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#141140 03/24/05 10:21 AM
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The Wood between the Worlds was an actual wood in "The Magician's Nephew". It had pools between the trees which were the portals to different worlds. Digby compared the wood to the attics of the row of terraced houses he and Polly lived in. I believe that Lewis was experimenting with different metaphysical transportation concepts when he wrote this book which was the first one he wrote, considerably before "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe". Note the use of the yellow rings as another means of getting from Earth to Charn; he was a friend of Tolkien's at the time that Tolkien was writing "Lord of the Rings" and could easily have decided to use the same device. I believe that he read from "The Magician's Nephew" at the meetings of the informal literary society that Tolkien, Lewis and several others formed in Oxford.

Although I haven't read the book for twenty years or so, I do remember the sinister verse associated with the bell which Digory rings to waken Jadis:

"Heed thee well, impetuous stranger.
Strike the bell and bide the danger
Or wonder till it drives you mad
What would have followed if you had."

I could have some of the words wrong, but I've remembered this since I was ten years old or so, so it clearly made an impression!

"The Magician's Nephew" was completely different in its approach to the rest of the "Narnia" series (as TEd will be finding out anew, reading them with his kids). In some ways it was almost not part of the series; rather a precursor, exploratory novel in much the same way that "The Hobbit" was to "Lord of the Rings".

I much enjoyed these books as a kid, and when I read the series again, back to back, some twenty years ago I found that I enjoyed them quite as much again on one level, but I also realised that the good/evil dichotomy was perhaps too pronounced for adults to swallow whole.


#141141 03/24/05 04:16 PM
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the good/evil dichotomy was perhaps too pronounced for adults to swallow whole. My first time reading any of them was when my daughter was of the age to, and I agree. I'm also glad to know that I'm not the only one who goes back to childhood favorites occasionally.




#141142 03/24/05 05:35 PM
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Ha! Well, I've been quietly buying Arthur Ransom's books (the "Swallows and Amazons" series and their follow-ons) over the past year or so, one here, one there, and re-reading those as well. Ransom was something of a R F Delderfield for kids - bucolic romps around England before the nastiness of the modern world intruded too noticeably.

Incidentally, if you're into sci fi and haven't already encountered them, I can thoroughly recommend reading anything you can lay your hands on by Alastair Reynolds. He's taken over Stephen Baxter's mantle as top UK sci fi writer. Baxter has got lost in quick money-making and trite rubbish. But I still think his "Titan" is the quintessential alternate history space novel ...


#141143 03/24/05 06:20 PM
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"Or wonder until driven mad
What would have happened if you had"

That's the way I remember the last two lines; they were almost my mantra when suffering from OCD. I think you've got the first line wrong somehow, but I can't remember what it was exactly.

The Magician's Nephew was quite obviously written after The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Towards the end of it Lewis remarks that the apple tree Digory planted in his back yard provided the wood (there's that word again) from which the wardrobe was built. Though I suppose that proves nothing; Tolkien went back and revised bits of the Hobbit so it would prefigure the Lord of the Rings so I suppose Lewis might have done the same thing in his work.

Anyway, "wood" has always meant a substance to me, and "woods" a place. I think Pooh et al. lived near the Hundred AKER Wood.


#141144 03/24/05 08:44 PM
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Actually, Narnia got it right. I had to. I couldn't help myself!!!

Make your choice, adventurous Stranger;
Strike the bell and bide the danger;
Or wonder, till it drives you mad,
What would have followed if you had.



TEd
#141145 03/24/05 10:41 PM
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You looked that up! Try relying on twenty-year-old memory ...


#141146 03/25/05 12:44 AM
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Bite your tongue, CK--we've seen what happens when he does that!


#141147 03/25/05 03:29 PM
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We say "Can't see the forest for the trees". I use both "wood" and "woods", if I use the word at all.
When I think about how I think about groups of trees, I would think of a "wood" or a "woods" as fairly small - say 100 acres. A forest is bigger and older, and wilder. Here in Northern Ontario we refer to "the bush". So I live on 160 acres, mostly bush, with about 10 acres cleared. The bush is made up of conifers and deciduous trees (and tamarack, which is both a conifer and deciduous). The trees are quite large, and the undergrowth tangly, although this is not a requirement!
The phrase "sugar bush" refers to a stand of sugar maples which are tapped for syrup in the spring (which we are doing right now). It's never a "sugar wood" or "sugar woods" or "sugar forest".


#141148 03/25/05 08:33 PM
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"Actually, Narnia got it right."

Sheesh. I just now got it. In reference to my original post, here's a dictum I memorized and never obey: "It's better to remain silent and appear a fool than to speak and leave no doubt."


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"Two roads diverged in a yellow WOOD
and sorry I could not travel both
and be one traveler, long I stood,
and looked down one just as far as I could"

k



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