Counting the Cost

When I was a child I often had toothache, and I knew that if I went to my mother she would give me something which would deaden the pain for that night and let me get to sleep. But I did not go to my mother -- at least, not till the pain became very bad. And the reason I did not go was this. I did not doubt she would give me the aspirin; but I knew she would also do something else. I knew she would take me to the dentist next morning. I could not get what I wanted out of her without getting something more, which I did not want. I wanted immediate relief from pain: but I could not get it without having my teeth set permanently right. And I knew those dentists: I knew they started fiddling about with all sorts of other teeth which had not yet begun to ache. They would not let sleeping dogs lie, if you gave them an inch they took an ell.
Now, if I may put it that way, Our Lord is like the dentists. If you give Him an inch, He will take an ell. Dozens of people go to Him to be cured of some one particular sin which they are ashamed of or which is obviously spoiling daily life. Well, He will cure it all right: but He will not stop there. That may be all you asked; but if once you call Him in, He will give you the full treatment.

C.S. Lewis
Mere Christianity (1952)
Chapter 9: 'Counting the Cost' 

The Triumph of the Angelicals

She was where he had left her, but dreadful change was coming over her. Her body was writhing into curves and knots where she lay, as if cramps convulsed her. Her mouth was open but she could not scream: her hands were clutching at her twisted throat. In her wild eyes there was now no malice, only an agony, and gradually all her body and head were drawn up backwards from the floor by an invisible force, so that from her hips she remained rigidly upright and her legs lay stretched straight out behind her up on the ground, as if a serpent in human shape raised itself before him.

The sight drove him backwards; he turned his face away, and prayed with all his strength to the Maker of the Celestials. From that refuge he looked again, and saw her convulsed and convulsed with spasms of anguish. But now the very colour of her skin was changing; it became blotched and blurred with black and yellow and green; not only that but it seemed distended about her. Her face rounded out till it was perfectly smooth, with no hollows or depressions, and from her nostrils and her mouth something was thrusting out. In and out of her neck and hands another skin was forming over or under her own? he could not distinguish which, but growing through it, here a coating. there an underveiling. Another and an inhuman tongue was flickering out over a human lips, and the legs were twisted and thrown from side to side as if something prisoned in them were attempting to escape. For all that lower violence her body did not fall, nor indeed, but for a slight swaying, did it much move.

Her arms were interlocked in front of her, the extreme ends of her fingers touched the ground between her thighs. But they too were drawn inwards; the stuff of her dress was rending in places; and wherever it rent and hung aside he could see that other curiously-toned skin shining behind it. A black shadow was on her face; a huge shape was emerging from it, from her, growing larger and larger as the Domination she had invoked freed itself from the will and the mind and the body that had given it a place where it could find the earth for its immaterialization. No longer a woman but a serpent indeed surged before him in the darkening room, bursting and breaking from the woman's shape behind it. It curved and twined itself in the last achievements of liberty; there came through the silence that had accompanied that transmutation a sound as if some slight thing had dropped to the floor, and the Angelic energy was wholly free.

It was free. It glided a little forward, and its head turned lowly from side to side. Richardson stood up and faced it. The subtle eyes gazed at him, without hostility, without friendship, remote and alien. He looked back, wordlessly calling on the Maker and End of all created energies. Images poured through his brain in an unceasing riot; questions such as Anthony had recounted to him propounded themselves; there seemed to be a million things he might do, and he did none of them. He remembered the Will beyond all the makings; then with a tremendous effort he shut out even that troublesome idea of the Will--an invented word, a mortal thought--and, as far as he could, was not before what was. It had mercy on him; he saw the great snake begin to move again, and then he fainted right away.

Charles Williams
The Place of the Lion (1933)
Chapter Twelve

Beren steals the Silmaril

[Image : Anke Eissmann]

He heard afar their hurrying feet,
he snuffed an odour strange and sweet;
he smelled their coming long before
they marked the waiting threat at door.
His limbs he stretched and shook off sleep,
then stood at gaze. With sudden leap
upon them as they sped he sprang,
and his howling in the arches rang.
Too swift for thought his onset came,
too swift for any spell to tame;
and Beren desperate then aside
thrust Lúthien, and forth did stride
unarmed, defenceless to defend
Tinúviel until the end.
With left he caught at hairy throat,
with right hand at the eyes he smote
- his right, from which the radiance welled
of the holy Silmaril he held.
As gleam of swords in fire there flashed
the fangs of Carcharoth, and crashed
together like a trap, that tore
the hand about the wrist, and shore
through brittle bone and sinew nesh,
devouring the frail mortal flesh;
and in that cruel mouth unclean
engulfed the jewel's holy sheen.

J.R.R. Tolkien
The Geste of Beren and Lúthien
Lines 4,198 to 4,223

At this point the poem abruptly stops, but among Tolkien's papers five more lines were found:

Against the wall then Beren reeled
but still with his left he sought to shield
fair Lúthien, who cried aloud
to see his pain, and down she bowed
in anguish sinking to the ground.

There is no more.  However, JRRT did finish the story:
See "The Silmarillion", Chapter 19.

The real Lucy.

As you may remember, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is dedicated to Lucy Barfield, Lewis's goddaughter. Sadly, about 15 years after the book was published, Lucy was affected by multiple sclerosis, that left her bedridden and unable to feed herself.  But being named in the book touched her life in ways that Jack Lewis could not have imagined.

For the rest of her life, Lucy received letters from children. Some, believing she was Lucy Pevensie, asked her about Narnia.  Others knew she was ill and just wrote to say hello. "What a wonderful oasis of pleasure I have in this pretty terrible world, being recognized as Lucy," she once said.

That Hideous Strength

Extremely witty, beautifully written, thought-provoking and a real page-turner, THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH is the third volume in C.S. Lewis's marvellous, Christian-themed “Space Trilogy,” but readers unfamiliar with the earlier two books should not hesitate to read this one independently. Set at a fictional university in England, the book is Lewis's dystopian examination of how without firing a short, the alliance of government, business, academia, and mass media can produce a pure evil of wholesale fascism, all in the name of “mankind.”

An influence-intoxicated college professor, his unhappy and neglected wife, a university-government complex bent on world domination, a living wizard who's been buried for more than a millennium, and a space-travelling invalid who may be the only hope for the salvation of the world are just a few of the ingredients in one of the greatest works of popular fiction.

The book explores how pure materialism produces a nihilism that is incompatible with moral ethics, individual liberty, spiritual truth, and the foundations of civil society. Drawing upon the analysis in his brilliant book, THE ABOLITION OF MAN, Lewis satirizes government power, moral relativism, academic politics, bio-engineering, mass media, narcissism and blind ambition, atheism, materialistic culture, egalitarianism, scientism, non-traditional education which "experiments" on children, and much more. THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH includes allusions to the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, H.G. Wells, John Donne, Charles Williams, John Bunyan, Sir Thomas Malory, and others; and the book has been compared to Aldous Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD and George Orwell's 1984.

“In his usual polished prose, he creates an elaborate satiric picture of a war between morality and devilry.”
-- The New Yorker

“Well-written, fast-paced satirical fantasy.”
-- Time Magazine

“His description of the N.I.C.E. (National Institute of Co-ordinated Experiments), with its world-wide ramifications, its private army, its secret torture chambers, and its inner ring of adepts ruled over by a mysterious personage known as The Head, is as exciting as any detective story…a book worth reading."
-- George Orwell

C.S. Lewis Society Update (3rd August 2007)
What is particularly striking about this book is who Lewis fingers as the advance-guard for the evil that sadly dominates on Earth, ever trying to extend its power: a bunch of place-seeking, ethics-free, jive-talking academics who have long left any pretence to reason and science behind. Instead, they are driven by a misguided altruism that manifests itself, ultimately, as complete misanthropy.

In this regard, Lewis must be regarded as prescient. Anyone who has spent any time in academia will immediately sympathise with the plight of the characters in the book who dare to stand up to the censorial, elitist, Marxist-Leninist, anti-religion, pro-death agenda so prevalent among the ‘progressive’ leadership of the university. Lewis had these people's number fifty years ago.