The fact that I have just re-read Charles Williams's The Place of the Lion for (about) the sixth time (in thirty years) is evidence of my fascination with this book. And this despite that I also regard it as extremely flawed! - being written in a clumsy and unconvincing (intrusively facetious*) style, and lacking effective expression in some of the most important passages.
What I like so much about it is probably similar to what I like about Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers (itself a work which lineally descends, via The Lost Road, from Tolkien's own reading of PotL in 1936). And that is the idea of 'the hero' working by means of a gain in understanding and a change of consciousness - and 'the quest' therefore being, mostly, a matter of discussion, thought, reading and meditation.
Yet I realised how far away from Williams my own understanding has moved, so that regard his plot - the nature of threats and the solution to it - as no longer credible; it would have been credible at earlier times in English history, but not in recent generations. In this sense I think Williams was simply mistaken in his basic understanding of the world.
In terms of what he personally sought, Williams aimed to revive, strengthen and adopt the 'medieval' metaphysical system; which was itself lineally descended from the Ancient Greek philosophical breakthroughs of the age of Plato (this is what Rudolf Steiner would term the Intellectual Soul - see Owen Barfield's Romanticism Comes of Age, for an analysis).
My understanding of this consciousness is that it divides reality into categories, and is has a primary role for proxy-action - for the intercessions of particular individuals (who have been-through mystery-initiation processes) to act on-behalf-of ordinary humanity. Thus, in PotL the world is threatened by the categories of basic ideas, of ultimate archetypes; and these are defeated by an individual asserting authority over them on behalf of Man (and the Christian God).
This is a model in which reality is knowable only by mystic-priests, and these do their salvific work - by means of symbol and ritual - on behalf of the mass of people. It is thus a version of 'Temple Religion', or the work of monasteries - but putatively translated to a modern context.
This, I regard as a half-way house consciousness - in between the ancient individualistic immersion in the divine and the modern materialist self-exclusion from the divine; but no longer viable. I do not believe that there really are such entities as Plato's ideas or archetypes; not do I believe that intercession is possible any longer (although it was possible in the past).
We are confronted by a reality which we must apprehend each for himself by intuition; and in which our individual salvation depends on a directly attained knowledge; and personal freedom, agency, choice... The reason (as I understand it) for this necessity is that Man's divine destiny is linear, sequential, non-repeating - although with some cyclical aspects; so that history resembles a spiral.
Salvation is individual - we are Not converging onto a single 'type' but rather we ultimately are aimed-at becoming our-unique-selves And fully-harmonised with the divine purposes.
To make this possible, God has taken care that every specific place, hour, day, lunar month, year, and era are different - so that each individual human life may be provided with the experiences best-suited to its spiritual progression (then; it is up to each of us to learn from these experiences).
On the other hand, it is only from the repetitions and regularities of life that we are able to learn. So we get both.
Therefore, I have to regard the basic set-up of Place of the Lion as mistaken and - not just unlikely, but impossible. This recognition has triggered a compelling line of thought in me (that has not reached a conclusion) - which is based on 'If not, Then what?'...
In other words; what would be an analogous but correct plot for a more-metaphysically-accurate version of Place of the Lion?
*As replicated by the illustration...