Faith in Imagination: The Fantasy Makers (2017) | Full Movie | Rowan Williams| Malcolm Guite

Faith in Imagination: The Fantasy Makers (2017) | Full Movie | Rowan Williams| Malcolm Guite

#Faith #Imagination #Fantasy #Makers #Full #Movie #Rowan #Williams #Malcolm #Guite

Imagination is an inseparable part of our humanity it’s part of the way in which we distance ourselves from ourselves a bit learn about ourselves as if we were something else being able to talk through metaphors being able to talk through analogies and then take the big ideas from that and

Apply them back to our lives some religious faiths have been you might say at war with the imagination have been very suspicious of the way in which images and particularly myths and legends and stories might possibly delude us fantasy requires you to accept the existence of other realities other

Worlds provides an opportunity for spiritual themes to be explored certainly the classic works of fantasy the tolki nian CS Lewis fantasy and then a lot of modern fantasy it’s rooted in the idea that there is a spiritual battle a spiritual world they’d all involve that sense of a cosmic conflict

Of the reality of invisible forces of things that can’t be explained by the laws of science and laws of physics it’s that spiritual element that make the stories of Narnia and middle-earth not just bestsellers but cultural phenomena that continued to this day it is a remarkable thing as some of the very

Best purely imaginative literature if you like fantasy literature has actually been written by Christians The Marion Wade Center at Wheaton College Illinois is a unique research archive dedicated to collecting materials from seven imaginative Christian authors while it may seem like an unlikely place for fans of the fantasy genre to add to their bucket list artifacts include the desk upon which JRR Tolkien wrote the Lord of the

Rings not only does the center have the desk that The Chronicles of Narnia were written on but the very Wardrobe that CS Lewis and his brother Warren II played in as children but there is another fantasy maker in this group while his name has faded over time his impact on the genre is

Indisputable known as the master of fairy and considered by many the father of modern fantasy George MacDonald’s story is connected and intertwined with both Lewis and Tolkien these three pioneered the fantasy genre with their imaginations and changed the world through hobbits goblins and talking lions the story begins in the South of England

In 1850 the young Minister facing a hostile congregation when I was six or seven somebody said to me oh if you like Narnia you’ll like these books about a princess by a man named George MacDonald so I was given the princess and the government forces

And Kirti and I read those and fell in love with them and read them and reread them many times it was really intriguing for me again reading the very little biographical information that was available on MacDonald and I kept on reading about this minister who had lost his job because people his congregation

Didn’t like what he said and then had to write novels to support his family and that’s sort of the usual story of who McDonald is and what he did I didn’t primary research and reading through McDonald’s letters there are hordes of letters in the panicky library and diaries of his children and became

More and more intrigued by this man for whom story was not just a means of communication but a means of potential transformation growing up in Scotland’s immediately gave McDonald a storied advantage that growing up in England would not have given him England was the head of an expanding

Empire and also in the middle of an industrial revolution as society transformed many of its stories and folklore be forgotten Victorian England they are the richest they’re the most powerful they are kind of the undisputed masters of the world at this point in time the Victorians were very serious underneath

Discussions about morals and a lot of discussion about respectability and religion so with the Industrial Revolution occurring there was changing conditions people moving from rural locations to urban locations swarming in from all over the place and so they weren’t in their communities anymore their lower classes were mostly you know

They were illiterate uneducated in Scotland’s education was available in every parish school so McDonald has an education even though he’s from a farm family MacDonald was brought up in a really quite fierce and suspicious kind of ultra Protestant Calvinism now one of his stories you know there’s a gifted

Lad playing the fiddle in his grandmother makes him Bernie you know because it’s the devil’s thing and it’s music and he lived in the kind of church where the Kirk you know had no graven image anywhere no picture no illustration he had a fundamentalist Calvinistic grandmother who was not

Comfortable with stories but that was his grandmother and he didn’t live with his grandmother he lived with his father and his uncle his mother died when he was younger who not only read voraciously themselves everything from you know Cooper’s poetry to milton dispenser to Coleridge to contemporary things like Darwin’s beagle

So he actually had a really rich background folk tales of fairy tales of family history of literary history of Bible stories were stories of MacDonald age of 13 standing on the table and regaling the farm staff with sermons and Bible stories there was a contradiction there you know that particular form of hyper-calvinism

In scotland was always a strange cross in that the Scottish people their whole tradition is full of story and myth than they imagined there was always a bit of a war if you like in each process it’s Cod between Christ and culture he goes off to University in Aberdeen is

Actually passionate about mathematics physics that’s what he wants to become is a scientist but his family can’t afford to send him so he goes down to London to do so tutoring kind of at loose ends and somebody says well why don’t you go off to seminary but he

Starts going to the lectures of a man named AJ Scott and AJ Scott is Scottish Ministers come down to London as a preacher but was really shocked at how unstirred the urban London i’ts around him were we are storied people and particularly for him theologically it’s very important that we know our stories

Not just our Bible stories about our stories all the way through who we are there are two universities at the time from Oxford in Cambridge that was it literature was not taught in the universities and Scott was discovering that not only the uneducated people around him in his church in his

Congregation but also his educated friends had no clue Beowulf was they’ve never read Chaucer they never read Shakespeare the Arthurian story medieval stories people forgotten notes and so he became very passionate about restoring the London and so he begins to give lectures down on the docks to the dock

Workers he gives lectures in the lecturing halls to the upper classes and starts telling them about a wolf and about King Alfred translating works into English so the English between their own stories there’s a scotch restoring the English and people love it MacDonald starts attending these lectures he

Decides this is what he wants to do himself and so he graduates from seminary he goes off to this church and he actually writes to his brother when he goes off to the church saying I’m here for now but what I really want to do is write

He already has a lot of original ideas that are somewhat controversial he loved German writers and so he read the German romantics in particular so people like nivalis and goethe and schiller and all the rest of them and that influenced his way of thinking about things and now the

What he challenged was the doctrine basically of damnation and he implied a kind of universalism MacDonald sermons focused on God’s universal love and suggested the possibility that all might be redeemed when sin and death are forever vanquished I mean he took sin seriously but he also took grace so

Seriously that he believed in the end that grace would always soften and overcome and redeem sin and that generous message paradoxically got him into trouble he published famously the the beautiful unspoken sermons and they were unspoken because he wasn’t allowed to speak them and so to read someone here you know

Who’s struggling with issues of hell and eternal torment and he’s writing sermons about this and I’m going here is a man who is struggling with these issues he’s deep profound theological issues and he’s not afraid to talk about them in a pulpit they didn’t officially fire him they

Just reduced his salary to the point that he couldn’t stay just when he was getting married just to me starting to have children kind of when he needs a little bit of stability and security leaving the church in arendelle the McDonald family would move to Hastings

On the coast of southern England this is where McDonald with the ideas of AJ Scott still in mind would begin his first fairy tale Mallory’s text hadn’t been published since like the 1600s with the Arthurian stories but when Scott and his fellow medievalists start bringing these stories up people get really excited

They start to latch on to it it almost becomes part of the English identity all sudden there’s knights everywhere knights in shining armor all over the place but he’s also feeling like they’re kind of starting to miss what those stories are about it’s just become a fad

It’s sort of like Twilight or The Walking Dead has become fad ism they’re talking about the stories but they’re actually not dwelling in the stories and receiving what they could from the stories and so he writes the first ever work of fantasy in English for the

Modern era he beats Tennyson to the mark with Arthurian references in it the story of fantastic which has you know becomes a very key theme and fantasy worked from then until now the day before had been my one and twentieth birthday among other ceremonies investing me with

My legal rights the keys of an old secretary in which my father had kept his private papers had been delivered up to me the theme is the journey of transformation you’ve got a character and Atos who’s taking possession of his inheritance and he’s sort of figuring

Out what it means to be an adult who wants to be a knight he wants to be chivalric and when he falls asleep and wakes up in the morning he finds himself in fairyland he’s left his primary world he has woken up in the secondary world and in that

Secondary world he has to figure out what it truly means to be a knight you see this fairy land is full of oddities and all sorts of incredibly ridiculous things which a man is compelled to meet and treat as really existences although all the time he feels foolish for doing

So and at one point in time he actually stops the pauses and rests in a fairy Palace with a library and starts to read other stories and as he’s reading these other stories these books he says very self-consciously I entered that tale I experienced what the protagonists

Experienced and I learned it ends up being the story of his loss of pride loss of self loss of kind of the shadowy underside of his soul the self-sacrifice this dying to self so in this story MacDonald is constantly pulling in images and stories from English stories but also from German

Fairy tales Dantan images weaving these all together all these different stories that shape the story Vanegas and so when he returns to his primary world to England from fairyland he says and I began the duties of my new position somewhat instructed I hoped by the adventures that had befallen me in

Fairyland could I translate the experience of my travels there into common life this was the question their response to fantastis is huge I’m young people especially who love the book it is the Harry Potter of its day so he helps Forge fantasy in the modern era to make friends with the imagination and

To realize that the imagination was god-given of course it had its shadow side but that it could be given back to the spirit and that the light which lightens everyone who comes into the world was not just the light of reason and strict logical syllogistic theology

But was also the light of story and the light of poetry and the light of Earth means I really liked his essays on what he was attempting to do and why it was important linking which talking would do in on fairy stories but McDonald did it in a very very elegant way imagining

That to come linking the Faculty of rationality with imagination that imagination allows us to think it’s a way of thinking it’s not this irrational whimsical divorce from rationality or reasonableness it’s not something that we do in in lieu of deep examining thought it’s actually a way we have deep examining

The greatest forces lie in the region of the un– comprehended a fairy tale a sonata a gathering storm a limitless night seizes you and sweeps you away giving you an alternate experience of time and of space and this is one of the reasons why I think fantasy in the

Victorian in the modern age is so powerful it’s because people have become so accustomed to everyday mundane time time that just extends and the same thing with space torreón period in particular they’re starting to deal with a lot more urban settings they’re living in close cramped kind of quarters and

Maybe not always aesthetically pleasing and pollution and all the rest of it fairy tales open up kind of an ideal space but also a place where people can imagine to explore now an established writer with the success of fantastis MacDonald would continue to support his wife Louisa and

Growing family with his writing it would include poetry adult fiction and theological writing so his novels tend to be a bit lengthy and I you know they are great but they’re not traditional novels there are sermons in there there are kind of stories that he throws into

His novels and it’s kind of all mixed up so it’s harder for people to kind of know what to do with the novels or as the fairy tales he actually does kind of very precisely they weren’t kind of churned out you know for monetary gain they seemed to kind of appear when he

Has this brilliant vision powerful images or or a twist on a traditional fairy tale now the golden key a lot of people would very easily say that’s George McDonald wasn’t best fairytale Tolkien references it and his essay on fairytales this was part of the reason why people are aware

Of it there was a boy who used to sit in the Twilight and listen to his great-aunt stories McDonald’s fairy tales in particular he loves images of Twilight it’s neither this nor that we’re not fully a knight we’re not fully in day we’re in this in-between kind of

Space where things can transform where a flower could be a fairy and where the possible becomes the real to use McDonald’s phrase she told him that if he could reach the place where the end of the rainbow stands he would find there a golden key what is the key for

The boy would ask what is it the key of what will it open nobody knows his aunt would apply he has to find that out he has a beautiful tale so profound tale and it’s an incredibly difficult tale to completely unpick which is a good thing

All that his great aunt told the boy about the golden key would have been nonsense had it not been that their little house stood on the borders of fairy land Twilight is of course a border I’m gonna insulin where de Meade’s night I mean I think all storytellers and particularly those

Concerned with if you like numinous or poetically resonant story are interested in borders and and hinterlands in the places where apparent opposites me day and night time and eternity our world and another one but in fairy land it is quite different things that look real in this country look very thin indeed in

Fairy land when McDonald talks about fairy tales more should always be met that meets the ear and the golden key is a wonderful example the tail that has much more in it than these the ear he rides a brilliant essay called the fantastic imagination and he refuses in that to

Define a fairy tale and I think the reason why is because he feels like part of the way it functions is by making the reader engage with it on their own level that if your idea for the symbolism of the golden key or a rainbow or whatever

Happens to be is different from mine that’s okay and in fact that’s what I want you have tasted of death now said the old man is it good it is good said mossy it is better than life no said the old man it is only more life as

MacDonald continued to write through the middle of the nineteenth century his growing list of literary friends would include Walt Whitman Henry longfellow and even Mark Twain but most notably was a young Victorian photographer to also enjoy creating children’s stories his name was Charles Dodgson but he would

Adopt the pen name of Lewis Carroll he of course influences all the people in the Victorian period Lewis Carroll being the most significant Lewis Carroll showed him the manuscripts or Alice in Wonderland George MacDonald’s children they’re kind of like the first audience and it was George MacDonald in particular who

Strongly recommended that he published you know Alice in Wonderland comes out after MacDonald has already published and done a lot of his writing and they were good friends and of course influenced each other when they were both writing their greatest works fantasy if you think about making any kind of

Imaginative work in the end it’s a kind of I mean I’ve just used the word work but I could equally use the word play it is a kind of playfulness you have to be playful in some way we obviously Shakespeare wrote plays their sense of playfulness so the nation of play and of

Children playing the root if you like of all kinds is the kind of the lightness and the easiness and the sheer doing it for fun the children have when they play it was so important because the Victorians were so serious and because they needed a bit of lightness they

Needed a bit of relief they give adults and children permission to play permission to not take things seriously and I think for McDonald they particularly needed it spiritually and intellectually and imaginative there was once a little princess whose father was king over a great country full of mountains and valleys

The princess whose name was Irene was to be brought up by country people in a large house half Castle half farmhouse and aristocrats or the ruling class and you’ve got Kirti the miner macdonald frequently like was he’s different class kind of interactions between his main characters bring doubt

Bang go the hammers clang thus we arrive the rocks force the Goblin locks now let’s run to the nurse no nose at the little miner that’s the worst thing you can do if you’re not afraid of them they’re afraid of you what is it about not fearing faith

Trusting imagination what are the key aspects of that is the discovery of the grandmother who lives in the Attic of the castle where she’s living and she’s kind of the fairy helper figure within the story having already read CS Lewis having already read Tolkien it just

Seems so normal it seems so natural that I realized that’s what everything else has all done Earth he was at the entrance of a magnificent cavern now the great palace hall of the goblins the King had been making them a speech and the applause which followed it was what Purdy had heard

So here’s a guy who live 1850 and yet I can still take that story and tell it to my kids it was just beautiful to do that and to see that When I was six years old I remember sitting in church listening to the minister read from Isaiah 6 and I sat there going wow that’s from the princess and pretty and actually took me a few years before I realized it was the other way around that when the great

Grandmother says to Kirti will you go where I’m sending you even though you don’t know what the mission is in crisis here I am send me and he puts his hands into the roses when I was in grad school I was doing the course and I’d say and I

Was kind of reminded I was reading through it like oh yeah here’s the pretty message and in the darkness so she’ll be a great light well that’s kind of like curtain is dad in the mines isn’t it cloud of doves thousands against one on the battlefield and when

You start reading the two next to each other you see the conversation of stories that is happening in a way that’s quite stunning and striking the reason his imagination was so rich and full was because he was engaging he was relating with the imaginations of those who came before very intentionally all

The way back to scripture and before that in 1895 McDonald’s final fairytale would be lilith a romance ten years later the imaginative writer would pass away mcdonald did almost fade away particularly his adult puffles but also his essays and sermons in his own time he was a bit overshadowed by lewis

Carroll and by you know JM Barrie with Peter Pan a little bit later on and MacDonald is an odd thing and all the different aspects all the different sites to him there’s the Victorian style – MacDonald can become difficult the image of him as a preacher moving on

Into early 20th century people did not want books that had sermons in them the only people that were really engaging with MacDonald’s were literary critics the young’uns the Freudian literary critics cuz I got excited because he was somebody who had female role models discussing the importance of dreams who

Is using symbolism left right and center and so that was exciting for them but what many of them failed to realize was MacDonald’s precedents for that which was participating my Christian literary tradition they climbed out of the earth and still climbing rose above it they were in the

Rainbow far abroad over ocean and land stairs beside stairs wound up together and beautiful beings of all ages climbed along with them they knew that they were going up to the country whence the shadows fall the endless ending kind of provokes you to think about well what happens next

Hopefully I think for McDonald to take some of that into their own life so let the story carry on in their thinking while McDonald’s name would fade his story does not end his fairy tales would go on to inspire the to great fantasy makers of the 20th century For fantasy literature 1954 was a hugely significant year almost a hundred years since George MacDonald had pen fantastis there would not be one but two major fantasy works on the bookshelves in England at the University of Oxford professor John Ronald Reuel Tolkien would release the long-expected publication of the

Fellowship of the Ring the first of a set of three said in Tolkien’s world of middle-earth making up the Lord of the Rings which would be published over the next two years a train ride away at Cambridge University was his longtime friend and new chair of medieval and renaissance literature Clive staples Lewis

Lewis himself was completing the Narnia series a seven book collection that a begun with the fantastically successful The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe like MacDonald Tolkien and Lewis one Catholic and the other Anglican saw their faith as integral to their works of fantasy in some ways they felt themselves to be

Outsiders in the literary world but Outsiders who had taken the old folktales and the old medieval legends and the old medieval poems and creating new works of literature out of them born in South Africa Tolkien had lost his father when he was just three years old and would move to England with his

Mother and younger brother he would not only become a voracious reader at a young age but write his first fantasy story so Tolkien was of a generation that was brought up with adventure stories so he read about the Old Norse stories the Gods Thor and Odin and so on and he also

Read some of the sort of fantasy books that were around at the time like William Morris and George MacDonald Tolkien when he was a young boy wrote a story which he called the green gray dragon don’t we all create fantasy stories when we smore maybe all medievalists do because all the best

Stories were quasi medieval about dragons and things and not about Peter and John going shopping with mummy I mean dragons made for great stories they’re beautiful they’re majestic I mean they’re colorful but they’re also powerful it in some stories in the Western world they embody pure evil and they’re sort of everybody’s nightmare

They’re unpredictable they fly in and then fly off again and maybe eat a few people along the way and then you add fire fire is your friend you need fire without fire we wouldn’t have become who we are but fire is terrible and destructive fire in the scripture is an

Image both of hell and of God our God is a consuming fire and yet we speak of the flames of hell and the lake of eternal fire so the idea of seeing what is attractive but also slaying what is evil is all bound up in the story of dragons

And his mother apparently corrected him and said that actually you should say the Great Green Dragon and talking about the age of five or six started to wonder why you you cannot say a great green dragon you have to say green gray tiger and it’s something about the way the

English language works so he says that this was one of the moments where he became interested in languages Tolkien’s life would profoundly change at the age of twelve with the death of his mother he and his brother would be left to a father francis xavier morgan who had become their guardian this would

Profoundly shape Tolkien spiritual and academic life forward leading the young man all the way to Oxford University he was obviously schooled a bit in Latin and picked up a bit of Greek but what really intrigued him with the old Germanic languages like gothic Old English and so on and the two began to

Coincide he read the original stories in the original languages and gradually took that forward at school and a university and he started to design his own languages based on the languages he knew but he fought I suppose that every language had a worldview attached to it

And he needed a mythology if you like to let his language live in some middle-earth which is a midden yard it is a common term in Old English and Old Norse and begins to form around the time when he’s just leaving University you’ve had to join the army in the first

World war it was all triggered in many ways by trying to answer questions so there is a very famous poem in Old English called Christ and in it it mentions this old English word mayor endo which no one really knows what it is it’s some sort of star hail air and

Earth brightest of angels above the Middle earth and true radiance of the Sun La arendelle Anglo Buddhist is a poem about the advent of as Christ it’s a Christian religious poem but he imagines that Arendal must go way back into pre-christian time and from there he started to write and begin to develop

This mythology a particular tale around a Arendal the the Voyager which then become quite engrained into the middle-earth story it’s all carefully worked out that there’s nothing arbitrary about their names in Tolkien’s writings so you kind of reconstruct the language and then you reconstruct the mythology and the worldview that goes

With it and this is the way his imagination worked in 1915 Tolkien would graduate from Oxford University with first-class honours to then marry the love of his life edith brat but finding himself facing the catastrophic war that had gripped europe Tolkien would enlist as a signalling officer in the British

Army this coincides with him actually going out to France for the initial period of the Battle of the Somme and he sees the destruction and the desolation that happens there and also the corpses and so on that have accumulated over those few weeks he also learns the school boyfriend’s parish in the Battle

Of the Somme and Tolkien claimed that he became it more interested in fairy tales during the war than he was before he contracts trench fever he comes back in the latter part of 1916 and he actually spends the rest of the war and back in England

When he was on leave with his wife Edith and she danced through some flowers and that image of his beloved wife gave him the idea which led to a story called Beren and lúthien which also lúthien is a and Maidan and these kind of stories then they’re the backgrounds of the Lord

Of the Rings in the aftermath of the war Tolkien would initially work at Oxford Dictionary but eventually end up teaching English at Leeds University where he would be its youngest professor in the case of a major tax like Beowulf he’s teaching that to students but at

The same time engaging with it all the time MacDonald Lewis Toki and all the others in between that we haven’t mentioned they were influenced by Beowulf here now our landed come from afar over the encircling sea noblemen of the geese the chiefess of the men of arms named Beowulf perhaps the most

Famous old English poem and that Tolkien was teaching to his students it’s just a great classic story that is in many ways the foundation of Western literature so we don’t know who wrote Beowulf we know it was written down around about the Year 1000 surely medieval literature is written down primarily by Christian

Monks but even then they’re writing tales down like Beowulf which we’re the first glance you think this has got absolutely nothing to do with Christianity but in some cases like that test is it’s trying to explore pre-christian beliefs heroic believes pagan beliefs in a Christian period and

In that case you could use dragons and other monsters as symbols holy God hath sent him to us in his mercy even to the West Danes against terror of Grendel for the maker had prescribed him with the race of Cain so Grendel is a descendant of Cain Cain and

Abel in the Bible and Cain’s curse is that he has to roam the earth outside of all human community outside of all fellowship because he murdered his brother of him all evil broods were born augers and goblins and haunting shapes of hell and the Giants to that longtime ward with God

Ancient anglo-saxon narrative that happens in the real world also has this mythological and Biblical backstory so that the two worlds are somehow always in discourse with each other always talking always enlivening each other there in winsome nameless man creeping a knight to the pagan treasure his hand

Seized a goblet deep bright with gems these ideas from Beowulf and other texts is reading begin eventually to bubble to the surface when he puts together a couple of stories the stories being The Hobbit and then the Lord of the Rings he gave a lecture on Beowulf which was very

Famous it was called the monsters and the critics that was eventually published and the monsters and the critics and this was revolutionary in the study of anglo-saxon literature in the 1930s and suddenly realized that this man had another side to him as well as being simply a novelist a very famous novelist

Of course so talking would speak of this whole spectrum as literature a fairy FA they Ria’s just the realm of the Fae the realm of the Fair folk it’s all the literature that touches upon that realm so you can think of the spectrum of terms of the content how present are we

In our world how we present are we in the world of fairy tale or you might think of in terms of the narrative voice of mythic is sort of very high and distant broad sweeps of time and civilization you might say we may not have stories about the gods that touch

Upon human lives and those will be the great myths the heroic romance maybe have a big cast for the two worlds are more fully intermingled but it’s not covering centuries its covering months or years and it’s covering countries not whole worlds and then the fairy tale may

Last a day or two days it’s about one or two people or four or five people in one little cottage in one little corner of the woods where the gods have a very brief side appearance you might think of those as a light-hearted fairy tale you

Can be sort of anywhere along that you know the Hobbit begins here as a light-hearted fairy tale and by the end that sort of moved really close to the realm of heroic of epic fantasy and the Lord of the Rings is really solidly in this world of epic fantasy could speak

Of fantasy literature as that whole realm of fairy tale heroic fantasy and myth tolkien would eventually find himself back at Oxford where he would spend the rest of his career teaching the literature he loved at the eagle and child not far from the spires of maudlin college he and fellow professor Clive s

Lewis would create an informal group that would meet regularly for decades to come the Inklings really grew out of the friendship that Lewis and Tolkien had it was their particular friendship which other colleagues and friends would eventually cluster drop in sure like to drink do you like to smoke

It was Lewis and Tolkien and Lewis’s brother Warren and Charles Williams eventually and other Oxford colleagues and even Lewis’s doctor Humphrey Javert occasional visitors from London like Owen Barfield Hugo Dyson from reading and others Charles William tenement he was a talker Lewis was a talker talking when he got

Going he was a real talker I think he wouldn’t go too often if you couldn’t keep up they would meet usually twice a week during term time once in the pub the eagle and child and that was more sort of social and College gossip on college politics that they would talk

And then they would also meet on a Thursday night in Lewis his college rooms and that was when they would share the manuscripts that they were working on the books that they were writing they would have these readings allowed and fresh out what they were working on have

This back and forth and these conversations that they have these become books these become ideas for books that they’re working out I mean it’s not like they’re having you know they are having fun it’s recreation for them but it’s really recreation you know it’s they’re producing something through this conversation

It’s a famous tale he was sitting in his study marking exam papers which he describes as an incredibly boring task and he came across a blank page which he thought was wonderful because he’d enough to mark it and he writes down in a hole in the ground there lived a

Hobbit and he’s not entirely certain where this came from and from that he starts to build these tales around Bilbo Baggins and the dwarves with his children and he writes it in the same style what is a hobbit let me tell you what a hobbit is in a hole in the ground

There lived a hobbit it’s not a nasty smelly wet damp hole it’s a hobbit hole and that means comfort Bilbo sat down on a seat by his door crossed his legs and blew out a beautiful gray ring of smoke that sailed up into the air without braking and floated away over the hill

Very pretty said Gandalf but I have no time to blow smoke rings this morning I’m looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging and Gandalf in a way as the orchestrator of fantasy or an adventure and he deliberately sends him out of his

Comfort zone back to this world an ancient world the world of of Heroes but is quite clear he never intended that to be part of the middle-earth mythology but as he said the two attracted each other and gradually the story of Bilbo and the story of the quest becomes part

Of the middle-earth story and they just become entwined there he lay a vast red golden dragon and about him on all sides stretching away across the unseen floors a countless piles of precious things the classic picture of a dragon that many gamers and geeks are familiar with dragon

Horde of wealth just because it makes him feel good think of Smaug they can feel when one little coin is Noah burned his belly well thief I smell you and I feel your air truly songs and tales fall utterly short of the reality o Smaug the chiefest and greatest of calamities

Replied Bilbo a thief who breaks into a drag understand and steals a cup this is the kind of story that you gets in the heroic poem Beowulf you know he drew on a couple of important dragons from ancient myth you know the Fafnir dragon as well as the Beowulf dragon but now no

One can write about dragons without awesome being influenced by Smaug in today’s world we have this thing called fanfiction it’s not a new concept if you go back and look at the history of it there are people that did this all the time they built off of one

Another’s ideas and they had no problem with it no I was charging them with plagiarism murderers and elf friends the great Goblin shouted slashed them beat them bite them Nash them take them away to dark holes full of snakes Tolkien’s goblins in The Hobbit by talking on a mission were lifted right

Out of the princess in the Goblin that was his imagine of influence talking it not any read McDonald he’d read everything with McDonald read and he’d read more than McNall got read McDonald’s ideas are also old myths retold their parses talking would say of the tale the tree of tales the tree of

Tales has many branches and many leaves and everything in the end goes back to similar roots a children’s story by the end of The Hobbit and we get this kind of tragic confrontation between different people’s arguing about compensation and who does they money and wealth belong to

And when he gets back to the Shire he’s a very different Hobbit he’s grown up Gandalf says to him you’re not the Hobbit you were and he wasn’t and that’s what I think that’s exactly what fantasy ought to do for us That they did in fact deeply influence one another that they offered one another hopeful criticism and critique that they acted as it were enabler zand resonators but also formers and shapers and conversation partners and critics and actually had a material part to play in the creation of the great works that we

Now have The Hobbit would launch Tolkien as a serious writer of fantasy but out of the very same Oxford group would be another also destined for greatness Lewis himself said the ones of things that made him what he was was the fact that he was on his own very often in an

Old house with nothing but books and in effect his imagination built on what he found in books when he was a boy and in his teens he was reading our theory and stuff for Norse legends were a major influence he describes them as having the most amazing hold over his

Imagination but of course he and his brother he and Warnie had made up stories between them for years when they were children they had these entirely imaginative worlds that were very real to them in waise his voracious nurse in reading I think was partly assisted by his parents huge

Collection of books and partly by the fact that his parents regarded the outdoors as terribly dangerous and the wet especially the wet of Northern Ireland I don’t think there was any great argument that Lewis followed in order to become an atheist it was just a case of his

Childhood faith drying up on him and him abandoning it he was finding that his religious practice as a young Christian was just a great burden to him especially his prayers soon after Lewis’s mother died when he was about 10 he was sent abroad from Ireland England to be educated and his

Father managed to choose possibly the very worst school in the whole of England it was a terrible school presided over by this lunatic headmaster I mean he was actually certifiably insane and he was eventually certified and he died in an asylum he was eventually assigned to a private tutor

William Kirkpatrick who they nicknamed the great Ngoc Kirkpatrick was an ultra logical rationalist who really put sort of backbone into Lewis’s thinking habits required him to defend everything he said with evidence and examples and Lewis found this very nourishing he said some boys would have collapsed under the

Pressure to him it was like red meat and strong beer he thrived on it the young Lewis was a decided atheist but a struggle between his rational thinking and imagination would begin to open the door of another possibility Lewis tells a really interesting story about the effect of reading MacDonald on him and

It’s the kind of most important of a series of little epiphanies that he describes in his book surprised by joy is picking up at random from a railway station you know secondhand bookstore a copy of George MacDonald’s phone Tacitus sitting on a train and reading it I’m being

Completely in transpired as though there were a kind of light in the book and changes the railway carriage he’s been reading about enchanted woods and valleys and streams and he looks out through the railway windows and these kind of woods and streams and suddenly they’re a bit more enchanted and

Afterwards he’s looking back he realized it was holiness it was like his mind was blown open but in effect he suddenly felt I used that word deliberately he felt the presence of something enormous significance which he’d never really experienced before he sums it up just beautifully he says I suppose in a way

My imagination was baptized before I was and the rest of me took a bit of time to catch up what he recognizes in fantastis is a couple to be imaginative about goodness and to recognize and later he looks back and understands us as recognize that God

In His goodness is a God of imagination we don’t see religion in McDonald’s fairy tales the way we would you know see them in a modern work of theology just like we don’t see religion very much in Tolkien’s writing either they’re deeply theological deeply philosophical deeply spiritual deeply theistic but not

Religious so it could kind of slip past the radar of a at that point an atheist rationalist CS Lewis I think that make Lewis realized that here was a genre he was a way of doing things way of telling things that actually spoke at a deeper

Level than anything he known up to that point Lois’s wartime experience was relatively brief it was only about six months some of that six months was actually spent in a field hospital when he went home in trench fever but he suddenly witnessed plenty of horrors and he talks in

Surprised by joy about how he became very familiar with the with the very old and the very recent dead he who saw sitting and standing corpses a landscape of sheer earth without a blade of grass i think lewis and his brother and Tolkien does that extent were you know

They suffered of course there were difficult memories to cope with it was a kind of trauma but it wasn’t so traumatizing as to leave them absolutely incapable of performing a responsible and regular life post-war Lewis would attend Oxford University becoming a fellow and tutor in English literature eventually two Inklings would have a

Profound impact on Lewis with a simple walk he’s walking along innocently having this conversation we’re talking in Dyson and they subject tones to Christianity and Lewis says the kind of classic sneering Oxford atheist philosopher thing where you go I’ll come on talking says how can you be so reductive about

That event there’s a piece of history and it means nothing to you and yet the great myths of death and resurrection moves you to tears and Lewis says yes it because it’s myth it’s great its resonance but alas it’s not true myths are lies even though they are

Lies breathe through silver and talking to snow they’re not talking and Dyson said Walt stop thinking about Christianity in terms of doctrines think about it more as a story as a sequence of events of characters and drama think of it in other words like you think of the pagan myths that

You have enjoyed so much throughout your life that the word myth does not mean false what makes it a myth is that it continues to be told throughout time in different cultures different people and continues to be a powerful story but Christianity has a historical claim to

It so you can say that Christ was crucified under Pontius Pilate just outside Jerusalem roughly in the year AD 33 so you can locate it you can place it and junior Tolkien helped Louis to see that Christianity told a story about how the world began about why it went wrong

About what could be done to put it right again and you can see is it were the two halves of Louis’s mind trembling and what reconciles them is Christ he realized that Christianity is much better understood as a myth a true myth the true myth the greatest myth is also

The available and historical fact both sides of your mind your reason in your imagination can be fully satisfied by this but the stories people tell the great imaginative projections human beings create another situation will if the Christian story is true we’ll all converge on that simulator and

He does say that that the immediate human cause of his Christian conversion was that long nighttime conversation we’re talking and Ison if the whole universe has no meaning we should never have found out that it has no meaning just as if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with

Eyes we should never know this dark dark would be without meaning many years later it would be another conversation with Tolkien who had just finished writing The Hobbit that would spur the two on in a friendly challenge to bring the kinds of stories they loved to a modern audience but to agreed that

Tolkien would write a book about time and Lewis would write about space Lewis was an atheist who became a Christian Mike Lewis had a real interest in asking how could I tell stories in ways that capture the imagination at the same time convey what the Christian faith is all about

Lewis does the sort of ultimate improbable mashup because what he does is he takes the idea of space journey which is all modern and high-tech and then he says I’m gonna write about it as though the beautiful picture of the heavens that you get in dancing which is

Also a trial about journeying through the planets he easily uses all that medieval material subtly transformed and his stories about Mars and Venus and it’s a 17th century word space before the 17th century you would not have referred to the night sky as space you would have called it the heavens the

Heavens that tell the glory of God but ransom as time wore on became aware of another and more spiritual cause for his progressive lightning and the exultation of heart now that the very name space seemed a blasphemous libel for this Imperia notion of radiance how indeed it should

Be otherwise since out of this ocean the worlds and all their life had come one of the central ideas is a challenge to the great kind of arrogant cliche of almost all science fiction up to that point which is that we’re the good guys and the horrible squeaky bulgy aliens

The bad guys and they must be something intrinsically evil and they’re coming to get us you know and of course HG Welles War of the Worlds was the the archetype of that when he has his wicked character Western standing there in a pith helmet which was the very thing that the

Imperialist English bore you know when they were crushing other people’s countries and talking about how human beings have the right to trash was The success of out of the silent planet would propel CS Lewis into the public eye professor Tolkien however would be left still working on his time travel story he writes a ton in travel book he never publishes it and he writes about a set of Oxford scholars in the 1980s he’s

Right in this in 1940 so he’s thinking forward who start to go back in time mentally and they’re going back through anglo-saxon period all through English history and they end up back in middle-earth and he begins to play around with this entire concept that this is all one world and

Even towards the end of his life he keeps saying middle-earth this is our earth this is our planet while Lewis would eventually complete an entire trilogy based on space professor Tolkien would instead find himself being pulled back into middle-earth in the wake of the success of The Hobbit they wanted a

Sequel so he started to write a sequel by the end of the Year 1937 he wasn’t quite sure what he was going to do with it and by that stage he decided that fairy tales were not simply for children he’d given a fairly famous lecture the University of st. Andrews on fairy tales

And he was beginning to realize that the fairy tales are the old myths if you like being retold in a certain style in a folktale style talking felt that the anglo-saxon and Viking roots of our culture had been seriously trashed and overlaid by the invasion of the French

Invasion in 1066 and that England had in the sense lost its epoch and had gone in for French and then Greek and Latin versions of things when we had perfectly good myths and legends of our own and in a sense he wanted to write a new epic

You can’t write her a long narrative poem because it will only reach a specialist audience so he wrote a novel instead Bilbo was very rich and very peculiar and had been the wonder of the shire for 60 years ever since his remarkable disappearance and unexpected return but

He had no close friends until some of his younger cousins began to grow up the eldest of these and Bilbo’s favorite was young Frodo Baggins it starts with a character like Bilbo and then his nephew Frodo who in some ways even though they’re supposed to be hobbits and hobbits are are different to

Human beings because they have hair on their feet and they’re not very tall but in some ways you forget that as you’re reading it and they just seem to be ordinary everyday people living in some kind of rural village and difficult to put a time to 1800 or something like

That the life that a lot of readers can much more closely associate with and enters into this heroic realm of middle-earth and he encounters characters like Elrond and Galadriel work characters right out of fantasy right out of myth rooted in medieval literature and medieval languages and Tolkien’s own

Invented languages and that is a way I suppose that you do an epoch which will appeal to a wider audience in the 20th century one ring to rule them all one ring to find them ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them by the ringing in

Summers is quite different very modern it’s very addictive not many addicts in medieval literature but the ring creates a kind of addiction and addiction to power and power over other people the magic ring by the baron de Limoges okay it was almost extinct as a book there were less than

Six copies and libraries across the world in 1813 a huge international sensation there were cosplayers and costume dressing up like the main characters of the novel and it’s very much a missing link if you look at sort of magic ring literature that would end up being producing Tolkien one of the

Little ways that that slipped in into later understandings of the genre was because McDonald quotes the magic ring in one of his own novels as the beginning of one of the chapters in his way an archivist and historian and preservationist of this as much as he was a transformational character in moving the

Genre on to what it would become in the 20th century now macdonald drew on some of those roots as well but really talking was going in a sense not only drawing from macdonald but drawing much more deeply than even macdonald did from the sources to which macdonald had gone

Three rings for the Elven kings under the sky 7 for the dwarf Lords in the halls of stone 9 for mortal men doomed to die one for the Dark Lord on his dark throne in the land of where the shadows lie so Tolkien himself was a devout Catholic he does

Play around with religion of course but it’s not really explicit in his book this sort of suffering of Frodo you can marry that to the Christ suffering the passion you know he’s literally had to be carried up Mount Doom at the ends of the rural kinds of ideas and images

There but to Tolkien fantasy was something a lot bigger than that what he is doing is he’s using fantasy as a way of exposing what he believes the true message of Christianity was in this case the ultimately good will conquer evil the idea that there is good and evil and

These are not arbitrary human made for cultural made constructs but they are inherent in the creation of the universe but the universe being the creation of a good and loving creative being Tolkien names him a roux Aluva tar arrow means the one the Louboutin means father of

All the source of all life the source of all existence that creation methis central he has these turning points in his book which he calls you catastrophic me moments where you suddenly get this glimpse of good winning out and he says that is me as what he returned a sub

Creator showing you that good will win out most importantly that consolation of the eucatastrophe the idea that you have a beautiful happy ending that is more poignant than grief and when you see that you have a glimpse of truth with big t right the ultimate fantasy Townley doesn’t mean this as in

Its made up as any means that exposes something which spiritually realistic book can’t breathe is in the New Testament where you see the ultimate victory of Christ Lord of the Rings was read there and you don’t get that book without the Inklings without the actual group where Lois was

The only I mean he used to he would criticize he would suggest things to Tolkien but he was an enthusiastic reader and an intelligent reader and Tolkien get bogged down to is a very slow rate err very methodical unlike Lewis completely the opposite Lewis was

Very fast he can write a draft of a book one take sit down write it while professor Tolkien would continue to work through his epic The Lord of the Rings CS Lewis was now becoming known for both his fiction and nonfiction writings including the space novel that

Had developed into a trilogy but another world war would grip England Lewis also known for his Christian writings would be called to serve his nation no sorta book called the problem of pain our main people read done for this is really clear and some people at the BBC thought

We might use this man to do some radio broadcasts to talk about the relevance of Christianity in the Second World War give up yourself and you will find your real self lose your life and you will say submit to death submit with every fiber of your being that you’ll find eternal

Life there was no way overarching theme to begin with the series just grew sort of incrementally and eventually Lois collected them all under one title which he called me Christianity in 1952 and it has become one of Lewis’s most popular my successful works in the midst of writing science fiction

Broadcasting on the BBC and teaching at Oxford Lewis’s imagination would lead him to creating another fictional book with a very unlikely inspiration it was inspired part by listening to Adolf Hitler on the radio and thinking for a moment how plausible how persuasive this man sounds how convinced

He seems to be of his own position and the next morning when Louis was in church on a Sunday morning the idea for the Screwtape Letters came to let’s think about how the devil how Satan himself is so very convincing of in effect seeing it in a completely different perspective mother words

Instead of saying look you’re a Christian behave like this he’s saying imagine there’s a devil there trying to tempt you what strategies might the devil use my dear wormwood you say you are delirious with joy because the European humans have started another of their Wars but what permanent good does it do

Us unless we make use of it for bringing souls to our Father below the safest road to hell is the gradual one the gentle slope soft underfoot without sudden turnings without bile stones your affectionate uncle scooty his friends at Morton college doctors were not pleased them because they felt

This was academically trivial but actually it was the book that in many ways propelled Lewis to fame people just found this so original so exciting that they in effect began to see him as the new guide to the Christian faith I think the sense of apocalyptic conflict the

Sense of facing evil the sense of really being driven back to what values you you would die for it was quite strong in the Second World War and of course the revelations about the death camps at the end of the war just later that reality of evil has never before in many

People’s imaginations they had a very strong sense that the modern world had taken a bad turn and they saw themselves as countercultural very much so and deliberately I mean Tolkien and Louis deciding to write the kind of stories they would have liked to have read and they saw themselves as standing against

Certain major currents in the contemporary world at the time Lewis had now found fame on both sides of the ocean with his theological and fictional writings but in 1948 while Tolkien was still revising and reworking his great fantasy novel Lewis was about to undertake his own great sub creation

And write a children’s novel I think we should take really seriously what Louis says that it all started with a picture was that image that had come into his mind in his mid-teens of the form carrying an umbrella walking through snowy water and he developed that into a story possibly because

Tolkien and McDonald were already doing it and that sort of gave him permission to do it alongside all his scholarly work and he found he was a rather good at it this must be a simply enormous wardrobe thought Lucy going still further in and pushing the soft folds of the coats

Aside to make room for her then she noticed that there was something crunching under her feet I wondered is that more mothballs she thought stooping down to feel it with her hands but instead of feeling the hard smooth wood of the floor of the Wardrobe she felt something soft and powdery and extremely

Cold for the children go through this strange wardrobe and feel the chill as they enter this mysterious world and begin to discover what isn’t it’s that sense of crossing a threshold I’m very pleased to meet you mr. Tumnus said Lucy at may I ask how Lucy daughter

Of Eve’s and mr. Thomas have you come into Narnia Narnia what’s that said Lucy this is the land of Narnia said the phone the lion Whitten wardrobe isn’t an allegory as if everything corresponds to some spiritual truth it’s a what do is called a suppose ‘l supposing this were

True how would this work out the way of sometimes footages that lewis wants to give people who may not have encountered christianity except in a rather attenuated sunday-school for me wants to give people a sense of why it might matter of how it might matter to steal past watchful dragons of religious

Inhibition as he calls it and to cast christianity into an imaginative space say that you could respond to it emotionally without any feeling of obligation sees your deepest imaginative powers and invites you to see the truth as an adventure and he says eventually Aslan came bounding into this and pulled the

Whole thing together they say as Amit was on the move perhaps has already landed and now a very curious thing happened none of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do but the moment the beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different he describes the way

They feel there’s a sense there is something very special very wonderful almost no Bulova Aslan which transcends any category they have known Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just

Floated by her and Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer characters authority and dignity he’s the king but also a sense of the characters approachability because he’s

Beautiful and he’s got this stroke a Balmain and these beautiful eyes and he will romp and frisk with you like a like a giant cat so for Louis the idea of a regal lion he was nonetheless playful was a great symbol imaginatively speaking of God who is the Almighty ruler of the universe

But also our Father Now I think that’s a myth oppo a ik moment to borrow the phrase that they like to use I know Louis’s sometimes accused and talking was one of the people who accused him of being a bit sort of mechanical about his this is this and this is this and here’s my

Allegory but I don’t think that’s how it started and I think all the best of Narnia is sheer welling up from within ever deep creativity not in a dry sermon but in an imaginative universe of dragons and elves and fairies that’s why children young adults and their parents

For that matter read their stories again and again in the Narnia tales I’ve often thought that the Wardrobe since it opens like a book does I’ve often thought that the Wardrobe itself is really a wonderful symbol of imagination if you think about what happens to the kids they go in they’re usually learning

Something quite profound about themselves and then they come back some of them aren’t changed in the real world so some of them have to go back a couple of times it’s going into the world of imagination learning something about ourselves as the worlds of Narnia and middle-earth moved closer to completion the Inklings

Group that had invigorated the two writers imaginations for decades had come to an end Charles Williams had unexpectedly passed away in 1945 and Tolkien feeling resistance to any more stories about elves had simply stopped reading the Lord of the Rings during the meetings Lewis’s brother Warren II would record

In his diary of October 1949 that nobody came it was from those Thursday night meetings that Screwtape Letters arose and the Lord of the Rings and it was a really fruitful productive group losing Williams was a bit of a blow I think that was one of the first things and I

Think that Tolkien and Lewis drifted apart for whatever reason and we don’t know Poking wanted the myth to be something like one of the great anglo-saxon legends and of course when you read the Lord of the Rings I mean that’s what you get but Lewis wanted to do it his own way because he realized this would capture the imagination of children

Was of course the Lord of the Ring captures the imagination of adults Tolkien was a man who before he wrote the books he prepared a backstory he wrote a language in gamer terms he created the whole setting before he told the first story he read the Narnia books

She know that see us Lewis was making up some of it as he went the order in which they were written is not the order that recommend you read them in now and so that probably annoyed Tolkien as well is CS Lewis is very blunt and very in-your-face

Talking he just tells the story and expects the grace to just flow through when we want to tell a story we use the only medium available to us which is language language is the thing we can make up and create with and manipulate and we’re briefly godlike if you like

When we make up a story in language we are the creator of our linguistic world yes but God is God so he can use time and space and matter and real people to tell his story so talking then begins to put into his stories the very idea

Given to his characters at the worst moment that they’re in a story if you think about the time when they’re nearly about to give up when Frodo and Sam you know are at the worst point and and they suddenly think well maybe were in story and Sam says no the characters and the

Stories used to be like this what a tale we’ve been in mr. Frodo haven’t we he said I wish I could hear it told and I wonder how it will go on after our part in the rant of seeing themselves as being told they’re given courage it’s one of the most valuable

Things you can give a kid it’s a perspective that when things look horrible there are stories where things look horrible and the only way you lose is by quitting the only way to guarantee history and what it does is I think it gives them all kinds of emotional psychological resources I think that’s

One of the most important things that this fantasy does for kids are you angry with me Gandalf he said I did the best I could you did indeed said Gandalf laughing suddenly and he came and stood beside Pippin putting his arm about the hobbits shoulders and gazing out of the window

Situation of the world right the situation of middle-earth of Gondor of Minas Tirith of the quest of Frodo and Sam is just filling him with Karen sorry for all of the circumstances in the world would seem to be hopeless yet in the Wizards face he saw at first

Only lines of care and sorrow though as he looked more intently he perceived that under all there was a great joy a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom laughing water to gush forth in the hope that Gandalf was able to have as because he can see the physical world

We can also see the spiritual world and I think this is what fantasy literature opens up our eyes to is that there is more than bill just the laws of physics there is more than just interior well the material world is good and important and valuable we should care about it

Caring for creation caring for other other humans but that care comes out of and flows into the recognition that it is part of a broader world 1954 would see the Fellowship of the Ring the first book of the Lord of the Rings trilogy finally published Lewis was already on his fifth installment of

The Chronicles of Narnia the horse of his boy but for all the prolific writing and publishing Lewis was doing both theological academic and fantastical Oxford University had still not given him a full professorship because he was so busy writing popular books Lewis didn’t write many academic books and his academic colleagues

Weren’t happy about this and I began to think that Lewis had degenerated into a popular writer and had lost an academic credential I think there was no doubt that there was a resistance to his robust Christian apologetics there was a place for a kind of decorous

Christianity in Oxford but as long as it kind of kept its place and stayed in the chapel while the friendship between Tolkien and Lewis had somewhat waned Tolkien would be instrumental in getting Lewis the newly founded chair of Medieval and Renaissance literature at madlyn College Cambridge Lewis would now divide his

Time between his Oxford home and Cambridge position the 7th book of Narnia would be published in 1956 and the series who become a best-selling classic Warnie with a house typewriter would spend his time responding to fans on behalf of his brother some parents of children wrote to Lewis

He had made the stories too frankly he thought that the children themselves would relish the opportunity to see a world in which moral choices matter and in which dangers are real because children are not stupid and children know that the real world is like that that moral choices matter and dangers

Are real and why should a story be any different risk and threat and indeed death and battle in these stories but it’s always within the context of a larger loving purpose late in life Lewis would marry to American writer joy David Mann David Mann a dear friend and intellectual companion sadly would die

Of cancer only a few years later leaving Lewis overwhelmed with grief the great Clive staples Lewis would pass away at his home in Oxford in 1963 over a dozen essays and books including a sequel to the Screwtape Letters would eventually be published posthumously while the legacy of CS Lewis would

Include his academic theological and other works of fiction Narnia would be his most celebrated Tolkien who had begun imagining middle-earth as a young man would continue working on his mythology in 1967 he would be asked to write a preface to another famous fairy tale the golden key I

Think he had some criticisms of George MacDonald and the way George MacDonald carried out his vision and he found that the best way to both express what George MacDonald accomplished that was really good and valuable but also maybe how it could have been better or always been

Misinterpreted or misused was not in the form of an essay but in the form of his own fairy tale the Smith of Wooten major would be the final story Tolkien would publish he was now not only famous but the Lord of the Rings have become successful beyond his imagination

Popularity of the books and middle-earth blew up in the 60s magazines saying you can’t go to college without a pair of sneakers and a copy of the Lord of the Rings right it was a youth culture it was a cultural phenomenon one of the great novels of the 20th century which

Still seems to have its appeal to men and women boys and girls in the 21st century the Lord of the Rings was sought after by film and television and in 1969 Tolkien would sell the rights over to United Artists after the death of his beloved Edith

J.r.r tolkien would return to live in an apartment at Merton College in Oxford he would pass away in 1973 while still working on his original middle-earth mythology eventually to be published as The Silmarillion it’s ironic he’d started writing that to a certain degree in the 1910s and he still hadn’t

Finished it by the time of his death in the 1970s so The Silmarillion that we get in 1977 is edited by his son Christopher Tolkien and it’s his view in attempt to make sense and a very good attempt I should say to make sense from his father’s writings without talking

The whole high fantasy you know tradition that we have today is is not there you can’t do high fantasy today without being in debt to Tolkien he did it and he did the best but he did it because of this scholarship I think because he was a historian for all adjust

Attempts to bring both middle-earth and Narnia to television and film would continue in the decades after the passing of Lewis and Tolkien but it would be Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the Lord of the Rings in 2001 to put fantasy into the mainstream The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

Along with two other books from Narnia would follow onto the big screen and while the name george macdonald in the 20th century remains in relative obscurity then you found celebrity of Tolkien Louis the Inklings has brought new academic attention to the 19th century Scottish Minister turned fantasy writer

Certainly when I started at MacDonald scholarship I can name on my fingers the Macdonald scholars that existed and now there are hundreds of up-and-coming young scholars that are reading MacDonald engaging with him while Tolkien Lewis and MacDonald are long gone their works continue to engage and inspire readers to this day not to

Mention inspire writers that have come after one Scottish writer in particular has taken the genre to unimaginable Heights a lot of young people today will only be familiar with the tool came to the movies they won’t even have read it but they’ll all have grown up reading the

Harry Potter series I can think of several conversations at a deep level with students that I’ve heard and talked about Harry Potter and Gryffindor and Slytherin they’re you know and like never meet again oh yeah yeah totally you know recently I was asked by especially a Sunday school group of

Teenagers to identify some of the Christian theological symbols that were in there because that was a new concept to them I spent a couple days preparing for this and it was a really good exercise for me as an academic you know she talks about how Narnia shapes her

Writing but she’s going deeper she’s going into real old academic literature drawing upon that as actually a lot of what I’ve been saying for years about McDonald talking lewis being academic scholars but their deep knowledge of story about their choice to take story from the past and re-engage with it in

New ways and draw together new stories that are made rich by the imaginations of the past is antiphonal stories is exactly what rally has been doing the inscription on the headstone of James and Lily Potter first Corinthians 15 26 the last enemy that will be defeated is death

In 2007 JK rowling told Time magazine that sums up the entire Harry Potter series and that deathlessness is a spiritual one there is immortality but it isn’t achieved by trying to preserve the self Rowling is holding a people who gave their lives out of love right who sacrifice themselves

In all these stories the mistake might be to think that magic is just about how you manipulate the powers in the universe more effectively and yet even in JK Rowling if you read her carefully it’s a great deal more than that going on of course you got a long way with

Magical manipulation but at the end of the day what really makes the difference again and again it’s love sacrifices world that’s important it’s those big questions that make these books so transformational fantasy steeped in imagination framed by theology they believed again in the imagination stories of the way we understand the world

But also a way we understand the world we can imagine as brazen that we’ve got they really are both Lewis and Tolkien are in effect saying we’re telling you our stories as a way of unlocking your soul I think that living in and from a great what CS Lewis famously called a

True myth gave the chance for people who lived in that to be myth makers in a true way there were some Tolkien’s great storytellers as great poets great makers of myth were the unacknowledged legislators of the middle of the 20th century it was not always recognized at

The time how important they were but the fact that 50 60 70 years on they are still being read just as much and in many cases more than they were at the time shows that they really have tapped into something true good and beautiful why did it Wayne why is this huge

Response again is it because like McDonald thought that people were losing their sense of identity using this story is that what we’re seeing again some crazy philosopher said 2,000 years ago come to being like a little child and he said a childish opened a nature

To embrace and to explore and if we lose that as an adult my god that’s when we lose our imagination [Applause] You You

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