I’ve always been a little in love with CS Lewis, who died 54 years ago today.
If I were throwing a fantasy dinner party, he’d be there. Right at the head of the table.
And we’d have a lot to talk about.
I grew up in Lewis’ country, and went to school round the corner from his childhood home ‘Little Lea’.
Reading Narnia books as I wandered through his old streets, it felt like we had a connection.
So today is a sad day, not just for me but for all the other super fans out there.
Here’s how to spot us, so you can give us a little extra love while we mourn our hero.
How to Spot a CS Lewis Super Fan
They either own, or want to own, very large antique wardrobes.
I’m 35 and I still can’t look inside a wardrobe without thinking “What if…”
It’s a form of Post The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe Syndrome.
In that book, the Pevensie children crawl inside Professor Kirke’s wardrobe and find themselves transported to a wintery clearing, lit by a single lamppost.
It still gives me chills thinking about it.
Lewis super fans cannot walk by tall wardrobes without thinking somewhere, deep, down at the back, if they stretch far enough, they’ll reach out a hand and feel the feathery touch of Narnian snow.
They quote him at every available opportunity
And CS Lewis is so quotable.
He’s responsible for this pearl of wisdom
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
And this poetic flight of fancy:
“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”
He’s also not bad at giving life advice:
“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
And seems like a man after my own heart:
“Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.”
They have read more than just the Narnia books
Although Lewis is primarily remembered for his Narnia series, he was actually a prolific author who wrote more than 30 books – fiction and non-fiction.
The idea for his science fiction series, The Space Trilogy, arose from a conversation with J.R.R Tolkien and Lewis based his main character on the author.
Lewis was also a keen letter writer and scholar. He wrote about Christianity, grief, friendship, love and human nature.
He also wrote poetry, publishing his single narrative poem Dymer in 1926.
They’re not fans of the Narnia films
Super fans tend to dislike film adaptations.
Because you cannot hope to gather up all that magic, storytelling and imagination and restrict it to a few hours on film.
There were several plot discrepancies between the books and the movies. While fans might say they are minor, super fans know different.
The books are untouchable, so scriptwriters should stop touching them.
I’m just glad they never got around to The Magician’s Nephew aka the best in the series.
They know lots of obscure CS Lewis trivia
If you really want to impress and amaze your literary friends, or win at pub quizzes, here’s some interesting facts you probably didn’t know about Lewis:
- He died on the same day as JFK (the President died about an hour after Lewis) and Aldous Huxley.
- He refused a CBE from King George VI because he did not want to get embroiled in the politics of a Northern Irish author accepting an honour from a British monarch.
- Lewis wrote A Grief Observed after his wife died but published it under a pseudonym – in the throes of his bereavement, a lot of friends recommended he read his own book.
- According to Tolkien, Lewis had a phenomenal memory and could recite from books he’d read years earlier.
- Tolkien and Lewis’ writing group, The Inklings, met in an Oxford pub called The Eagle and The Child. They nicknamed it The Bird and the Baby.
For more information on Lewis, I highly recommend reading The Narnian by Alan Jacobs.
And for anyone who’s in Belfast in the near future, check out the C.S Lewis: Through The Wardrobe exhibition which runs until 30 November at the Linenhall Library.