Wednesday, 30 July 2014

No elves! - another reason why Tolkien did not like Narnia


There is not much doubt that for Tolkien the main element of faery was... fairies: that is to say, elves.

Lost Tales and Tolkien's early poetry was about the elves, the Silmarillion was from an elvish perspective, the Lord of the Rings was substantially about the end of the age of high elves - made especially clear in the Epilogue

And Tolkien's last work - Smith of Wootton Major - was also about elves.

But Narnia had no elves - and no real equivalent substitute for elves - therefore would have been regarded by Tolkien as missing-the-point - and, therefore, in a sense Narnia was not-really-faery at all.

No wonder Tolkien was so bitterly disappointed with Narnia! :


Note: I personally do like Narnia! But I agree with Tolkien in that it does not strike me as being an example of faery - it is a different kind of place. 


Donald said...

Do you think there is a Protestant vs Catholic reason why elves are not included (elves seem very High Churchy) or is this just superficial nonsense?

Bruce Charlton said...

@D - No, I don't think there is such a distinction; but anyway, by the time he wrote Narnia CSL had distinctly 'High Church' or Anglo-Catholic leanings. For example he would attend fairly regular confession with a (Church of England) monk from 1940.

Philip Neal said...

Dryads and Maenads come into Prince Caspian (as part of a stage army rather than as named characters).

Bruce Charlton said...

@PN - Okay, but they aren't elves!