50: The Secret Key to Narnia—Michael Ward

Get your C.S. Lewis on! Lovers of the works of Clive Staples Lewis (+1963), especially The Chronicles of Narnia septet will not want to miss this interview with Lewis scholar and Catholic convert, Dr. Michael Ward of Oxford and Houston Baptist University.

The Narnia series has been one of the most critically analyzed book series in history since it was penned over 60 years ago. My guest in this episode has discovered a interpretative framework to the seven books that eluded the Lewisphere for decades and now has them abuzz.

It’s all about the seven planets of the medieval cosmos. Even if you’ve re-read the books many times, Dr. Ward’s insights will bring you a whole new depth and wonder to C.S. Lewis’s best known work.

And because he is English (I say, the inventors of the language you’re now reading) his prose will expand your vocabulary as well!

I should note one thing. At the end of the interview, I jokingly asked him about his work for Q under Her Majesty the Queen. This is because he had a walk-on part in the James Bond film The World Is Never Enough. (He’s the bespectacled, white lab-coated assistant to Q in this funny scene, handing 007 his X-ray glasses at 1:20: )

 

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What subtle, overarching symbolic framework governs the seven-fold story of the Narnia books (hint: think planets, not sacraments)
  • That John Williams’s Star Wars theme, shall we say, borrowed promiscuously from Gustav Holst’s “Mars: Bringer of War”
  • The meaning of the words etiolated, valitudinarian, and aestival—handy for use at cocktail parties…
  • Some important background on what inspired Lewis
  • The importance of atmosphere or “tone” in great works of literature and why it resembles the mystery in music.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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