Monday, November 4, 2013

Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time

Hubby has been reading C.S. Lewis's The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to the Fries.

Last time, he read the Stone Table scene, and ended up having to explain to the girls exactly what had just happened to Aslan.

I was going to come downstairs and just putter around, but I knew what chapter would be read tonight, and I decided I'd rather go listen instead as Hubby read.

In my opinion, it's one of the most glorious passages Lewis penned in this book. The despair of two young girls is so eloquently drawn, and yet, even though I know what is coming, the hidden depths of hope shimmer beneath the grief...
"Ugh!" said Susan from the other side of the Table. "How beastly! There are horrid little mice crawling over him. Go away, you little beasts."  And she raised her hand to frighten them away.
"Wait!" said Lucy, who had been looking at them more closely still. "Can you see what they're doing?"
Both girls bent down and stared.
"I do believe—" said Susan. "But how queer! They're nibbling away at the cords!"
... And at last, one by one, the ropes were all gnawed through. 
I sat in our big oversized arm chair and closed my eyes. I could see it all in my mind, in exquisite detail.

About then, the Weasel jumped up on my lap and then to the back of the chair behind me.

And he started purring.

Now, if you've never heard Pa'ani purr...well, there's a reason why we say he's got the motor of an Edsel. He's loud. He can't keep a rhythm. It's like he hyperventilates as he purrs. (It amazes me that he doesn't pass out.) Did I mention he's loud? He can be heard across a moderately noisy room if he's got a mind to do it.
"What does it mean? Is it more magic?"
"Yes!" said a great voice behind their backs. "It is more magic."
The Weasel's purring intensified as tears stung the back of my eyes. Oh, this is so the best part of this story. The absolute best.
"It means," said Aslan, "that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward..."
I could not stop the tears leaking out. I leaned back and let Pa'ani's purr rumble through my ears, imagining the upcoming roar in the smaller beast behind me as his purr seemed to crescendo with the story.
...and whether it was more like playing with a thunderstorm or playing with a kitten Lucy could never make up her mind.
Oh, man.
"...I feel I am going to roar. You had better put your fingers in your ears."

Dear Clive Staples, that would have been a most excellent spot for an exclamation point.

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