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Posts Tagged ‘the Witch and the Wardrobe’

On Easter, most readers are thinking of Beatrix Potter’s rabbits, Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, Peter, and their cousin Benjamin Bunny. Instead, I thought of CS Lewis today. Why? For starters, a writer friend sent me a video featuring a pair of beavers repairing their home during a warm spell.

It is still winter, and ice remains. A warm wind has caused a bit of a thaw, so the beavers are out and about. They ignore the photographer, and go about their beaver business. Which would be interesting enough, but about 2 minutes into the video – one of the beavers stands on his hind feet and carries a load of sticks.

This wild beaver suddenly reminded me of Mr. Beaver and his wife from CS Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Many of you will recall the first encounter with Mr. Beaver from the movie – how he startles Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy by speaking, and seeming quite comfortable standing on 2 legs.

In the book, after staying at Mr. and Mrs. Beaver’s home for a bit, the three children and the Beavers rush into the night and try to keep ahead of the White Queen and her forces who are in pursuit. As they trudge through the winter woods, Lucy becomes tired.

CS Lewis writes: “And she stopped looking at the dazzling brightness of the frozen river with all its waterfalls of ice and at the white masses of the tree-tops and the great glaring moon and the countless stars and could only watch the little short legs of Mr. Beaver going pad-pad-pad-pad through the snow in front of her as if they were never going to stop. Then the moon disappeared and the snow began to fall once more…”

But CS Lewis fans know that spring and Aslan are on their way. Most CS Lewis fans also know Aslan will sacrifice himself for Edmund’s bad behavior, be killed by the witch and her followers, then, be reborn.

And so, Easter is indeed a perfect time to not only think of  Beatrix Potter and her Tale of Peter Rabbit, but also to think of CS Lewis and his Chronicles of Narnia.

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Time travel is not only possible, but it occurs thousands of times every day! You see, it happens when a reader suspends their disbelief and enters the world of a story that occurs in the past, the future, or in another world.

I just watched The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian today. The film reminded me of the book of the same name, one of seven that take place in the land of Narnia. Rather than the wardrobe from Book I, an underground train station becomes the portal from England to another place and time for Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy in Book II. Only a year has past in England since the four siblings returned from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’s adventures, but in Narnia, hundreds of years have slipped by.

 Jubilant to return to Narnia, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy soon discover the time discrepancy and the troubles disrupting the peaceful world they left behind. After many days spent traveling through Narnia and fighting battles beside talking beasts, dwarfs, mobile trees, minotaurs, centaurs, giants, and such – the tales ends with the four children stepping through a doorway of branches to find themselves back in the English train station. And oddly, only a few minutes have passed since they departed. Beloved author, C.S. Lewis, presents different portals in his Narnia books, but the variance in the passage of time is a common thread.

Portals are an oft-used time travel device (in addition to being quite handy for zipping characters from one world to another). Andre’ Norton used a portal to bring her original hero to Witch World. Witch World initially seems to be a place set in the past, but the intrusion of machines in the storyline makes the reader wonder if perhaps it’s a place in the future.

L. Frank Baum utilized a whirling tornado as a portal device to deliver Dorothy to Oz. After days and days of adventures, Dorothy returns to Kansas only a few minutes after she departed. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is another example of a portal transporting the hero from her world to another. A rabbit’s hole serves the function of portal for Lewis Carroll’s book. And again, only a few minutes have passed in the “real” world when Alice returns home from her time-consuming wanderings.

Like many writers before me and some writers who craft stories today, I like to transport readers into the past, the future, or to a different time in a world that I’ve built. Most often, the only portal I use is the turning of a page. The page that carries a reader from their work-a-day world to places where singing opossums or mermaids or dragons or ghosts or zombies or faeries or alien species live their lives to the tick of a different clock. So pick up a book or download a story, and travel through time!

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