OK listen up! I’ve been doing a lot of VERY SERIOUS RESEARCH on this and I definitely haven’t gone off the deep end OK because I have cracked the biggest cover-up of ALL TIME!
Middle-Earth and Narnia are the SAME FRIGGIN’ PLACE!
BEAR WITH ME HERE! I know it sounds impossible but just trust me on this. I have a very rational explanation for this and it begins at a very rational place:
So look. This theory shouldn’t work, in theory, because both Narnia and Middle-Earth already have their own “origin stories” that “explain the history of these mystical lands” and “don’t fit together in any conceivable way c’mon Clay don’t you have anything better to do?”
Well, I guess your mind is a bunch of wet leaves on my neighbour’s driveway because it’s about to be BLOWN!
SO: in The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien describes the creation of Middle-Earth by this deity called Eru, AKA Illúvatar creates all of… well, creation. OK, technically, this dude creates a bunch of demigods/angel-thingies known as Ainur and THEY created the land and sea and plants and critters and also elves.
One of the many things these demigod people created were the Istari, which are like a lesser-version of Ainur. The Istari are better known by their street name: Wizards.
You remember these guys. Gandalf, Christopher Lee, the one with bird crap on his face. They’re magical immortal people who appear as wise and all-knowing men. Y’know: geezers.
Anyway, so good ol’ J.R. “Radical” Tolkien had big plans for these crotchety tricksters, but he died before he could write about all of them. As a result, only three of these firecracker-spewinin’ oldsters ever got names, while the last two, known as the “Blue Wizards” because they loved the sea, wore robes the colour of the ocean, and probably smelled like salt and seagull crap.
Anyway, unlike Ganondorf, Spider-man and Podcast or whatever their names are, these two wizards leave Middle-Earth as soon as they show up and head off to the East. We never hear from them again but, according to both notes and letters ol’ talkative Tolkien wrote, they either abandoned their wizard buddies in their mythical quest to defeat the Dark Lord OR they ended up doing some other stuff that was somehow helpful in destroying the One Ring. We don’t even know what their names were, since Tolkien referred to them by different titles each time he wrote about them. It’s all very hazy, like the sea-foam filled beard of a seafaring wizard.
So we don’t know anything about these dudes for sure, right?
In Clive Staples Lewis’ (that’s right, his middle name was Staples. Like… the thing that holds paper together. Yeah.) The Voyage of The Dawn Treader, the crew of the ship (I can’t remember what it’s called)in that book travels across the Eastern Sea and finds some old guy by the name of Coriakin.
This weirdy beardy is living on a island with a bunch of short, whimsical creatures known as dufflepuds. They only have one foot and are invisible but that’s—look, it’s a whole thing I’m not gonna get into here. The point is: Coriakin is a wizard! And he lives in the East! On the Sea!
But wait, though: IS HE???
See, at the end of the book, (Spoilers, I guess?), it turns out this other guy they meet named Ramandu is also a magic user and he reveals that both he and Coriakin are actually stars. Well, stars who had taken on human form.
Apparently Coriakin had to rule over the Dufflepuds to atone for some sort of past misdeeds. Ramennoodle, or whatever the other guy’s name is, says that stars take human form for a time but they can eventually return to the sky upon digesting these weird fire-berry things.
The thing is, when the human characters in the book question this guy about how a star can become a human and why they have magical powers etc., Ramalamadingdong basically does a bunch of hand-waving, saying this kind of stuff is “not for humans to know such things.”
Both of these dudes magical old dudes who may or may not be literal stars but definitely have a connection to the heavens.
If you recall earlier, the wizards of Middle-Earth were emissaries from the heavens commissioned to use their magical powers to help people and stop the forces of evil from yadda yadda yadda. And what were they originally known as again?
Like… like a star? You get it?
OK, that’s a stretch, but the point is that both the wizard/stars of Lewis’ world and the wizard/Istari of Tolkien’s are emissaries of a creator deity who, for some weird reason, take on the form of obscenely old men. COINCIDENCE??? Yes, probab—I MEAN NO OF COURSE NOT!!
Still not convinced? Still think I’m a few cards short of a whole Candyland set?
Well I guess your mind is that one embarrassing photo of me from that one party because it’s about to be BLOWN OUT OF PROPORTION!
OK, let’s try again…
OK, third time’s the charm and all that.
Once again I’m gonna ask you to grab on to a honey-making insect!
No hang on I can fix this…
All right, y’know what? Forget the maps!
I don’t need cartography to prove to you I’m not crazy! Err, I mean, to prove that Marnle and Niddle-barth are the same or whatever.
I got an ace in the hole. The surefire proof. My secret weapon.
When all else fails, academics, intellectuals, and provincial premiers have one last trick up their sleeve:
MAKING STUFF UP AND PRETENDING IT’S POSTMODERN
err, I mean
All right. As you’ve probably already been yelling at your computer screen for the last 700 words or so, there’s one major flaw to my argument:
Middle-Earth and Narnia have completely different creation stories.
Narnia and its surrounding countries were created when a sole lion-god sang it into existence, while Middle-Earth came into being after a supreme being brought a bunch of demigods to life from his own thoughts then created a world for them to fashion however they wanted. The one thread tying these two creation stories together is the use of music.
Aslan’s song, as heard by a bunch of humans in The Magician’s Nephew is an indescribably beautiful song that shapes the earth and even causes whatever is dropped to the ground to grow upwards like that fast-forwarded footage of flowers they show in old science videos. Meanwhile, Illúvatar asks the Ainur to sing for him and they create a harmony that imbues all of creation with distinct value, purpose, and destiny.
Don’t you think it’s a little odd that both these different worlds just HAPPEN to share this very SPECIFIC similarities in their creation stories? I know what you’re thinking, though. “That’s fun and all… well, not really, it’s boring actually, but regardless: those are two differently-named gods and two very different stories.”
Well this is where all those seemingly wasted hours I spent studying critical theory are gonna finally come in handy!
Ya see, in the study of history, art, and language, we notice certain patterns amongst interacting cultures. As a particular belief, story, or vernacular is passed not only from generation to generation, but from society to society, those cultural artifacts tend to get altered. Just like the telephone game played with millions and millions of people, things like “words,” “motifs,” and oh, I don’t know, let’s say… “creation myths,” tend to change every time they’re told. Even when a particular society has written documents and a fantastical devotion to retaining the purity of the original texts, the warping of art, narrative, and even knowledge of history itself continues.
So long as your culture is populated by people who think slightly differently from each other, the emphasis, theme, moral, form, structure, and even content of any kind of narrative will change over time. History is not immune to this phenomenon, and there’s no way of escaping it. Like that birthmark shaped like a blobfish jutting off your right nipple, you can’t get rid of it; you just have to make peace with it.
Yes I know there’s such a thing as laser removal, but I have very sensitive… OK, I’ve gotten off topic.
The point is: it is, in fact, entirely conceivable, nay, probably, nay ALL TOO LIKELY that the very different historical accounts we get of both Middle-Earth and Narnia are in fact the same story, told from two distinct perspectives, relayed, reiterated, and retranslated so many times that they are barely recognizable anymore.
Perhaps the elves, in writing the Ainulindalë, slowly changed the nature of the creation myth over time to match their own cultural norms and values. Maybe Cedric Diggory and his pals only saw a small sliver of what was happening during the world’s creation. Ultimately, it’s all subjective and we can never say for sure what the REAL creation story is for this magical land of walking trees and talking rats.
And in that vein, I guess then nothing in any of the texts can ever be trusted. How do we know there were 9 members of the Fellowship? Was Eustace as much of a jerk as he’s made out to be? In fact, absolutely nothing I’ve said here can be trusted either! Even the part about how nothing I’ve said here can be trusted! Oh geez!
Well, I guess it’s all just a big, fat question mark. The important thing to remember is this:
I just wasted a whole lot of your time with wizards, bad maps, and pseudo-intellectual bullcrap, and if that isn’t a win, I don’t know what is.