NarniaFans Mailbag: Special Christmas 2012 Edition!

Father ChristmasWelcome to our Special Edition of the NarniaFans Mailbag. As many of you are aware, we concluded our Letters To Father Christmas Contest. In the Spirit of the Holiday and in just good fun, we have some of the questions, with answers from Father Christmas. He has been very generous with his time, as we all know he is very busy this time of year. So without further ado let’s have at those questions!

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The NarniaFans Letters To Father Christmas Contest! UPDATE

The holidays are fast approaching and NarniaFans has decided to help make your Holiday just a little easier .Want to get something for that fan that has everything? Can’t figure out what to get your mom or dad? Need something for that literature savvy friend of yours? Looking for some new fantasy books for your little sister who has worn out her copies of Narnia? Or maybe you just want a little something special for yourself because money has been tight. We at Narnia Fans are here to help you, with some help from Father Christmas and a few of our  friends.

 

 

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Tumnus’s Book Shelf: A NarniaFans Book Review. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Welcome to Tumnus’s Book Shelf where we review any and all books related to Narnia and CS Lewis! For our first review we will be looking at CS Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe!

Book Title: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
Author: CS Lewis
Illustrator: Pauline Baynes
Publisher(US): HarperCollins
ISBN-10: 0060764899
ISBN-13:978-0060764890

Summary of the book:

Some Possible Spoilers.( Please Highlight to read)

“It all began with a picture in my head of a fawn with an umbrella carrying packages in the snow,” said CS Lewis. He first had this picture in his head as a child and it stuck with him all his life and helped him create the seven Narnia books.

The first book written ( though not the first in terms of chronology) was called, “ The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.” Set during the air raids of World War II, four British School children Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie are sent away to live with Professor Kirke in the country for safety.

One day while exploring the professor’s house the four children come into a spare room with nothing but a large wardrobe inside. The other three leave the room as they find it uninteresting. Lucy however, stays behind as she thinks it would be worth it to try and open the wardrobe door.

She opens it and steps inside only to later find herself in the Land of Narnia. Upon her arrival she meets Tumnus the fawn and has tea with him. It is during this tea party that she discovers that Narnia has been enslaved by the evil White Witch Jadis, who makes it , “Always winter and Never Christmas.” He also tells her that the witch wishes to capture any human children.

Tumnus agrees to help Lucy escape as he cannot bare to harm her. She returns to our world and tells her brothers and sister of Narnia. They don’t believe her. Then one day while playing Hide and Seek she returns to Narnia.

This time she doesn’t go alone. Edmund follows after her, only to loose her in the forest. He comes in contact with the White Witch Jadis. She tricks him into believing that she is right and offers him the kingdom in exchanged for his siblings the next time he comes to Narnia.

The Witch leaves him alone and he soon meets his sister. The two of them return to our world and she is very happy to tell Peter and Susan that Edmund has been to Narnia too. When she tells them Edmund does something very despicable. He lies and says they were just playing.

This leads to further problems with the siblings until the day all four of them arrive in Narnia to hide from Mrs. McCready, Professor Kirke’s unpleasant housekeeper who is giving a tour of the house. The older siblings apologize to Lucy and are very angry at Edmund for lying about Lucy.

Following Lucy’s lead they head to Tumnus’s cave only to find the witch has had him arrested. The children are then found by Mr. Beaver and taken to his house for dinner with Mrs. Beaver, where they hear that there coming has been part of the fulfillment of a prophesy. They being Two sons of Adam and Two daughters of Eve are to help free Narnia. They also hear of the great Lion, Aslan.

During these discussion Edmund leaves to see the Witch. She is furious at Edmund for not bringing his brother and sisters with him and reveals where they are. She sends her wolves to capture them.

The other children and the Beavers escape to meet Aslan. Along the way they discover that the Witch’s spell is breaking. First because they meet Father Christmas who gives them gifts to aid in Narnia’s liberation. Second is the coming of spring.

They arrive at the meeting place and see Aslan. He inquires of Edmund and they tell him what happened. Edmund meanwhile continues to see how truly evil the Witch is and regrets his mistake. Much to his favor Aslan sends some of his soldiers to rescue him.

The Witch comes to demand Edmund back as the Spoilers“Deep Magic” every traitor belongs to her.End of Spoilers. Aslan speaks to her in private, making a deal,Spoilers His life for Edmund’s.End of Spoilers. Later that night he meets her at the Stone Table.Spoilers Susan and Lucy sneak along and watch in horror as Jadis and her allies kill Aslan upon the table.End of Spoilers

SpoilersThey mourn the loss of Aslan and help untie his body and stay near Aslan all morning. Early the next morning they find that the table is broken and his body is missing .Then they hear a sound. Aslan’s voice! They turn and see he is alive!End of Spoilers.

They hurry to the Witch’s castle and free the captives which includes Mr. Tumnus .With the help of those Aslan freed, they rush off to aid Peter, Edmund and the rest of Aslan’s army in the final battle against the witch. With Aslan’s help she is defeated!

The four children Spoilers are then crowned Kings and Queens or Narnia. They reign for many years. Then one day while on a hunt for the illusive White Stag, they End of Spoilers journey back through the Wardrobe door and Spoilers find that they had left our world only seconds ago. End of Spoilers Their first adventure in Narnia has ended but there are many more to come.

Review:

In his dedication to his goddaughter CS Lewis wrote that he wrote the book forgetting that books grow faster then children and that by the time it was published she may be too old for fairy stories. That is one fear I don’t think Lewis concern to have. This book remains one of the few fairy stories that can only get better with age.

The characters are quiet enjoyable. Lucy and Edmund are probably the ones who readers can like the most. These two are polar opposites of each other in the beginning as Lucy is sweet, carring and honest and Edmund is greedy, selfish and treacherous. It is their encounter with Aslan and in Narnia that causes Lucy to grow in confidence, and for Edmund to become a better person.

There has also been much negative criticism in regards to how Lewis treats women. However at the time the book was written his character of Lucy was quiet revolutionary as she is the one to discover Narnia, she Spoilers also, gets to witness Aslan’s resurrection End of Spoilers She is also described as trustworthy person, something that is also rare given the fact she is described as being the youngest. She is also an inherent leader. After seeing Narnia is true, even Peter, the eldest apologizes to her and follows her lead.

Susan is the logical practical character who always like to think things through carefully and at times seems like she’s the oldest. She is also the one to express doubts about Narnia and to suggest turning back when things get to dangerous.

Peter of the children is the one who is simply trying to keep the peace between his siblings. He is also quick to apologize when he’s wrong and willing to follow others.

The White Witch Jadis is simply evil. But she is one of those rare evil characters that is done well. She doesn’t wear the traditional black, but rather wears white and is described as being very beautiful. She also at times appears kind and gentle. These are her strongest points as a villain and a character.

Then there is Alsan. The most powerful character in the story as he is the ruler and creator of Narnia, he doesn’t even need to be visibly in the story to be in it. His presence is clearly through out the Land of Narnia. He is a Lion, and while being fierce, he is also very good. After all ” He’s not a tame lion.”

There are also several side characters as Professor Digory Kirke, the Beavers, Mr. Tumnus the fawn, Father Christmas, Maugrim the wolf, and even a rather excitable lion that help fill the world of Narnia with life and vibrancy.

The story is also very entertaining. Despite the talk of “magic” in Narnia, their really is very little of it in the stories. That is something unique for a fantasy story. So how does Lewis grab the reader with out resorting to someone waving a wand? By engaging you in the world itself and in the struggle to save it.

He also populates existing mythical characters and keeps them grounded in their traditional roots, example if a character like a wear wolf is seen as evil it is on the side of evil, if a character is noble and heroic like a centaur it will be allied with the side of good.

More importantly then the characters, story, fantastical elements, and the magic in Narnia is another aspect of the stories that makes them get better with age. The story has a “Deeper Magic” too it. Lewis’ allegorical imagery in the story is well known by now ,and even more imagery shows itself in constant rereading. There is so much of this packed into the book that it would take another article to go into. Lewis even paraphrases some of his arguments about the deity of Christ from “Mere Christianity” within the text of the story to defend Lucy’s claim about Narnia!

Along with the allegorical imagery is the underlying themes of the story, love, forgiveness, second chances, grace, redemption and sacrifice. I doubt any one can think of better messages to share with children then that.

As a narrator, Lewis is very personal and friendly almost like a tour guide of sorts into this realm he discovers. We get to discover this land right with him and the children. At times you almost expect him to be speaking in hushed tones as if he were sharing a wonderful secret with you. This is shown with such statements he makes as pointing out certain characters really aren’t important to the story or that to describe more of the monsters would probably mean parents would not let children read the book.

Spoilers The only downside to this book is the few contradictions to the later books, making it apparent that Lewis did not initially plan to write sequels. Such things include the lack of mention of The Emperor Beyond the Sea in subsequent novels, the change in the witch’s origins from this volume to “The Magician’s Nephew”, and Professor Kirke’s experience with Narnia.End of Spoilers

Those factors aside it is still an enjoyable book for both young and old alike and only gets better with age. Do yourself and your children a favor and read the book today!

Rating: 4 ½ out of 5 shields.

Order the book from Amazon.com

Catholic Guide to Walden Media’s Narnia Film Now Available

Catholic experts explore Biblical parallels, moral lessons at heart of classic children’s tale by C.S. Lewis, now a major motion picture.

In two weeks, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe hits theaters nationwide. People are talking . . . and asking . . . just what is this story all about?

Does the Lion represent Jesus Christ? Is the Witch a metaphor for Satan? What are the parallels to the crucifixion and the salvation story? Who is Father Christmas? What makes the Wardrobe magical?

Beginning December 9th, these and a hundred other questions will be all the talk at water coolers and across playgrounds.

To help Catholics unlock Narnia’s many secrets, the editors of the NY Times bestseller A Guide to the Passion of The Christ, have just released the definitive Catholic travel guide to Lewis’ fictional land. A Guide to Narnia: 100 Questions about The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is available through Ascension Press and Catholic bookstores nationwide.

The highly anticipated film is being hailed by Christian and Catholic leaders as a faithful rendering on Lewis’ tale about the heroic adventures of four English children who journey through a secret wardrobe into the land Narnia. There they meet The White Witch who has cast Narnia into a spell of perpetual winter. Through a series of captivating adventures, they help the lion king Aslan reclaim Narnia through a redemptive sacrifice. “Beneath the surface of the story lies a beautiful metaphorical tale of Jesus Christ and God’s plan for humanity,” contends Mark Shea, co-author of the book and Senior Editor at Catholic Exchange. “Through ‘A Guide to Narnia,’ Catholics will learn the true meaning of this classic tale.”

Catholic Exchange, in cooperation with Catholic Outreach, has also produced three companion study guides and a youth activity guide to the book. These resources are available for free at www.NarniaOutreach.com, a fan site and resource center for parishes, schools and groups who want to use the film as a faith-formation opportunity.

“The movie is destined to inspire Catholics, especially youth, to face evil in their lives and respond with forgiveness, courage and honor,” said Matthew Pinto, President of Ascension Press. A Guide to Narnia is the perfect resource for individuals, schools, and parishes who wish to pass on the life-changing lessons that can be learned in this epic film.”

[Check our Resource page for that book and more]

USA Today Holiday Movies Article covers Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

USA Today ran 2 articles on Christmas films. Their life section included a blurb of the up-coming Narnia film:

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Big-budget adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ adventure series about four children who travel through a magical wardrobe to a land ruled by a lion who seeks to overthrow a cruel witch keeping the world in perpetual winter. From Shrek director Andrew Adamson.”

USA Today - Father Christmas and Lucy

Read the first article, “Ho-ho-ho is harder to find,” here, and the second article, “Hollywood has itself a very little Christmas,” here.

First Pics of Tumnus and Father Christmas!

narnia-chroniken.de has scored a preview of the Narnia books to come this year, which included some small pictures of some characters that we have not seen yet. Father Christmas and Mr. Tumnus!

The look of Father Christmas is reminiscent of Gandalf the Grey.

Another BIOLA Media Conference Report on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Here’s another report from the BIOLA Media Conference! This one features some new information that previous reports may not have mentioned. Really great stuff! Here’s it is from Joelle of TheLonelyIsle.net:

I was able to attend the event yesterday and wrote up some notes from what Rick Dempsey, Ned Lott and Mark Joseph had to say about along with a couple notes about the trailer and the other clips they showed.

Because the trailer is already online here’s my notes from the other two things:

What the Disney/Walden guys had to say:

- The guys who basically got this project off the ground were a group of guys who all graduated either from BIOLA or Masters College, both Christian colleges.

- When one of the Disney guys called Douglas Grisham and asked if Disney could make CoN, Mr. Grisham said, “Disney is the last place that Jack wanted to make Narnia into a movie”

- They are, I quote, “contractly obligated” to make it accurate.

- I quote again, “We cannot sneeze without Doug Grisham’s permission.”

- The trailer will be released May 7th

- It will be attached to Episode III

- There are/ will be 1000 special effects shots

- It will be dubbed in 23 languages

- There will most likely be a song at the end, like LOTR, but not definate

- There will definately be four movies (we do NOT know which ones), but they’re hoping for seven

- Brian Cox no longer has the job as Aslan. He lost 40 lbs and it changed his voice, so he’s no longer able to be Aslan! 350 guys auditioned for Aslan. The most noteable being, aka, the guys that seem to be the closest to what they were looking for:

* Sean Bean

* Timothy Dalton

* Gerald Butler

Notes about the characters that were featured in the other clip we saw, but not in the trailer itself:

The Professor: He kinda looks like a leprechaun, so far the only character that I’m not thrilled about

Mr. Tumnus(!): I wish I had a picture of him right now to show you guys, not how I pictured him, but better. He looks so *real*, not like a guy in a costume.

Mr(or)Mrs Beaver: I had to take a double take here, I thought this was a clip of a nature video or something. Wow has technology come a far way, they look exactly like real beavers!! It’s amazing! If it had not been in this context I would have sworn they were real until they started moving, then it was obvious these aren’t your everyday beavers.

Dwarves: They look exactly like dwarves. But not like Middle Earth dwarves. You couldn’t get the two mixed up.

Santa Claus: Ok, I kinda thought it would be a given that this part of the story (when ol saint nick comes by and gives everyone Christmas presents) would be the Tom Bombadil of Narnia, but no, there was quite clearly a fat guy, with a beard, and a bag of stuff and a sleigh!!

~Joelle of TheLonelyIsle.net

James Cosmo is Father Christmas

We finally know the role that James Cosmo has been cast in. We’ve known since June 21 that he was cast in the Chronicles. We finally have confirmation of the role.

Sources inside the production have confirmed that James Cosmo will play the role of Father Christmas in the upcoming Narnia film.

Cosmo has starred in 60 films since he began his career in 1966 with “Ransom for a Pretty Girl”. He played Angus McLeod in Highlander, Campbell in Braveheart, the voice of Thelonius in Babe: Pig in the City, Mr. Renton in Trainspotting, Mr. Weston in Emma, Col. Sutch in the The Four Feathers, and Glaucus in this year’s Troy.

Read more about James Cosmo here at NarniaFans | Father Christmas