C.S. Lewis Considered a Time-Travel Narnia Story
Look for “Did you know” articles on NarniaWeb on the first of every month.
Walter Hooper, personal secretary to C.S. Lewis, died in December. Even though he met Lewis in person only a few months before Lewis’ death, Hooper remained dedicated to Lewis’ works and edited and published several writings that otherwise would probably never have been available to fans of Lewis.
The most interesting book for Narnia fans is probably Past Watchful Dragons. The book includes a timeline of Narnia (which Lewis wrote after he finished the books), and a few interesting plot ideas which were either developed into other stories or dropped entirely. Two of them were combined to become The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. One of these was about a child from our world who gets through a magic picture frame to another world, while a creature from the painting enters ours. The other was a time travel story involving two children getting on a ship that sails backward through time. It was “To be a v. green and pearly story.”
Other interesting bits are excerpts of early drafts. There are the first few sentences of what would become The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but the children are named Ann, Martin, Rose, and Peter. A rough draft of Eustace’s diary entries in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is also included, as well as a fascinating beginning to what would become The Magician’s Nephew. The “Lefay Fragment” contains many ideas that would appear in other stories, such as a squirrel named Pattertwig, but the main character is a boy named Digory who lives with his aunt and meets a girl named Polly. (Listen to our podcast discussion about the Lefay Fragment)
Thanks for sharing this, Dot! I have “Past Watchful Dragons” and can highly recommend it to any Narnia fans — it’s one of the earliest extended commentaries on the Chronicles and how Lewis came to write them, and Hooper has lots of very interesting and insightful observations, especially about the parallels between Narnia and Biblical themes, along with the few surviving fragments of early drafts and notes.
Thanks for posting! I really should get more of CS’ work, whenever by Narnian books arrive…