Friday, April 14, 2006

The Great Lion

In rereading The Magician’s Nephew, book 6 of 7 in The Chronicles of Narnia, I realize how much I truly enjoy the character of Aslan. His character is so paradoxical… so simple and yet complex, very original and also quite stereotyped.

To think that a lion created the magical land of Narnia and the creatures that inhabit it is quite odd. In doing so, Aslan is the original and true king of Naria, even above all high kings of Naria throughout the entire saga. I tend to think that it’s unusual for an animal, such as a lion, to be the creator of a world. In most stories, this is left up to a god-like figure that is more human than anything else.

His character, in my opinion, becomes much less imaginative with all the parallels he has with Christ… in The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe he essentially dies for the sins of man (Edmund), yet rises from the dead to defeat evil… in The Last Battle, the saga concludes with Aslan stepping in to bring Narnia to an end… he judges all the creatures and beings of Narnia; those who were true to him pass through the doors into the “true and perfect” Narnia (heaven), while those who have opposed or deserted him do not pass through the door… the fate of those left behind is uncertain.

Even his personality is contradictory. He’s all powerful and all knowing, yet he still has a vulnerability to him. He can be hurt, both emotionally and physically. His paradoxical persona makes his being a lion is most suitable. He’s a truly awesome symbol of goodness, yet he is still to be feared. Throughout the series, it is often repeated that Aslan is "not a tame lion", since, despite his gentle and loving nature, he is powerful and can be dangerous.


Anonymous said...

"It means," said Aslan, "that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who has committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards..."

And it takes a lot for me to find something "emotionally moving".

Hmm... Rather an appropriate quotation for Easter, n'est ce pas?

Yes, Aslan rocks my world too, and to add to your collection of Aslan pictures, here's what he looked like in the BBC version.


Frank said...

There are countless Christian parallels throughout the entire Chronicles of Narnia. The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe one where he cheats death is at a rather peculiar time. Though I knew Easter was right around the corner, I somehow forgot all about it! :-P

I've seen the BBC version a long time ago. It was alright. They attempted to do a short miniseries for each book, but I don't remember them finishing. I think they only accomplished about 4 of the 7.

Anonymous said...

Heheh... It's today in fact! Happy Easter! :D (Unless you're a member Orthodox church, in which case it's next week!)

Yes, the did The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair. They were fantastic. Yet another example of the Great British Institution of tea-time family viewing (I say "yet another" because the new series of Doctor Who started last night!)!