My Photo

Welcome to Mannionville

  • Politics, art, movies, television, books, parenting, home repair, caffeine addiction---you name it, we blog it. Since 2004. Call for free estimate.

The Tip Jar

  • Please help keep this blog running strong with your donation

Help Save the Post Office: My snail mail address

  • Lance Mannion
    109 Third St.
    Wallkill, NY 12589

Save a Blogger From Begging...Buy Stuff

The one, the only

Sister Site

« An intelligent boy, a remarkable boy! | Main | In praise of ambition »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Terrific, Lance. Of course, you could write the same article about Star Wars as the Christ story (the scene in One where we find out that Annakin was conceived sans father made me cringe).

Also, there's a woman's perspective to this story that I find particularly interesting. Leia always seemed like the uber-woman, but Padme, even though she is a legitimate queen, seems less personally powerful. She needs bodyguards, she needs body doubles, she falls in love with a guy who's, what, twelve? Then she dies giving birth for no apparent reason. Igraine, perhaps? That would make Leia Morgana with earmuffs.

Anyway, hope you had a nice Christmas.


The Silver Chair will always be the fourth series of the book, meddling heirs notwithstanding. Also my favorite of the series, after Last Battle.

I don't know if your son has read The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, but that series is akin to going to solid food after having masticated on the mush of Narnia.


Another vote for Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, of which The Golden Compass is the brilliant, bracing, and utterly thrilling first.

Will be interested to read your complete thoughts re: Lucas, as I believe he lost his way. In story, and in life. The mythology that remains is from a checklist, not inspired - that's the sorrow of his life's work.

Also interested in Little Miss Sunshine, my Christmas Eve viewing, and something I am still thinking and talking about with surprisingly deep satisfaction.


i watched little miss with the family on xmas eve as well and found it to be exceptional. looking forward to your thoughts...


They can put The Horse and His Boy wherever they far as I'm concerned, but The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe should always be read first, and the Magician's Nephew second to last. I don't care what Lewis's executors or even Lewis himself has to say about it. They're quite simply wrong. LWW was written to be read first. It was written for an audience that knew nothing about Narnia. By contrast, TMN was written for an audience that knows quite about Narnia. The joys of LWW all come from being introduced to a world, whereas the joys of TMN come from being shown the history of an already-familiar world. There are so many details in TMN that only make sense if you're familiar with the rest of the books. Take the bit about the Queen/Witch throwing the lamp-post in the ground in Narnia as it's being born. If TMN is your first Narnia book, you only appreciate it on the basic surface level. But if it's your sixth Narnia book, you can also appreciate it as a not just a bit of continuity, but a callback to your first experience with Narnia. The whole book is full of stuff like that. To read them out of order is to rob both books of their greatest strengths. IMHO, allowing a child to read LWW and TMN in chronological order rather than by publication order, is like telling them that there's no Santa.


George Lucas has been the most unintentionally evil storyteller of our times, helping to extend war-culture way past its expiration date.

And ditto Greg on Narnia birth order.


The Narnian chronicles should be read in the original order. Greg's explanation of why is perfect.

Have to disagree with the others on "His Dark Materials", though..."The Golden Compass" is great, but "The Subtle Knife" is less satisfying, and with "The Amber Spyglass" Pullman lost me as a reader. (Not confused-lost, bored-lost.)


It's interesting, now that I think about it, that so little of Star Trek takes place during wartime--really, only the last two seasons out of seven of Deep Space Nine (although the runup to the Dominion War started at the end of the second season of that series). Of course, there were numerous skirmishes with the Klingons and Romulans, a couple of short-lived Borg invasions, and a "Klingon Civil War" that lasted about as long as the first Persian Gulf War, but otherwise the focus has been on exploration and negotiation with other worlds, not big-ass space battles--all of the space battles from the Dominion War, put together, wouldn't be enough for a single one of the Star Wars movies.

Patrick J McGraw

Regarding Obi-Wan as the Jedi's top private detective: in the Star Wars Roleplaying game, there are two basic Jedi classes (one combat skill-oriented, the other social skill-oriented), and a number of "prestige classes" that an experienced Jedi can take on, such as Jedi Master (teacher), Jedi Swordmaster (lightsaber expert), Jedi Ace (pilot), and so on. In his official RPG stats, Obi-Wan has levels in three classes: the basic Jedi Guardian, Jedi Master, and Jedi Investigator.


Sabutai is right, Lance. I just finished His Dark Materials, and it is very, very good. The first one has a fair amount of clunky prose--and I conjecture that the editor didn't care to tighten it up, figuring a fantasy book for young adults would sell well regardless of its prose quality. But the other two books have better constructed sentences. Part of what makes Pullman's books so good is that his fantasy world is constructed as a counterweight to perceived racism and sexism in C.S. Lewis' work, a theme Pullman fully developed in this piece. And Pullman has a very good point: Aslan wins because he's more powerful than the Snow Queen. Compare that to Tolkien's reasoning about how Sauron's Ring was destroyed, and Lewis' conception of a struggle between good and evil seems more like "The Good Side is more powerful and happens to be compassionate, and the Evil Side is less powerful and happens to be mean." And then the reason to choose Aslan has more to do with getting right with the powerful side rather than choosing compassion for its own sake.


This is a very interesting point. I'm new to this site, and late on the conversation, but I did want to suggest that the issue of history being taught through war is not one that's even slightly limited to fantasy. Our textbooks and high school and college curricula fetishize war at the expense of all else, privileging kings and emperors while ignoring life "on the ground", or art and culture and religion.

It doesn't surprise me that the Star Wars back story, or any other along those lines, would follow this trend. The avoidance of this simple narrative is what makes The Silmarillion such an amazing read; only when it goes into straightforward "war mode" does it become somewhat tedious, as the characters blur and the story loses potency. Meanwhile, like in Camelot, the micro-level is where the real action happens. I also happen to be a musician, so the constant references to songs as being of the utmost importance, and actually a sort of progenitor or initiator of the Universe, is refreshing!

Thanks for the thoughtful essay.


One of the few movies that I've ever watched in embarrassment is "The Phantom Menace", which I had persuaded my wife to see. It's hard for me to get across how bad I think the movie is - dear god, mitichlorians?

Compare the escape/pursuit from the Death Star sequence in "A New Hope" ("Great, kid! Don't get cocky.") with the underwater chase scene in "The Phantom Menace" ("There's always a bigger fish.") Liam Neesson, one of the most charismatic actors in film (Michael Collins, Rob Roy, Schindler's List) delivers flat line readings throughout the whole movie. Do you think for a moment that Anakin is in danger in the pod race? No, it's a video game - the nod to "Ben Hur" is simply ludicrous.

Sadly, neither Episodes II or III made any more impression. I think Lance's idea that there are resonances to the King Arthur legend is an interesting starting point for discussion, but I wish I cared more about the people presented to me on the screen.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Data Analysis

  • Data Analysis


April 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  

Movies, Music, Books, Kindles, and more

For All Your Laundry Needs

In Case of Typepad Emergency Break Glass

Be Smart, Buy Books

Blog powered by Typepad