Dec 27, 2005

Meet Lucy Pevensie

Jill Freud was evacuated to CS Lewis' home during World War II and served as the model for Lucy in the Narnia books.
Lewis wrote the first of the Chronicles in 1948. When it was published two years later he sent a copy to June. "I read them then but haven't read them since," she says. "I had no idea I had any involvement with it at all until three years ago when his stepson wrote to me and said: 'I suppose you know you are the prototype for Lucy?' I didn't. I suppose I should read the book again, to see what I am really like." In the Chronicles, the central character of Queen Lucy the Valiant is the youngest and most innocent of the four evacuees and, at first, she is a little afraid of the shaggy-haired professor they are sent to stay with. She was also the most inquisitive, and the kindest, developing a close relationship with Aslan, the lion, who is son of the Emperor over the sea.

Saw and enjoyed the movie The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe on Sunday. The star of the show was Georgie Henley, who plays Lucy. She is a charmer, with a gap-toothed smile and big blue eyes who looks younger than her nine years.

I can't remember how old the Lucy of the book is when we first meet her, but this Lucy seemed about six or seven years old, with a slight speech impediment that made her all the more childish. This fit in very well with the story as told on the screen: Six year olds being much more credulous than older children. For example, when Father Christmas shows up Lucy accepts him at once and clamors for presents while the other children hang back, unsure of what to make of him.

But the movie is not a substitute for the books. As I was watching it, I thought how much better it was to encounter Narnia for the first time between the pages of a book than on the screen. I would advise parents to read the book to their children before seeing the movie.

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