Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lazy Thursday; or, The Chronic-what-cles of Narnia

The National Shrine of St. Therese of Lisieux is 15 minutes from my house, and this morning, my mom plus 4/7 of her offspring hit up the shrine's chapel for 11:30 Mass. This shrine and I have a long history together. Some of my earliest memories including frolicking on the 50-acre Carmelite estate, rooting about amongst the shrubbery with my sisters while my mom and her friends made a Rosary pilgrimage. Good times. Today's visit to the shrine was especially meaningful because in the months since my last visit, I studied St. Therese in Theology class, so I appreciated afresh the chance to scope out her personal belongings and relics in the attached museum. Of course I was the picture of decorum... until Lillian and I found the chair that Therese sat on to write Story of A Soul. We took a quick peek around and then reached out with one accord, past the velvet rope, to touch her seat. Oooh scandalous! When we were little, we used to touch all the statues. I don't know how we're still allowed in that place.

Mum ran some errands after that - I hid out in the car reading The Four Loves while she gathered groceries - but she hurt her leg on the cart and was weary by the time we got home. Some peace and quiet were in order for her, I thought, so I went through the house proclaiming, "I'm going to see Narnia! Who wants to come?" Soon I had corralled 3 of the little kids, plus Lillian, and the 5 of us set off on the perilous journey to the movie theater (perilous because it was icy, plus we accidentally left the Google-mapped directions at home). For some reason, nobody appreciated me singing about the Chronic-what-cles of Narnia to get us all in the Narnian mood and take our minds off the fact that we were lost. But in the end we were only 4 minutes late for the movie (not bad for us) and we all had a great time, except Angela, poor baby, who spent half the movie hiding her head in my lap. Sea serpents and sensitive 6-year-olds don't mix well, it seems.

I need to explain that I have read The Chronicles of Narnia approximately four million times, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader used to be my favorite of the series. So the thought of seeing it on screen for the first time (other than that disastrous 1989 attempt that I endured - and laughed at - as a child) was exciting but a little scary. What if they make Edmund and Caspian fight over Ramandu's daughter? What if they censor out Eustace's draconian transformation? I was prepared to become hostile and leave in a huff.

Instead, I found myself fighting back tears the whole time, often unsuccessfully. I used to live and breathe Narnia. Lillian and I played Narnia every single day, and tyrannized Cathy and Maria into being Peter and Edmund (we were always such thoughtful big sisters). My third grade teacher called Lillian and me "Narnian princesses" (mind you, this was the same woman who acquiesced to my request to be called Princess Leia for 3 months). Seeing my childhood dreams... a huge part of my world... right up on the screen in front of me, live and in 3D, was a lot for my heart to handle. If they had yelled, "For Aslan! For Narnia!" one more time, I would have been a weeping mess. As it was, I got away with just enough tears that my 8-year-old brother will be making fun of me for the rest of the week. Awesome.

On that note, Merry Christmas!


  1. Get right out of town! A Beastie Boys-esque spoof involving the Chronicles of Narnia? Never have two more disparate genres been more successfully drawn together. Absolute hilarity! I needed that laugh today, thank you.

    Coming from a fellow Narnian (and by that I mean that my first heartfelt prayer as a child was directed to Aslan) I too found the film very moving. Reepicheep, who is one of my personal heroes, was heads and tails (how apt!) better than his unfortunate portrayal in Prince Caspian. More than anything his steadfast affection lays the foundation for Eustace's undragoning (pray tell, miss, which love would that be: phila, eros, storge, or agape? ;0). Certainly Aslan did the deep claw work, but Reep helped bring Eustace to the place where he could receive it. I wish they had not adapted that scene so much. I suppose I should think more of the affect on little eyes that might be watching, but I wanted a more vivid undragoning, and I especially wanted Eustace thrown into a pool of water--he goes in a dragon comes out a boy. Hooray for Baptism! Oh well, it is Hollywood and we can't have it all I guess. But nevertheless, I agree, what we got was good.

  2. Brian, thank you for the thoughtful comment. I'm so glad you enjoyed the video; it's an old favorite of mine. I too was disappointed with the undragoning scene, although Reepicheep certainly lived up to my highest standards for his character in this film. Given Eustace's extreme unpleasantness, I'd say Reepicheep practiced truly Christian agape more than the affection of storge, but the matter is open to debate. What would you say, good sir?