I went and saw Prince Caspian today. I have to admit, I felt like it was well done, even if it did focus a lot on the fighting and less on the characters. Thankfully, the production team found it appropriate to retain some of the theological tension found in the books.
I cannot overstate the multiple layers to C.S. Lewis' story telling despite the fact this is a children's story. If I remember correctly, Lewis felt it was easier to write for children because they were more open and blurred the lines more between reality and myth.
This is perhaps why Lucy is the one child from the original four who still believes in Aslan when she comes to Narnia again. When you think about it, its typical, isn't it? How quickly we forget what we've seen and known? We often think, "How can they forget so quickly?! Don't they remember seeing Aslan?
One only needs to recount memories from a week ago to realize how quickly we forget. Write a journal of an actual account moment for moment of even an hour. Come back a year later and it will sound foreign. It will be strange and mysterious. You'll read your journal and say...umm...really? But I promise you if you write the same journal entry every day for the next year that memory will become ingrained into your memory. It will change slightly but you might add to it, instead of finding confusion in it. Sorry...got on a tangent.
We often forget our experiences with Jesus. Like children finding themselves back in Aslan, it feels like hundreds of years ago.
Is anyone else amazed by Lewis' ability to make great characters that reach into the depths of who we are? The genders do not matter, they are core to who we are.
Lucy? So innocent, loving, and trusting. She kind of floats along in the story, swayed by the "adult" approaches of her siblings and seeking Aslan's aid. But even this innocence has a bit of blissful ignorance that Aslan finds fault in. When Lucy finally talks to Aslan in Prince Caspian, she laments that she saw Aslan and no one else did. She asks (in affect), "How was I to follow you when no one else saw you!?" Aslan responds, "What does that matter?"
Bless her. The pressure of those around her to not believe was too great. She asks in anguish, "If I had followed you the first time I saw you, would those people have died?" OH! The anguish! I cried in the theater because I look back on my life and I wonder how it could have been different...oh Lord have mercy on me. Would these people in my life had known you if I had the courage to follow you? Would I have saved countless people from my sacrificial living? Lucy has such sorrow and anguish and wonder at how Aslan works... his response though is typical of God's answer. Its basically, "who knows!? But we can go to these people NOW" and that is what Lucy does.
Edmond? If you remember from the first movie (or book)... he is the traitor. The one who was lured in by turkish delight. The one who was weak, strayed first, and lied. But in the second movie he has a maturity about him that dwells deep and guides his every motion. it is HE who withstands the temptation to use the power of the white witch. He's been there. He's fallen to it before, he's the one who knows better than most the dangers of falling to temptation. Beautiful Edmond. Asland died for him. He paid the price. Edmund has fallen away and tries his best to not do the same again.
Peter. What a prophetic name. This guy's main issue is pride. He's strong. He's in charge...he doesn't need aslan. God help me for all the times I traded the power of the Gospel for my own strength! You can understand Peter's problem! Aslan won't interfere the way Peter wants! His strength seems so far away...so distant. So...unlike our own "strength" At the end of the movie, he reluctantly understands the power of Aslan... he says, "Things are okay. They aren't like I'd like them to be, but they are okay." The strongest among us must be careful. With great strength comes great responsibility.
Which leaves the last one...
Susan. By this movie, she's already too "adult" for Narnia. When Aslan tells her she will not return to this land, I doubt she is too disappointed. She'd never admit it, oh no. But she's thinking about the things of the world. Some folks would say this is Lewis' attack on females. Nonsense - so Susan is concerned about boys, lipstick, and popularity. It could have as easily been Peter worried about girls, football, and establishing his place in the pecking order. The problem is not the "typical" female preoccupations. The problem is that she is "too adult" to hear Aslan or know him anymore. She curiously probes her younger sister. "So, you really saw Aslan? Why couldn't I?" And then admits that she was just getting used to being back in England. Have you been there? Have you gotten used to the "real world" again? Do you remember...once you knew of this place called the Kingdom of God. It was amazing and different and glorious. But we have forgotten what it was like. We've settled back into making the grind. Just keep your head above water, don't let Jesus gum it all up.
As you can tell, the movie gave me a lot to think about. Sure, these are just children's tales. They are stories meant to entertain. Go ahead, shrug it off. But one day you'll turn around and realize you've turned Jesus into this myth, a ghost, a legend, that will never come back and lived thousands of years ago, and has no real bearing on your life. Who even knows if the guy really walked the earth?
The Lion is not a tame lion. He cannot be contained and roams as he chooses. Remember. remember. Help me find narnia again.