Growing up, I adored the Narnia series. I devoured the books, imagining myself to be a composite of Edmund and Lucy — with their adventurousness, courage, and ability to converse with animals and fauns. The talking mouse, Reepicheep, was one of my favorite characters, so I was eager to see the movie version of the “Voyage of the Dawntreader.”
It’s disappointing to realize that something you loved was stamped by its time in ways you had forgotten. I don’t know that CS Lewis holds up to my grown-up reality. Has anyone else had that reaction?
What’s hard to admit is that the movie was fine, it’s CS Lewis’ plot lines that gave me pause. Of course, if I were making the cinematic decisions, I would have treated Aslan differently, giving him many many fewer lines (hopefully none at all). I would portray him as a shimmering glimpse of mane and a magnificent roar. He would be a presence, rather than a character.
But that aside, I found myself unsettled by the plot lines about encountering temptations. The boys are tempted by power (Edmund) and greed (Eustace), while Lucy is tempted by an incantation that promises to make her beautiful.
Lucy wants to be beautiful. She wants to be loved. Perhaps she wants to be loved because she is beautiful. So shoot her, right?
Nice Christian girls are not supposed to desire these things? They are punished for desiring these things?
Lucy is far away from her family, especially her (conspicuously absent) parents, and she basically gets stuck taking care of her brother, as well as everybody else she encounters. Why is it so wrong for her to want to be the one on the receiving end? Why is it so wrong for her to want to bask in adoration?
CS Lewis, I think you’re great. But that doesn’t mean all of your work stands the test of time in the way I had imagined it would. So I’m feeling a little sad today. But I’m also getting fresh insight into the things that shaped me growing up.