29 May 2008

Things never happen the same way twice. . . (again)

It's been a while since I've written thanks to several hours of rehearsal for a show every week plus school and work and other commitments of various kinds, but a response to my last post got me thinking and (after seeing Prince Caspian a ridiculous amount of times - 5 as of tomorrow) I have had a bit more time to digest some of the more major themes from the film. I've also re-listened to the book on CD (many thanks to my roommate for giving it to me for my birthday!). So here it goes.

To I.Don't.Want.To.Grow.Up:

I think you really should read the books. I say that as a future English teacher and as a lover of all things C.S. Lewis. I really think that this film complements the book quite well. They expand and elaborate on each other. That being said, here are my thoughts on the ending of the film and the kind of "downer" note:

In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader we get a little more insight as to what Aslan may have told Susan and Peter because he speaks with Lucy and Edmund about why they won't be going back to Narnia again:

"Please, Lamb," said Lucy, "is this the way to Aslan's country?"
"Not for you," said the Lamb. "For you the door into Aslan's country is from your own world."
"What!" said Edmund. "Is there a way into Aslan's country from our world too?"
"There is a way into my country from all the worlds," said the Lamb; but as he spoke his snowy white flushed into tawny gold and his size changed and he was Aslan himself, towering above them and scattering light from his mane.
"Oh, Aslan," said Lucy. "Will you tell us how to get into your country from our world?"
"I shall be telling you all the time," said Aslan. "But I wil not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river [...] You are too old, children," said Aslan, "and you must begin to come close to your own world now."
"It isn't Narnia, you know," sobbed Lucy. "It's you. We shan't meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?"
"But you shall meet me, dear one," 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."
In other words, yes. The ending of Caspian is rather bittersweet. I think that as you get older you appreciate it more. I really struggle with it. So much of my life is in dream-land. The thought of growing up bothers me because I have invested so much of myself into building and shaping my imagination. But Aslan isn't asking Peter and Susan to forget Narnia altogether, he is just telling them that they cannot live there any longer. Part of growing up is learning not to "dwell in dreams and forget to live."

I think another part of it rests in the growing and evolving faith of the characters. Lucy, in particular, represents the greatest amount of innocent faith. She believes everything without question. In The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe she is the first to discover Narnia. She accepts that there could be such a place instantly and she continues to believe it into Prince Caspian and Dawn Treader. Of all her siblings - as the youngest - she exhibits the greatest amount of innocent faith. I think what Lewis is trying to say, though - and this is only my opinion - is that a greater more mature faith is good as well. Peter and Susan are old enough to ask questions and make decisions and learn some more complicated aspects of religion. Lucy and Edmund aren't quite that old. So their saying good-bye to Narnia is somewhat bittersweet and the movie played it excellently - they are simultaneously growing up and moving away from a kind of innocence and accepting the challenge of finding Aslan again elsewhere.

As for "Things never happen the same way twice" - I think it means exactly what it sounds like. It's sort of like how the immune system works. From my (limited) understanding of how the body functions, we don't typically get the same strain of a cold or flu or another virus because our body builds up immunity to it, right? It's the same way with life experiences. The challenges we are given are never the same from one to another. The circumstances are always a bit different. We need these tweaked circumstances because we've built up a kind of emotional/intellectual immunity to the first challenge. We have already grown from that event in one way or another and we don't need to grow in that exact same way again. Aslan is telling Lucy that things never happen the same way twice because He believes that we need to grow in many different ways - not the same way over and over again.

Of course, this is just my opinion. There are lots of interpretations.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Narnia?!


I.dont.want.to.grow.up said...

First of, I want to thank you for replying to my comment =) really made things much much clearer now. I'll consider getting the books after my exams, thanks! But wouldn't it spoil the future movies? the next one is planned to be aired on 2010. Can't wait!

5 times huh? Wow, that's really...alot, plus the CD? I might have done that if I have the time.

So it is the last time for Lucy and Edmund in Narnia after the Voyage of Dawn Treader? Sigh..yeah I was really sad knowing that Peter and Susan is not coming back anymore, I mean, I really admire Peter, he was once a high king for atleast 30 long years, and he came back, helped save Narnia, and went back to London immediately. I mean, why wouldn't they stay a little longer. For maybe another 30 years.

Some of my friends told me that they went back was due to the fact that they were trying to prove to the Telmarines that the portal is actually save. Some of them, however, said that Narnia doesn't need them anymore, not for now, as Caspian is there.

Part of growing up is to stop "dwelling in dreams and forget to live" huh? thanks. The message got send over =)

uhm, about "accepting the challenge of finding Aslan again elsewhere", he exist somewhere else too? the only lions I know on earth are all in the zoos or the jungles =/

yeah, I think when Aslan says that "the same thing never happens twice" meant that ... the same thing never happen twice =D but why would he end up saving the Narnians again? I mean why now, after 1300 years. My sister said he want them to stop relying on him. Is that true?

ah no, you won't have to mention how much you love Narnia, I'm sure ever reader knows that by the way you posts on your blog. yeah i couldn't agree more. The movie's great! But somehow, most of my friends didn't really enjoy it =/ they said that it was for kids. haha. I find it really meaningful though =) especially the end.

Once again, thank you so much for replying =) I'm sorry I made you typed so much.

Joni said...

Well, essentially - yes, reading VDT would spoil the movie, but as a future English Teacher I feel adamantly that you should read the book before you see the movie that spins off of it. And the great thing about the Narnia films thus far is that both movies have added significantly to the plots of the books. Prince Caspian is a walking and talking sort of tale where not much happens - and it makes for a fun read but not so much for a movie. The movies and books really are companions to each other.

Yes - I admire Peter as well. He was (according to Lewis) High King for 15 years which puts him in his early 30s. If you think about it logically (hehe), then he very well could have been married and perhaps even with a family. I always thought that the transition back to England would be hardest on him, especially considering how much he respected his position as High King.

I think both of your friends are wrong. But everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Oh, I don't think you need to stop dreaming. Heavens no. "The world would be as good as dead if we had nothing left to dream about" (if I can quote Anne Shirley). I just mean that when you're a child you are allowed to live in dreams. As you grow up, it is important not to wait around for your dreams to come true and (in the mean time) miss out on the life you've been given.

As for finding Aslan elsewhere - have you missed the Christian symbolism? If you haven't, then forgive me, but if Narnia = the world and Aslan = Christ, then the challenge for Susan and Peter (and the others) should be to find the same faith in a Christ they haven't seen as the "Christ" that they have. So no, it isn't about not relying on Aslan. It's about relying on him completely. Why does Peter fail when he raids the castle? Because he is hasty and takes things into his own hands. He isn't willing to wait for Aslan's guidance. Things go well again when they send Lucy after Aslan for help - when they do all they can to hold off the Telmarines. The bible talks about how we are saved *after* all we can do - Peter and the others have to first turn to Aslan, then do everything they can in their power before he will show up.

As for your friends thinking that the Narnia films are for kids, well - they're entitled. But people who shove books like these ones aside as only "for kids" are missing out, I think. If I can quote Dumbledore (loosely) - it isn't wise for the old to forget what it is like to be young. Likewise, it is never a bad thing to have a childlike view of the world. But that's another blog post for another time.

So what if your friends don't like it! What did Aslan tell Lucy when she says that the others didn't believe her? "Why should that have stopped you from coming to me"? You are allowed to stand up for the things you enjoy. Don't base your opinions on the views of other people.

I hope this helps clarify!

Mariangela said...

Ohh, when Aslan said that to Lucy I cracked up. I just looked at the screen and nodded! lol.

I loved your post. It truly clarifies things! so thank you :)