Re-reading Narnia – Misogynistic but Pleasant

It’s 2018 and I’m sick in bed. For a change. 2017 was characterized with health problems and currently, 2018 doesn’t look to be much different. On the bright side, this gives me more time to read (and watch K-dramas).

Being in the mood for Xmassy children’s books to end the year, at the end of 2017 I started re-reading the Narnia books. I hadn’t read them in years and having purchased a second hand quasi-new copy at a very good price, thought this the perfect opportunity to do so.

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If you have only watched the Narnia movies, you have missed a lot. In case you did not know this, there are a total of 7 Narnia books (and only 3 movies). Speaking of the movies, the first movie to come out, and the most famous of the Narnia books, is ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’. Although most people believe this to be the first book in the Narnia series, it is actually the second, that is, in Narnian chronological order. Let me explain – the American published Narnia books number the series in order of publication. And in that case, yes the ‘Wardrobe’ book would be the first one. C.S Lewis himself however, preferred to look at the books chronologically, meaning that ‘The Magician’s Nephew’ is to be considered the first book, which is how UK publishing houses do it.

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I myself own a UK version of the box series (thank the Goddess), in which the books are numbered chronologically, which is how I prefer to read them. This means that the books should be read like this:

  1. The Magician’s Nephew
  2. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Movie No. 1)
  3. Prince Caspian (Movie No. 2)
  4. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Movie No. 3)
  5. The Horse and his Boy
  6. The Silver Chair
  7. The Last Battle

While books 2, 3 and 4, which were made into movies, tackle the adventures of the Pevensie children in Narnia, the other books concern other main characters. The Pevensie children feature in these books sometimes as well, but they mostly do this as Kings and Queens of Narnia and they are not the main characters.

I love the books HOWEVER there are some things which bug the hell out of me. For example, no one can deny that almost every book treats the female gender as though it was made of glass. This mentality is not surprising since the author was writing these books in the 1950s, however reading sentences like ‘it is a sad day when women must go to war’ really irritates me. War is ALWAYS terrible, no matter who actually fights in it. Also, why are the boys always given swords and weapons, while the girls have to make do with bows and small daggers, or even face seriously scary foes with no weapons at all??

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As author Philip Pullman himself writes, these books are ‘monumentally disparaging of girls and women’. And what about the baddies who always seem to be powerful women who have gotten ‘above themselves’ defying the patriarchal institution of Aslan? I am of course talking about the White Witch and the Lady of the Green Kirtle. Prince Caspian’s wife, another powerful woman, is not even given a name in the series! The only ways she is referred to is as someone’s daughter or someone’s wife! Very disturbing to say the least!

That being said, another thing which irritates me is the whole Aslan – Jesus metaphor, but that’s just me and it is mostly portrayed in the last book… at least in my perspective since I tried to ignore it as much as possible till the end, and considered the whole thing as fantasy.

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Apart from that, re-reading the series was a blast, and I also discovered echoes of Neil Gaiman, which leads me to believe that the series must have inspired Gaiman to write and develop certain ideas, such as the star-woman concept in ‘Stardust’ for example.

Nice!

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2015 – What shall I read next?

I keep seeing book-lists and challenges for 2015, mainly people promise themselves to read books by author with diverse ethnic origins, autobiographies, historical tomes or disadvantaged individuals. I thought about doing my own list, but it seemed pointless to wrap myself up in cellophane and limit myself so much, especially when I already know that there are a number of books waiting on the shelf, freshly bought, which I have not read yet.

So, instead of making a list of books I ‘SHOULD’ read, I’m making one listing the books I am sure I WILL ACTUALLY read.

1. The Blood Knight – Greg Keyes – right now I’m finishing ‘The Charnel Prince’, which is the second book of the quartet ‘The Kingdom of Thorn and Bone’. It will be finished by tomorrow at the latest, so this is what comes after.

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2. The Born Queen – Greg Keyes – Quartet book number 4

3. Good Omens – Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett – bought this last weekend and I can’t wait to start it.

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4. Stardust – Neil Gaiman – it’s been a long time in coming, bought it last weekend as well ❤

5. The Silmarillion – J. R. R. Tolkien – I know, I know, but better late then never right?

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6. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn – I already read this in 2012, but after watching the movie I MUST re-read it again 🙂

7. The White Queen – Philippa Gregory – some time ago I came across a tiny bookshop which sells really cheap secondhand books, it hardly had anything I liked, and then I discovered a treasure trove of Gregory’s books. I had already devoured The Wideacre Trilogy and the Tudor series ages ago, so I bought the first 5 novels which make up the Cousin War series. Still gotta get the last one, published in 2014. The next 4 novels are the other books in the series.

8. The Red Queen – PG

9. The Lady of the Rivers -PG

10. The Kingmaker’s Daughter – PG

11. The White Princess – PG

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12. Prince Lestat – Anne Rice – I’m currently waiting for this one to come out in paperback.

I’m guessing that will take care of the first two/three months of the year for sure. After that… who knows? Bookdepository is my oyster ;p

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Xmas Presents from Me to Me!!

And here they are! Freshly arrived postally this weekend! I so love receiving parcels by post, it’s like receiving Xmas presents, which in this case – they actually are! I really treated myself this Yule.

Firstly, I got two books from one of my favorite writers – Neil Gaiman. I had watched ‘Stardust’ the movie with Claire Danes and De Niro, but, I am ashamed to say, never actually read the book. I also got ‘Good Omens’, a collaboration between the two Masters Gaiman + Terry Pratchett, another favorite.

The goth girl in me had to splurge a bit as well, buying a couple of fabulous fitting tops from Spiral Direct, one of my favorite gothic brands. Can’t wait to wear them!!

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