Monday, December 12, 2005

King Peter the Magnificent

I just got a chance to see Narnia, and it's a pretty good film. It has all the flaws and joys of the book, and dissecting those is a topic for another time. What I especially like about The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is Lewis's treatment of the heroism of youth. Note the age of the young heroes, who, nevertheless are heroic, fighting even in Real Battles. We tend to think children can't do anything, and shouldn't be challenged to do anything, because they can't do anything. The problem is, that if we never challenge them to do anything, they won't ever do anything, because they can't do anything. Let me put it this way: if Aslan had thought to himself "I can't entrust Peter with this mission because he's just a boy, not ready for such things," then Peter would still be a boy, not ready for such things. As Aristotle noted long ago, the only way to acquire virtue is to do virtuous actions. The only way to become great is to be great.

In this age of delayed adulthood, delayed marriage, and general delayed responsibility, examples of the heroism of youth are poignant. And I know Narnia is just fiction, but those who lived when Lewis lived knew much of heroism. We could learn.

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