much of Lewis & Tolkein <3

  4. Your two quotes are the same as mine! :3 Great minds think alike, I guess, haha...

    1. Great minds indeeeeed, dear Grace... Great minds indeed. ;)

  5. This is such the best. Iris, thank you from the bottom of my heart for participating! Definitely made my day to read your responses. And your questions- "Thorin, come be my friend?" <3

  6. Both of these are such brilliant writers. I think I love everything C.S. Lewis ever wrote (and I'm doing my best to read all of it!) And Boromir has always been my secret favorite character from Lord of the Rings.

  7. Oh my goodness, the charge of the rohirrim. I just love the transfer of that line to the film. BTW, I just wanted to thank you for inviting me to your blog via my own about a month ago. I think we could be kindred spirits :)

  8. Hello, Iris! I followed you here from Peregrin's blog and loved your responses to the Party Invitation! One does have to wonder if Thorin would make a good dinner guest, though. He might be too moody and majestic to enjoy himself. ;)

    1. This is true. Although I think I might just melt and revel in his majesty. Haha!

  9. wow, beautiful. two fantastic christian authors writing about and to God!
    read LOtR first then some of Louis' works then fell (rather rose ) into the Chronicles of Narnia.
    great literature.
    glad one can read and write about great literature like these authors received.

    God bless

  10. Lewis and Tolkien linky party would be PERFECT! Let me know if there is any hope of having one in the future. I love them both. They are my favorite writers. Can't even tell which one I love the most.
    And I liked your post also. It is wonderful that you bring out the Christian part of them.


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