Narnia Night 2010 at Asbury
A long two and a half years have passed since Asbury’s Prince Caspian Narnia Night, back in April of 2008, and on December 3rd I found myself back on the campus again for Narnia Night III.
This time Hughes Auditorium was decorated for Christmas, looking festive with garlands and Christmas trees with lights that darkened during the video clips.
The night began with a trivia game pre-show as everyone filtered in. Each young fan with a correct answer won a book or a rampant lion T-shirt. NarniaWebbers would have cleaned up if they were there—and had no tact. Here’s the only question I couldn’t recall the answer to: “Who was the last member of the Dawn Treader to decide to go to the end of the world?” What about it, NarniaWebbers? Can you remember without checking your book?
The evening was introduced by Dr. Mike Peterson and Dr. Sandra Gray, president of Asbury, opened with a prayer.
Walden Media Vice President Chip Flaherty was the first speaker. He congratulated Asbury for having Dr. Devin Brown, foremost Lewis scholar in their midst. He pointed out that though “familiarity breeds contempt,” and Dr. Brown may not seem particularly special if seen in Starbucks fumbling with a teabag—Dr. Jon Kulaga later suggested this could be fixed by drinking coffee—he said that Dr. Brown is his favorite Lewis scholar, and that he’s practically memorized Dr. Brown’s books.
Mr. Flaherty shared some of the story of Walden Media’s beginnings; he was a lawyer, successful in the eyes of the world, when he realized he felt that he wasn’t doing what God wanted him to do. He called up his younger brother Michael Flaherty, and they began their journey. Look where they ended up!
He spoke some about the tests and negative situations God throws our way, and how they’re actually miracles from Him, displaying His care for us. He said he felt that in Dawn Treader there were two miracles. One is the miracle of Eustace being undragoned, but the other was the fact that he became a dragon to begin with. As painful as it was, he was able to be transformed by Aslan.
Like Eustace, we should be thankful for the opportunity to be tested and come through refined and changed by God. He recalled a quote from C.S. Lewis, I’m sure familiar to you: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
Segments of the documentary “C.S. Lewis: Why He Matters Today” were interpersed throughout the event: “Reclaiming Christian Reason,” “Rediscovering Christian Imagination,” and “Restoring a Christian View of Humanity.” You can watch and download the documentary here, and I highly recommend it. It effectively depicts the reasons we love C.S. Lewis, his vital marrying of reason and imagination in the Christian faith, and his importance to the church now and in the future.
There were also movie clips throughout the event. Most of the “supertrailer” clips we’ve seen appear online recently, but there was some footage we haven’t seen, including the clip where dragon Eustace reveals his identity to Edmund, and some great quality behind-the-scenes footage of Caspian and Edmund practicing sword fighting and the Pevensies and Eustace swimming in the flooding room.
I hesitate to mention it, but, regrettably, in one of the supertrailer introduction titles, “Reepicheep” was spelled “Reepichap.” I know. You shudder now, but consider what Reepicheep might have done if someone had casually called him Reepichap! It would not have been pretty.
Dr. Devin Brown, friend of NarniaWeb (have you joined in some of his discussion questions?), concluded with his presentation: “What to look for in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.”
First, he said, look to see Eustace and his transformation. He made a connection I’d never thought about, pointing out how similar the name Eustace Clarence Scrubb is to Clive Staples Lewis, and implying that Lewis may have put elements of his earlier athiest self in this “record stinker.” He supported this with something Lewis had written regarding himself: “Depth under depths of self-love and self-admiration,” obviously relating it to the layers of dragon skin that Aslan had to remove from Eustace.
Interestingly enough, I found that Lewis’ full quote runs: “It is like fighting the hydra… There seems to be no end to it. Depth under depths of self-love and self-admiration.” Yet further evidence of the connection; the hydra was a mythological serpent- or dragon-like creature who grew two heads when one was cut off, producing an unending battle—like Eustace trying to “undress” himself, or Lewis trying to conquer his pride.
The second thing on Dr. Brown’s list of things to look for: Reepicheep. He pointed out that in Prince Caspian, Reepicheep says, “I pledge my life to you, but my honor is my own,” and that his tail is the “honor and glory of a mouse,” but that he seeks and finds a higher glory at the end of Dawn Treader. He’s willing to sacrifice his life as well as his honor—at the end, he throws away his sword and submits to the indignity of allowing Lucy to hug him.
Aslan was the next thing to look for in Dawn Treader. He discussed how Aslan takes a “background” role in Dawn Treader, more so than in the previous books, and this reflects the way Christ often works in our lives. Aslan is always present, as he says when Lucy “makes” him visible in Coriakin’s house, but his influence is not often clearly seen, not without careful searching, and, I would submit, through his own revealing. Dr. Brown points out that in the passage where Aslan takes the form of an albatross to lead the ship out of the Darkness, it’s only Lucy who sees who it is and hears his voice.
Lucy was the last person to look for in Dawn Treader. Unfortunately, the room was too dark to take any notes, so I’m going on memory for all of this, and Lucy didn’t stick with me. What I do remember is that he discussed the way that Lucy sees the wonder in everyday things, and said that Christians can take a lesson from the way she sees the world.
Afterwards, at the cookie reception in the student center—also decorated for Christmas with Christmas music playing throughout—I was able to speak briefly with Professor Greg Bandy, who put together the entire evening, Walden’s Chip Flaherty, and Dr. Devin Brown, who was signing books. I bought his “Inside Voyage of the Dawn Treader” book, which I look forward to reading—after finals.
Another great Narnia Night at Asbury University. Kudos to those who went to such hard work putting it together! See you for the next film!
Thanks Lady Éowyn for your full report!
You can also read Wunderkind4HIM’s report on her blog here.