Tolkien and Lewis // Christ-figures, Parallels, and Unlikely Inspiration

'Lo,

I'm back with another installment of "Tolkien and Lewis", a blog study devoted to comparing and contrasting these amazing writers. 
As mentioned in the last section of this series (link), both Tolkien and Lewis incorporated their faiths into their writing as the basis for worlds without any particular type of religion, yet inhabited by steadfast morals and truths. Both authors also incorporated childhood experiences and private reflections into their writing.

Note: I am writing this from a Catholic's point of view, and I will be using parallels from my faith in this post. If you have any questions or something doesn't make sense, feel free to ask.
Also, there are some spoilers in this post, so please be warned if you have not yet read the books!

~ The Christ-figure ~

This is way more obvious in TCON than in TLOTR or in The Hobbit.
Why?
Because, as Tolkien states himself, there is no specific Christ-figure in TLOTR, and I believe that he included The Hobbit in this statement.
But that aside, I'm going to give my personal take on this.

Aslan


Aslan is obviously the Christ-figure in TCON. He sacrifices his life in order to combat evil, resurrects, and continues to support the Pevensies (representing humanity) in their journey to be better people not only in Narnia, but in their own world. Salvation was not easy for him, but he died to give  Edmund ( representing us tainted by sin) a chance for a better life. 

Gandalf

A lot of people are going to think I'm crazy for thinking this. The majority of my friends that I've asked this question to have said that they believe Aragorn to be the Christ-figure in TLOTR, however, I'll try to justify my reasoning. Gandalf had faith in Bilbo, Frodo, and many other unlikely heroes. He's not always hovering over the Fellowship and Thorin and Co., but he seems to be keeping an eye on them nonetheless to assist in dire circumstances. When Gandalf faces the Balrog, "dies", than rises to an even more glorified state, I cannot help comparing it to Jesus's death and resurrection. 

~ Parallels ~

Here are a few personal observations that I think are cool parallels, just for fun.
Warning-I tend to get very nitty gritty in these things and probably see things that aren't even supposed to exist. XD

  • TLOTR-Boromir represents us as sinners. His sacrifice for the Hobbits can be seen as penance for his sins.
  • TCON-Jadis continually haunting Edmund is a reminder that we are never completely free from our faults and we have to keep battling them.
  • TCON-In chapter twelve of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Aslan tells Peter to always clean his sword after a battle. I like to think of this as God telling us to start new after a battle, fresh and clean. 
  • TLOTR-Gollum's obsession with the One Ring is his downfall. I think this is a reminder that the more we get to attached to earthly things, the farther we get from God.
  • TCON-While researching for this post I stumbled upon this very interesting article about metaphors and doors to Narnia >> view it here.
  • The Hobbit-Bilbo doesn't like adventures (nasty disturbing things, they make you late for dinner!) I think this signifies that Jesus (Gandalf in this case) is calling us on the greatest adventure of our lives-to travel the road to Heaven.
~ Inspiration ~

Being a writer and aspiring famous authoress (hem, my inner Jo March is showing)  myself, I love reading and hearing stories about how successful authors found inspiration for their works. 
 (J.K. Rowling probably didn't know she had created a sensational story when she was daydreaming about a boy-wizard in an airport!)

  • Lewis-During WWII, C.S. Lewis took in several children that had been evacuated. He often told stories to these children to amuse them, and one story was about four children evacuated from their home that are sent to live with an eccentric professor--sound familiar?
  • Tolkien-While Tolkien was living in Africa, he was bitten by a particularly large spider. While it left no lasting physical damage, this may have influenced him to add the memorable spiders in The Hobbit and the frightening Shelob in TLOTR.
  • Lewis-Lewis wasn't trying to shove moral pills with sugar coating down youngsters' throats with The Chronicles of Narnia. You can see quite clearly in his writing that he is writing out of mere adoration and awe of God. 
  • Lewis and Tolkien-Both authors were influenced by Nordic mythology.
~

Feel free to take part in this conversation! I'd love to hear your thoughts and chat in the comments. 
Stay tuned for the next part of this series.

~ K A T H R Y N



1 comment:

  1. Great post! <3

    Also, I nominated you for the text tag on my blog if you're interested. :D

    Sophia xx
    A Lantern In Her Hand
    The Inkpot Girl

    ReplyDelete

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