Page 1 of 1

Compass

PostPosted: 02 May 2009, 09:55
by hammurabi2000
Tolkein'e elves had a mind to go West. 'Going West' during the Great War was a euphemism to describe all those who had either died or been wounded and were therefore no longer there. They had literally gone West but also the sun sets in the West. In Tolkein's land of Middle Earth you went West over the sea and East over the land. In Lewis's Narnia you went East over the sea towards the rising sun and the land went West. Does anyone know of anything written on the significance of these issues in the books these authors wrote?

Re: Compass

PostPosted: 02 May 2009, 16:23
by rusmeister
I think it significant that Tolkien pointed to the West and Lewis to the East. Of course, there is the idea that Lewis was an anonymous Orthodox...

Don't know who's written about it, though.

Re: Compass

PostPosted: 02 May 2009, 20:36
by The Quangle Wangle
I believe Tolkien had the ocean to the west of the continent because Middle Earth was supposed to be Europe in some ancient period. I suppose Lewis just decided to go the other way round.

Re: Compass

PostPosted: 03 May 2009, 01:05
by Leslie
The West in Tolkien's work makes me think of Tir nan og, the paradise of Celtic mythology, which also lies to the West.

Re: Compass

PostPosted: 19 Jun 2009, 16:47
by A#minor
Leslie wrote:The West in Tolkien's work makes me think of Tir nan og, the paradise of Celtic mythology, which also lies to the West.

Oooh, that's interesting!

I think Lewis emphasized the East b/c he was trying to create the imagery of the morning sun and new beginnings, brand new day, and portray Christ (as the morning star)... that sort of thing. All his main characters are very young and in the morning of their lives.

Tolkien's world is already old and the time of the elves is dying, so he emphasizes the West as a place of rest at the end of a weary life. Most of his characters are older and in the midday or "sunset of their lives" we could say.
Just a thought.

Re: Compass

PostPosted: 20 Jun 2009, 08:31
by hammurabi2000
A#minor wrote:
Leslie wrote:The West in Tolkien's work makes me think of Tir nan og, the paradise of Celtic mythology, which also lies to the West.

Oooh, that's interesting!

I think Lewis emphasized the East b/c he was trying to create the imagery of the morning sun and new beginnings, brand new day, and portray Christ (as the morning star)... that sort of thing. All his main characters are very young and in the morning of their lives.

Tolkien's world is already old and the time of the elves is dying, so he emphasizes the West as a place of rest at the end of a weary life. Most of his characters are older and in the midday or "sunset of their lives" we could say.
Just a thought.


Interesting then that the general view seems to be that the choice corresponds to the rising and setting of the sun and the context of the reader. However, it would seem they have never written as to why they chose what they did.

Re: Compass

PostPosted: 22 Oct 2009, 02:53
by tjcam
Interesting point about Lewis being an anonymous orthodox, seem to remember reading a book by an ex-student of his, claiming he was an anonymous catholic.

Re: Compass

PostPosted: 27 Oct 2009, 17:15
by Paul F. Ford
tjcam wrote:Interesting point about Lewis being an anonymous orthodox, seem to remember reading a book by an ex-student of his, claiming he was an anonymous catholic.


The book is C.S.Lewis and the Church of Rome by Christopher Derrick (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1981) ISBN-13: 978-0898700091.

Re: Compass

PostPosted: 29 Oct 2009, 14:30
by Lioba
Going West can refer to Tir Na Nog, maybe even Avalon. Its roots lie in Celtic mythologie.
Going East comes from Christian background. Look at the ground plan of the old churches- The altar to the East, the direction of the Eucharistical celebration originally to the East- the Athos is sometimes seen as a stronghold against the spirits of the West.
The Zephyr in pagan tradition is bringing forth fertility, positive. In the eyes of early Christianity he´s seen as bringing forth the more disorderd feelings connected with fertility.
Another aspect is the political aspect in Tolkien- also he denies direct connection there are some obvious lines.
In Lewis books we may find the contrast North- South.