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The Chronicles of Narnia VS. The Lord of The Rings

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Showing 1-12 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 1, 2012 5:14:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 2, 2012 1:11:00 PM PDT
SkyHeart says:
These two classic fantasy series have definitely been the most memorable in the world of literature which were both published in the 1950s. They have taken us to different worlds, brought us believable characters and moments that really shook us. C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were even friends once while writing their masterpieces. Personally, "Narnia" is my favorite cause the world is truly a whimsical fantasy that most fantasies don't really aim for nowadays. For "LOTR", it's one epic series that bring us a darker world that proves to be original and what all readers should expereince. Whose side are you on?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 1, 2012 10:43:41 PM PDT
I love the Chronicles of Narnia. I've read the series several times.

I've read the beginning of The Hobbit several times, too, but I never could get into it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2012 12:10:07 PM PDT
Love 'em both, for different reasons.

But LoTR wins, in my opinion, and did so from the moment I read it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2012 12:35:40 PM PDT
I'm with you on this one.

Narnia is wonderful, don't get me wrong, but at times the allegorical message overtook the story, IMO, and I genuinely hated The Last Battle. I found his treatment of the character of Susan to be miserable, misogynistic and misguided.

Middle Earth is so deeply imagined, and Tolkien's accomplishment was so much more monumental than that of C.S. Lewis, that I have to give him credit. His writing is, perhaps, a bit too turgid and formalistic at times, but his world is fully complete. Rohan, Gondor, Lothlorien, Rivendell, Hobbiton are real places to me, which is not necessarily true of Narnia.

I love them both, but my love of Narnia is the love of a child, and my love of Middle Earth is the love of a grown up.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2012 12:48:09 PM PDT
>>I found his treatment of the character of Susan to be miserable, misogynistic and misguided.<<

I agree, although that is very much a modern perspective. In the context of the time in which Lewis was writing, Susan was not behaving out of the expected character of a girl or young woman. It does jar nowadays, though.

I have to confess that I loved "The Last Battle", at the time I was heavily into reading the books. I haven't read it for ... goodness ... more than twenty years, so I might find that my opinion has changed if I were to re-read it now.

But graduating from Narnia to Middle Earth was definitely a milestone. Once I'd trawled through Middle Earth, I didn't go back to Narnia, so I think your final paragraph sums it up extremely well.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2012 12:57:49 PM PDT
You might be right about Susan, but I felt that way nearly 35 years ago when I read it as a teen girl. My sense wasn't so much that Susan was behaving uncharacteristically for her time as it was that C.S. Lewis just really didn't like women all that much, and the more they acted like women, the less he liked them. I haven't re-read (and don't intend to, since I own all but TLB for my kindle) so I suppose I could be wrong.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2012 1:05:45 PM PDT
I just went to have a look at the publication dates. TLB was published later than I thought (1956), but it was actually written in 1953.

I suppose that if you read it in the '70s, it's not surprising that you would have felt that way. Having said that, also, I read it in the late '70s, as a less-than-teenaged boy, so I would have had less feminine insight (than I even manage now), and perhaps wouldn't have viewed his treatment of Susan as you did. Whether Lewis was at all misogynistic I don't know, but I wonder whether, as a guy, I would pick up the nuances in the same way that you did at the time you read it? An intriguing idea - I'll have to go and re-read TLB for sure, now! LOL!

Posted on Jul 11, 2012 4:51:39 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 11, 2012 4:52:44 AM PDT
Astrocat says:
I re-read Narnia when they started with the movies, and thought Lewis did a good job for children's books. But yes, there did seem to be a certain misogynism with grown-up women, which was rather odd, giving his nearly sacrificial love for his wife.

I agree on The Last Battle, very disappointing ending for what was otherwise a series of fairly rousing tales.

As far as Lord of the Rings, I got as far as the middle of The Two Towers and completely lost interest. I saw all three movies in to days, and did get caught up, even the battle scenes weren't boring, maybe because of Orlando Bloom......:)

My favorite sci-fi/fantasy series is The Earth-Sea Chronicles by Ursula LeGuin, and I understand the movie version was simply abysmal, so I haven't even tried to watch it.

Posted on Mar 1, 2013 7:31:52 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 1, 2013 7:32:32 AM PST
J. K. Grice says:
This one is not even close. THE LORD OF THE RINGS is far and away the greater work. Tolkien basically invented an entire mythology for Great Britain. He invented languages, history, alphabets, maps, artwork, etc. that are unparalleled in the creation of fiction. While I enjoy NARNIA, it is nowhere near the same level of achievement as LOTR.

Posted on Jun 20, 2013 8:06:14 AM PDT
K. Wilbur says:
I think that the allegorical message of the Chronicles of Narnia made it perhaps a bit more profound. I genuinely liked the idea that there could be another world beyond the one we live in; it was comforting in the way I suppose religion is meant to be.

However, I absolutely prefer the Lord of the Rings, for the sheer scope and effect of Tolkien's work. It's like a kind of literary alchemy in which he mixed together different ingredients from the mythology, legends, and stories he spent his life studying and then produced a work that was so completely original and yet so reaffirming of classic themes that an entire genre of writers has been trying to repeat it ever since.

Posted on Jun 26, 2013 12:46:11 PM PDT
I suggest reading Lewis' Til They Have Faces. [I could be wrong about the pronoun.] for another option. Many think it's his best novel.

Posted on Jun 26, 2013 12:59:53 PM PDT
W.T. says:
Since these works were partially written at the same time by friends who met each week at the park, the way each affected the other is obvious. Lewis was, of course, all about allegory. Tolkien said that he didn't write metaphorically, but instead wrote about "past events" that reflected "modern events" and that "if things happened a certain way once, they would logically happen in a similar way again". That doesn't sound all that different from allegory to me, but I grant him an author's prerogative to call it what he wants.
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Discussion in:  Fiction forum
Participants:  9
Total posts:  12
Initial post:  Jul 1, 2012
Latest post:  Jun 26, 2013

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