Tag Archives: Narnia

Three Reasons why Lord of the Rings and Narnia survived the Test of Time: A Guest Post by Savannah Grace

Happy Monday, readers!  As you can see, we have our first-ever guest post today, by the lovely Savannah Grace!  So enjoy the post, and hop over to Savannah’s beautiful blog, Scattered Scribblings, here.

“One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them …”

“Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy.”

I think almost every writer or reader of fantasy would know which books these two quotes are from – and neither of the books are modern! Both of them are over sixty years old – so what helped Lord Of The Rings and Narnia survive the test of time? And how can we help our stories do the same?

1. Both Authors Took Risks

Fantasy was still a new thing when J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis wrote their stories – a lot of people consider them the ‘Founding Fathers Of Fantasy’. Fantasy wasn’t a popular thing back then like it is today, so it was a little risky to write a story like Lord Of The Rings or Narnia. But, looking back at these authors, and other authors whose books have lasted, I’ve learned that it can really pay off to take risks.

It’s hard to really hard “go out on a limb” with our stories nowadays – it feels like every idea has already been thought of and used! But one of the important things to learn about writing is that no one writes the same way. Two people could write a story with the same premise, and the stories would still be so different. Which means that it might not just be an idea that you can take risks with – it can be your writing style plus the idea that is a risk. And sometimes risks seriously pay off ;).

2. The Characters Are All Unique, Realistic, And Easy To Relate To

The Pevensie siblings are some of the most realistic characters – the childlike innocence of Lucy, the feeling of responsibility for his siblings that Peter had, Edmund’s jealousy, and Susan’s caution. All of the siblings are unique from each other, and they’re all easy to relate to.

Same thing goes for Lord Of The Rings. Not only are the character different from each other in personality (I don’t think anyone would mistake Gimli’s personality for Gandalf’s!), but J.R.R Tolkien has different races of people in his story, which makes each character even more different from the others.

One of the easiest ways to make sure all of your characters are different is to put them side-by-side and see if the story would change much if you cut one. If the answer is ‘no’, then you’ve probably got a character or two that isn’t quite needed in the story. And if the answer is ‘yes’, then well done! Keep your story-people realistic, unique, and easy-to- relate-to, and you’ll have a cast of winning characters on your hands.

3. The Books’ Themes

Honestly, I think this one is the most important. Books always stick around when they have powerful themes, because – no matter what time we live in, or what the circumstances are -there are just some themes that we’ll always be able to relate to. The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe (the most well-known Narnia book, in my opinion), has themes of redemption and sacrifice. The Lord Of The Rings has themes of courage and hope.

It’s easy for books to survive when they have themes that everyone can relate to, no matter how long ago the book was written. Some themes, like bravery and love and never-giving- up, are never going to run out of steam, because they’re some of the themes that will always play a big part in real life.

Let’s take risks, writers. Your story could be the next one to survive the test of time.

“Courage, dear heart.”

~ Savannah Grace

Which is your favorite, Narnia or Lord Of The Rings? What are your favorite themes to read/write about?
Feel free to ask Savannah any questions you have in the comments.  Also, you can read a post by yours truly on her blog today, so go check it out!

Archery

I wrote a paper on archery last school year, and I was going to post it on here, and somehow it never happened all summer.  So. . . here we are now.  My apologies to everyone who has been waiting to read this.

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So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold of the hearts of men” (Thompson, 5).

The bow is a fascinating weapon, and it has been used since the days of ancient Egypt. Today, firearms have taken its place in warfare, but archery is still practiced as an intriguing sport, and a powerful method of hunting. It is the oldest sport still practiced. The Scorton Silver Arrow Contest, begun in Yorkshire, England in 1673 (Haywood, x) is still held today—and still for only male archers over twenty-one (Studelska, 35). It is the oldest recorded sporting event (Studelska, 35). In this paper, I will explore different types of archery practiced today, discuss the history of archery, and give some examples of archery in literature.

Continue reading Archery

Something More

When someone in your family has a birthday, it makes you want to do something nice for them.  You want to make them feel special.  It’s easy to tell someone “happy birthday!”, and it usually makes them feel good.  But would we be willing to do something more?

We can have the right mentality about Christmas, but that doesn’t feel like enough, does it?

Continue reading Something More

Random Writing Challenge

I drew this picture the other day, and thought it was good enough to share:

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And then I had an idea:

What if I posted it, and then had all you writer’s out there write a story about it?

So I thought I would open it up to all writer’s who follow me to write a short story about it.  The only limit is that it has to be short enough to comment.  You can write a one- or two-paragraph story (probably with a simple plot line, and not a lot of detail); or you can write a paragraph or so that would fit into a longer story, in which you could be more wordy (and most likely need less time to think 🙂 ).  Anyone interested?

Since I don’t know how to scan drawings, I just took a picture of this one with my camera.  The beauty of that is that you can easily get close-ups, so I decided to share some of the details with you all:

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I didn’t really like how the princess’s nose turned out, but I knew you guys deserve to see her face, since she’s the main thing in the picture! 🙂

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On the other hand, I loved how her dress turned out.  (Lavender is my favorite color!)

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The dragon is modeled after a Halloween decoration at Menard’s.  I wish I was kidding–we don’t even celebrate Halloween!  I just couldn’t decide if I should make it green or red, when that black and orange blow-up dragon came to mind; which led to this.

Oh! and I made the knight’s crest purple to match the princess’s dress, but if you don’t want them to be connected, be free!

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And there isn’t much of a story behind the tree–that’s up to you guys.  It was inspired by The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis and The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald.

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Well, anyone feeling inspired?  No pressure, of course; and if it takes you several days to think of anything, all I can say is: it would have taken me longer–trust me!

I’ll probably post some or all of the stories I get in another post, if I get a lot of them!

Have fun!

Are you guys tired of these yet?

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Our daisies are almost blooming!!!

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I think Michael made this little sculpture.

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All the flowers are gone. 🙁

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This is one of the flower-petals in the grass.  It looks like it’s snowing when they fall! 🙂

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Would you look at all those strawberry-flowers!

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Will someone please tell me what my deal with dandelions is?

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Dandelion manifesto!

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#Narnia

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I love SPRING!

Victory

Easter.

The Resurrection.

We ignore what came first as best we can.  I tried not to this year, but I don’t want to undermine this!

It’s just too wonderful.

Our God conquered death.  He defeated the grave.

We serve a God of love.  A comforter.  A Father.

But we serve a Victor.  A Defender.  A God who is fearless.  Reckless.  Uncontainable.  We serve an awesome God.

O Death, where is your victory?  O Grave, where is your sting?

“That you will. . . and no mistake. . . if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”  “Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.  “Safe? . . . Who said anything about safe?  ‘Course he isn’t safe.  But he’s good.  he’s the King, I tell you.” (80)

The Chronicles of NarniaThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Good deed for the day

And he writhed inside at what seemed the cruelty and unfairness of the demand.  He had not yet learned that if you do one good deed your reward usually is to be set to do another and harder and better one. (146)

The Chronicles of NarniaThe Horse and His Boy, by C.S. Lewis

 

At some birthday a long time ago (I don’t remember which one exactly) I was given a copy of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  I had heard Becca and Spencer talk about The Chronicles of Narnia (I probably heard more spoilers for those books than any others I’ve read 🙂 ), but I had not read any of them before that time.  I was told I should read The Magician’s Nephew first* but I wanted to read the book I owned first, so I waywardly did.

I proceeded to read the rest of the books, and loved them!  I read them so many times that I couldn’t read them any more–which, for me, is 7 times. 🙂  I’m ‘into’ repetition!

So I moved on and read other things.  After a while I got in a conversation with someone about the movies, and she said they were good.  I told Dad I wanted to watch them.  So we watched The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe together.  I liked it–but that’s another story, and a long one too.  After watching the movie, I went and re-read the book (movies do that to me); and found I could read it again!  There were actually some things I had forgotten.

The other day I needed something to read, and grabbed a random book off my shelf.  It happened to be The Horse and His Boy.  I opened to a random place and started reading.  It was delightful!  Of course, I knew exactly what had happend, and what was happening, and what was going to happen, and what had happened and was going to happen in all the other books–but it was still fun!

What are some of your favorite books?  What are your ‘comfort books’ that you know you love?  Some of my others are The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, Little Women by Louisa Mae Alcott, and Prophet by R.J. Larson.  I go read my favorite parts of these just for fun when I need something to do!  I could probably quote most of them to you! 🙂

 

* It is a common misconception that The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the first book in The Chronicles of Narnia.  And I guess in some ways it is, as it was written first, but The Magician’s Nephew takes place before it does, so I call it the first.

March Book Reviews: “The Princess and the Goblin”

I am going to try to post a book review every Thursday in March.  I’m not ready to get a real schedule going, but I thought I’d try it for a month.  It shouldn’t be too hard, as I love to read and I love to write, and book reviews are a combination of the two!  Once again, I’ll probably fudge a little if I miss a day… or I might skip, ’cause you guys won’t be on cliff-hangers! 🙂

I read this review of The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald and thought it sounded interesting.  I told my mom about it and stated I would like to read it.  She had never read it, but she had heard of it, and said I could check it out from the library.

This book has good morals, but is also humorous and I really liked the beginning.  Somewhere in the middle of it I got pretty “weirded-out” and decided it was not my style.  By the end, though, I had decided I liked it again #inconsistency

To make a long story short: I liked it, but the fact that there was a pretty-much allegorical God-figure without it really being an allegory–And that that figure was a woman–and that she was biological related to Irene, but not to everyone in the story, was hard to get used to.

ANYWAY–This is a story about a princess who was sent to the country to be raised.  She lives in a house in the mountains, and is looked after by her nurse.

“Why, where can you have been, princess?” asked the nurse, taking her in her arms.  “It’s very unkind of you to hide away so long.  I began to be afraid–”  Here she checked herself.  “What were you afraid of, nursie?” asked the princess.  “Never mind,” she answered.  “Perhaps I will tell you another day.  Now tell me where you have been?” (24)

The people bringing her up are forbidden to tell the princess about the existence of the goblins that live in the caverns beneath the mountains.  These goblins only come out at night, when they love to make mischief.  So the people, naturally, stay inside after dark–except a few: some of the miners, who do not fear the goblins because they know what the goblins cannot stand–singing.

At all events, those who were most afraid of them were those who could neither make verses themselves, nor remember the verses that other people made for them; while those who were never afraid were those who could make verses for themselves; for although there were certain old rhymes which were very effectual, yet it was well known that a new rhyme. if of the right sort, was even more distasteful to them, and therefore more effectual in putting them to flight. (48)

Curdie Peterson happens to be one of those who can make up verses on the spot, and truly is never afraid, even when a strange turn of events places him in the kingdom of the goblins themselves (where his songs are less heeded) thanks to another goblin-weakness he discovers.

Princess Irene, in my first quote, happened to be up in the attic where she had gone exploring and gotten lost.  She meets someone who happens to be up there, but I am not going into all that right now… but I will tell you it is the beginning of the princess’s many, many trips to the attic.

Irene and Curdie meet quite by mistake, and that chance meeting is the beginning of several adventures they have together–not always on the best of terms: The princess’s nurse does not approve of Curdie; nor does Curdie approve of Irene’s stories of a thread that she follows that will always lead her to safety, which he himself cannot see or feel.

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I enjoyed this book, though all the ‘magic’ was handled very mysteriously, without the reader ever being given a clear explanation, which bothered me.  It was more of a quiet, innocent story than what I have been reading lately, and both main characters were younger than me.  But there were still some goblin parts that were downright nasty.

They had enough of affection left for each other, to preserve them from being absolutely cruel for cruelty’s sake… (12)

I believe this statement to be contradicted strongly by all goblin-appearances in the rest of the book!

Neither Irene or Curdie had siblings, but I loved their relationships with their parents: Irene did not live with her parents, but her father would come and visit her (I do not think her mother was still alive) and she would go running out and get on his horse with him before he even got off–it was so sweet!!!  Curdie did live with his parents, and their love for each other was amazing!  They were always working for each other and helping each other; and Curdie was very respectful, which is rather hard to find these days.

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In the review I linked to above, Miss Ruth said:

C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien read George MacDonald’s books, and the Chronicles of Narnia and the Hobbit were both influenced by his writings. Thus, however indirectly, many of the fantasy books you read today are influenced by “the Princess and the Goblin”.

So I, of course, began looking for similarities.  I did not think they had a lot in common, but I found three things that reminded me of J.R.R. Tolkien’s work:

1) The goblins in Mr. MacDonald’s book have no toes (weird, weird, I know–bear with me) which might have something to do with the toeless troll in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

2) Shelob and the giant spiders in Mirkwood might have been inspired by this reference to extraordinary, if not large, spiders:

It is spider-webs–of a particular kind.  My pigeons bring it to me from over the great sea.  There is only one forest where the spiders live who make this particular kind–the finest and strongest of any. (78)

3) These quotes do not need much explanation!

“Then you’re leaving the story unfinished, Mr. Author!”  “Not more unfinished than it ought to be, I hope.  If you ever knew a story finished, all I can say is, I  never did.  Somehow, stories won’t finish. (203)

The Princess and the Goblin

‘Why, to think of it, we’re in the same tale still!  It’s going on.  Don’t the great tales never end?’  ‘No, they never end as tales.’ (697)

The Two Towers

There is still the whole those-were-good-but-these-were-bad problem, but that has little to do with inspiration.

The only that reminded me of C.S. Lewis’s books was the unexplained-magic (^see above^).

Over-all I liked this book, and it was fun to read–which I did in one day! 🙂

“But I must confess that I have sometimes been afraid about my children–sometimes about you, Irene.”  “Oh, I’m so sorry… To-night, I suppose you mean.”  “Yes, a little to-night; but a good deal when you had all but made up your mind that I was a dream. (105)

 

Do you think my book reports are too l-o-n-g???

Happy Thursday!

P.S. If you feel a little out-Middle-Earth-ed by my last two book reviews, so does everybody else whose ever talked to me.  Don’t read my blog if that bothers you.

“Into the Dragon’s Lair” #5

Tuesday again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I contemplated posting something else first, for cruelties sake alone, but I couldn’t bring myself!  Why in the world am in so much suspense when I WROTE the story?!

Like always, here’s the last post.  I’m doing this so if people find only one of my posts somehow, they can link back.  Problem is I have NO way to make sure they can find the posts that come after.  Ceste la vie [“this is life” for those of you who don’t speak French], I did what I could.

Okay, this (spoiler alert) is the climax.  You can’t imagine how fun it was to end on such a cliff-hanger last time!  (I know, I know: I’m downright cruel.  I have now lost all reputation of being a nice person, haven’t I?)

Oh!  And I feel inclined to mention that my reader Savannah absolutely nailed it in the comments on this post with her suggestion of another dragon–even though it goes against a quote from a certain book series a little birdie told me she’s read:

That is why you will seldom find more than one dragon in the same country. (94)

The Chronicles of NarniaThe Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C.S. Lewis

I couldn’t it earlier because it would have given away too much.

Now, as I’m sure the rest of you are all saying, “Okay, good job, Savannah–now let’s get on with it”; I’ll get on with it.  Happy reading!

:-: INTO THE DRAGON'S LAIR :-:
:-: INTO THE DRAGON’S LAIR :-:

CHAPTER 4~FIRE AND FURY:

As Fogginess creeps up the tunnel, she becomes more and more puzzled.  She hasn’t see her husband since yesterday morning (she doesn’t know he’s dead), and as she climbs up the tunnel she hears the clinking of coins, the creak of old hinges, and voices sounding very loud and excited up there in the dark.  Human voices?  Impossible!  Not in the lair of a dragon like Grizzled.

But there are voices up there in the dark.  Finally Fogginess peeks out into the Big Cavern–and there are two of those annoying little human-creatures sitting in the biggest cave of the whole lair, fingering her husbands treasure and talking excitedly.  Fogginess can hold her anger in no longer.  She gives a howl of rage and leaps into the Big Cavern, giving a terrible roar.  There’s fire in her eyes and smoke in her mouth.

In a moment Spenser has his pistol drawn, but it’s no use: the bullet bounces off the dragon’s scales.  Sparks pour from Fogginess’ mouth as she leaps forward.  Not caring which one of the humans dies first, she leaps for Spenser.  He, in a last effort to protect himself and Hannah, draws his knife and stabs the dragon in the throat.  The two of them are saved by luck!*  The throat is Fogginess’ one weak point and the blade pushes through a crack where the Head Scales and the Neck Scales meet.  With a howl of pain and anger Fogginess flops back, lifeless, on the floor of the cave.

 

“I th-thought Grizzled was dead,” says Hannah, when she gets her breath back.  “It can’t be Grizzled, because we saw him.  He’s dead,” says Spenser.  “Then is this his mate or his child, sir?” wonders Hannah.  “I don’t know.  And we don’t know if there are any more, so do we take the treasure and get out of here, or do we try to find and kill the rest of them (if there are any)?” asks Spenser.  “I think we should go, sir,” replies Hannah.  “Yes, I think we should too, Navigator.  It’s obvious our guns aren’t any good!”

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P.S. Sorry I forgot to include the chapter name in my last post.  I just added it.  Next post is the last one!!!

 

*Totally borrowed that quote from The Hobbit.  *sigh*  I was such a copy-cat when I was little–still am! 🙂