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Malacandran Triad

PostPosted: 29 Sep 2010, 09:36
by Kanakaberaka
I've been meaning to post a small study on this subject years ago. But since the Wardrobe's doors are about to be closed for good, I see I must post a small essay or nothing at all.

Over on his Discarded Image study, Stanley Anderson mentioned an arcitectural detail called a triad. Basicly, it's two different elements connected by a third one. This had me thinking about the three indigenous races of Malacadra and their relationship to one another. It seems that C.S. Lewis was trying to say something about Earthly philosophies through the use of his imaginary Martians.

I'd like to begin with the pfifltriggi, Though not because of favoritism.

Physical Pfifltriggi

PostPosted: 29 Sep 2010, 09:58
by Kanakaberaka
While the race of the pfifltriggi have only a cameo appearance in Out of the Silent Planet, they do play an important part. A sort of foundation for the other Malacandrans'. They are master artisans of all things material. Not content to create simple devices, they look for challleging inventions to manufacture. They belive that the artist who works with a certain material should also collect that material just so he has an appreciation for it. Thus pfifltrig goldsmith's go down into mines just to see for themselves how "sun's blood" in collected. Yet oddly enough, being an unfallen race, they do not hoard these artifacts, but share them with other hnau.
For some reason, Lewis does not have Ransom journey through a pfifltrigg city. I found this strange since in such a city unique architecture and Malacandran technology could certainly be found. So why not? I suspect that Lewis wanted to minimise science fiction hardware in this book and focus on the unfallen people and their leader, the Oyarsa.
The pfifltriggi live under a matriarchy because they have much regard for the females of their race.
They appear to represent the best of physical nature untouched by original sin.

Intellectual Seroni

PostPosted: 29 Sep 2010, 10:17
by Kanakaberaka
The seroni, or sorns appear so different from the diminutive, "insect like" pfifltriggi. The seroni are giant, humanoids with bird like origins. They live out on the near airless harandra, the original surface of Malacandra. Unlike the pfifltriggi, they have little regard for their females. The males of their race spend all their energies upon intellectual pursuits. While they respect the knowlege contained in their books, they want to memorize all their contents so that the physical pages will no longer be necessary. They prize their intellect above all else, with the exception of Maleldil of course. When the seroni design new inventions they take their plans down to the pfifltriggi who appreciate the opportunity to bring the ideas into physical reality. These two races depend on one another in this way.
I wonder if maybe Lewis made a charicature of his own scholastic life with these beings. They do not seem at all practical on their own. Yet taken along side the other two Malacandran races, they complement one another. It's more than simply symbiosis. It's a spiritual need as well.

Spiritual Hrossa

PostPosted: 29 Sep 2010, 11:07
by Kanakaberaka
If the pfifltriggi represent the appetite, and the seroni the intellect, then the hrossa must represent the spiritual aspect of life. When Lewis wrote about Men without chests in The Abolition of Man he was refering to people who lacked a spiritual link between their guts and their brains. That's where the triad constuction comes in. I think of the Malacandran hnau as prototypes for our own Earthbound humanity. What each one of us should posses individualy, the Malacandrans appear to have collectively. And the Hrossa are the lynch pin to their existence.
What do the Hrossa do along the handramit where they live? When they are not risking their lives hunting down the hnakra, they spend their time dancing, singing and creating poetry. They are the "heart" or coer of the Malcandran hnau. They represent what makes life worth living. It's not fine craftmanship or studious ideas which inspire people to make the most out of life. It's the spirit behind our industry that justifies it. Divine spirit which directs our thoughts toward propper goals.
Lewis must have tried to suggest something when he made the hrossa appear as giant otters. It's the warm blooded mammal I suspect he wanted us to think of. The alien pfifltriggi lack the "humanity" of the hrossa. And the Seroni appear so far beyond what humans desire. The Hrossa have things "just right" because they link the physical and intellectual world with the spiritual.