Supplemental Viewing: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

So while I was writing my post about travelling devices I felt the urge to write about one of my favorite childhood books and now movie The Lion,the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The story is set during World War II as the Pevensie children are sent away to stay with Professor Kirke. The four Pevensie children Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy were playing hide and seek in the professor’s house when Lucy the youngest of the four hides in a large wardrobe she finds. As she is in the wardrobe she walks towards the back and enters a strange patch of woods covered with snow. Once she wanders through the woods she meets a faun named Mr.Tumnas. Mr. Tumnas tells Lucy all about the wonderful land of Narnia and she eagerly goes back to tell her siblings about her adventure. Once she informs her siblings they go back to the wardrobe and realize that the back of the wardrobe in just a piece of wood and they tease her. However, out of curiosity the second youngest boy, Edmund, follows Lucy as she enters the wardrobe at a later time and it works. He too meets and interesting character called the White Witch who tricks him into believing that she is a good Queen of Narnia by giving him Turkish delight. Eventually all four of the children enter the wardrobe and realize all of Narnia’s wonder. They meet the beavers who explain how the witch came to power and how Aslan the powerful lion is on the move and gaining back his power. The White Witch kidnaps Edmund and threatens to kill him until Aslan sacrifices his own life to save Edmund’s. Aslan eventually rises from the dead and defeats the White Witch. Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy all enjoy living in Narnia until one day they stumble back to the wardrobe. Once they return home they explain to the professor their travels and they find out that they have returned on the same day that they left and that very little time had passed.
I think it is interesting that the travel device used in this story is a wardrobe. However, when I think about it a large wardrobe is a perfect place to fit a couple of teenage humans. I also think it is interesting that even though the characters seemed to have been gone for years in the magical world of Narnia they actually came to realize that they were not gone for very much time at all. This concept is similar to many other time travel stories such as Kindred. I really appreciate the simplicity of the travelling device and how it greatly contrasts with the complexity of the story itself which is filled with vast amounts of theology. I also like that a child came across the wardrobe travelling device. Seeing as time travel is seemingly impossible it is fun to imagine that children could stumble across such a device while playing.


Time Travel Machines and Devices

So when we were in class today and everyone was sharing their final project ideas I was sort of distracted/inspired and I began to think of some things that I had not thought of and some of these ideas have helped me elaborate on my paper.
My paper in a nutshell compares Slaughter-House Five and Kindred and within this comparison it talks about how these two novels and their main characters have so much in common yet are so different. One of the similarities I am focusing on is that in both novels the main characters have no control over when they travel. This lack of control made me realize that this semester we have discussed so many different types of time travel. For instance, in Slaughter-House Five Billy Pilgrim travels back and forth between different times of his life. Similarly, Dana is summoned by Rufus and is notified that she is travelling by a nauseating feeling in her stomach. Neither Dana or Billy Pilgrim use a machine like in Primer ,La Jete , The Time Machine, and etc. Also, neither character seemed to simply fall asleep as in some other tales we have mentioned such as Rip Van Winkle and Alice in Wonderland. I think it is interesting how literature has progressed to have us traveling through sleep, then we moved onto an actual machine like in The Time Machine and from the idea of the machine we have evolved this idea into many different forms of travel. I do not think it matters necessarily how the characters travel through time however, I do think it makes the novel more genre specific if the novel includes some type of travelling device.
For instance, before this class whenever I would think of time travel an image of “Back to the Future” and Michael J. Fox would pop into my head. Now that we have explored such a wide variety of time travel stories it was super easy to make many recent movies fit into the time travel genre while I was picking out my supplemental viewing.

Romantic Relationships in Science Fiction

“I was born with an enormous need for affection, and a terrible need to give it.”- Audrey Hepburn

This quote came to mind while reading The Time Machine and Slaughter-house Five. As someone who typically seeks out the sappy romance scene in every story that I hear, it was strange to not have that scene to look forward to within these stories. I was taken aback by the relationship between Weena and The Time Traveler in The Time Machine. I was confused because at first The Time Traveler thought the “Eloi” people were beautiful in their own way but was he mostly focused on their ignorance and lack of independence. However, when Weena protected him he felt the need to protect her sort of like he might protect a child but when she died he was upset but it was a tragedy he could easily grieve over. In comparison, in Slaughter-house Five, Billy Pilgrim had strange relationships with almost everyone he came across. Part of it was that he wasn’t always quite there due to his random time travelling but he also seemed to be sort of socially awkward. Vonnegut wrote Slaughter-house Five with an existentialist feel so it seemed like Billy did not truly care about any of his relationships and it seemed that when people were mean to him when he was a soldier and when he was captured by the Trafamadorians it seemed like it did not phase him at all. It was like he did not have to cultivate any type of relationship with anyone because nothing and no one mattered. The Time Machine and Slaughter-house Five’s protagonists had relationships that seemed to lack affection. I’m not sure if this a common trait of Science Fiction works but I noticed that both of these protagonists were very egocentric,which is something that seems to be relatable among people interested in time travel.


So I can’t keep my mind from wandering to the thought of Hermione Granger’s “time turner” while we are studying time travel in English 232. My semester has so far been very crammed with commitments, classes, and responsibilities and I can’t help but wish that I had a “time turner” of my very own so that I can get everything I need to do a accomplished in one afternoon like Ms. Granger.

J.K. Rowling creates this “time turner” in her novel Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, in the form of a necklace that includes an enchanted hourglass which one wears to travel through time and in Hermione’s case, travel to all of her classes. I appreciate that J.K. Rowling warns her audience that even in the wizarding world travelling back in time is dangerous as she narrates through Albus Dumbledore. Rowling implies that if one were to see one’s self from the future that one could potentially be driven to insanity. I could see this being true unless the individual from the past already knew that the individual from the future could travel through time. Another interesting idea that Rowling creates is that the time machine/time turner is not a bulky box of machinery but instead a device that is small enough to wear around your neck. Something that I also appreciate about Rowling’s concept of time travel was that the reason her characters travelled was not just for personal gain. Her characters motives were merely to save multiple lives. Unlike the motives in Primer and the Time Machine where the protagonists used the machine strictly for personal gain.

Although her characters traveled backwards in time which we’ve established is sort of more risky, her characters were very careful not to be seen by anyone that could harm the already passed history. This caution is similar to the caution of the characters in Primer. Abe and Aaron literally hid from their doubles and Harry and Hermione hide from their doubles as well. However, Abe and Aaron used their time machine strictly for personal gain and Hermione and Harry were trying to save lives.

One thing to consider when comparing the time machine in Primer to the time turner in Harry Potter is that there are so many more credible details in the Primer machine than the time turner. Primer explains some of the scientific details that go into creating the machine and you get to see the building stages, attempts, and the final result. Whereas in Harry Potter, you get to see Harry and Hermione travel through time and Dumbledore gives us a brief understanding as to how the process works and the serious damages that it could cause if the travel did not succeed. However, it is easier to imagine carrying around a magical necklace in your pocket and people not noticing to hiding a machine in a storage unit where people can monitor your entrances and exits. My personal preference between the Primer  time machine and the time turner is that the idea of the time turner is more romantic and magical because it’s pretty and easier to understand from a non-science perspective but I respect the Primer time machine because it is more realistic.