newsletter of the Mythopoeic SIG
"In the beginning God created..." (Genesis 1:1)
The Lion, the witch
and the wardrobe
This month the first of a projected series of the high-budget adaptations of C. S. Lewis' classic The Chronicles of Narnia will begin. The first film, "The Narnia Chronicles: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", will premiere in New Zealand where it was made (as were the films of Lewis' friend J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Ring trilogy). It premiers on December 8th, the feast of the Immaculate Consumption, there as well as simultaneously in Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom and the next day in the United States.
The rights to adapt all seven books in Lewis' series has been granted by his stepson Douglas Gresham. MovieFone calls it "sheer cinematic gold", not only because of the first film, but because of the promise. As it puts it, there is in the popular series "enough to fill movie screens for the next decade -- at least."
Unlike the Harry Potter series of books and films, they depict witchcraft as evil and family as good. As Lewis quoted Wisdom as saying in his The Pilgrim's Regress, "For this end I made your senses and for this end your imagination, that you might see my face and live." This brings to mind Pope John Paul II's admonition to look upon His face.
Tilda Swinton, who plays the evil White Witch, says that "This is not a religious film." Pastor Jarvis Ward, who watched a preview however says, "It has a gospel message." Like Jesus' parables, believers can see and unbelievers cannot, but might yet.
In Lewis' own words from the book, "Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don't understand but in the dream it feels as if it had some enormous meaning ... which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into that dream again."
This is just what Andrew Adamson, the film's director, noted for "Shrek" and "Shrek 2", says he was trying to do. " I really wanted to bring the world of Narnia to life how I imagined it as a child.
"To me," he says, "the main messages are that of family, sacrifice and forgiveness. I can't think of more relevant messages for today."
The basic plot elements cannot be denied that Aslan, who created and maintains the existence of Narnia, dies and rises from the dead to save it, that the leader of Narnia is Peter, Aslan's representative, that Narnia -- and our own world that we think we know -- is just a shadow of the Real World.
Governor Jeb Bush has promoted a reading contest before the movie comes out though ninety million have already read the Chronicles. There are already posters, costumes and companion storybooks available for Christmas presents. SermonCentral.com has a Narnia-based sermon contest whose prize is a trip for two to London. The multi-hundred million dollar film is being marketed by Motive Marketing which also marketed Mel Gibson's record-breaking "The Passion of the Christ" and distributed by Disney.
Walter Hooper, Lewis' biographer, now a convert to the Catholic Church, recently shared on Eternal Word Television (EWTN) of his own visit to Narnia. The Italian town of Narni on the river Nar, formerly called Narnia, is home to Bl. Lucia of Narnia. "Coincidentally" this is the same as the name of Lewis' goddaughter, Lucy Barfield to whom he dedicated the book and his heroine, Lucy Eve's Daughter.
There has been an Emmy-winning animated version of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and a BBC miniseries version of four of the books, including "Prince Caspian", "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" and "The Silver Chair". Until the high-quality film versions of "The Horse and His Boy", "The Magician's Nephew", the prequel to "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" and the climactic "The Last Battle" come out in the theaters, you can always read and re-read the books. Generations of visitors to Narnia, sons of Adam and daughters of Eve, have encountered giants and dragons, Talking Animals and mythic creatures, even new ones like marshwiggles, had great adventures and fought and won just wars, and ultimately arrived at the unimaginably glorious Land of Aslan
As Lewis concluded, "All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before."
Since last issue we have educated ourselves on the elusive Cochrane factors which seem to vary depending upon the nature of the space and subspace through which a warp drive starship is traveling, much more complex than Cochrane's original v/c = w3 formula. Apparently the space traveled near the Kalandran outpost had Cochrane factors yielding 1290w^3.
The website, http://www.ditl.org/index.htm?daybody=/scitech/datwarpscales.htm, gives the best explanation, including two Cochrane factors and the Terrance-Neltorr Graduated Scale (TNG scale) with approximations for warp factors above 9.
log(v/c - w) = [<(10/3) + r(s)(-ln(10 - w))^F> + f(1)((w - 9)^5) + f(2)((w - 9)^11)]
Where r(s) is the subspace field density, F is the electromagnetic flux, and f(1) and f(2) are the Cochrane refraction and reflection indexes respectively. Under ideal conditions, the website says, values of r(s) = 0.00264320, F = 2.87926700, f(1) = 0.06274120 and f(2) = 0.32574600 can be expected within a "normal" area of deep interstellar space.
Long, narrow and temporary regions with Cochrane values in the hundreds or thousands are called "warp highways". Larger but more localized and common are "warp shallows" such as that near the Xendi Sabu system which have a Cochrane Value of 0.55. The rarest "warp sandbars", with a Cochrane value near zero, are phenomena which prevent a vessel using warp drive at all within a given region.