Flashback Friday: The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe – Raven Oak

Flashback Friday: The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe

Flashback Friday‘s aren’t gone forever. It felt like a flashback sort of week with all that has happened.

It’s almost cliché to write this Flashback Friday. Even those readers who aren’t huge SF/F fans have heard of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. But it was a book I read long ago that influenced how I see SF/F today.

The Starry Night

Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, which is not where Lewis got the idea for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

I think I read this in 4th grade without knowing it was fantasy. I also had no idea that it was an allegory, much less for anything religious. While my child-self enjoyed The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I didn’t enjoy it enough to read past that one book (whereas my husband read the entire series as a child).

Crawling into a wardrobe closet and being magically transported elsewhere sounded like grand fun to me. I used to hide under the bed and imagine that I’d sink through the floor to land in some world where dinosaurs still existed. (I didn’t give two figs that there were animals speaking in the book–I wanted dinosaurs. Of course, later in middle school, I was all about the talking animals in other books.)

C. S. Lewis says that he came up with the idea based on a picture he’d had in his head since sixteen of a “faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood.”

Writers who draw influence from pictures or art fascinate me. My ideas tend to come as words or questions, not pictures. I don’t think I’ve ever looked at a painting and come up with a story from it—at least, not until recently. At the Locus Writers’ Workshop, one of the techniques we used to brainstorm ideas involved looking at famous paintings and coming up with stories. I choose Vincent van Gogh‘s The Starry Night and wrote about a girl locked up in the asylum (the one in the painting in Saint Rémy de Provence) because she thought the sky was falling. No one believed her, and they locked her up. (I might have to edit that story and stick it up here as a freebie or something.)

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a decent tale for kids. I honestly haven’t read it but the once as a child, but think it serves as a great intro into fantasy.

What was your intro into the world of fantasy?





Want to read other Flashback Fridays? Click here to see the list in this series.

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