Imagined? or Real.

Remember what Puddleglum the Marshwiggle says to the Witch in The Silver Chair when she tries to enchant them into believing there is no land of Narnia above?

“Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things – trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if their isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that’s small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say.”

The world to come, thought Lewis, would be like this world, only somehow more real. "Heaven is not a state of mind. Heaven is reality itself" (The Great Divorce, page 68), and everything else in existence is only an imitation of Heaven.


Arborfield said...

Post dedicated to Steve H... thanks Steve!

Anna said...


I was just thinking about something and I thought I would throw it out for discussion.

What, in your opinion draws the reader and the character most easily into the fantasy world that they are about to enter?
I'm working on my story, and I've been thinking about that today....

for instance:

In Harry Potter, Harry starts getting letters, and owls show up at the Dursley's, and then Hagrid is the one that actually introduces him to it.

In Narnia, Lucy steps in and meets a Mr. Tumnus, a faun.

In E.T., Elliot is frightened by the little extra-terrestrial, and recognizes that whatever it is isn't normal, which prompts him to go looking for it.

In the Hobbit, Bilbo is visited by Gandalf, and then thirteen dwarves, and they sort of drag him in.

In the Lord of the Rings, it is again Gandalf but also the ring that forces Frodo to enter the great unknown.

What do you guys think? What is the best way to draw the character and the reader in? A creature/person from the place that you are trying to draw them into?
An object of special significance?

This comment would probably make a good blog post, it's so long. But seriously, what do you think?


Arborfield said...

What you are speaking of is what is often called the 'Deus ex machina' (see wikipedia) -- a device where the extraordinary 'breaks in' to the ordinary. In theological terms you could call the 'Christ event' a deus ex machina -- a completely unexpected event that changes (in this case) history.

In many SF and Fantasy stories the action turns on such events. In the books you mention (and many others), it's often the second chapter that this sort of thing happens, often turning the story on its head.

JRRT seems to me to use it often, as do CSL and CSW (The major Inklings) in their writings.

SO... something unexpected, that somehow 'fits' into the story line.

Anonymous said...

Anna, it is not a fantasy world, but a world of imagination, which is a world made of images from the heart.

In portuguese:

Imagina - Imagens (images)
ção - Coração (heart)

Try to writte something that makes the reader read with the heart, and not the mind. Prof. Tolkien, or Lewis, made it with sucess.

Lisbon, Portugal.

Anna said...

I appreciate the thoughts! They are very helpful. I agree with Rui.