Monday, August 23, 2004

Singing in the Wardrobe

Early in June, I decided to read the Narnia series for the first time by myself. I’ve actually never read them before- when I was little, my mom read the whole series to me probably three full times, but until I bought the set for myself in England, I had quite forgotten about reading it. Indeed, there are perks to riding the bus every morning and afternoon for an hour each- lots of time for reading.
As I remembered, I loved the Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. But I think that perhaps my
favourite two books of the series might now be The Magician’s Nephew and The Last Battle. I
found myself completely captivated by the imagery in both, and absolutely longing to read sections out to somebody. (Most of the folks on my bus in the morning sleep, though, so I was on my own.)

In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing. It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful that he could hardly bear it.
....Then two wonders happened at the same moment. One was that the voice was suddenly joined by other voices’ more voices than you could possibly count. They were in harmony with it, but far higher up on the scale: cold, tingling, silvery voices. The second wonder was that the blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars. They didn’t come out gently one by one, as they do on a summer evening. One moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of light leaped out– single stars, constellations, and planets, brighter and bigger than any in our world. There were no clouds. The new stars and the new voices began at exactly the same time. If you had seen it and heard it, as Digory did, you would have felt quite certain that it was the stars themselves that were singing, and that it was the First Voice, the deep one, which had made them appear and made them sing.
“Glory be!” said the Cabby. “I’d ha’ been a better man all my life if I’d known there were things like this!”
(Magician’s Nephew, Chapter Eight.)

I love it that the world of Narnia is created by song. To me, it conveys the power of music, (or
beautiful noise, what-have-you) that Aslan would have chosen to create by breathing the breath of life through song. But then we all know that I have kind of a weakness or soft spot for music.
There is so much of both of those books that I would love to post here, and maybe I will post it all at some point, but if I were to really copy all that excites me in those books, I’d be typing out
whole chapters. I’m not quite sure how parallel The Last Battle is to anything that happens in
Revelations, but it definitely made things a great deal easier for me to picture and understand, and I do feel better for it. These books don’t take long at all to read, I read the whole series in a week just on the bus to and from work, so if you get a moment to yourself, find a copy of either of these books (or both) and take a gander. I think I might read them again before long.

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