Well, chaps, it’s February.
February is known primarily as the month of chocolate and True Wuv by those in cheerful or derisive moods, and as the Wednesday of the Year by those in despondent moods, but February is also Fantasy Month. For which we have the lovely Jenelle to thank. As the theme of this year’s Fantasy Month is fandoms, and as I was recently(ish) tagged for the Narnia tag, and as Narnia is one of my favorite fandoms, and as…well…timing, etc…it seemed appropriate, don’t you know.
- Thank the person who nominated you (In the words of Bilbo Baggins, thag you very buch, Maya!)
- Describe the rate of your Narnia fanatic (nostalgic, serious, maniacal)
- Answer the questions below
- Tag 5+ bloggers
- Have fun!
[note: none of these pictures are mine. I copied the beautiful graphic above from Maya’s post, and the pictures, unless otherwise noted, I found on Pinterest.]
rate of Narnia fanatics:
- Nostalgic Fanatic — you read the book and/or watched the movies as a child and the word Narnia gives you a warm feeling
- Serious Fanatic — you rediscovered the wonder of Narnia after you were older and have read the books and watched the movies
- Maniacal Fanatic — you have lived Narnia from childhood, hid in closets on more occasions than is healthy, have read and watched all the movies including the BBC version
I (quite frankly) don’t like this rating system. According to it I’m a Nostalgic Fanatic (never saw any of the movies, never really wanted to either, and yes, the word Narnia does give me a warm fuzzy feeling), but I really think I ought to be considered at least a Serious, and perhaps even a Maniacal, Fanatic.
I literally read my mom’s one-volume paperback Narnia collection till it literally fell apart. Literally. The other day I found a chunk of The Horse and His Boy under the ping-pong table. Finding such chunks, which range from 4 pages’ to 4 chapters’ worth of material, is not an unfamiliar experience either. (My mom did buy my littlest sister the series. So we do still have a readable Narnia, thank goodness.)
I read Narnia assiduously as a small child. It was my go-to. If I noticed it had been a while since my last reread, I started a new one. I actually haven’t reread all of them as an adult, but the ones I have I still love. And I really want to reread the others sometime soon (except The Last Battle, because…no).
So, I self-assess myself as a hybrid, a Nostalgic Serious Fanatic Who Ought to Take Better Care of Her Mom’s Books (Shame on You, Child).
// who’s your favorite Pevensie sibling? //
Edmund, I think.
Lucy has beautiful faith and the best retort to that “why don’t girls carry this-or-that in their heads?” question: “Because our heads have something inside them.” But Edmund is such a solid kid, after he gets over being a brat. I like dependable characters like that.
And, y’know, his redemption arc. Everybody else heard “redemption arc” and thought Zuko; I heard “redemption arc” and thought “Edmund.”
And I love him in The Horse and His Boy. (I love Susan a lot in The Horse and His Boy too, but…Edmund. We’re sticking with Edmund as favorite Pevensie.)
// what is the most underrated Narnia book? //
We are going to go with The Silver Chair here. It’s my favorite book, and it gets somewhat overlooked in favor of the two most popular ones (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian). The Horse and His Boy resides, like, a forty-seventh of a millimeter away from The Silver Chair in my affections, but people seem to properly appreciate it for the fabulous book that it is. And while The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Magician’s Nephew (my next-most favorites) are a little underrated (especially The Magician’s Nephew), I don’t think they’re as underrated as The Silver Chair. (And we’re just not talking about The Last Battle, because I don’t like that one.)
The thing with The Silver Chair is that it’s a little…dark. Comparatively. I guess Prince Caspian involves necromancy (so that’s family-friendly), but The Silver Chair has cannibal giants, enchantments that mess with your mind, a land that’s as shut in darkness spiritually as it is physically, and kids who, unlike the Pevensies, don’t have a super wholesome, normal, happy home and school life. It’s full of rain and caves* and deserted landscapes and a general sense of dreariness. I can see how people wouldn’t like that so much. In a way I’m surprised it’s my favorite book.
But I like the way Jill and Eustace have to deal with some really hard stuff. I like how their friendship develops. I like how Eustace, now a Reformed Character, has to suddenly be the one who Knows What He’s Doing (which he doesn’t), and you really get to see him shine. He’s…probably my favorite of the kids, to be honest. His life at home is probably the least awesome, and it kind of only makes sense that his Narnian adventure reflects that a bit?
I mean, have you ever thought about the fact (I just thought of this) that the Green Lady’s whole thing is stripping reality of its inherent magic – all lamplight, no sun; all cavern roof, no sky; all dreary circumscribed practicality, no idealism and no belief in something higher or more beautiful – and that’s almost the exact same background Eustace comes from in his real life? At the beginning of The Voyage of the Dawn-Treader, he takes pleasure in pricking holes in every bubble of imagination…in being realistic and sensible and smarter than everybody…and clearly that’s because that’s what his parents (and schoolmasters too, probably) taught him.
That’s very dreary. It’s a very dreary outlook to have on life, and it’s where Eustace comes from. And The Silver Chair deals with that in….a really, really profound way. I mean, for a children’s book and everything, too. So yes, it’s drearier than the other books, but it has to be. And I think it’s the best/most powerful (to me anyway) philosophically of all the books…
Also, Jill is great, and the book with Puddleglum in it is automatically going to be the best one, I mean come on now.
*Note: not that caves are necessarily dreary. Caves can be REALLY REALLY cool. If you have a flashlight to see the formations and a thirst to explore and, mostly, a way out.
// who is your favorite Narnian king? //
Tirian, with his head against Jewel’s flank, slept as soundly as if he were in his royal bed at Cair Paravel, till the sound of a gong beating awoke him and he sat up and saw that there was firelight on the far side of the stable and knew that the hour had come. “Kiss me, Jewel,” he said. “For certainly this is our last night on earth. And if ever I offended against you in any matter great or small, forgive me now.”
I freaking adore Tirian and quite frankly don’t think he gets nearly enough love.
Then he fixed his eyes upon Tirian, and Tirian came near, trembling, and flung himself at the Lion’s feet, and the Lion kissed him and said, “Well done, last of the Kings of Narnia who stood firm at the darkest hour.”
// who is your favorite Narnian queen? //
I about typed Aravis – does she count? I know she’s the queen of Archenland, not Narnia, but she is a Narnian queen in the sense that she’s a queen who appears in “The Chronicles of Narnia.” And she’s so very much my favorite.
I quite distinctly remember reading The Horse and His Boy for the first time, and how much I didn’t like Aravis. Then, when she told her story, I began to like her better. Then she kept being really annoying and snooty to my precious Shasta, and I didn’t like her again. And then…well, we don’t have to go through all the fluctuations. I ended up liking her very much. Rereading her story now is pretty awesome too, because she’s awesome from the beginning, in hindsight. Not to mention a natural-born queen.
// which non-human Narnian do you like best? //
Why do the non-human Narnians only get one question? There are too many of them for this to be fair.
That said…totally Puddleglum.
He’s so full of wisdom and…cheer.
“And you must always remember there’s one good thing about being trapped down here: it’ll save funeral expenses.”-Puddleglum
“Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that’s a small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say.”-Puddleglum
“Puddleglum!” said Jill. “You’re a regular old humbug. You sound as doleful as a funeral and I believe you’re perfectly happy. And you talk as if you were afraid of everything, when you’re really as brave as – as a lion.”
Jill is quite right.
// which book deserves a movie? //
The Magician’s Nephew. I direct you to Katie’s awesome idea about an ethereal watercolor sort of animated Narnia – and then ask you do you not long to see the first sunrise and the creation of Narnia in that format? And to hear in the darkness, beforehand, the singing of the Great Lion? And to walk through the dead mists of Charn and the noisy streets of London and the impossible colorful cacophony of the newly awoken animals? I ask you.
// what is the one thing you did as a Narnia fan that you do not regret? //
I don’t at all regret the lengths to which I went to see what was behind any door in any wall or hedge I ever came across, and I do not regret the (surprisingly rare) trouble I may have gotten into due to this compulsion.
A lot of kids viewed wardrobes differently after reading Narnia. I didn’t really do that, but I did view doors in walls and hedges differently. (Whether this is because The Silver Chair was my favorite or because I didn’t encounter many wardrobes, I do not know.)
My fascination with seeing – nay, my need to see – what lies behind doors in hedges is with me still, in fact. And I always get a thrill when I go through one, even though I’ve yet to be transported to Aslan’s country. One of these days, maybe!
I now desperately want to reread Narnia. This tag has done its work well, I guess. Thank you so much for tagging me, Maya! Narnia is one of my absolute favorite stories, and I enjoyed doing this so much. I’ll tag five people, but feel free to do it or not as you are inclined!
Emily@E. K. Seaver
Mlle. Tomato@Project Pursue Wisdom
Blue@To Be a Shennachie