The Horse and his Dalek

The Horse and his Dalek

This instalment of the Dalek Game is for C. S. Lewis’ The Horse and His Boy, the 2.95th (in internal chronology) of the Chronicles of Narnia.

Oh, I did not like that book when I was small and first in love with Narnia, and not for any of the reasons which may restrain some effusions about it. It was because it was out of the chronology, it felt wrong, it was hot and dry and urgent and belonged to the wrong sort of fairy tale world, and never touched on ours, and Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy were grown up and talking about political alliances, there were tombs…

It was, for me, an earlier experience like that of I Capture the Castle: by the time I was a few years older, The Horse and his Boy was my favourite of the Chronicles, and for the same reasons I had disliked it (and at the age I discovered Le Guin’s Tombs of Atuan) – because it was high adventure, chases across deserts and through bustling cities, stories of families and dynasties and separated twins, a glimpse of the wider world outside of Narnia, of keener hungers and cruelties, of convoluted stories, and people who told stories beautifully, of deceit and escape and reunitings, of dear characters briefly glimpsed as older and wiser (of the Pevensies on their first adulthood, and Mr Tumnus dancing).

Also, dramatic renactments of it involved carrying precariously-perched Lasaraleen Tarkheenas around on makeshift litters, which (if you were not playing Lasaraleen) was tremendous fun.

In other news: I love my new computer, although I now no longer have time to make a cup of tea while images are being cropped. I spent a beautiful morning talking tales (and receiving a private telling) from the enchanting Alexandra McCallum. She told me some Irish tales I did not know, but which may bring some elements of the prolonged work-in-progress together perfectly. I spent twilight sitting on the steps with Aimee reading Georgette Heyer aloud and drinking rosella tea. As far as I can tell Aimee is currently making a dream-team of actors she would like to see play Doctor Who.

16 thoughts on “The Horse and his Dalek

  1. My favourite Narnia book was “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”, and “A Horse and his Boy” was my second favourite, I own the series (of course) and read them to both my girls. What is odd is that Puddleglum is my favourite character and he isn’t in my favourite books! I think this illustration is just adorable!

  2. I think the Calormenes were Australian. Suntan and women’s names ending in ‘een.’

    I could so do with sitting and relaxing and listening to Georgette Heyer.

  3. Oh, my goodness, yes. You have written down exactly the way I felt about book five (book five), and how my opinion changed of it. The Magician’s Nephew is still my all-round favorite, but Lynne, Puddleglum is one of the characters closest to my heart, too.

    I love the picture, but I’m not sure the horse looks like a Talking Horse.

    • True – next time, no Gypsy Vanners, they look too much like My Little Ponies.

      I love the opening of the Magician’s Nephew – I think it is how it grounds the world, and how the magic bursts through into ours. I love it for the opening line “When Sherlock Holmes was living in Baker Street and the Bastables were digging for treasure in Lewisham Road…” and for Jadis loose on the streets of London.

  4. This was actually the first of the Narnia books I read: someone gave it to me because I liked books about horses. So for me it was a surprise to meet the Pevensies as children later on. I think that this and ‘Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ are probably my favourites, though it is very hard to choose really – and I agree about Puddleglum.

    Do you think the horse is teaching the Dalek some good behaviour, as Bree tried to teach Shasta?

    Which Georgette Heyer did you choose to read aloud?

    • That would be a very odd way-about to come to the stories – but fascinating too! Like the moment of realising (even though I first read the books in internal-chronological order) that Diggory is the Professor, and the wardrobe was made from the apple tree…

      We were reading The Nonesuch, this time. Such sensible heroes, who realise when there has been a misunderstanding, and talk it out.

  5. My reading of A Horse and his Boy was always enhanced by having visited Istanbul, and that is how I pictured Tashbaan. And I always thought of the Calormene as being more like Turks than Australian :).

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