Feb
19
2011

Talking Mice, Clouded Mirrors, and the Killing of Oversized Bugs

1/24/11

Have you ever watched a movie that related to you so personally that you paid twenty dollars to see it two times? I am that person. As a fan of allegory, I absolutely love the books series by C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia. When the third installment of the film series, “Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” was released in theaters, I knew that I would have to buy a ticket for the matinee at least once. While most wouldn’t necessarily consider this movie the most deep, philosophical, or critically acclaimed film of the century, it certainly spoke to me. There were three main things this movie brought to light in my life: (1) a need for closure, (2) my journey with God to see my true beauty and value, and (3) my battle against the darkness in the world and my own heart.

Of all the characters of all the movies I’ve seen that would help bring a sense of peace and closure to my life about the death of my grandfather, God would have the humor to use a noble, yet fiery talking mouse. The character of Reepicheep just had a quality about him that made him particularly relatable. He is the aforementioned mouse, who despite his size, fights whole-heartedly and valiantly for the cause of Narnia and Aslan. In the movie, Reepicheep encounters Eustace, a cousin of the original four children who entered Narnia in the previous films. He came to Narnia by what seemed to be chance and throughout his journey and poor decisions while in Narnia is transformed into a dragon. While Eustace is a dragon, Reepicheep encourages him with tales of his battles for Narnia, Aslan, and the general good. In the end, Reephicheep is a pivotal character in leading Eustace to Aslan, who changes him back into a boy and melts his heart. At the close of the film, Reepicheep has an experience equal to entering heaven with the highest of honors from Aslan himself and leaves a lasting impression with Eustace to continue in his love for Aslan.

The totality of the story line of this little mouse very much reminded me of my grandfather who passed away in early November. He was a poor, bald, uneducated preacher man who grew up in the mountains. To most people, he would be considered the small mouse on a scale of worldly grandeur. But despite his meek standing, he loved his God and fought valiantly for the gospel and the sake of others. He was the mouse who lead many a dragon to the Lion that became their savior from their disbelief and mistakes. Watching the little mouse hop in a turtle shell and sail over the wall of waves into Aslan’s country was such an overwhelming sense of closure and relief in dealing with the death of my grandfather. My grandfather’s wish in life was to lead people to Christ and defend God’s kingdom. If his ability to do that was taken, the highest honor he could ever receive would be to spend eternity in heaven with Jesus, just as it was Reepicheep’s to spend eternity with Aslan. My grandfather had fought valiantly, and it was his time to go over the waves to wait on the rest of us.

Another thread in the plot of the movie is Lucy’s battle with her perception of beauty and her own appearance. She longs for nothing more than to be held as beautiful and lovely, like her elder sister Susan. As the story progresses, Lucy finds a spell that will make her look like her sister. Upon casting the spell, she looks into the mirror. When she sees her self as Susan, the mirror becomes an entrance to an alternate reality where she is the center of everyone’s attention, but in actuality has wished her true self away. Not only did she rid this alter-reality of herself but of Narnia as well, because she was the one who first discovered Narnia. When the situation becomes overwhelming, Aslan appears to Lucy to undo the spell and question why she doubts her value.

Since I was a young girl, I’ve had a struggle with my self-image. Over the past year, God has been breaking me in certain areas and showing me His love and what His view of me looks like. Seeing Lucy’s character struggle with her perception of self and her value based in beauty, I immediately was paying attention. When Aslan spoke to her and undid all of the damage she caused by wishing for something that was never meant for her, I was reminded of the journey that I am on and the ways that God is helping me to undo the damage I have caused by striving for something I was never created for. Lucy’s part in defeating the White Witch in previous movies (and books) that had held such power over the entire land of Narnia was critical, and her value was far more than her appearance. God used that scene as a reminder that He has used me and will continue using me to help people break the darkness in their lives and my own with His help, despite whether I feel like I am beautiful to those around me. My true beauty lies in my value in His plan.

Aside from realizing one’s value and importance in the big picture of life, another theme in this movie was temptation. Over and over again, certain characters were tempted, the demise of other characters due to temptation was present, and the power of fear and temptation in combination was shown. This movie also emphasized the dire consequences of succumbing to temptation, on both a personal and collective level. In the end there is a heroic battle scene against what in the film is the incarnation of personal and collective fear and temptation – a grotesque sea serpent that resembled a colossal centipede. In the end, the sea monster is defeated at very close range with a glowing sword that is endowed with extraordinary powers.

During this scene, I was instantly reminded of the importance of Scripture in our daily battles against fear, sin, and temptation. In order to truly begin to defeat these vices in our lives, we have to enter the treacherous striking range of what we are fighting against and fearlessly use God’s word as a weapon against it. I often forget that God has given us His word in order to be used as a sword to defeat the darkness in our hearts. I have the image of Edmund’s character standing with the sword, glowing bright blue, and defeating the image of evil engrained into my mind. I realized that I don’t truly utilize the power that God has given me in His word, and that if I were to employ that power, the battles against my own personal sea serpents would be much more effective.

God speaks in the most unlikely of ways. Whether I over-allegorized the plot and characters and have made the story into something it was never meant to be, this movie impacted me in such a great way that I did, in fact, go to see it two times (no hyperbole there). It struck a chord in my heart on such a deep, deep level. It’s funny how talking mice, dreams of alter-egos that live in a world through the mirror, and glowing swords being plunged into the belly of an oversized bug can speak so greatly to the love, patience, and beauty of a great and holy God. But they do, and powerfully so.

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