Category Archives: narnia

Good, Evil, and In between?

I was spending some time thinking about the types of stories and tales I like. If you have known me for any length of time (or don’t know me buy regularly read this blog) its pretty obvious. I like stories with epic history. Stories of fantasy. Stories of the unbelievable. Stories of mystery.

Here is a short list of the stories I have been into:

LOST
Alias
The Chronicles of Narnia
Harry Potter
Pirates of the Caribbean
Lord of the Rings

I have also been known to enjoy StarTrek (specifically TNG) and a little Stargate SG-9 (come on! It has “Macgyver”)

Anyway, I digress. Something I have been thinking about it how good and evil is portrayed in these stories. Some have very distinct Good and Evil. Characters are on one side or the other. The “moral compass” of the story is very defined and unmovable. Others lean towards clear definition, but make use of the gray. Others have characters running around making “in between” decisions based on what ever seems right in that moment. There is some type of vague moral compass, but it is extremely hard to define. And still others are almost purposely completely undefined (or perhaps upside down) with all characters moving to the center, none completely good or innocent, none completely evil.

Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia fall into the first category. Good/Evil exist and each character is on one side or the other.

I think Harry Potter falls into the second group. There is a clear defined evil, but the “clear defined good” is less evident. Good characters are allowed to make sketchy moral choices for the “greater good.”

I would put LOST and Alias in the third category. We want to believe that there is definite good and evil, but when good characters make evil choices or evil characters make choices to help others, it is hard to hold firm to the idea that there is definition. In the end, there may be good and evil in these stories, but both sides are making decisions that not in line with the side each character is “committed” to.

Finally, I would put Pirates of the Caribbean in the last category. The premise of the story (Pirates – come on PIRATES – are “good”?) wants us to believe that questionable characters are the heroes. Throughout the three movies good characters become bad, bad characters become good, and then they don’t stay there, they switch again. This is done so often, all characters have moved to the same grey moral center where there is no longer definition. Can Davy Jones even be “evil?” He is simply a heartbroken man…and the excuses roll on.

So yeah, Its interesting that the two mythic stories by Christian authors are the two in the above example where good and evil are clearly defined. And in addition to that, in myth, if there is clear good and clear evil, is it not typical that the good will prevail? Arguably, they are two opposites, but not equal in strength. Good verses Evil, but in stories Good wins. Good is stronger. Yet, as clearly seen in LotR & CoN humanity is NOT the source of Good.

Anyway, I was just thinking about the similarities and differences in the stories I like. I am greatly encouraged that of all the stories, it is the clearly defined good that defeats the clearly defined and weaker evil that I like the best.
Don’t we all?

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Filed under good vs. evil, harry potter, literature, lord of the rings, lost, movie, narnia, tv

A night at the movies

So I changed my mind. For the very first time in my life (other than one point when a very kind old man wearing a cubs hat in p-town was so thankful I was able to fix his glasses he gave me a dollar), I got tips this week. I decided to spend my hard earned dollars on a movie of my choice. I was planning to go see Indian Jones 4, but several people have told me that it was only “ok” or not very good at all. So I changed my mind.

This evening I went and saw Prince Caspian. I really enjoyed it. Yes, its kids acting, its predictable, its a little hokey in spots and it is a children’s story, but I really liked it. When I was younger I always wished there were more chronicles of Narnia. I always felt as I heard or read the tale of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe that I wanted to tale to continue, to be longer so that Narina would not disappear.

I read the first two books (LWW and Prince Caspian) several times and started the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but kept getting stuck. Finally, I got through it, and read the rest, still wishing there were more. In my minds eye, I was right there with Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. The movies are fantastic because they allow us to go back to Narnia once more.

With this movie, I was struck with the character of Edmund. He is not Lucy, the innocent who perceives truth the quickest, yet he is the first to trust her. He knows both sides of the line (good and evil) and he was saved. He knows what could be and what is. He both stands next to and stands up to High King Peter. He both knows his place in times of humility and times of boldness. Perhaps it is because of his actions in the first story and his new self in the second that he seems the most human and fallen yet at the same time redeemed and righteous. Is he perfect? No. For he has not learned all he can from Narnia, thus he is intented to come back. Perhaps a little “already and not yet” in the story line.

Anyway the following is what I initally came to my blog to post. C.S. Lewis’ world of Narnia together with my favorite band. Pretty hard to top this (probably only cold be done with something from the world of Tolkien).

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Filed under movie, narnia, work

In Like a Lion (Always Winter)

It’s always nice to look out the window
And see those very first few flakes of snow
And later on we can go outside
And create the impression of an angel that just fell from the sky
When February rolls around I’ll roll my eyes
Turn a cold shoulder to these even colder skies
And by the fire my heart it heaves a sigh
For the green grass waiting on the other side

It’s always winter but never Christmas
It seems this curse just can’t be lifted
Yet in the midst of all this ice and snow
Our hearts stay warm cause they are filled with hope

It’d be so nice to look out the window
And see the leaves on the trees begin to show
The birds would congregate and sing
A song of birth a song of newer things

The wind would calm and the sun would shine
I’d go outside and I’d squint my eyes
But for now I will simply just withdraw
Sit here and wish for this world to thaw
It’s always winter but never Christmas
It seems this curse just can’t be lifted
Yet in the midst of all this ice and snow
Our hearts stay warm cause they are filled with hope

And everything it changed overnight
This dying world you brought it back to life
And deep inside I felt things
Shifting everything was melting
Away oh away
And you gave us the most beautiful of days

Cause when it’s always winter but never Christmas
Sometimes it feels like you’re not with us
But deep inside our hearts we know
That you are here and we will not lose hope

This is a song by Relient K

I love it!!!!

The first time I heard it, It helped me understand why CS Lewis decided to make Narnia “always winter & never Christmas” The world we live is ok, nice at first, but after a while, it feels “off” Things are not perfect, we hope for more. Reminds me of the idea of the Kingdom of God being “already & not yet”

In addition to that, I love how the song reminds me of snow at winter. My roomie & I have already decided that this will be our theme song next winter when we live somewhere where it will snow.

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Filed under music, narnia

Narnia was INCREDABLE!!!!!

Just kidding. I’m sure it is great, but don’t worry Tim, I have not seen it yet.

Today I am going to go see Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire (instead of the long awaited, much anticipated Narnia). I hope it is good. So far, many have told me they liked it and only one person stated it was Ok, but not great.

This morning I got all of my chistmas shopping done and in less then 3 hours. I was a little worried because before today, I had not purchased anything. But now all I need to do is wrap them and I am done.

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Filed under holiday, movie, narnia

Movie Mania

And so it begins….

I have been waiting for today! Today is the start of the holiday movie season for me, with the release of two films I would really like to see. Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire and Walk the Line.

On Wed. the 23rd, Rent & Pride & Predjuce come out.

And then last but not least, on Dec. 9, its Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Looking forward to time at the movie theater.

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My Kind of Day 5 in My Kind of Town

We got up at 5:30 am. SUPER early! Off to Wheaton we went. To get there we had to walk down to the Metra train station to catch the train. Once we got to the train station and bought our tickets, we had an hour to kill. What did we do? You guessed it headed to a fourth Starbucks (I did not mention the Starbucks we stopped at on the magnificent mile, day 2) for breakfast.

The train was a nice ride. We each got our own bench and window. The further we went from the City, the more beautiful it became. The large oak trees with all of the leaves turning orange and red was amazing.

We got off the train in Wheaton and walked along the Illinois State Prairie Path to the campus. After checking in, my roommate headed for the library, where I believe she hung out most of the morning.

I attended a class, spoke with an admissions councilor (since I have already applied & been accepted most of the conversation was concerning housing and job opportunities) then off to lunch with a professor. I had lunch with Dr. Timothy Larsen, the Coordinator of the General History of Christianity program. Very interesting lunch.

After that, I met up with my roomie and we went to the Billy Graham Museum. All I can say is “WOW!” Defiantly check it out next time you are in Chicago.

Our next stop was the Wade center, where Wheaton College has a small museum honoring 7 British Authors, 2 of which are J.R.R. Tolkien & C.S. Lewis. We saw some of Tolkien’s letters, Both authors’ desks. AND CS Lewis’ Wardrobe. Lewis had many wardrobes through out his life, but it is rumored that this particular wardrobe, one long owned by Lewis’ family, was the inspiration of his famous story. The College follows legal requirements with a little notice on the inside of the wardrobe “Wheaton College is not responsible for any individuals who may disappear into the wardrobe.”

After this, we walked around a few blocks of Wheaton and headed home. Another 40 minute train ride and we were back in the city. As this was Halloween, we figured it would be best to get to our hotel before it got dark. We ordered Pizza Hut through the room service for dinner, and ended our day.

This day was important for several reasons. Not only was it wonderful to check out the college, it also provided encouragement and weight behind the “Talking My Roommate into Moving to Chicago” Project. Mission almost accomplished 🙂

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Filed under chicago, grad school, narnia, tolkien, travel, wheaton

Literature

So I have been on a huge reading kick lately. I have always loved to read, but for some reason I have not read very many of the “classics” or Current Best Sellers.

This spring I started Anna Karenina by Tolstoy. I have enjoyed the plot, but some times get so bored by the Characters thought (which go on, and on, and on) that I quit reading the book for about 4 months. I just picked it up again and realized that because I am almost 1/2 done with an 800 page book, I really need to finish it.

As most others in recent years, I have now read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I wanted to read them before I watched the movies. I would have to say that Tolkien is now my favorite author. His contemporary, CS Lewis, has been on of my favorite for years. I read the chronicles of Narnia several years ago. (and am eargarly awaiting this December!)

I also attempted Sense & Sensibility and Emma by Jane Austin. Saw the movies, but have yet to finish either book.

Harry Potter, here’s a fun one. I have heard the hype for years, but only when book 6 came out did I finally read any. I bought the first five in a box set. LOVED THEM, and 18 days after starting book one, I had finished all 6. (yes, I need a life to fill up all this time, that was over 3300 pages of reading)

And finally, Another highly anticipated book came out yesterday. Eldest the second book in the Inheritance trilogy. the first book Eragon was written when the author was only 15 yrs old. I only read book one in may. I recommend this one. yes, it is kind of a kids book, but still enjoyable.

Looking back at this list of books, it only confirms that I love the fantasy genre. I think it is because I love the epic tale of good vs. evil.

Plus, I think that each of our lives, in reality, are part of an Epic tale. I often view life very “in the now” but reading such fairy tales reminds me that there are elements of the story that reflect how things really are. And I think it is helpful to the “good” and hurtful to the “evil” if I keep this in mind and live accordingly.

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Filed under good vs. evil, harry potter, jane austen, literature, narnia, reading, tolkien, tolstoy