December 28, 2005

Waiting for the Magic

Today, the kids and I are going to finish up with our reading of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and catch Narnia, possibly with Tom, at the local theater before it departs tomorrow.

I'm still waiting to get captivated by the book, and can't shake the impression that Lewis must have said to himself, "And now I think I shall write a children's book" (or the impression that the kids view the book not as a particularly good story but only as a means to an end -- our third trip to the movie theater). I'm rather disappointed by the lack of depth and detail, and by so much going on so quickly (perhaps a slower pace would have solved my need for more depth and detail) and by too much repetition, especially that bit about the importance of leaving a wardrobe door open; perhaps Mr. Lewis thought we wouldn't understand or realize that good, thoughtful children leave wardrobe doors open and bad, thoughtless children close them? And I know the Pevensie children, and we, are supposed to care innately about Aslan because the author says we are supposed to -- "the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different" -- but I just, er, don't. For the same reason none of us felt particularly sad or upset or involved, as we were supposed to, when Aslan ended up on the Stone Table, though the violence of the scene was certainly felt.

I can see the magic in the book -- witches, dwarves, talking wolves and lions and beavers (which, you'd think, should have some special hold on Canadian children), and a portal to to a different world -- but for the life of me I can't find the Magic, the same Magic that I find effortlessly (and the kids do too), or rather that finds us, in Understood Betsy, Blueberries for Sal, the works of E. Nesbit and E.B. White, Anne of Green Gables, and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Maybe we're just missing the Narnia gene, she wondered with a sigh...

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