Susan Pevensie: Always a Queen of Narnia?

This month LHP is highlighting some of our readers’ favorite previous posts from our authors.  We hope you enjoy them!

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Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a picture of Susan that ISN’T Anna Popplewell?

When we think of The Chronicles of Narnia, Susan is not, perhaps, the first character that comes to mind.  She is robust and relatively well developed, but she also seems to be more of a supporting character.  After all, it is Lucy who leads the children into Narnia and seems to form the strongest bond with Aslan.  Edmund is the traitor redeemed, and Peter becomes the High King.  Susan’s most unique aspect is also one of the most controversial points of The Chronicles:  She is the only one of the four Pevensie children to fall away and not make it into Aslan’s country at the end of The Last Battle.  This has upset a couple of generations of readers now, and it has led to charges of sexism against her creator, C. S. Lewis.  For many people, Susan’s fall is one of the worst points of the books; it bothers them enough that they can’t let it go.  Fortunately, there is much more to Susan and her situation than what her critics imply.

As early as Prince Caspian, we see hints of something happening to Su.  When Lucy sees Aslan, Susan knows in her heart of hearts that she is telling the truth.  She refuses to admit it, even to herself, and later feels horribly guilty about it.  At the end of the book, Susan and Peter are returned to our world where they are expected to grow up and apply all of the lessons learned in Narnia.  By the time we meet them again in The Last Battle, their paths have diverged dramatically.

When the group meets inside the stable, in Aslan’s country, Susan is notably absent.  When that fact is brought up, Susan is described as “no longer a friend of Narnia.”  Jill notes that she pays attention to “nothing nowadays except nylons and lipstick and invitations.  She always was a jolly sight too keen on being grown-up.”  Su has even gone so far as to deny Narnia’s very existence:  “Fancy your still thinking about all those funny games we used to play when we were children.”  As such, she isn’t on the train when the wreck occurs, and she isn’t granted entrance into Aslan’s country at that point. [1]

This subplot has provoked (and continues to provoke) howls of outrage.  J. K. Rowling made the comment to Time magazine that “There comes a point where Susan, who was the older girl, is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She’s become irreligious basically because she found sex. I have a big problem with that.” [2]  Phillip Pullman, who constructed an atheistic fantasy series that has been described as sort of the “anti-Narnia,” stated that,

In other words, Susan, like Cinderella, is undergoing a transition from one phase of her life to another. Lewis didn’t approve of that. He didn’t like women in general, or sexuality at all, at least at the stage in his life when he wrote the Narnia books. He was frightened and appalled at the notion of wanting to grow up. Susan, who did want to grow up, and who might have been the most interesting character in the whole cycle if she’d been allowed to, is a Cinderella in a story where the Ugly Sisters win.[3]

I would argue that Rowling and Pullman have misrepresented Lewis’s point entirely.  In fact, they may well have done so for the simple reason that they “got” it all too well.  Lewis is making a comment so pointed that it has made millions of people uncomfortable, which is something we aren’t used to seeing in Narnia.  It seems to come out of the proverbial blue, and people simply react to it with hostility rather than really trying to understand it. [4]

What the book is trying to say is that sex and the emergence of femininity aren’t sufficient ends in and of themselves.  Su isn’t kept out of Narnia because she discovered sex, she is kept out because she idolized it to the point that all other things–including Aslan and Narnia itself–were placed in subjection to it.  Growing up became not simply a natural process of maturation, but rather a stylized, exclusive state of being that precluded everything else.  Worse, the idealized state of anything has no existence in reality. [5]  Susan was chasing moonshine, when the real world around her could offer her much more. Polly noted this when she remarked,

“Grown-up indeed,” said the Lady Polly.  “I wish she would grow up!  She wasted all her school time wanting to be the age she is now, and she’ll waste the rest of her life trying to stay that age.  Her whole idea is to race to the silliest time of one’s life as quick as she can and then stop there as long as she can.”  [6]

Susan has not, in fact, grown up at all.  What she has done is take on an empty obsession, a false idealization of what being “grown-up” means, and that keeps her from experiencing life as a whole.  That obsession has led her away from Narnia, and not “lipstick” at all.  Lewis’s critics are mistaking a symptom for the disease.

None of this involves a denigration of women or  real, meaningful sex.  In fact, it is a very positive portrayal of a  broader, deeper form of femininity where the value of one’s soul isn’t determined by one’s social circle or sex appeal.  Those things have their places, but cannot be ends in and of themselves.

This is made doubly clear in Lewis’s depiction of Susan in The Horse and His Boy.  While far from perfect, she is shown to be completely confident in her own beauty and sexuality.  During the story, she is even considering marriage–which obviously implies an approval of sex.  So, it is clear that the Susan we see referenced in The Last Battle isn’t an inevitability; she could and in fact had taken another, better path before.

Very well, if I must. Not that she isn’t pretty cute…

Of course, much of that level of nuance is obviously lost on Lewis’s critics.  They simply see a criticism of modern conceptions of sex and maturity.  They assume that Lewis’s criticism must fit into a certain sort of mold and, if it doesn’t, they are determined to forcibly conform it to their strawman assumptions.

I think that is a normal, human reaction, by the way.  We all want to be told that “We’re OK.”  We all want to know that our wants, our desires are indeed good, right, and normal.   What Lewis is getting at is a philosophy that is directly antagonistic to modern definitions of feminism, especially its glorification of sex and female sexuality as an ultimate arbiter of meaning.  When that point is challenged, especially in a way that implies that there is something more, something greater, the reactions are naturally instinctual and visceral.  We don’t want to understand the details because, perhaps, the details may just prove us wrong. I can’t say I would necessarily respond differently were the tables turned on me– “There but for the grace of God go I!”

One final point:  Most of Lewis’s critics assign a finality to Susan’s position that simply isn’t justified.  Susan isn’t turned away at the door of the stable–she simply isn’t there when it was closed on Narnia.   There are other doors into Aslan’s country from many other worlds, including our own.  Susan did not die in the train wreck that sent the others into Aslan’s country.   As Lewis noted, “there is still plenty of time for her to mend, and perhaps she will get into Aslan’s country in the end–in her own way.” [7]

What’s more, since Lewis did not consider Narnia to be his own private domain–he regularly encouraged his younger correspondents to write Narnia stories of their own–perhaps the final word has yet to be written on Susan.  While I doubt the Lewis estate would tolerate the publication of such a story these days, perhaps someone who understands what really happened to Susan should write it nonetheless.  Lewis left the door open to Susan.  It is now up to our own imaginations–not his–to take her through it.

And so, “Further up and further in!”

 

[1] C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle, (New York:  Harper-trophy, 2004), 154.
[2] http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1083935,00.html
[3] http://www.crlamppost.org/darkside.htm
[4] Of course, applying Pullman’s own method to his own statements, I might ask why he himself is so biased against “ugly” women that he apparently objects to them “winning” on occasion.  In fact, I am quite disturbed by his use of bigoted visual stereotypes regarding facial structure and arbitrary gravitational measurement, when he should be celebrating the empowerment of a traditionally downtrodden and forgotten underclass.
[5] To illustrate this tendency, just think of Christmas Day (or some other event that you hold dear).  The time we are in never seems to be “as real” or “as perfect” as times past. Worse, our idealized memory often distracts us from our enjoyment of a perfectly good present.
[6] Lewis, The Last Battle, 2004.
[7]  Letter to Martin, 22 January 1957, Letters to Children, (New York:  Touchstone, 1995), 67.

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Forests A Little More Enchanted

I explored light last week, one form of which was the light that filters through trees in the woods. I love woods.  I like the illusion (just the illusion, mind you) of getting lost in the woods.

A forest is a perfect setting for a scene or even a whole book.  A tree is a place or a creature or a character.  How many times does a scene begin with a character lost, running, creeping, hiding, exploring in the woods?  And now, as the trees begin to change color with the new season, I’m sure we’re all noticing them a little more.

What do the woods mean to a story?  I’ll let others explain for me (I’m lazy like that).

“[Treebeard] led the way in under the huge branches of the trees. Old beyond guessing, they seemed. Great trailing beards of lichen hung from them, blowing and swaying in the breeze. Out of the shadows, the hobbits peeped, gazing back down the slope: little furtive figures that in the dim light looked like elf-children in the deeps of time peering out of the Wild Wood in wonder at their first Dawn.” ~ Tolkien, Two Towers

‘When Spring unfolds the beechen leaf, 
      and sap is in the bough; 
When light is on the wild-wood stream, 
      and wind is on the brow; 

When stride is long, and breath is deep, 
      and keen on the mountain-air, 
Come back to me! come back to me, 
      and say my land is fair!’

~ Song to the Lost Entwives

“Awake. Love. Think. Speak. Be walking trees. Be talking beasts. Be divine waters.” ~ C.S. Lewis, Magician’s Nephew

“She stepped out from among their shifting confusion of lovely lights and shadows. A circle of grass, smooth as a lawn, met her eyes, with dark trees dancing all around it. And then –Oh Joy! For he was there: the huge Lion, shining white in the moonlight, with his huge black shadow underneath him.” ~ C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian

“The trees bathed their great heads in the waves of the morning, while their roots were planted deep in gloom; save where on the borders of the sunshine broke against their stems, or swept in long streams through their avenues, washing with brighter hue all the leaves over which it flowed; revealing the rich brown of the decayed leaves and fallen pine-cones, and the delicate greens of the long grasses and tiny forests of moss that covered the channel over which it passed in the motionless rivers of light.”  ~ George MacDonald, Phantastes

The trees grew close together and were so leafy that he could get no glimpse of the sky. All the light was green light that came through the leaves: but there must have been a very strong sun overhead, for this green daylight was bright and warm. It was the quietest wood you could possibly imagine. There were no birds, no insects, no animals, and no wind. You could almost feel the trees growing. ~ C.S. Lewis, Magician’s Nephew

“Always watch where you are going. Otherwise, you may step on a piece of the Forest that was left out by mistake.” ~ A A Milne 

“She looked at a silver birch: it would have a soft, showery voice and would look like a slender girl, with hair blown all about her face and fond of dancing. She looked at the oak: he would be a wizened, but hearty, old man with a frizzled beard and warts on his fact and hands, with hair growing out of the warts. She looked at the beech under which she was standing. Ah! –she would be the best of all. She would be a gracious goddess, smooth and stately, the Lady of the Wood.” ~ C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian

“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” ~ Milne, Winnie the Pooh

“Great stems rose about me, uplifting a thick multitudinous roof above me of branches, and twigs, and leaves– the bird and insect world uplifted over mine, with its own landscapes, its own thickets, and paths, and glades, and dwellings; its own bird-ways and insect-delights. Great boughs crossed my path; great roots based the tree-columns, and mightily clasped the earth, strong to lift and strong to uphold. It seemed an old, old forest, perfect in forest ways and pleasure.” ~ MacDonald Phantastes

“[The fairy tale] stirs and troubles him (to his life-long enrichment) with the dim sense of something beyond his reach and, far from dulling or emptying the actual world, gives it a new dimension of depth. He does not despise real woods because he has read of enchanted woods: The reading makes all real woods a little enchanted.” —C. S. Lewis, in Of Other Worlds”

I know I’ve read so many more quotes about forests and trees and woods, but now that I’m trying to come up with them, they elude me.  Perhaps you have one that you are attached to and would like to share?

For now, I will leave you with one last quote about a magical forest… of a slightly different mien:

“Be grateful you’re not in the forest in France
Where the average young person just hasn’t a chance

To escape from the perilous pants eating plants
But your pants are safe, you’re a fortunate guy
You ought to be shouting how lucky am I” ~ Dr. Seuss

Following C.S. Lewis to the Giant’s Causeway

In my last post, I stayed in Belfast and followed where Lewis lived and went to school and the sculpture made in his honor a hundred years after his birth.  But, as we all know, Lewis did not stay in Belfast.  He went to Oxford and Cambridge.  Everyone knows to visit the Eagle and Child pub when they go to Oxford to see where not only Lewis, but also Tolkien, sat down for a pint and a good literary critique.

But that’s not where I looked next for Lewis myself.  I was in Northern Ireland and there was still a pretty amazing place to see that had once captured Lewis’s imagination.

Dunluce Castle sits on the edge of a cliff facing out over the Irish Sea.  It is harsh, remote, and grand, even in its current ruined state.  This is the castle that inspired Lewis when he created Cair Paravel.

If you remember, the castle is right on the sea in the books.  The four Pevensies rule there during the Golden Age of Narnia, and they also return there when summoned by Prince Caspian.  Upon their return, the castle is an overgrown ruin, almost unrecognizable, but it still rests on the cliffs with its stunning view of the sea.

Visiting Dunluce was incredible for me, of course, because it was the first castle I’d seen in Ireland and had the added benefit of being this world’s Cair Paravel.  Lewis truly had a wonderful homeland to draw his inspiration from.

But I also wonder if the cliffs on which the castle sits did not give Lewis even more cause to invent and create in his literary world.  The jagged, almost hexagonal shaped jutting cliffs that rise up far above the water are called The Giant’s Causeway.  They have a legend attached to them that they were created by the hero Finn MacCumhaill back when heroes were taller and stronger and brasher and prone to feats of unbelievable daring.

On these cliffs, you can believe not only in magical kingdoms, but in giants walking across cold, empty northlands. If you remember The Silver Chair, you might wonder if this was the place that came to mind as Lewis wrote his giant’s territory of Harfang.

Not New Zealand: these are some of the mountains found in the Highlands.

I suppose that worlds like Middle Earth seem like they should be filmed in the most dramatic of locations, a place like New Zealand where the mountains and hills and plains are as grand as you could possibly find in this world.  However, I do think that the Narnia series could easily have been filmed in the land that cultivated and nourished it for Lewis.  Traveling through the hills of Ireland, the highlands of Scotland, and even riding the train through the English countryside down to London have all brought Narnia to mind.  Maybe that’s just me, but I feel quite confident Lewis would have agreed.

Susan Pevensie: Always a Queen of Narnia?

Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a picture of Susan that ISN’T Anna Popplewell?

When we think of The Chronicles of Narnia, Susan is not, perhaps, the first character that comes to mind.  She is robust and relatively well developed, but she also seems to be more of a supporting character.  After all, it is Lucy who leads the children into Narnia and seems to form the strongest bond with Aslan.  Edmund is the traitor redeemed, and Peter becomes the High King.  Susan’s most unique aspect is also one of the most controversial points of The Chronicles:  She is the only one of the four Pevensie children to fall away and not make it into Aslan’s country at the end of The Last Battle.  This has upset a couple of generations of readers now, and it has led to charges of sexism against her creator, C. S. Lewis.  For many people, Susan’s fall is one of the worst points of the books; it bothers them enough that they can’t let it go.  Fortunately, there is much more to Susan and her situation than what her critics imply.

As early as Prince Caspian, we see hints of something happening to Su.  When Lucy sees Aslan, Susan knows in her heart of hearts that she is telling the truth.  She refuses to admit it, even to herself, and later feels horribly guilty about it.  At the end of the book, Susan and Peter are returned to our world where they are expected to grow up and apply all of the lessons learned in Narnia.  By the time we meet them again in The Last Battle, their paths have diverged dramatically.

When the group meets inside the stable, in Aslan’s country, Susan is notably absent.  When that fact is brought up, Susan is described as “no longer a friend of Narnia.”  Jill notes that she pays attention to “nothing nowadays except nylons and lipstick and invitations.  She always was a jolly sight too keen on being grown-up.”  Su has even gone so far as to deny Narnia’s very existence:  “Fancy your still thinking about all those funny games we used to play when we were children.”  As such, she isn’t on the train when the wreck occurs, and she isn’t granted entrance into Aslan’s country at that point. [1]

This subplot has provoked (and continues to provoke) howls of outrage.  J. K. Rowling made the comment to Time magazine that “There comes a point where Susan, who was the older girl, is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She’s become irreligious basically because she found sex. I have a big problem with that.” [2]  Phillip Pullman, who constructed an atheistic fantasy series that has been described as sort of the “anti-Narnia,” stated that,

In other words, Susan, like Cinderella, is undergoing a transition from one phase of her life to another. Lewis didn’t approve of that. He didn’t like women in general, or sexuality at all, at least at the stage in his life when he wrote the Narnia books. He was frightened and appalled at the notion of wanting to grow up. Susan, who did want to grow up, and who might have been the most interesting character in the whole cycle if she’d been allowed to, is a Cinderella in a story where the Ugly Sisters win.[3]

I would argue that Rowling and Pullman have misrepresented Lewis’s point entirely.  In fact, they may well have done so for the simple reason that they “got” it all too well.  Lewis is making a comment so pointed that it has made millions of people uncomfortable, which is something we aren’t used to seeing in Narnia.  It seems to come out of the proverbial blue, and people simply react to it with hostility rather than really trying to understand it. [4]

What the book is trying to say is that sex and the emergence of femininity aren’t sufficient ends in and of themselves.  Su isn’t kept out of Narnia because she discovered sex, she is kept out because she idolized it to the point that all other things–including Aslan and Narnia itself–were placed in subjection to it.  Growing up became not simply a natural process of maturation, but rather a stylized, exclusive state of being that precluded everything else.  Worse, the idealized state of anything has no existence in reality. [5]  Susan was chasing moonshine, when the real world around her could offer her much more. Polly noted this when she remarked,

“Grown-up indeed,” said the Lady Polly.  “I wish she would grow up!  She wasted all her school time wanting to be the age she is now, and she’ll waste the rest of her life trying to stay that age.  Her whole idea is to race to the silliest time of one’s life as quick as she can and then stop there as long as she can.”  [6]

Susan has not, in fact, grown up at all.  What she has done is take on an empty obsession, a false idealization of what being “grown-up” means, and that keeps her from experiencing life as a whole.  That obsession has led her away from Narnia, and not “lipstick” at all.  Lewis’s critics are mistaking a symptom for the disease.

None of this involves a denigration of women or  real, meaningful sex.  In fact, it is a very positive portrayal of a  broader, deeper form of femininity where the value of one’s soul isn’t determined by one’s social circle or sex appeal.  Those things have their places, but cannot be ends in and of themselves.

This is made doubly clear in Lewis’s depiction of Susan in The Horse and His Boy.  While far from perfect, she is shown to be completely confident in her own beauty and sexuality.  During the story, she is even considering marriage–which obviously implies an approval of sex.  So, it is clear that the Susan we see referenced in The Last Battle isn’t an inevitability; she could and in fact had taken another, better path before.

Very well, if I must. Not that she isn’t pretty cute…

Of course, much of that level of nuance is obviously lost on Lewis’s critics.  They simply see a criticism of modern conceptions of sex and maturity.  They assume that Lewis’s criticism must fit into a certain sort of mold and, if it doesn’t, they are determined to forcibly conform it to their strawman assumptions.

I think that is a normal, human reaction, by the way.  We all want to be told that “We’re OK.”  We all want to know that our wants, our desires are indeed good, right, and normal.   What Lewis is getting at is a philosophy that is directly antagonistic to modern definitions of feminism, especially its glorification of sex and female sexuality as an ultimate arbiter of meaning.  When that point is challenged, especially in a way that implies that there is something more, something greater, the reactions are naturally instinctual and visceral.  We don’t want to understand the details because, perhaps, the details may just prove us wrong. I can’t say I would necessarily respond differently were the tables turned on me– “There but for the grace of God go I!”

One final point:  Most of Lewis’s critics assign a finality to Susan’s position that simply isn’t justified.  Susan isn’t turned away at the door of the stable–she simply isn’t there when it was closed on Narnia.   There are other doors into Aslan’s country from many other worlds, including our own.  Susan did not die in the train wreck that sent the others into Aslan’s country.   As Lewis noted, “there is still plenty of time for her to mend, and perhaps she will get into Aslan’s country in the end–in her own way.” [7]

What’s more, since Lewis did not consider Narnia to be his own private domain–he regularly encouraged his younger correspondents to write Narnia stories of their own–perhaps the final word has yet to be written on Susan.  While I doubt the Lewis estate would tolerate the publication of such a story these days, perhaps someone who understands what really happened to Susan should write it nonetheless.  Lewis left the door open to Susan.  It is now up to our own imaginations–not his–to take her through it.

And so, “Further up and further in!”

Next week:  The Origins of a Story–Shadesisters

[1] C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle, (New York:  Harper-trophy, 2004), 154.
[2] http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1083935,00.html
[3] http://www.crlamppost.org/darkside.htm
[4] Of course, applying Pullman’s own method to his own statements, I might ask why he himself is so biased against “ugly” women that he apparently objects to them “winning” on occasion.  In fact, I am quite disturbed by his use of bigoted visual stereotypes regarding facial structure and arbitrary gravitational measurement, when he should be celebrating the empowerment of a traditionally downtrodden and forgotten underclass.
[5] To illustrate this tendency, just think of Christmas Day (or some other event that you hold dear).  The time we are in never seems to be “as real” or “as perfect” as times past. Worse, our idealized memory often distracts us from our enjoyment of a perfectly good present.
[6] Lewis, The Last Battle, 2004.
[7]  Letter to Martin, 22 January 1957, Letters to Children, (New York:  Touchstone, 1995), 67.

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A Question of Palates: The Christian as Author Part VII

Color Palette Clip ArtA comment I made last week sparked a thought that I believe might be worth pursuing a little further on its own.  I don’t know if this is the point I’ve been meandering toward since July or not! I’ve noticed a significant similarity between Christians as authors and their secular counterparts.  I think it might also explain some of the cognitive dissonance some of my readers have been experiencing with the idea of a writer who is uniquely Christian without also being stereotypical or evangelistic.

While I do think that this can be pressed too far, in short, as authors we all essentially construct our narratives from the palates of our accumulated life experience.  The difference is that a Christian author has, in theory, a unique set of impressive colors on his/her palate that come from a unique worldview.  These are, for a serious believer, their prime colors, and in theory form the basis for understanding everything else on their palate.  Therefore, it is almost inevitable that they will show through in their finished product in some way.

Put simply, imagination rarely (perhaps never) exists entirely on it own.  This is especially true of an imagination expansive enough to construct entirely new worlds.  Each author is a mix of distinctive life experiences and reading, and these experiences–first hand (in the case of the former) or vicariously (in the case of the latter)–form the “stuff” of their creative primordial soup.  In the case of J. R. R. Tolkien, for instance, it was the massive amount of European myth, legend, and language he had absorbed.  For C. S. Lewis, it was a much broader collection of mythology and lore from many different traditions.  Pieces of J. K. Rowling’s life are evident throughout the Potter series, from something as simple as a Ford Anglia to something as profound as her statements on truth and love. In each case, ideas combined with the catalyst of each person’s imaginative personality to create worlds, characters, and stories that were at the same time derivative and completely original.  The very same can be said of any author, and students of that author can usually tell you what his/her particular influences are.

So, in that sense, there isn’t a drastic difference in method from Christians to non-Christians.  Christians aren’t given one fictional “rubric” (I hate that word…) while non-Christians work from another.  The singular “stuff” from which a Christian begins will affect the result of their work, if they truly believe it strongly enough to give it a prominent place on their palates, but, to a notable extent, all authors start from the same place–themselves.

That said, I also think that we as a society have a tendency to arbitrarily partition off that part of ourselves, and to pretend that we should prevent certain influences from showing through in our finished product.  Secular authors specifically avoid certain “religious” themes because they are expected to do so, even if those themes are a part of their larger experience.  Christians who are concerned with their secular reception will often self-segregate; they will either only paint in certain colors that they know only a certain audience will appreciate or they will intentionally shut themselves off from that portion of their experience that they, in theory, believe gives meaning and color to the rest.

And that, I find, both unfair and counterproductive.  As Christians, we should seek to express ourselves using our whole palate–take up all  of the colors we’ve been granted by our experience.

Does that make us unique?  Certainly.  But I don’t think we have any business being ashamed of that fact.

Next Week:  A break from the series–Defending Lewis on the Fall of Susan Pevensie….

Other Posts in the Christian as Author Series

  1. The Cesspool Of Christian Fiction
  2. What?  Me Christian?
  3. A Holistic Approach
  4. “Good Fiction” or “Good Christian Fiction?”
  5. Of Christian Authors and Christian Pizza Makers
  6. What does it look like?
  7. Tolkien and the Rebellion of Melkor
  8. Marketing or Pigeonholing?
  9. C. S. Lewis and the Basis of Narnia

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An old mansion lies forgotten, tucked away in the North Georgia mountains.  Within are portals to other places and times.

When fourteen-year-old Megan O’Reily is sent to live with her inscrutable “uncle” Warner at Waverly Hall for an entire year, she stumbles upon a world devastated by plague and kept under the brutal control of an maniacal dictator. When she cannot return to earth, Meg is forced to make some difficult decisions. Who and what she encounters on her journey will mark her forever and may lead to the freedom of an entire race.

Available from AmazonKindle, and Smashwords right now.

“With captivating detail, in-depth characters, and an intense, magical plot, Melton’s first book in the Waverly Hall series packs a serious punch! …keeps you enthralled until the end, waiting impatiently for the next book.”

~M.B. Weston, radio host and author of the Elysian Chronicles

“Brian Melton’s book is based on one of the most gripping fantasy concepts I’ve encountered in the last several years. Combine the mystery of Lewis’s Wood Between the Worlds with the allure of your grandfather’s attic and the aura of a grand old country mansion, add some characters as compelling as the setting, stir in cleverly disguised (and sometimes not disguised at all!) allusions to the canon of Western literature – oh! and the actual adventure hasn’t even started yet. You can’t wait until it does.”

~Donald T. Williams, author of Stars Through the Clouds and Mere Humanity