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Documentary examining claims that CS Lewis's Narnia Chronicles contain a hidden meaning. CS Lewis wrote the Narnia Chronicles over 50 years ago, yet they are more popular today than ever. When they were first published, many critics thought them little more than childish scribblings, replete with random characters and unexplained events. Even Lewis's good friend JRR Tolkien thought them confused and misconceived. Other scholars were sure there was something more, something hidden beneath the stories. Although many tried, none could find this secret key of Narnia - until now. Dr Michael Ward, a young academic and expert in all things Lewisian, claims he has found the answer at last: he has discovered the Narnia Code. Using dramatisations of Lewis's early life and career, the programme travels the world, from the Mid-West of modern America to the battlefields of the First World War, meeting experts, testing evidence and uncovering surprising questions and ideas that still challenge readers today.
Far from being the dour hermit of Evangelical propaganda, CS Lewis was a much more complex and fascinating character. His eccentric personal life has come under scrutiny in recent years (his only marriage came in his late middle age and was an immigration scam, he also never fathered any children) and his religious eccentricity has never really been a secret. He once wrote to a friend, "I had some ado to prevent Joy and myself from relapsing into Paganism in Attica! At Daphni it was hard not to pray to Apollo the Healer. But somehow one didn't feel it would have been very wrong - would have only been addressing Christ sub specie Apollinis." Lewis biographies are rife with this kind of enthusiasm.
Indeed, Lewis came to Christianity from a lifelong obsession with Nordic and classical paganism, which he never disavowed. Indeed he imagined Christianity as the fulfillment of paganism, particularly that of the Solar tradition. As a serious scholar, Lewis understood how similar the Solar monotheism of the late Roman Empire was to Christianity, and it's the earlier tradition that informs his most famous work of fiction...
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – Jupiter
Jupiter was the best planet and Lewis’s favourite. Jupiter was the planet of kingship, and this story is a clash between the children’s destiny as kings and queens of Narnia, under the ‘King of the Wood’, Aslan, and Edmund’s mistaken attempt to become king under the evil White Witch. Jupiter brought about "winter passed and guilt forgiven", according to Lewis’s poem, ‘The Planets’, and in this first Narnia Chronicle the White Witch’s winter passes and Edmund’s guilt is forgiven.
Prince Caspian – Mars
Mars is famously the god of war and this is a war story, a civil war to drive out the usurping King Miraz. Less famously, Mars is a god of woods and forests – Mars Silvanus, as he was known. Hence the continual use of arboreal imagery and the appearance of ‘silvans’ at the final battle, who never appear in any other Chronicle. Reepicheep is a ‘martial’ mouse; Miraz frets over his ‘martial policy’. The chesspiece found at the start of the story is, naturally, a knight.
The Voyage of the 'Dawn Treader' – the Sun
A story about a journey towards the rising sun. Aslan flies out of the sunbeam towards Lucy as an albatross; he appears in the room when she utters the spell to make invisible things visible; he is seen shining as if in bright sunlight, though the sun has in fact gone in, on Goldwater Island. Gold, of course, is the sun’s metal. The killing of dragons on Dragon Island is drawn from Homer’s Hymn to Apollo, where the sun-god Apollo is Sauroctonus, the lizard-slayer. (Compare Tolkien’s villain, Sauron.)
The Silver Chair – the Moon
Aslan only appears in person in his own high country above the clouds and has to be remembered by way of signs and in dreams below in Narnia where the air is thick. The structure of the book reflects the great lunar divide that existed in medieval cosmology between the translunary realm of certitude and the sublunary realm of confusion. The lost Prince Rilian is a lunatic, bound to a chair made out of the Moon’s metal, silver. The horses Coalblack and Snowflake are derived from the steeds which pull the Moon’s chariot in Spenser’s Faerie Queene.
The Horse and His Boy – Mercury
Cor and Corin are based on Castor and Pollux, the horseman and the mighty boxer of Homer’s Iliad and stellated as Gemini, The Twins, a constellation in the house of Mercury. As separated but then reunited identical twins they represent "meeting selves, same but sundered", as Lewis puts it in the lines about Mercury from ‘The Planets’. Shasta becomes a fleet-footed messenger. A Narnian lord wears a steel cap with little wings on either side of it, a clear reference to the petasus, Mercury’s hat.
The Magician's Nephew – Venus
Venus is the fertile planet associated with laughter, motherhood, beauty, warmth, and the apple grove of the Hesperides. Hence this story of the birth of Narnia and the healing of Digory’s mother with a magic apple taken from the Western garden; hence also "the First Joke"! The wicked Jadis is what Lewis elsewhere called "Venus Infernal", the anti-Venus; she is based on the goddess Ishtar, who was especially worshipped in Nineveh. That is why Jadis calls Charn "that great city", an allusion to Jonah 1:2; 3:2.
The Last Battle – Saturn
Aslan does not appear at all until all the characters are dead, reflecting the nature of Saturn, the planet of (apparent) ill-chance and treachery and death. Aslan is here the deus absconditus, the God who is felt only in abandonment. Father Time with his scythe is a mythological character based on Saturn. In a surviving Narnian typescript, Father Time is named ‘Saturn’, but Lewis amended this to ‘Father Time’ before publication in order to keep his planetary theme more carefully hidden.
Originally posted by tankthinker
This is really interesting, seems like there were some alchemical properties connected to the books
According to the legend, the ancestor (in Book 10 Socrates refers to the ring as belonging to Gyges himself, not his ancestor as Glaucon states in Book 2) of Gyges of Lydia was a shepherd in the service of King Candaules of Lydia. After an earthquake, a cave was revealed in a mountainside where Gyges was feeding his flock. Entering the cave, Gyges discovered that it was in fact a tomb with a bronze horse containing a corpse, larger than that of a man, who wore a golden ring, which Gyges pocketed. He discovered that the ring gave him the power to become invisible by adjusting it. Gyges then arranged to be chosen as one of the messengers who reported to the king as to the status of the flocks. Arriving at the palace, Gyges used his new power of invisibility to seduce the queen, and with her help he murdered the king, and became king of Lydia himself. King Croesus, famous for his wealth, was Gyges' descendant.
Many fans are aware of that C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were close friends. Tolkien helped convert Lewis to Christianity, whereas Lewis encouraged Tolkien to expand his fictional writing; both taught at Oxford, both were interested in literature, and both wrote fictional books which propagated basic Christian themes and principles. At the same time, though, they also had serious disagreements — in particular, over the quality of Lewis’ Narnia books.