Saturday, June 21, 2008

Remind you of anything?

I’m indebted to my French blogger buddy, Papy Biou, for his photo of these gorgeous ruins (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) that are somewhere, I suppose, in France. I hope Papy will let me know in a comment as to their exact name and location. Perhaps the ruins were only someone’s chateau and not a royal castle, but when I saw the photo, two words leapt to mind: Cair Paravel.

Readers of C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia will know what I'm talking about. Not in all its glory as in Book 1 (or 2), The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but the ruins found many Narnian centuries later by the returning Pevensee children in Book 3 (or 4), Prince Caspian.

My son-in-law and I had a difference of opinion about the numbering of The Chronicles of Narnia books when the first movie came out. He wondered why the producers decided to film the second book first; I said that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was the first book out of the six, not the second. He said there were seven books in the series, not six. I discovered that it depends on your age and when you were first exposed to Lewis’s Chronicles. Originally there were six volumes, but nowadays a seventh, written last of all, is included. To make matters more confusing, however, the current publishing strategy puts the addition, The Magician’s Nephew, at the beginning and calls it Book 1 because it occurs first chronologically. The original Books 1 through 6 have been renumbered and are now called Books 2 through 7. If you ask me, that’s adding insult to injury.

I suppose nobody cares except older readers like me who remember the world the way it used to be (and ought to be), or people really into publishing trivia (not that I am).

C. S. Lewis is best known for his non-fiction books, but he also wrote a science-fiction trilogy for adults, not children, that might pique your interest. The titles are Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength. Any time you read anything by C. S. Lewis, don't be surprised if you find yourself further up, and further in.


  1. What is the seventh book? I'll have to look this up.

    Your ruins made me think of the novels Jane Eyre and Rebecca. I'm assuming you'll know why. (I started to explain but didn't want to give away any plot points if someone hasn't read one of those books.)

  2. I never read Rebecca and it's been a long while since I read Jane Eyre. Thanks for not giving away the plots! (I hate it when that happens.)

    The new arrangement of the seven-volume Narnia books is:

    1. The Magician's Nephew
    2. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
    3. The Horse and His Boy
    4. Prince Caspian
    5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
    6. The Silver Chair
    7. The Last Battle

    Filming is already in progress on The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which is movie number 3 and book number 5. Go figure.

    Did you know that the chief consultant on these films is none other than Douglas Gresham, C. S. Lewis's stepson? Douglas, who is in his sixties now, has proven to be a great asset to the overall project.

    Thanks, as always, for commenting on my blog.

  3. Hello dear friend,

    The castle you are talking about is located in France, in Seine-et-Marne. It's a private castle.
    If you come onto my blog and click on the corresponding picture, you'll be redirected onto a website where you'll find all the information you might want (the thing is... it's in French !)

    I hope I'll hear from you soon.

    Take care.

  4. Papy, thank you for telling me how to find the information about les Ruines du Château du Vivier.

    My French isn't very good, so I went to an online translation website (altavist babelfish) for help. The translation was so bad that I published it in a separate, humorous post today (June 29th) under the title, "It looks even more like Cair Paravel from this angle."

    I think the French language, both written and spoken, is beautiful. But this particular online translation software didn't quite "cut the mustard," as we say.