Tolkien and CS Lewis

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Tolkien and CS Lewis

Post#1 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

I love the way the 2 of you have kept this topic with in the realms of Tolkien. Both posts were very well stated and interesting. Lets be careful to keep it this way.

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Tolkien and CS Lewis

Post#2 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

I think the chief difference between the 2 postAuthorIDs' works is that Lewis' is more symbolic in approach and Tolkien's is more realistic in nature.

Could you expand on this a little Erkenbrand?

You have explained a lot of the reasons why I felt the way I did about the two stories. And you are right, more than just having religious overtones, Narnia is most definitely Christian with direct representations of different ideas and people. Aslan as the Lion of Judah...heh...I never got that!

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Tolkien and CS Lewis

Post#3 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

The point you made about Protestants and Catholics is interesting Erkenbrand. I do not know very much about this, so it gave me something new to think about.
I definately agree that Narnia is more religous. I personally do not like that, because it seems to limit the interpretations and to some exent the audience of the book. But of course I'm sure some readers can read the religous parts differently, I just can't. LotR is much deeper I think because it was written as a mythology. Tolkien said himself that religion explicitly in writing is 'fateful'. So this may explain why, even though he was a religious man, he did not put a lot of religion 'in your face' with his works.

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Tolkien and CS Lewis

Post#4 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Tolkien said himself that "The Lord of the Rings is, of course, a fundamentally religious and Catholic work ... for the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism".

LOTR is much about symbolism; many of the leading characters take on Christ like roles (Frodo saving the world by carrying the heavy burden of the ring, Gandalf rising as "white" after his supposed death by the Balrog). There are numerous symbolic features throughout the entire work and it is a compelling story of the power of human virtue. It was written in such a way that these images left the reader free to conceptualise the meanings in his or her own way. Although the religious meaning is obviously there, Tolkien did not force it on the reader.

CJ Lewis, on the other hand, wrote his Chronicles of Narnia essentially for children. His religious meaning was much more obvious because of this and he was certainly much more forward in presenting his own views. His characters are definitely more God like and the parallels in the Christ story are very evident in the role his characters play (Aslan essentially taking the role of Jesus).

Both are wonderful, brilliantly written escapism.

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Tolkien and CS Lewis

Post#5 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Tolkien did not write his epic as a religious allegory. That some readers choose to read it that way is understandable, but it was not his intent as he abhorred allegory in any form. I refer you to the Forward in the second edition of The Fellowship of the Ring. Of course if you have found a refutation of this in one of his letters I might change my mind depending on which came first: the crebain or the orc.

The Chronicles of Narnia are basically morality plays showing the young (and old) readers that the consequences of our actions have a bearing on our future relationships with others and pointing out right from wrong. This can be seen by studying for example, the growth of Edward in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Eustace in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Pole in The Silver Chair, and Bree in The Horse and His Boy.

Oh, and did Tolkien or Lewis name their hobbit village or war horse after the other's? Which came first: the crebain or the orc. :elfbiggrin:

'Share and enjoy'

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Tolkien and CS Lewis

Post#6 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

I think the Chronicles of Narnia were published first, were they not? But as to who had a certain idea first, how shall we ever know?

Personally, I am not a big fan of Lewis. There is something lacking in the style of the prose for me, although I did like them until I found LOTR.
"May the Angels Guide"

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Tolkien and CS Lewis

Post#7 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

I think you're right Allyssa that Narnia was published first. But Lewis also read many drafts of LotR and new much about Tolkien's world. From reading Tolkien's letters, I think Tolkien suspected Lewis of imitating him with some of his works (I don't know if these works included Narnia or not). For example, Lewis used the name Numenor, but having only heard Tolkien say it he spelt it 'Numinor' (or something like that). Does anyone know where this word is found?

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Tolkien and CS Lewis

Post#8 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Wanna hear something funny? The first time I read the Chronicals of Narnia, I had very little knowledge of the Bible or religion in general, and did not even realize they were a religious work until, someone told me. Later, I went back and reread them, and I understood. So, it is possible to read them just for the story, if you have no knowledge of the Christian faith. At the time I thought they were excellent books, but I have to agree that I perfer Tolkien.

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Tolkien and CS Lewis

Post#9 » Sun Jul 25, 2004 5:18 pm

musicimprovedme started this thread with the following post:
posted on 24/2/2003 at 08:27
Would anyone care to engage in a conversation about the similarities and differences between Tolkien and CS Lewis and/or Middle Earth and Narnia?

It seems a relevant topic because the two authors were contemporaries, even friends...and both transcended the previous standards of the fantasy novel.

I personally think that Middle Earth is a much more detailed place and maybe even more well thought out. And while Tolkien gave his readers the freedom to make any conclusion that they like about what his stories represent, Lewis' ideas were more locked into a religious overtone...what with Aslan giving off SERIOUS God vibes and all and his Godliness is all wrapped up in that one character (Creator/Messiah/Sovereign), whereas Tolkien kind of distributed the divine characteristics throughout his characters. I think Chronicles of Narnia is more within the grasp of a younger reader. I think for me, Lewis tugged a little harder at my heart, whereas Tolkien has been largely a brain exercise for far anyway.

Thoughts from anyone who's read both?

Chronicles of Narnia were written essentially as children's books, like the Hobbit, whilst LOTR was meant for more mature audiences. The shift in style from The Hobbit to LOTR was rather obvious.rrYou're definitely right about Lewis' works being religious. Chronicles of Narnia has been largely hailed as Christian literature. Pretty much everything was based on his beliefs, from the ideology, moral values to the choice of animal. Aslan as a lion was not just to showthe majesty of the ruler, but it was really an interpretation of the "Lion of Judah", or Jesus Christ himself. In The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, the later chapters even had the entire crucifixion of Christ played out through the death and resurrection of Aslan. Lewis intended these books to be Christian literature.rrTolkien on the other hand wanted to create a myth. Hence his works had to have a certain level of detail to make believable.rrAs far as divine characteristics are concerned, I think it's largely due to the fact that Lewis was a Protestant and Tolkien was Catholic. Protestant ideology focused absolutely on the divine nature of the Trinity, emphasizing on the role of Christ. Hence Lewis' approach in the creation of Aslan. Tolkien on the other hand distributed this divine nature as Catholic ideology distributed this nature to the angelic beings as well as to various saints. Furthermore, Tolkien was largely into the study of various mythologies, and this influenced his works greatly.rrI think the chief difference between the 2 postAuthorIDs' works is that Lewis' is more symbolic in approach and Tolkien's is more realistic in nature. Hence the sense that Tolkien's work is more detailed. And the creation of the various languages certainly helped in making it more believable.rr[Edited on 25/2/2003 by Erkenbrand]

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Tolkien and CS Lewis

Post#10 » Sat Dec 18, 2004 11:30 pm

I have been researching lately about the religous interpretations of the Lord of the Rings. I found a lot of stuff.
I have read all the LOTR books, The Hobbit, and the first two Narnia book.
I had no idea that LOTR had some religous meanings behind it until recently. Some argue that the death of Gandalf, and his coming back to life represent Christ. I was like, "Wow, I never would have guessed!"
And I read in this forum about the smae represenation of it wiht Aslan. I also never would have guessed. I mean I suspected some things: How the creatures of narnia call humans "The sons of Adam and Eve", also the temptation of the apple tree.
And now i have learned that Harry Potter may have some religous meaning.
I for one do not want to be brainwashed.

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