Locus Focus: Take Twenty-Nine!
Welcome to Narnia Day!
I didn't realise it until I challenged myself to write about a Narnian setting for this week, but C.S. Lewis has an amazing gift for setting, doesn't he? That should have been obvious, from the fact that his greatest fictional creation, Narnia itself, is a setting--but I didn't see it as plainly as I should have. Mea culpa. To make it up to him, I shall be happy to put Locus Focus at his service whenever another movie based on his stories comes out.
This week, we anticipate the premiere of The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader". Accordingly, I give you one of the many islands our Narnian crew visits on their great sea journey.
The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader"
by C.S. Lewis
". . . We may as well test it."
[Caspian] stooped down and wrenched up a spray of heather. Then, very cautiously, he knelt beside the stream and dipped it in. It was heather that he dipped; what he drew out was a perfect model of heather made from the purest gold, heavy and soft as lead.
"The king who owned this island," said Caspian slowly, and his face flushed as he spoke, "would soon be the richest of all kings of the world. I claim this land for ever as a Narnian possession. It shall be called Goldwater island. And I bind all of you to secrecy. No one must know of this . . . on pain of death, do you hear?"
Two characters who are good friends nearly cross blades for the wealth this island promises, but Aslan ex machina shows up yet again (Sigh!), and what we are left with is the classic moral that gold can often mean death.
Of course, long before Lewis wrote this novel, we regular muggles (Ooops! Wrong MG Fantasy series!) already knew that, thanks to the myth of King Midas. The Narnians, on the other hand, don't just listen to or read stories, but actually live them--and so they have a Midas setting for their own adventures. Well, in a way, we are luckier, because we get the moral without the threat of the peril, while the Narnian crown has the added obligation of keeping this island a secret so that its waters "poison" no one else. But I'm just rationalising now to make myself feel better.
For in the creation of Deathwater Island, Lewis is drawing not just from the Midas myth, but also from the great tradition of adventure stories set on the high seas. Whether or not we realise it, we expect far-flung, obscure islands to hold secret caches of gold. Lewis knows that and seems happy to write to our expectations--even if he does use a heavy-handed (heavy-pawed?) approach. Indeed, there is one other island our characters discover with a cave full of treasure, a moral about greed, and (Double Sigh!) another appearance from Aslan.
I know it's kind of silly to write about Narnia and moan about Aslan, but really . . . Having him hover over the kings and queen he has virtually hand picked (paw picked?) to rule his realm doesn't make him look good. He's like a parent showing up at his son's workplace to make sure junior is doing a good job. There is a reason my favourite of all the Chronicles of Narnia is the one in which he doesn't do anything to affect the events of the story at all . . . but I should save that post for another time.
Leave the link to your Locus Focus post in the linky
and take some time to check out and comment on those of others.
I can't wait to read what everyone has to say! =D
This Week's Other Locus Focus:
Truman Capote's Depression Era South @ Birdie's Nest
Image Source: The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader" by C.S. Lewis