“Peter did not feel very brave; indeed, he felt he was going to be sick. But that made no difference to what he had to do.” | CS Lewis
As with The Magician’s Nephew, so many things captured my attention in LWW but I’m going to focus on two main bits:
First off: Hygge.
I didn’t realize this before, probably because I had no idea hygge existed (well I did, I just didn’t know there was a name for it haha), but LWW is full of hygge.
If you’re not familiar with the term, I recommend reading a post I wrote about it nearly a year ago which I’ll link here 🙂 But I’ll give a brief explanation so you can understand where I’m going with it in this post:
*a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being*
A lot of words right there but in simpler terms, hygge is that feeling you get when you’re in the living room at your close friend’s house and a few of you are gathered round, talking, sharing memories, just enjoying one another’s company, sipping coffee, eating something sweet, soft music may be playing in the background, perhaps it’s even a cold, windy night outside but your friend’s got a roaring fireplace going and you all are warm and toasty.
Ugh, my soul is smiling just writing about it 🙈
The hallmarks of hygge are cozy clothing, hot drinks, something sweet to eat, close and dear friends and family and dim lighting. You can experience hygge on your own too 🙂
I absolutely adore hygge so you can imagine my thrilled surprise when I started to notice it popping up all over LWW.
When Lucy first meets Mr. Tumnus, he invites her over his house for tea.
Quick aside: I’d forgotten that “tea” means something far different to British minds than it does to American ones so I was confused when Mr. T pulled out all the stops and whipped up a full meal for Lucy and himself complete with boiled eggs, THREE different kinds of toast (who knew?) AND a sugar-topped cake along with the actual tea itself. You see, English tea is its own grand event and not just a cup of tea 🙂
Anyway, the entire affair was filled with so much hygge (aside from the rather important fact that Mr. T was up to no good and it was all a show). Snow fell outside since Narnia was shrouded in Eternal Winter. Mr. T had a fire going and he even regaled Lucy with tales of Narnia’s glory days–before the White Witch cursed the land with everlasting snow and ice.
Lucy felt contented and happy (at least until she found out Mr. T’s nefarious plans…).
And then there’s the scene with the four Pevensie children at Mr. and Mrs. Beaver’s home where Lewis outdoes himself with his description. You can just feel yourself into that scene; smell all the smells, hear all the noises, taste all the food:
“There was a jug of creamy milk for the children (Mr. Beaver stuck to beer) and a great big lump of deep yellow butter in the middle of the table from which everyone took as much as he wanted to go with his potatoes…and when they had finished the fish Mrs. Beaver brought unexpectedly out of the oven a great and gloriously sticky marmalade roll, steaming hot, and at the same time moved the kettle onto the fire, so that when they had finished the marmalade roll the tea was made and ready to be poured out. And when each person had got his (or her) cup of tea, each person shoved back his (or her) stool so as to be able to lean against the wall and gave a long sigh of contentment.” / CS Lewis
Can you feel it?
I hope so 🙂
There’s loads more I could discuss (and it pains me to leave it all out haha) but I’ll end with the taste of betrayal and the forgiveness which ought to follow.
I think I’ve often glossed over the fact that Edmund betrayed his siblings to the White Witch. Like I knew that it happened and that it was an important plot point meant to keep the story moving forward, but I never really stopped to ponder what it all meant.
Edmund sold out his brother and sisters for Turkish Delight (which, now that I’ve had it, doesn’t seem worthy of betrayal…like it’s good but it’s not “sell-out-your-family” good 😂).
He was so angry with Peter for reprimanding him about his beastly behaviour toward Lucy. And that anger drove him to accept the Witch’s offer: to bring his siblings along to her house without telling them about her, in exchange for a throne and a kingdom.
As he made the cold trek to her castle in the darkness of a snowy night, he blamed everything on his siblings, especially Peter. He trudged through the rugged forest, ducking under branches and getting wet with snow in the process and the more wet and uncomfortable he was, the more his hatred and anger grew:
“Even as it was, he got wet through for he had to stoop under branches, and great loads of snow came sliding off onto his back. And every time this happened he thought more and more how he hated Peter–just as if all this had been Peter’s fault.” / CS Lewis
Edmund’s heart grew black and ugly…or perhaps the ugliness which was already present simply bubbled to the surface.
As I read, I was eerily reminded of my own heart. How often have I been so angry that my vision clouds and I place all of the blame on others, reserving none for myself. It’s terrifying, lovely humans. It may seem like a “small” thing in LWW but it’s not. Anger and hatred will drive us humans to commit unspeakable horrors.
That’s why Jesus said that un-just anger in the heart is just as good as murder. See, that dark feeling of rage which awakens like a sleeping dragon disturbed from its slumber; that monster will kill if given the chance. And the seeds of it are in all of our hearts, lovely humans. It’s really frightening and I pray this realization causes us all to view our private hatreds in a different and more Biblical light.
But, there is forgiveness for even this, all praise to the Most High!
Aslan confronted Edmund about what he had done and I think it’s significant that Lewis chose to keep that conversation private from us as readers (and not just from Edmund’s siblings). Some things are between us and our Father and not meant for others’ ears.
Hence Aslan’s words to Peter, Susan, and Lucy: “Here is your brother…and–there is no need to talk to him about what is past.”.
We must not chew on past hurts and offences (real ones, I mean; not the ones we’ve imagined others have dealt us…), nursing them in that dark corner of our hearts, or worse, continually bringing them up to the one(s) who hurt us. There is no need to talk to them about what is past. If forgiveness has been extended and received, then all ought to be forgotten. Even if they never come back to us, admitting their sin and asking for pardon, we still should not hold it over their heads.
The taste of betrayal is bitter indeed but Christ’s forgiveness is sweeter and it’s all the forgiveness we really need in this life (though the other human kinds are sweet too).
Edmund’s brother and sisters were incredibly ready to forgive him.
When they first realized he had gone to the Witch in the dead of night, they set out searching, even though they were angry with him for what he had done. And when Aslan rescued him from the Witch and reunited them,
“everyone wanted very hard to say something which would make it quite clear that they were all friends with him again–something ordinary and natural–and of course no one could think of anything in the world to say.” / CS Lewis
Which is all just so painfully real haha After an apology, things seem awkward. Like you should say more but you don’t know quite what. But I’m learning that we shouldn’t run from awkwardness, whatever its form. Sometimes it’s good to feel a bit awkward and un-moored: it helps keep us in our proper place of humility and not take ourselves too seriously 🙂
So hygge and forgiveness.
LWW taught me lessons I didn’t expect to learn and held many pleasant and warm surprises.
I’ll end with my favourite quotation from the novel 🙂
“Yes, of course you’ll get back to Narnia someday. Once a King in Narnia, always a King in Narnia. But don’t go trying to use the same route twice. Indeed, don’t try to get there at all. It’ll happen when you’re not looking for it. And don’t talk too much about it even among yourselves. And don’t mention it to anyone else unless you find that they’ve had adventures of the same sort themselves.
What’s that? How will you know? Oh, you’ll know all right. Odd things they say–even their looks–will let the secret right out. Keep your eyes open.” / CS Lewis
That last bit reminds me of what it’s like to meet a fellow Christian in an unexpected place. Sometimes you just know: the scent is different yet somehow familiar 🙂
P.S. Have you seen the Disney version of LWW? I re-watched it with my own siblings after re-reading the novel and it was like coming Home 🙂
| We’re in a War, my friends, and we all need Courage on the Front Lines ❤ |