Monday, December 19, 2005

The Lion, the Witch, and Beef Carpaccio

Yesterday Kate and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary. Twenty-three years ago this dark-haired babe and this slender (well, as slender as it ever got, given those genes) dude stood before God and man and woman and toddlers and promised to love, honor, and serve one another. Twenty-three years later this silver-haired babe and this balding fat guy worshiped in a church where some of those toddlers are now all grown up, and raising toddlers of their own. It's a different church, with a few more churches in between, and with a lot of joy and sorrow woven throughout. I married Kate for many reasons (the dark-haired babe factor being somewhat prominent), but mainly because she was my best friend. She still is. I hate the term "soul mate." It conjures up images of New Agers and newspaper ads for singles. But I love her beauty and her compassion and her wisdom. She's not the same person she was 23 years ago. Neither am I. But I like to think, and I'm fairly certain that it's true, that if I'm a better person, it's mostly because of her. I tried for a while to get married, went through a succession of girlfriends, and one broken engagement. And I married the right person. I like to think, and I'm fairly certain that it's true, that if that's the case, it's because of God, who knew me better than I knew myself.

We went to see The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe after church. I enjoyed it, although not as much as I'd hoped. I know this story very well, and the movie was actually very faithful to C.S. Lewis' book. Certainly it was better than any of the other film adaptations of the story I've seen (there was a particularly painful PBS version from about ten years ago). But I found myself making comparisons to The Lord of the Rings trilogy throughout, and TLOTR was superior in every way. Battle scenes with no blood? Please. Perhaps because it's a story intended for small children, but I found the story itself to be antiseptic and shallow and about as a subtle as a sledgehammer. The Aslan/Christ parallels are blindingly obvious. And they are in the book as well, of course. In any event, I found myself longing for deeper, more complex characters. But that would have meant a different story, I suppose. I read The Chronicles of Narnia for the first time as an adult, and I had the same complaint. Perhaps I just came to this story too late in life.

Afterwards we headed to Lindey's in German Village. It was snowing. The luminaries were lit. There was a brass band playing Christmas carols on a street corner, and a street vendor roasting chestnuts out in front of the restaurant. It was all quaintly Victorian in the best faux-Dickens sense. God bless us every one. The meal was fabulous, and included Beef Carpaccio -- raw beef with shaved Parmesan cheese and Portobello mushrooms. Mmmm. The carnivore in me still wasn't sated, however, so I went for the New York Strip Steak, while Kate opted for scallops. All in all, it was a great day. And it's a wonderful life. Really. In spite of my depression, it really is.


danthress said...

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing your day.

Mark K. said...

It's good to see people in CV that are at least a wee bit older than me. Kath & I had our 21st aniversery on 12/15.

We also took the kids to see Narnia yesterday. Most of my complaints were like yours - based on the fact that it is a children's story. I suppose that's why the alegory is paper thin. I like Tolkin more because there's no alegory but types (Gandolf - resurected; Aragorn - returning king; Frodo - sacrificial servant; Tom Bombadill - his word is obeyed and he's preocupied with joy; etc.)

About your depression, have you ever tried cognative behavorial therapy (CBT)? It has the highest success rate with depression of all the "talk therapies." When combined with medication, the success rate is very good.

daniel fox said...

i love shaved beef prepared in the manner you described!. i however was cringing by the end of your post because i could almost taste the goodness, and i was just immagining how the hell i was going to pay for a new york strip with my gas and credit card bill! argh.

danthress said...

Andy & Kate, congratulations btw.

teddy dellesky said...

Happy Anniversary, Andy!

Karen said...

happy anniversary, andy and kate!

as for the movie, i am personally GLAD the makers didn't feel the need to gorify the story. stick to the book, and it will be magical to children. you CAN'T compare it to LOTR b/c that is an entirely different movie. it's like comparing LOTR and harry potter. (okay so chronicles is a bit more similar than potter, but still.). this way i get to take my five year old and not be worried that he will have nightmares, plus we get to enjoy the children's book on the big screen.

all that being said, i haven't seen it yet. :D

mg said...

we saw the movie last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. i read the books when i was a kid and perhaps that made all the difference. but i was glad that they stuck to the story. i thought it really was a good representation of the book and the kids who portrayed peter, susan, edmund, and lucy were terrific also.

Andy Whitman said...

Here's a link to Jeff Overstreet's excellent review in Christianity Today. There was something about Aslan's portrayal in the movie that bothered me, and he's nailed what it was:

John McCollum said...


I think I agree with you about Aslan; something was definitely missing. I had at first attributed it to the strange casting choice, or maybe even the imperfect animation.

Overall, I think that the movie seemed less authoritative, less serious than the book. Still, I was surprised at how much Edmund's redemption moved me. I guess I'm a sucker for screwups with a mean streak.


Strictly speaking, the Narnia books aren't allegories; they're supposals. Lewis said that he was trying to explore what would have happened if Christ had visited a place like Narnia.

If I read Narnia as an allegory, I notice some theological problems -- perhaps even some mild heresies. Tolkein's stuff is less problematic on that level. It's also less didactic; the 'message' seeps in, it's not injected.