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Does Aslan have a soul?

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  • Does Aslan have a soul?

    Animals arn't suposed to have souls but what about Aslan? I mean he has to have a soul right he's Aslan for crying out loud and if he has a soul then mabye other animals do too.

  • #2
    OMG Because my browser is on a large screen, I sometimes mix up I's and L's, and I was thinking "wow this is so racist and uncharacteristic" because I thought you were saying Asian! lol

    And with Aslan, well he is Jesus, he says in The Last Battle' "in your world you know me by a different name" and the whole shape-shifting into a lamb in Voyage of the Dawn Threader. So I imagine in Lewis's mind he had the soul of Jesus himself, and was some kind of parallel avatar existing on a different plane.

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    • #3
      You'll have to read, The Last Battle, if you want to find out who does and does not, get into the Narnian equivalent of Heaven. Suffice it to say, Aslan, is already there, in His official capacity as Host and Master of Ceremonies.

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      • #4
        He's Jesus... I suppose he's got to have a soul? I guess Aslan is a magical animal, so normal rules don't apply? Saying that, I don't know how orthodox Lewis was: maybe he might have thought animal might have had souls?

        But this is all part of the inherent flaw of the Narnia books, it's just a big mishmash of Christian allegory and bits and bobs borrowed from various myths. I didn't mind them when I was a kid, but the Narnia books never had the same impact upon me that the Hobbit did and now I just think they're poorly conceived fantasies that just don't work. They fall in messy no man's land between a coherent fantasy world, a la LotRs, and a voyage into the weird, a la Alice, with no sense of otherness or immersion whatsoever. They feel like he's just making it up as he goes along, but nothing he makes up is very interesting.

        I far prefer his Cosmic Trilogy - some of my favourite books of all time. There's scenes of pure evil and deep horror in all three that have stuck with me ever since.
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        • #5
          I really like the Narnia Books which is strange I guess because I'm an atheist, plus I generally dislike fantasy novels. I really enjoyed the Last Battle, it's genuinely creepy stuff.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Octo Seven View Post
            ...

            And with Aslan, well he is Jesus, he says in The Last Battle' "in your world you know me by a different name" and the whole shape-shifting into a lamb in Voyage of the Dawn Threader. ...
            I might add, that Mervyn Peake wrote a very effective and disturbing little horror tale all about a meeting with a lamb, called, Boy in Darkness.

            The antithesis of Lewis's vision.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Pietro_Mercurios View Post
              Originally posted by Octo Seven View Post
              ...

              And with Aslan, well he is Jesus, he says in The Last Battle' "in your world you know me by a different name" and the whole shape-shifting into a lamb in Voyage of the Dawn Threader. ...
              I might add, that Mervyn Peake wrote a very effective and disturbing little horror tale all about a meeting with a lamb, called, Boy in Darkness.

              The antithesis of Lewis's vision.
              I will definitely add that to my 'to read' list!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Octo Seven View Post
                I really like the Narnia Books which is strange I guess because I'm an atheist, plus I generally dislike fantasy novels. I really enjoyed the Last Battle, it's genuinely creepy stuff.
                It was the Narnia books that got me on to Hobbits and etc. (imho) When Lewis is good, his writing is much more spontaneous and effective than Tolkien's. There's a strong streak of joyous pagan spontaneity running through the Narnia books, as well as the SF trilogy. Tolkien's work seems mannered and overly structured in comparison. However, when it comes to heavy handed allegorising, moralising and misogyny, Lewis is hard to beat. Strangely, Pullman comes close, though.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Pietro_Mercurios View Post
                  Originally posted by Octo Seven View Post
                  I really like the Narnia Books which is strange I guess because I'm an atheist, plus I generally dislike fantasy novels. I really enjoyed the Last Battle, it's genuinely creepy stuff.
                  It was the Narnia books that got me on to Hobbits and etc. (imho) When Lewis is good, his writing is much more spontaneous and effective than Tolkien's. There's a strong streak of joyous pagan spontaneity running through the Narnia books, as well as the SF trilogy. Tolkien's work seems mannered and overly structured in comparison. However, when it comes to heavy handed allegorising, moralising and misogyny, Lewis is hard to beat. Strangely, Pullman comes close, though.
                  I really love Pullman's work but as a person he comes across quite annoying sometimes. He goes out of his way to try and be the antithesis of Lewis but he really isn't, he is writing with an Agenda, just like Lewis, their agendas just happen to be at odds.

                  I feel Lewis has been demonized out of proportion by other authors, Neil Gaiman, Pullman and Rowling kind of pissed me off when they attacked him a couple of years ago on this ironic 'crusade' about Susan. It all felt very smug and condescending and dare-I-say quite sexist. There is no implication that Susan goes to hell in the Last Battle. She loses interest in Narnia, she's older too, and throughout the series the older children stop visiting Narnia, because it's implied that the 'real' world is more important. Susan survives at the end, I say she got a good deal, she got to live in the real world too, like a sensible person.
                  I found it almost vulgar of Neil Gaiman and co to unite and attack a long dead man because their own warped interpretation of the story disturbs them.

                  In regards to Tolkien. I have read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings more times than I care to recall, but not so much in the last 7 years or so. I found that as I got older, the characters seemed more shallow, maybe shallow isn't the right word, they're just not in any way relative to real life, it all just feels like escapism, extremely detailed and incredibly meticulous work, but lacking any real challenge or intellectual value. I think discovering Dunsany spoiled Tolkien a bit for me too, because his work was much better and clearly a big influence on Tolkien. I think Tolkien was a linguistic genius with an incredible mind and imagination, but a fairly clunky writer.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Octo Seven View Post
                    I really love Pullman's work but as a person he comes across quite annoying sometimes.
                    I couldn't agree more - he's a terrible bore. His Dark Materials is good, very good even - but not as good as the hype suggests. Frankly, it's very unlikely that I'd ever read them again.

                    Well, I must qualify my Narnia knowledge, I've only read the first three. But certainly TLTWATW is a turgid mess and has zero imaginative scope in terms of the fantastic. I'm not sure who is meant to find a lamppost in a wood mysterious - presumably someone who has never walked through any one of London's or Britain's many parks where such sights are common. The rest just feels like a pick'n'mix of different mythological tropes all plonked together with little intelligence (hardly intelligent design!). Bits of it work, but there's so many bits that bits of it are bound to work... But maybe the later books get better. I'll read them one day, maybe... Of the children, I only liked Lucy. The others were so dull that I hoped Aslan might take a bite out of them.

                    As for Tolkien v Lewis: for me Tolkien's prose is massively underrated. I've no idea where the idea comes from that he can't write, but for me his prose has much charm and a real mythic quality that is very in keeping with the genre and very readable and I pretty much disagree with every word of Epic Pooh re Tolkien. To my mind the Narnia books (that I've read) remain books for children (maybe good books for children = I liked TLTWATW as a child), but LotRs has a greater appeal. I think it is also supremely clever to simultaneously remove annoying child characters from a children's book while also keeping the child protagonists in the book in the form of hobbits, which is in my opinion the secret of the book's success. But as I said, I've not read them all, so I will bow to the greater knowledge of others. But either way, the Cosmic Trilogy is great, so any criticism of Lewis has to take this into account and for my money it kicks the crap out of Pullman and his endless dull autistic enthusiasm for 14th century literature.
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                    • #11
                      I really need to read the Cosmic Trilogy. Tolkien's prose is definitely nice but the problem lies with his structure, I think LOTR could have benefited from a better editor.

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                      • #12
                        [QUOTE=The English Assassin;260198
                        As for Tolkien v Lewis: for me Tolkien's prose is massively underrated. I've no idea where the idea comes from that he can't write, but for me his prose has much charm and a real mythic quality that is very in keeping with the genre and very readable and I pretty much disagree with every word of Epic Pooh re Tolkien. [/QUOTE]

                        I have enjoyed the Narnia films, I watched them with my wife and sons. We are a Christian family so we like the Christian references in the story, but I am not quite sure this is for everybody as it is possible that it might annoy people who are not Christians. But I have never tried the books. In the past as I kid, the first book was adapted to a animation film and it was constantly aired on the Brazilian tv in the 80s. I really loved it, watched 4 or 5 times. It was my favorite thing on tv on my school vacations and occasional Sundays.

                        To me it is ok, either if the author throws a lot of religious symbolism or a good bit of critical look over religion, I just cannot stand when one of the sides starts considering the other sides to be idiotic.

                        But man one the things that I will not ever understand is why some people think that Tolkien was a bad writer, much like our fellow EA commented above.

                        I really want to read this cosmic trilogy!
                        "From time to time I demonstrate the inconceivable, or mock the innocent, or give truth to liars, or shred the poses of virtue.(...) Now I am silent; this is my mood." From Sundrun's Garden, Jack Vance.
                        "As the Greeks have created the Olympus based upon their own image and resemblance, we have created Gotham City and Metropolis and all these galaxies so similar to the corporate world, manipulative, ruthless and well paid, that conceived them." Braulio Tavares.

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                        • #13
                          I suppose it depends on your definition of 'bad'. I don't think Tolkien was a bad writer but I don't think he was a particularly good one either. I think he had an amazing imagination and the fact he could come up wit a world with so much history and lore and even languages, is simply phenomenal. But I think he was very self-indulgent as a writer and the pacing of the LOTR trilogy is all over the place. I'm not writing him off or anything, I've read all of his books more than five times and do admire his imagination, but his work is for a specific audience, and the older I get the less I feel like part of it. Not everything needs to be highly challenging or deeply meaningful, there is a place for Tolkien, I just don't hold his work in as high a regard as I used to in my teens and early 20's. Perhaps it's because I grow more cynical every year lol

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by zlogdan View Post
                            We are a Christian family so we like the Christian references in the story, but I am not quite sure this is for everybody as it is possible that it might annoy people who are not Christians.
                            Weirdly, I quite to books by religious/spiritual authors, although I'm an agnostic-atheist myself. I think it depends upon the authors intelligence, their honesty and their openness. I've just read David Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus, which explores many philosophical and gnostic questions. It has many similarities to the Cosmic Trilogy and is an influence upon it, although, I'd argue, that it is far more exploratory and discursive - therefore imo artistically stronger. Lewis to me, while conceptually interesting, fails because he is writing purely from conviction therefore he loses any critical integrity. I still love the Cosmic Trilogy, despite its faults - or maybe because of them... I used to crave perfection in art, but now I realise the beauty often lurks in the paradoxical places where the imperfections and the perfections meet.

                            Another Christian author I love is Graham Greene, who seems to have adopted Catholicism purely as a means of masochistic self-abuse. To my mind he retains his critical faculties, whereas Lewis considers his critical faculties to be a hindrance and something to suppress. That's not to say that Lewis is without worth tho.

                            But my favourite spiritual author is Arthur Machen: he seems to have that Gnostic understanding that evil is also divine... To my mind Lewis is at his best when he also explores this. I'm tempted to read the Last Battle after how Octo Seven describes it... I kinda with Lewis wrote a ghost story... I have a feeling that it might have been a scary one!
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by The English Assassin View Post
                              Originally posted by zlogdan View Post
                              We are a Christian family so we like the Christian references in the story, but I am not quite sure this is for everybody as it is possible that it might annoy people who are not Christians.
                              I'm tempted to read the Last Battle after how Octo Seven describes it... I kinda with Lewis wrote a ghost story... I have a feeling that it might have been a scary one!
                              I find it really creepy, especially for a children's story. And somewhat cooler than the other books. There's an Ape character called Shift and a Donkey called Puzzle, that alone makes it worth reading lol

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