One of the things I love about Ursula Le Guin is that her stories are all, at their root, about people, about humanity. She has a strong grasp on humaOne of the things I love about Ursula Le Guin is that her stories are all, at their root, about people, about humanity. She has a strong grasp on human psychology and emotion, and in particular she writes very strongly about the depth of love in its many forms - love for country, romantic love, brotherhood, friendship, love for humankind, loyalty, spiritual love - how these loves can war together and weave together in a rich tapestry.
In this book in particular, I was particularly struck by how she can show so much about our own culture and planet and the human condition in general by examining the culture and history of a planet and people entirely different than our own. Show us about ourselves by examining what we are not and what is alien to us.
I think this may be one of my new favorite books. But I'm very glad we read it during the summer - all that snow and cold may have been a bit too much for the middle of winter....more
This one ends more or less as I expected it to, although there were a few (heartbreaking) twists near the end that I was not anticipating. I'm lookingThis one ends more or less as I expected it to, although there were a few (heartbreaking) twists near the end that I was not anticipating. I'm looking very much forward to starting The Amber Spyglass next Saturday!...more
Last time I read this book was July, 2005. I clearly remember sitting on the lawn outside my apartment, on a sunny Sunday morning, reading aloud withLast time I read this book was July, 2005. I clearly remember sitting on the lawn outside my apartment, on a sunny Sunday morning, reading aloud with a good friend while my ex-boyfriend moved his belongings out, and feeling a sense of incredible peace and safety at the mention of Aslan, in the midst of my terrible fear, sadness, low self-worth, and anxiety. At the time I had absolutely zero interest in being a Christian. I didn't have any particular problems with Christianity as an idea, and thought that the Bible had some very good ideas indeed. But they were just ideas.
It was interesting to reread it now after seven years of rather transformative life experiences, not the least of which was becoming a follower of Christ. Interestingly enough, I was *not* filled with the same sort of overwhelming peace in this reading, but part of that might have been the different setting - reading together out loud was much more powerful than reading alone and silently.
One thing I never noticed before, but noticed this time, is that Edmund is portrayed from the very beginning as being more careless than his brother and sisters - he alone enters the wardrobe and closes the door behind him, forgetting that "it is very silly to shut oneself into a wardrobe." C.S. Lewis says this five times in the first fifty pages, always saying slightly differently how silly or foolish a thing it is to do. Why was Lewis obsessed with this idea? Was he that worried that his Goddaughter (for whom he was writing the story) would read the story and then inadvertently lock herself into a wardrobe? Regardless, it shows that Edmund falls for the tricks of the White Witch not just through bad luck, but because he is careless, apparently with both little things like wardrobe doors and crucial matters like the state of his soul....more
Read previously in Sept 2005, and earlier as a child. One thing that surprised me during this most recent rereading is the complete lack of awe CaspiaRead previously in Sept 2005, and earlier as a child. One thing that surprised me during this most recent rereading is the complete lack of awe Caspian has at finally meeting the former Kings and Queens of Narnia. "Your Majesties are welcome" and that's the end of it. Considering how much he admired them previously, I expected some more reverence from him. But I suppose that after having fought side by side, they're past that....more
This book moved me immensely. Patricia McKillip uses language beautifully and deliberately, and her love for her characters and the world she's createThis book moved me immensely. Patricia McKillip uses language beautifully and deliberately, and her love for her characters and the world she's created come through very clearly. I can't help but fall in love with her characters, too, and root for the same characters she's obviously rooting for.
My heart broke a little at the end of this trilogy, and I cried through the last few chapters. I think I'll need to take a few days to recover from the shock of it before I start reading something new. I became very attached to the characters; I'll miss them.
One theme I've noticed running through McKillip's novels is the idea of Naming, (which is also a theme in LeGuin's Earthsea books, another new favorite series of mine) - the importance of knowing one's own true name, of giving a name to others, then both understanding and accepting the weight and responsibility that come with those names. It's something we all struggle with in our own ways. Morgon and Raederle are powerful characters because they are very human in their griefs, their joys, their loves, and hates. Their struggles may be larger than life, but the emotions they struggle with, and the existential dilemnas, are something I was able to relate to with every sentence and every page....more