Wednesday, January 04, 2006

brought to you by the letter N

as in "the Nanny Diaries" and "Narnia"

Thoughts on Nanny: Um, sometimes it wasn't that funny, not because it wasn't well-written, but because reading about someone who's underpaid and underappreciated, and whose good nature is taken advantage of while she cares about members of the family is a little too much like real life for clergy. (But there were some lovely, arch scenes in the book, definitely enjoyable).

On Natnia: I enjoyed it, mostly, but I missed Lewis' prose. I read this book over and over as a child, and have dipped into it again as an adult, and helped lead a Leader Resources Narnia Lenten study with Sunday School kids (great fun), so I have to say I've almost got it memorized. For example, I missed Lewis' turns of phrase describing Edmund's reaction to the Turkish Delight--they tried to portray it via acting and camera, but I missed the actual words. But then, I'm a word person, so there you have it. I also noticed there were four screenwriters involved. Not a good sign, and I thought explained some of the clunky, non-Lewis dialogue.

Being shot in New Zealand, home of Lord of the Rings, sometimes I got the feeling if you just went over the hill you'd discover Peter Jackson and company (and if you browse around Narnia Web you'll see other overlaps, for example, in clothing production).(Can I mention I was keeping an eye out for the knitwear? Should I mention that in my list of weird habits that Cathy tagged me for? Please tell me I wasn't the only one. Is anyone making Mr. Tumnus' scarf?)

Of course you can't take two clergy to see one of the classics of Anglican literature without moments like 'well, that's clearly substituionary atonement theology' and so forth. As a child I always understood the Biblical allegory, but it was fun, post-theological education, to see how Lewis was communicating some pretty complex theological issues via his narrative.

Well, we'll see how "Prince Caspian" comes out. I'm personally waiting for "Voyage of the Dawn Treader," which was always my favorite in the series. Who doesn't love Reepicheep?


At 11:30 AM, Blogger Annie said...

Nanny Diaries? EGAD, I've missed that.

Mr. Tumnus' scarf? No, I wouldn't want to knit that one. It is too insufficient as a garment to cover his naked chest. It should have been both wider and longer to please me.

At 9:22 PM, Blogger Procrastiknitter said...

I did enjoy the Nanny Diaries very much when I read it last year. As far as Narnia goes it was really neat seeing it as an adult when it was my most favorite book as a child.

I'm anxious for Prince Caspian as well since that's my favorite in the series!

Hoping that the winds are dying down there and it is going to rain soon.

At 1:21 AM, Blogger RAG said...

Thanks so much for your blog, around which I lurk frequently!

My theology was deeply formed by the Chronicles of Narnia and Lewis's space trilogy. Well into adolescence I was a confirmed Aslanist. It took Dorothy Sayers' translation of the Divine Comedy -- and the Civil Rights movement -- to interest me in the Christianity of this world.

Although Lewis helped form my worldview, and probably some of the better aspects of my character, today I find myself a little embarassed by his unselfconscious racism - which of course he shared with many Britons of his age and class.

Guess I have to admit, too, that for me an understanding of the Incarnation and Cross as substitutionary atonement only begins to approach the mystery of a God who voluntary suffers with her creation.

Thanks for reading! If I post again, I promise it'll be lighter!

At 8:50 AM, Blogger Emily said...

Annie: I can't find my copy of "LWW" to double check his description--it's somewhere in this pile of books.

Procrastiknitter: Keep praying for that rain! This weather is too weird for January.

Hi Rag! Welcome. Comment away. There is so much colonialism/racism in so many of my favorite British/American writers, it's sometimes painful. Tolkien suffers from some similar issues.

We don't think substitutionary atonement covers it all, either, but I was impressed at how Lewis could so clearly communicate it within the realm of a story. (Although as the series goes, my favorite theology transformed into narrative is when Eustace gets turned into the dragon and has to get scratched very deep to get the dragon skin off).

At 8:20 PM, Blogger RAG said...

Eustace's dragon story was always one of my favorites, too.

I wonder if a story isn't always going to be the best (the only?) way to present "the mystery of faith." That's what the gospels are after all!


At 12:55 PM, Blogger Annie said...

Oh dear! Maybe I can dig up our copy ...somewhere around Ike's room ...


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