Transparent Evil

During Thanksgiving break, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” played on the Disney channel. In my youth I enjoyed the book, but now that I'm older I have a strong distaste for it. I'm not one for overt Christian allegory as it is, but I realized while watching the Aslan death scene that there was something more to it than that. It's the same in LOTR, and probably part of the reason I've migrated away from that kind of storytelling in general. I strongly dislike the definition of evil in these stories.

It's not simply the cookie cutter mold of evil that we so often get. You know, the flat characters who do as their author tells them so as to move the story along. What I truly dislike is the entire depiction of this evil. It's obvious, clearly defined, and serves as more of a disservice to those that the writer is trying to warn with his cautionary tale.

Wardrobe is a perfect example. Evil is obvious. It is the feminine that seeks power, the twisted black horn that drives into Aslan, it wears black armor, snarls and bites, it speaks with a silvery tongue, lies to get what it wants, its weapons are crooked and rusty. Good, on the other hand, battles with gleaming steal, wears white cowboy hats and rides a shimmering steed. It is the patriarchy guided by truth and justice. The feminine is allowed to exist only in so far as it stays within the confines set up for it. While Good is not forced to follow rules but instead chooses to, it can rewrite them in order to win the day.

How lopsided and one dimensional can you get? I mean think about it, when Good brings the dead back to life we sing “He has arisen,” but when Evil does we curse them as the damned. How easy would it be to make a case for bringing the dead back to life? Yet no one ever does. When the Witch demands justice as set forth by the laws written by Aslan himself, she is made out to be wicked; and yet, if the roles were reversed we'd cheer the good guy for “outwitting” his enemy.

I guess my main problem with it all is simply this: it doesn't inspire thought. These stories aren't meant to facilitate discussion, they're designed to give instructions. They paint things in Black and White even though life is so much more complicated than that. Granted, at the very beginning Jadis starts out as somewhat kind to our gullible son of Adam, but really anyone watching is sitting thinking, “No, you big idiot, don't do it.”


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