cyberghostface: (Right One 2)
[personal profile] cyberghostface posting in [community profile] scans_daily

This is an adaptation of a short story Neil Gaiman wrote in response to The Chronicles of Narnia, specifically The Last Battle. Gaiman has often spoken fondly of Lewis but it's clear he also has a few criticisms.

For the first half of the story he makes a number of legitimate points in regards to Lewis' writing and then it... turns into something else. I honestly don't know what Gaiman is trying to say with it.

NSFW for nudity and gore (...yeah). Also goes without saying that if you haven't read the series this spoils a number of plot points from the last book.

Date: 2019-03-18 02:31 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] gnarll
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


Date: 2019-03-18 02:44 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] locuatico
"The Problem of Susan" is actually a pretty old discussion of the Narnia books, essentially on wether or not Susan "deserved" to be punished by not being allowed in heaven, wether or not her path to heaven was supposed to be different than her brothers, etc.

Basically, this is Gaiman's take/response to "The Susan Problem". He is arguing that, rather than being denied heaven, she was able to survive Narnia and grow to be old . With The Professor representing a Susan who managed to grow into old age and die a peaceful death. (and that, if she had been punished by God, then it's more accurate that she had been betrayed)

The dream sequence is both Greta getting her answer to the question and representing The Professor's death.
Or it could be Gaiman being Gaima, who knows. he also wrote a story in which Snow White is a vampire.

Date: 2019-03-18 03:00 pm (UTC)
crabby_lioness: (Default)
From: [personal profile] crabby_lioness
Narnia makes a lot of readers angry, long before you get to the end. In many ways it's worse than Little Women, which doesn't pretend it's taking you anywhere special before it betrays you into patriarchal clichés.
Edited Date: 2019-03-18 03:03 pm (UTC)

Date: 2019-03-18 03:13 pm (UTC)
laughing_tree: (Default)
From: [personal profile] laughing_tree
As Gaiman says in the Fragile Things introduction:

There is so much in the books that I love, but each time I found the disposal of Susan to be intensely problematic and deeply irritating. I suppose I wanted to write a story that would be equally problematic, and just as much of an irritant, if from a different direction, and to talk about the remarkable power of children’s literature.

Date: 2019-03-18 03:13 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] locuatico
so writing your average Harry Potter fan-fic, then (ba dum tish)

Date: 2019-03-18 10:51 pm (UTC)
crabby_lioness: (Default)
From: [personal profile] crabby_lioness
It's the sense, specifically, of betrayal.

Date: 2019-03-18 03:09 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] gnarll
I think he is connecting Aslan to the Beast of the apocalypse, which were supposed to have a lions mouth and a leopards body, rather than the more obvious Christ identity. And the Witch would be the Whore of Babylon.

It could be seen as a "everything you thought you knew is wrong" of Narnia, or just that Susans experience of them was different, like the Dwarves in the stable had an entirely different, while still valid experience of reality.

Date: 2019-03-19 03:26 am (UTC)
bruinsfan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bruinsfan
My view on it is that Gaiman, at his core, is a horror writer. It's a sensibility that certainly comes through in this story. I think the resolution (if one could call it that) is meant to be disturbing, while not necessarily an indication of his one true approach to the morality of the Narnia characters.

Date: 2019-03-18 03:54 pm (UTC)
cygnia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cygnia
So, are the Narnia books considered public domain now?

Date: 2019-03-19 02:03 am (UTC)
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
From: [personal profile] skjam
And the professor is never explictly said to be the same person as Susan Pevensie.

Date: 2019-03-18 04:34 pm (UTC)
deh_tommy: (Gavla)
From: [personal profile] deh_tommy
I always thought Susan's 'exclusion' was more that she abandoned 'childish' things in an effort to be 'more adult', and as a result fell into superficiality and shallow materialism? My interpretation of things is not that she's intentionally excluded from Narnia; she chose to disbelieve in the metaphysical, and won't really appreciate the value of her 'childish fantasies' until she's truly matured.

Heck, C.S. Lewis even says "The books don't tell us what happened to Susan. She is left alive in this world at the end, having by then turned into a rather silly, conceited young woman. But there's plenty of time for her to mend and perhaps she will get to Aslan's country in the end... in her own way.".

On a smaller note, wasn't the Witch long dead by the time The Last Battle took place? What's she doing here?

Date: 2019-03-18 05:06 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] locuatico
it's... complicated.
there is that, but there is also the part that Aslan is Jesus Christ and the kids being sent to the christian heaven while the text explicitly says Susan is not welcome there (at least right now)
There is also the part in which Susan may be a stand-in for Lewis himself and his own personal stuff and his own personal tragedies.

Then there is the discussion between authorial intent (what the author intended) and wether it takes priority over reader interpretation (ie, the text seems condemning of Susan)

On why the witch is here, the dream sequence is not necessarily supposed to be "the last battle" specifically (you will notice only the siblings are present), but rather using familiar iconography in a way that is disruptive of the original text.

Jadis is the most well known and familiar anatagonist of the Narnia books (even before Tilda Swinton's wonderful performance) and more likely to be familiar to most readers than... say... Tash, Aslan fundamental opposite with the head of a bird and who you can easily confuse with smoke....

Date: 2019-03-18 04:52 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] broblawsky
After reading The Screwtape Letters, I've come to conclude that Lewis simply didn't believe that 'silly' or 'fashionable' people had any genuine spiritual interests whatsoever. Which is disturbingly uncharitable on his part, if true.

Date: 2019-03-18 09:46 pm (UTC)
mister_terrific: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mister_terrific
You think Screwtape is something, try The Great Divorce.

Date: 2019-03-18 10:22 pm (UTC)
deh_tommy: (Gavla)
From: [personal profile] deh_tommy
To be fair, Susan explicitly cuts off her own ties to Narnia by choosing to abandon it as foolishly wasted time. As Aslan says, even he is powerless to do anything for the faithless (not just faith in him, but faith in anything).

Date: 2019-03-18 11:33 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] broblawsky
That's my point: Lewis believes that people like Susan don't have faith in anything. When he can describe her as faithless, I think he's accusing a huge swath of people of being faithless. Lewis' attribution of spirituality to others is very narrow.

Date: 2019-03-19 05:36 pm (UTC)
lissa_quon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lissa_quon
Though - I always find that argument weird. That whole "she cut ties and rejected it" bit. Aslan cuts her off. In Prince Caspian Peter and her are told they are "too old" and can not come back. And they are cut off from the story after that fact. We never hear from them again except in passing.

We have no idea what Peter thinks of the situation. Peter never gets much character. And all we hear about Susan after everything is the "lipstick and nylons." It always seems strange that we accuse her of "abandoning" it when Aslan is the one who ended things.

Date: 2019-03-18 06:10 pm (UTC)
beyondthefringe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] beyondthefringe
For anyone interested in books which also tackle the ida of a post-Narnia-esque experience, I wholeheartedly recommend Seanan McGuire’s Wayard Children series, or The Light Between Worlds by Laura Weymouth.

Date: 2019-03-19 01:44 am (UTC)
beyondthefringe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] beyondthefringe
Yup. I'm so excited for her and I hope the adaptation goes well. :)
She's a hell of a writer.

Date: 2019-03-19 03:51 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] thezmage
The book “Soon I Will Be Inviincible” also features a grown up pseudo-Susan as a superhero in a minor role

Date: 2019-03-18 08:50 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] donnblake
For some reason, the bit that always stuck with me of Gaiman's "The Problem of Susan," was the bit that describes an imaginary Mary Poppins book, in which the children visit heaven, and Jesus is faintly terrified of Mary Poppins (because she had been *his* Nanny) and God, when asked if he had created Mary Poppins, replies, "Not her. I didn't create *her*. She's *Mary Poppins*."

At least, I *think* this is where that came from. I also once concluded that Gaiman's Doctor Who short story "What Time is It, Mr. Wolf?" had been an actual episode, which I had watched, so my record's not all it could be.

Date: 2019-03-18 10:30 pm (UTC)
lordultimus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lordultimus
Sounds like LoEG III.

Date: 2019-03-19 01:15 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] donnblake
Yeah, I vaguely recall that too, but in all fairness, Gaiman and Moore echoing each other wouldn't come as the greatest shock in the world.

Date: 2019-03-18 09:03 pm (UTC)
shakalooloo: (Default)
From: [personal profile] shakalooloo
Poor Susan, not lucky enough to have been killed young in a train crash. Those lucky, lucky other kids, who got to die before their time and go to Heaven.

She'll get there eventually, after she's forced to watch helplessly as her siblings are taken. Alone and powerless, unable to even look away and forget.

Date: 2019-03-18 09:50 pm (UTC)
mister_terrific: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mister_terrific
I have *never* liked The Last Battle because of what Lewis did with Susan. It seemed so inconsistent with the rest of the stories. I mean, for crying out loud, Eustace got to go.

I've read two of the better "Susan's Destiny" stories on Tumblr. On one, she's an old woman who befriends a very PTSD and magic-weary Harry Potter, helping him come to grips with everything post-Voldemort.

The other was where a just-graduated Susan is introduced to a lady with a job offer--the lady in question being Agent Peggy Carter. :)

Date: 2019-03-18 10:34 pm (UTC)
deh_tommy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] deh_tommy
Emeth got to go, too, and he didn't even believe in Aslan (though as the latter explains, that's not entirely necessary). On the other hand, there's nothing saying she's never going to get there (plus, there's also the most obvious reason why she didn't show up – that being she's not dead).

If I'm not being rude, do you happen to have a link to that Harry Potter story, or at least know whom the author is?

Date: 2019-03-19 01:04 am (UTC)
mister_terrific: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mister_terrific
You would not believe how I ended up tracking this one down:

(god's truth, I remembered copying it and sending it to my daughter, so I scrolled back to get the author's name, and several google searches later I triumphed!)

The Peggy Carter crossover is here:

Here's another good one:
Edited Date: 2019-03-19 01:06 am (UTC)

Date: 2019-03-19 05:43 pm (UTC)
lissa_quon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lissa_quon
If we are sharing fun Susan fic - here's an Ursula Vernon one. Though its more along the lines of "who the hell wants to go through puberty twice"

Date: 2019-03-19 06:24 pm (UTC)
mister_terrific: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mister_terrific
Thank you for sharing that. It was incredibly powerful and lord, there is no way in hell I'd go through that twice.

Date: 2019-03-18 11:03 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] remial
you know what bugged me about the Narnia books?
the first 4 kids in Lion Witch and the Wardrobe, it was a HUGE deal that they were brought to Narnia as there were ZERO humans in that land, and ONLY a human could kill the White Witch, right?
the world was full of talking animals and no human beings, with the Witch being the closest there was to a human.
Then everyone goes home.
when they go back, BAM humans.
where did all these humans come from? the only 2 boys and only 2 girls in the world?
that's right, incest.

Date: 2019-03-19 12:25 am (UTC)
lordultimus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lordultimus
Narnia is just one country in a very large continent. The humans came from other countries.

Date: 2019-03-19 02:24 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] donnblake
Sure, but the humans in those other countries came from Narnia. (Or at least, the Kings of Archenland are descended from the First King of Narnia).

And the whole only sons of Adam and daughters of Eve can break the White Witch's power is a little odd if there's a whole country of them just across the border.

Date: 2019-03-19 10:26 am (UTC)
lordultimus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lordultimus
There is such a thing as closed borders.

Date: 2019-03-19 12:42 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] donnblake
Sure, and there's such a thing as crossing them anyways.

There's also such a thing as writing a single book which has some odd discontinuities when you expand it into a larger world/series. C.S. Lewis certainly wouldn't be the only one to do that, and it's not as though the world building was the main draw of the series.

Date: 2019-03-19 03:59 pm (UTC)
lordultimus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lordultimus
Fair enough.

Date: 2019-03-19 05:23 pm (UTC)
lissa_quon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lissa_quon
She DID freeze the place to eternal winter. The Horse and His Boy have a conversation between two countrymen from a neighboring land talking about it. They knew the place was frozen solid- and decided that crossing was not worth the trouble. Cause even if they did - what's there? A bunch of ice, a powerful witch and a bunch of talking animals. Not really a place worth messing with.

Though that doesn't explain why no one from Archenland came over.

But yea - nah it does reek a bit of "oh let me add on to this thing I didn't intend to originally"

silverzeo: (Default)
From: [personal profile] silverzeo
I have my own ideas about Susan after the Final Battle.

It has been a long while since I read the books, so forgive me if I forget a detail or 2 here or there.

The way I see it, the reason why Susan was "spared' from going to the True Narnia, was to keep it and the lessons learned there around for others. Sort of like a opposite of Janus from "The Wizard's Apprentice", where she was the queen of a dying world, with her vices spreading to other worlds, Susan would spread the virtues of Narnia to others... kinda like Sora from Kingdom Hearts. Afterall, the Final Battle brought idea of acts of good and evil standing on their own, regardless whose name they are done in. Plus, it kinda makes the first and last books come to full circle in their own way...

Sure, the whole "liking lipsticks and nylon didn't get her into heaven when her family dies" thing is pretty MESS up and is on par is questioning the existence/virtue of God... but as best I can see it as a means for her to think fondly of what she had in her childhood, and maybe give her a deep sense of empathy for others' "silly childhoods" of their worlds too... I know that's sounds a lot like Women in Refrigerator in a way, but like I said: It's the best way I can see it. Maybe even she could encounter he family in different worlds too...

It sounds a little fanfic-y I know, but that's my ideal outcome for Susan. Even though the world of Narnia was done, the queen of the realm still has more adventures...

Date: 2019-03-20 02:03 am (UTC)
commodus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] commodus
It's impossible to discuss the issue with a lot of Narnia fans, because Aslan = Jesus and Jesus can do no wrong ever and is completely above any criticism whatsoever. But I find it interesting that as a character Aslan is so happy with judging others when he has a physical presence in his own world, yet refuses to act to actually make anything better or stop people from suffering. And when he does interfere - say by killing the Witch - it actually makes things more unstable, as she was the only one preventing Narnia's enemies from trying to invade.
I mean, if Lewis was actively trying to depict a capricious and foolish God, he succeeded, but if we were meant to respect him as a character it might have been good if Aslan, y'know, ever admitted that he was wrong? Or was actually treated with anything other than fawning praise by all the main characters?

Date: 2019-03-20 03:46 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] donnblake
That's another thing. What's Jesus Lion doing in Prince Caspain hanging out with Pan and Silenus? Sometimes the allegory is pretty on the nose (the Stone Table and Dragon!Eustace leap to mind) but I have to admit I lost the thread a bit with that part.

Date: 2019-03-20 11:30 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] gnarll
I always thought it reads better if you read Narnia as a metaphor for childrens imagination, and its power. When you grow up, you have to leave it behind. The only way to keep it is not to grow up.
In a way the death of the other children echo the poem about the fallen WW1 soldiers:

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."

-For the Fallen, Binyon.

Through this lens, Susan mirrors the survivors of the battlefields, coming home to grow old and grow up with her contemporaries in her memory, frozen in youth.

When interpreting Aslan as Christ, I think it is useful to remember how much PTSD
Christ may have from the way things ended the last time.


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