Classic Book Review: Perelandra

Perelandra by C.S. Lewis

Perelandra (Space Trilogy, #2)
by C.S. Lewis
4 out of 5 stars
In this second book of the trilogy, Ransom travels to another alien planet at the request of Maleldil. This time he goes to Perelandra (Venus), and encounters a new race of aliens, who are struggling with the same temptations from the Evil One that Adam and Eve fell victim to in our own world. Ransom must battle against the Evil Presence in order to protect the innocent new society that is just beginning to form.

I love the imaginative world-building in this book! There are so many different settings and alien animals and weird plants. Perelandra is such a strange planet with a perpetually cloudy sky and rolling islands that float on the seas. And even when you are more than halfway through the book, and you think you’ve seen all the scenery and met all the animals that Perelandra could possibly have, then there are still more mysteries and wildlife and extreme mountains and rivers to be explored.

I love the powerful writing style that plunges the reader into the story. It is truly breathtaking and wild! Lewis has such a genius for writing.

This book is full of Biblical themes and references to mythology. Sometimes the story gets bogged down in the themes, and the characters spend long paragraphs and even entire chapters talking endlessly about philosophical ideas and beliefs. But it does circle around to be relevant to the plot and makes the story that much more meaningful.

However, I do feel that some of the theological discussions could have been condensed or simplified to keep the pacing of the story moving. I think Lewis was trying to introduce and explore too many ideas all at once. He tried to include so many epic themes in this one story that it overwhelms the reader. It would have been more effective to focus on two or three main themes of redemption, spiritual obedience, and faith.

I loved seeing Ransom get even further character development. He had some really extreme and wonderful development in the first book, and he goes even further in this book as he learns more and more about Maleldil. His faith grows and his understanding grows. It’s such an amazing internal journey that is demonstrated in his outward actions throughout the story.

I think that compared to other authors, this book is a 5 star book, but compared to Lewis’ other work, this book is a 3 star book. Not his best, but still incredibly excellent and beautiful.

Keep reading to see SPOILERS!!!!

These are my SPOILER NOTES on each chapter of the book.

Notes on Perelandra

Chapter 1

Just like Out of the Silent Planet, this book also begins with a person walking alone down a country road in the deepening darkness of the evening. I love the symmetry between the books.

I love how the books starts by analyzing human feelings towards angels, even before the narrator has met any eldil.  It very astute of the narrator to recognize their own feeling as truly being fear, and not covering it up with some other more comfortable emotion.

The struggle of the narrator as they start to think they are going crazy is so fascinating and terrifying, because I have often felt those emotions and had those kind of chaotic thoughts too. And yet, at the very bottom of his soul, he has a steady “knowing” that guides him through it, despite the attacks of the evil eldila. That is touched on in the first book too, when Ransome is climbing the mountain and thinks of turning back, but that heart-deep “knowing” keeps him steady in his purpose.

 I just love the imaginative descriptions of the eldil, especially the way that it is not at right angles with the room, but seems to be aligned with some other cosmic “up and down” direction. It fits so well with the idea introduced in the previous book that the eldil visit planets, but their home is in the vastness of space.

An encounter with God or His messengers is never comfortable, but it’s life and light. “Not safe, but good.” There is a reason why angels in the Bible always begin by saying “Fear Not”. And the narrator’s final feeling of helplessness and relief that the next decision does not lie with him. All his worst fears and highest dreams about meeting an alien have come true, and it is dreadful, but it’s also a relief to have it over with. What a beautifully human reaction!

And then to be jealous when Ransom comes in and speaks to the eldil! haha! So deliciously human and unattractive and foolish and REAL! Oh, I love this writing. I love it so insanely much. It is so vibrant and brutally honest.

Chapter 2

Don’t answer them. They like drawing you into an interminable argument.” I have certainly felt this myself at times, when I just seem to ruminate over and over on the same negative thoughts, and I can’t seem to stop. This also reminds me of so many passages in The Screwtape Letters.

The order comes from much higher up. They all do, you know, in the long run.” I just love these off-hand comments about God and the order of the universe. ‘Oh yes, you know, I’m just getting orders from God to travel to another planet. No biggie.’ haha! And yet as Ransome says, it is full of truth. As a Christian, I personally live my life that way, with that faith, every day. I make all my decisions with His orders in mind.

I find the idea of a universal language for the entire solar system really intriguing. But I wonder why Ransom says that “No human language … is descended from it.”  If the original universal Hressa-Hlab was completely lost on Earth at the Fall of Adam and Eve, then why would Ransom find it so easy to understand the language structure of an alien world like Malacandra? It seems like the language structure must be connected in some way, or else why would Hressa-Hlab also use verbs and nouns and pronouns and adjectives?

Another thing that I find odd is that Ransom talks about how the evil Oyarsa of Earth (Satan) was confined to the planet hundreds of years before Adam and Eve. That doesn’t make any sense on any level, either in the Bible or for this story. He also mentions the Cambrian Period which is a theoretical time period in the evolutionary theory, and that doesn’t really fit with the rest of the timeline of the story or of the real world. I’m not sure where a bunch of that stuff is coming from.

Of course I had to look up all sorts of information about Venus’ rotation and orbit, and found that the Venusian day is actually longer than the Venusian year. Venus rotates (backward from the way other planets rotate, meaning the sun rises in the west and sets in the east) once every 243 Earth days—the slowest rotation of any planet. But Venus actually completes an orbit around the sun every 224.7 Earth days, making its day longer than its year. Crazy.

I’m not sure why Ransom thinks there would be no atmosphere on the night side of the planet though. That seems odd?

And then he comes back and asserts that Venus has an ordinary day and night just like the Earth. haha! Oh well, it’s meant to be imaginative and fictional. It’s not supposed to match reality. And I guess back in the day, they couldn’t tell much about Venus’ rotation, because it is always covered in thick white clouds. It wasn’t until the 1960s that they actually were able to determine the real rotation of Venus.

I’m getting bogged down in trying to makes sense of all this random information, some of it real, some of it fictional, most of it woefully out-of-date and erroneous. haha! Oh well, I’m just along for the ride.

I love the way that Ransom explains that the eldil is not “waiting”. He is just there. Since he doesn’t have a body, time passes differently for him. 

My first thought when Ransom returns from Perelandra with a cut on his foot was of the famous Achilles heel. I know this book is going to be so steeped in symbolism and references to old myths just like all of Lewis’ works! But there is also a reference to Christ in the Bible that says that Satan will bruise Christ’s heel (a minor wound), but that Christ will bruise Satan’s head (completely defeating him). Of course, Ransom is a typification of Christ in this book, as the champion of all that is good and righteous.

Chapter 3

At the beginning of this chapter, I just want to holler, “Get on with it! I’ve spent two chapters waiting for him to GET TO VENUS! And now you want to tell me what he said to another philologist at a party one time? No. I want aliens! Now!

The language that describes Ransom’s first moments on Perelandra is absolutely genius. “Dazzling, writhing, flaming, struck, rushed, jagged and billowy, gentle”; all these words are used in describing what is happening and all that Ransom is seeing and experiencing. Such vivid words! It puts me right into the wildness of it all. “The day was burning to death.” Gosh. Milton could have written that. Genius!

I just love that Ransom dissolves into giggles when he is unable to walk on the rolling island terrain. Again, I know I say this all the time, but Lewis is perfection at writing such familiar human reactions, so that the characters feel absolutely real and true and honest.

I found the exploration of desire and reason to be very interesting. I think Lewis talks about this subject in some of his nonfiction as well. I’ve always personally understood the sin of gluttony to mean that a person keeps consuming after their natural desire has already been satisfied. I never thought of “reason” to be the catalyst for excessive consumption though. I would think it would be some baser emotion like fear or hatred. Interesting idea.

Chapter 4

Ransom wakes up and thinks he is in a dream of mythology. He likens the Sorn on Malacandra to the myth of cyclops, a shepherd in a cave. And he thinks the Perelandra island is the garden of the Hespirides. “The Garden of the Hesperides is Hera’s orchard in the west, where either a single apple tree or a grove grows, producing golden apples that grant immortality when eaten. It’s also the location of the Golden Fleece.”

The temptation of fruit is of course not just a reference to Hesperides, but also to the Garden of Eden.

Ransom considers that the desire to have too much of a good thing might be the root of all evil, and the reason that the Bible consider the love of money to be the root of evil is that people want money in order to satisfy their inordinate desires. I think I would mostly agree with that.

“…A man like Ransom felt he ought to say grace over it, and so he presently did.” I just love the simplicity and wholesomeness of this scene.

The tension when Ransom first sights another human figure on the other island is so strong. His despair and hope and impatience are palpable. And then when they finally meet, it is so utterly different from what he had expected. He is all seriousness and purpose, and she just laughs at his piebald skin. No wonder he began to doubt if she might not be a hallucination. Her behavior is natural, but outside of his expectations. How many times do we dismiss someone because their behavior is not what we expected or wanted?

“What is peace?” An excellent question. haha! I think philosophers have been trying to answer that one since the beginning of time. 

Chapter 5

I’m not surprised that Ransom quickly tires of speaking with the Green Lady. They are talking at cross-purposes most of the time, and her comments are so cryptic. Plus the heavy presence of Maleldil must be absolutely exhausting.

So many mythical references… Artemis, Maenad, Circe, Alcina. I love how Lewis uses these references as a starting-point to describe something fantastical and extreme.

The change in her manner towards Ransom when she finds out that he is not the Father/King of his own world is so exquisite, and does more to show her exalted character than any descriptions of her perfect face and her calm demeanor could do. That paragraph is when the reader truly understands her to be a Queen, lofty and splendid. The weight of her grand personality is balanced with the lightness of her innocence. “gaiety and gravity together”

As soon as Ransom meets her, the language (both in the narration and in the dialogue) begins to gradually shift into more formal language. Ransom says “thus” several times, and the narration uses words like “henceforward.” It’s brilliant writing that changes the tone to suit the story material. It’s done so gently that you barely even notice, but if you compare it to the language used at the beginning of the book, it is so obvious.

When Ransom realizes just how fragile the Lady’s “purity and peace” are, what a turning point in the story. What a moment for character development! He begins to argue with her to make his point “against his better judgement.” And she needs time to process all the things he has said. And yet, everything that she is learning, she cuts right to the heart of each idea with astonishing quickness. She’s obviously incredibly intelligent. She’s not innocent with the innocence and ignorance of a child. She’s innocent in a completely foreign and wild way of her own.

“You could refuse the real good; you could make the real fruit taste insipid by thinking of the other.” Oh boy. How many times do I do that every stinking day? It was not what I expected, not what I wanted, so I reject the good things that God has sent my way, and feel depressed about the things I haven’t got. Preach it, Lewis!

And the way the Lady says that she chooses to accept the good that is presented to her instead of the good that she had wanted. “Out of my own heart I do it.” That is true spiritual obedience and faith, to walk with God of your own free will.

Ooh, when Ransom told that little lie!!! (Are there any small lies? No, not really.) It’s like all of Heaven was frowning at him. “It tore him as he uttered it.” The first lie told to the Lady. The first lie in all of Perelandra. Ooh, Sin enters into the garden, and man oh man, that will weigh on you till the end of time. And yet, it is completely understandable that Ransom would tell a small lie.  Ransom is finding it hard to adjust his behavior and ideas to this perfect world, this world without a Fall. He is unhappy with his own behavior. “… he was immediately surprised at the sulkiness of his own voice.” I wonder how his ego will cope as we go further into the story.

Chapter 6

The description of the Presence of God is so wondrously delightful. It reminds me of the Bible verse that Christ’s “yoke is easy, and his burden is light.” Lewis says, “It became not a load, but a medium… which fed and carried you…”  But if you struggle to assert your own independence, “it suffocated.”  And yet the Lady comments how extraordinary it is that God should create her as a separate independent being from Himself. There is independence and freedom that is within the fulness of trusting God’s guidance. This is one of those beautiful apparently-a-contradiction ideas in Christianity that actually makes sense when you examine them, and which (to my mind and I think Lewis would agree) actually prove the veracity of Christianity. Liberty is the freedom to do what is right.

I LOVE the cultural differences and misunderstandings that arise in their conversation. The Lady says that Ransom speaks often, but Ransom misunderstands because on Earth “when they say a man talks much, they mean they wish him to be silent.” I love the beautiful alienness, the wide gap, between their understanding of what things mean, what words mean, what is behind the words each of them says. 

However, I find it inconsistent that a Lady who has no concept of “peace” or “death”, has no problem understanding when Ransom says he is “sorry”. If she has lived a perfect Eden, and never experienced anything bad, then she should have no concept of what an apology is. 

“…All His biddings are joys.” Yes! What a delight!

“…she interrupted him. ‘Let us wait and ask the King… for I think, Piebald, you do not know much more about this than I do.’ ”  Ooh, there’s a blow to the ego! But Ransom takes it in stride, barely reacting. I guess he agrees with her, or is distracted.

It is so funny that she sees Ransom get a cut on his knee and wants to try to cut herself to see if she will bleed too, but then Maleldil tells her not to. It’s such a weird thing and I’m not sure why I find it so funny!

Ransome’s distress at recognizing the space ship and realizing that Weston was coming… brilliant writing. I felt distressed too! The way he runs and tries to prevent the Lady from meeting Weston, you can really feel the emotion behind his actions, the absolute fear that destruction is coming.

Chapter 7

I just love the deflated hero moment when Ransom is about plead with the Lady to escape while he remains in danger with a revolver trained on him, and then he realizes, he doesn’t need to act the hero in some melodramatic way. She is happy to leave, not realizing the danger, and he is left with a quieter moment of heroically protecting her without her knowing it, without any glory or recognition. I don’t think Ransom thinks of it that way, but the story structure makes it feel that way to the reader. Poor Ransom. He’s a knight fighting invisible battles.

Weston says “I always wanted to know in order to achieve utility.” This reminds me of how Lewis describes the White Witch as being incredibly practical; Evil, but absolutely practical.

The whole long dialogue of Weston’s is truly alarming. No wonder Ransom is wearied by it. Weston’s insanity and complete megalomania is exhausting. And then when it ends with the horrifying demonic possession.. .ugh. Nasty to read about. Actually gave me chills and made me feel a little nauseated.

I think that “qui dort dine” means “He who sleeps, dines.” So it is a saying that likens sleep to the pleasure of dining and taking in nourishment.

Chapter 8

I thought in  Chapter 6 that there might be some connection between the Piebald animals and the Christian idea of sheep, and now I’m certain of it. Ransom finds those “giant mice” the size of sheep again and says that they “seemed stupider” than other beasts on Perelandra. The Bible says “All we like sheep have gone astray.” “The Lord is my Shepherd.” Humanity is constantly being compared to sheep in the Bible, because sheep are among the most idiotic and wayward animals in the world.  And I find it hilarious that the Green Lady named Ransom after those animals. haha!

All of the arguments that Weston introduces to the Lady are exactly the same lies that Satan uses with Eve in the Garden of Eden. ‘Did God really say that thing is wrong?’ ‘It can’t hurt to just think about doing something you know is wrong.’  ‘Wouldn’t you like to be a little god with all the knowledge of God?’  ‘You can make decisions for yourself, and be wiser than others and lord it over them.’  All the same lies that he still spouts into our world today, just dressed up in different outfits for every era.

I love love love that the Lady just lets those lies fall off her like drops of water. He literally tells her that the women of Earth are more beautiful than her, and that the King doesn’t love her enough, but she just thinks, (paraphrasing) ‘What wonderful joy that Maleldil might allow me to fulfill my own role and then let others be more beautiful and let others be higher than me and let others be more loved.’ She has no selfish ego at all. She is not in the least threatened at the idea that others are greater, wiser, more beautiful, or supposedly more loved than she is. She is content and happy to fulfill the role she is given by her Creator. Absolute perfection.

I’m not surprised that Ransom has a feeling that he is really only there as a “spectator or witness”. His feeling of helplessness when Weston first arrived, and the many times when he was helpless or unsure of his purpose, definitely support that general idea, until of course he is called into battle for real later in the story.

Chapter 9

It is fascinating to the see the back-and-forth dialogue between Ransom and the Unman and the Lady; the logical arguments that are explored and the answers that Ransom gives, hampered by the Lady’s inability to understand concepts like Evil, and also hampered by his own inability to tell a convenient lie. Oh, the way the Unman twists the truth around is very clever, very intelligent. I’m not surprised that Ransom feels frustrated trying to find a way to make the truth clear.

I think it’s so funny, and yet so logical, that the Lady doesn’t know how to converse with more than one person at a time. Haha! What a great little detail in the story.

And yet, I found this entire chapter disturbing and frightening because of all the disgusting descriptions of the Unman. That part with the frogs is truly horrendous. And then to hear that infinite “Ransom, Ransom, Ransom” over and over like a Chinese water drop torture for your ears. Ugh. How awful!

Chapter 10

“This present temptation, if conquered, would itself be the next and greatest step in the same direction: an obedience freer, more reasoned, more conscious than any she had known before, was being put in her power.”

Here is the theme of free will again, but it answers the question: Why did God allow the serpent into the garden of Eden at all? Why did God allow Weston to travel to Perelandra? Why does God allow temptation for any of us? To give us the opportunity for greater obedience and therefore greater joy.

And the Lady explores the theme of self-awareness, thinking of yourself from a separate self, looking at yourself from a separate self. Self-awareness is one of the greatest gifts of God to His creation, and maybe one of the gifts that we abuse most horribly all the time without even realizing it. Ransom worries that it will lead the Lady into vanity and self-love or self-loathing. In his non fiction writing, Lewis says that humility is not having low self-esteem, but not thinking of yourself at all. Not noticing yourself much because you are so focused on God must be the height of all happiness. If you were that focused on God, you would be able to be as fully yourself (the way God created you to be) as the Lady is.

The scene where the Lady and the Unman are wearing cloaks of bird feathers is so horrifying bc you know where he got those nasty feathers. And the way Ransom reacts just makes me react that way too! Brilliant writing because it makes me feel strongly.

Chapter 11

I find it very interesting that when Ransom is having his little mental conversation with Maleldil, the Presence of Maleldil is described as talking to Ransom from the “silence” or “darkness”. It is not often that God is described as being connected to darkness, but when He is, it is always in reference to the mystery of God. “Now we see in a mirror darkly, but then we will be known face to face.”

Ransom suddenly realizes that God’s Presence has been there all along, but Ransom was blocking it out or ignoring it. Ransom drew a veil of darkness across something that he wanted to ignore, and now from that darkness that Ransom created, that mystery that he didn’t want to look at, the Presence of God is reaching out to him.

Up until now, Ransom has been trying to argue and fight and protect all on his own, without asking for help. Silly little foolish man! And how many times a day do I do that same thing over and over? Every foolish day of my life.

Most of the time, spiritual warfare is manifested in something physical. This is shown over and over in the Bible. Christ died in torture on a cross as a physical manifestation of what was happening spiritually to Him at the same time as He took on the sins of all humanity. Spiritual and unseen things that are happening are almost always shown in the physical world too.

Ransom is quite wrong to think that spiritual warfare would never be physical war, and he begins to realize it. I wonder if Lewis intended this as an answer to those Christians who stylized themselves as pacifists during the World Wars. In extreme cases, God does command violence against evil, as He did over and over again in the Bible from the Flood onwards. Sometimes it has to be done in order to protect what is good.

You cannot separate the spiritual from the physical. Lewis talks in his non fiction books about how kneeling down and folding his hands in prayer (an action and movement of the body) has such a deep affect on the attitude of his soul as he prays.

“It is not for nothing that you are named Ransom.” … “My name also is Ransom.” So powerful! This actually made me cry. This is another way that Ransom is a typification of Christ in this book. Christ was the ransom for many, the sacrificial lamb who paid the price to buy back the sons of God from their rebellion.

I was amazed at the depth of the concept that Satan’s work on Malacandra was a line of evil, Earth was a square of evil, and that Perelandra (if it Fell) would be a cube, requiring some further great action of grace from God to redeem that world.

And then the burden placed on Ransom, that if he did not complete this work, Maleldil would have to redeem Perelandra in some other more glorious and terrible way. Astounding! This is some really heavy stuff, but then comes a moment of peace when the struggle is over. Ransom’s “burden is light,” as the Bible promises.

The redemption themes remind me of Edmund Pevensie in Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. In many ways, isn’t EVERY story a redemption story? Every human life is a story of redemption offered and received or rejected.

I love the paragraph that talks about patterns, and about how there is no such thing as coincidence. Every detail of everything everywhere in all of time is part of God’s design.

Chapter 12

And then the very first paragraphs of this chapter talk about Ransom “accidentally” running into the bubble trees. I don’t think so. There are no accidents. I look on this as his spiritual baptism. It says that Ransom’s “very stride was different as he emerged from them.” God was doing something for sure.

The actual fight, and the way it is described as two sedentary intellectuals with very little physical strength on either side, sort of reminds me of Rowling’s little skirmish between Harry and Draco. The whole fate of the wizarding world, and the master of the elder wand, all depends on two boys scuffling and grabbing for a wand. I wonder if she got the idea from here. But it’s a common theme in many classic myths and stories that great and momentous things hinge on the little things. Tolkien uses this theme too.

Then that flood of “lawful hatred” within Ransom which transforms the entire fight. First Lewis describes the physical side of the fight, and then the spiritual side. Actually the fight started with the intellect and the long discussions and reasoning, so we see every aspect of Ransom being called on to do battle with his mind, heart, body, and soul.

“my hounds are bred out of the spartan kind…” -Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare

Chapter 13

I find it astounding that Ransom eats some seaweed which imparts knowledge to him of what life under the ocean must be like for the merpeople. It’s so imaginative and weird! But I think it is also a little allusion to the fruit of Eden that imparts knowledge of good and evil; a food that changes you.

And then another long foolish discussion with Weston spouting nonsense. No wonder Ransom says “you might as well shut up.” I have to wonder if Lewis didn’t know people, pseudo intellectuals trying to sound smart and wise, who had maybe told him a lot of these idiotic things about spiritualism and death and how the universe works. So now Lewis puts those dumb ideas into this book and shows just how silly they really are.

It slows down the story though.

Chapter 14

I wonder if Lewis was ever in any caves. He writes about it so very convincingly and strongly, both here and in The Silver Chair. Having the final battle with a terrible hideous evil in a cave is a recurring theme in many epic stories; Tolkien used it too.

I wonder if this chapter is also symbolic of a new step in Ransom’s spiritual journey. First came the connection with God, the decision to kill the evil thing, accepting the burden of self-sacrifice, then a glory of rage, the chase, the actual killing, and then a journey in the dark, searching for light again, coming to terms with the consequences of your actions, and then to find that the thing isn’t dead at all! You have to fight that battle again, physically and mentally and emotionally and spiritually. A final triumph, and then rest and sleep cradled in the bowels of the earth. What a journey!

I think that Ransom was led to that cave so that he would have a way to completely destroy Weston’s body in the lava so that it could never be reanimated by demonic possession. Even the most horrible and terrifying events can have a good outcome and be the very tools that we needed in order to accomplish great and good things.

Chapter 15

I’m not sure what I think about the strange robed creature that Ransom sees in the caves. The stone thrones, and the chariot all suggest a highly-ordered society. And of course there are also the merpeople. Three races live on Perelandra, just as three races live on Malacandra. So what wild other races might there be, hidden in the depths of the ocean or in caves on Earth?!?! I wonder if the three races on Perelandra will grow to have the same kind of friendly trading that the aliens on Malacandra have. This whole idea of three races on each world is also significant because the number three is meaningful as being representative of the Trinity.

I love that Ransom’s emergence from underground is likened to a second birth. And I think he is ministered to by angels, the eldil, since he never needs to reach far to get food, and he heals so quickly.

I also think it is significant that Ransom comes out onto a mountain top. There are so many passages in the Bible that talk about mountains as places of safety and glory and rest. “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

And of course it is common to talk about mountains and valleys as being high points or low points in your life.

I love the description of the tiny forest with long rippling leaves. What a delight! The world-building just gets more and more imaginative.

The only way that I understood that Ransom was walking into a valley of HOLINESS was because he “looked for an angel with a flaming sword.” In Genesis, when Adam and Eve are cast out of Eden, the garden is guarded by an angel with a flaming sword. Ransom expects that he will be barred from entering such a holy place. Once again, the writing uses Ransom’s reactions to things to explain and describe the setting to the reader. Brilliant writing!

Chapter 16

Hooray for eldila! I just love the scenes with these crazy angels. It’s so imaginative!

Once again, we see how Ransom’s name is very deliberate and meaningful. Elwin means friend of the eldila.

I love how the Oyarsa of Perelandra tells Ransom about the singing beast, and says that the animal’s habits will bring wisdom to the King and Queen. There are many passages in the Bible that refer to animals’ habits as a way of teaching desired behavior. “Go to the ant, thou sluggard.” “The ox that treads the corn…” Plenty of Bible passages with animal wisdom.

“Be comforted in your smallness.” This is a recurring theme in all of Lewis’ works. There is a rest and comfort in knowing your own smallness, so that the big decisions do not lie with you, but you can just follow God’s leading and not have the crushing weight of that responsibility.

Ah yes, the wheels of Ezekiel. Ezekiel saw cherubim angels as two wheels within each other at right angles, so that the angel could move in any direction, and covered with eyes, symbolizing and demonstrating the complete omniscience and omnipresence of God. In other words, this demonstration of God’s power at work was a comfort to Ezekiel during difficult times. Perhaps our eldila intended the wheels to be a comfort to Ransom, but it was too disturbing and powerful for him.

“Pure, spiritual, intellectual love shot from their faces like barbed lightning.” What a great description of the eldila! They are so intense.

I like how Lewis delineates the masculine from the feminine as being separate from sex. Deep inside each person’s soul, God has created them as feminine or masculine. You can’t change the reality of who God created you to be.

I am reminded of Aslan crowning a King and Queen of Narnia in The Magician’s Nephew and all the Talking Animals gathered round in a grand ceremony. But this scene is much more solemn and deep and grand, partly because it is written for adults, and partly because it has been won by such a hard fight.

Chapter 17

I have often wondered what would have happened if Adam had refused to eat the fruit together with Eve. I have read and heard of poets praising Adam for sticking by Eve, that he would rather be with her in poverty and darkness than be without her and stay in the light by himself. And they twist it around to sound noble, but Adam sinned and chose darkness and chose to be his “own little Oyarsa”. That is not nobility. If only he had chosen to obey God, there is no knowing how Eve might have been redeemed and the entire human race and all the history of the world would be different.

I really liked the King. He has an attractive and powerful personality. I liked the gracious way he talked with authority and kindness.

There are phrases in this chapter that are directly paraphrased from the Psalms and other Bible passages.

I felt that the ending was really abrupt. I would have liked just a few sentences about Ransom back in England to bring it all the way around again, and maybe some commentary from the narrator about his own reactions to Ransom’s story.

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