philippos42 ([personal profile] philippos42) wrote2014-03-27 05:17 pm

The Horse and His Boy

I was reading KelinciHutan's The Trials of King Edmund, and at one point had to break out The Horse and His Boy, which I have perhaps unfairly fond childhood memories of, and reread it.

Well, it's not as much a mad series of dream sequences as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but it does seem to have very plot-dictated geography, and hinge on a confluence of events worthy of a Shakespearean comedy (albeit in the "fate" category rather than the "hilarious coincidence" category).

There is some...odd...setting work. Sometimes I find myself thinking the Narnians come off as a bit arrogant, and the extreme "evil culture" elements of Calormen seem to serve to make Narnia and Archenland just "less bad." Maybe.

But there are some neat ideas, some good lines, and Lewis's style is pretty breezy and quick. It's a short, light read in its way.

I also think that Calormen isn't just a ridiculous over-the-top cartoon version of authoritarianism, but somehow a metaphor for imperialism. It's just, I live in an imperialist country, and C. S. Lewis grew up in one, and it's important to understand that the English-speaking peoples of the world today are far more like Calormen than like Narnia.

I had forgotten most of the stuff with Hwin. She was actually the sensible one, mostly--which is then deeply undercut by the one line of hers I did remember.

Some interesting treatment of language. Not smart, not good, in fact kind of infuriating in a linguistics sense, but interesting technically. Come to think of it, I think it always did seem strange to me that the Narnians, Archenlanders, and Shasta all spoke very mostly the same language.

Liz Culmer might appreciate that I have a way to get Ilgamuth out of the battle at Anvard alive. I mean, it's pretty obvious how to do it, considering.

Incidentally, and connected both to the linguistics issues and to saving Ilgamuth for the sake of Liz's stories, if I do write more on this, I am going to have to change the reason that Lucy didn't have the cordial with her on the way to Anvard.

Because, seriously having Lucy's reason for not having the fireflower cordial with her be that the High King had charged her "not to carry it commonly to the wars"--that's really awkward.

Apparently, Jack was trying to riff on medieval western Europe, when roving bands of adolescents pretended to be governments and skirmished with each other a lot. And as a Wonder Woman fan who used to despise the old "purple healing ray," I sympathize with trying to write a story where there isn't a magic panacea available, whatever the case in one's previous works.

But for all that this was both supposed to be dire peril for Archenland and an engagement in which two of the Narnian royals assisted, I am bemused that protocol is portrayed as "leave that thing home."

And it would have been a moderately easy fix. I don't know what order everything was written in, but Jack had already established that Peter was on the northern border fighting Giants. So, it is a simple enough thing to have the cordial off with him.

Anyway, why is there generally assumed to be only one vial bottle of fireflower cordial? It's been a dozen years (probably) since that Christmas when Lucy received it--

--and I'm about to start ranting about The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, so I will stop here, for now.
heliopausa: (Default)

[personal profile] heliopausa 2014-03-28 02:59 am (UTC)(link)
"not to carry it commonly with me to the wars" - well, if you want to be really cynical, you could say that's what she says (for public consumption). ;)

This was a lovely long post, with lots of things I'd like to hear more about (purple healing ray? which one line of Hwin's? and yes - she's plainly the voice of reason and commitment throughout).
The LWW rant -- could you put it on the NFFR site?