Thursday, April 28, 2011

Niggle's Mountains and Aslan's Country

Something Sam brought up in class today really interested me - it was the similarity between Tolkien's (seeming) portrayal of heaven in "Leaf by Niggle" and C.S. Lewis' portrayal of heaven ("Aslan's Country") in the Chronicles of Narnia. Basically, both conceptions of heaven involve very large, distant mountains. This could be because both authors loved nature, or it perhaps might just be the result of them spending time together, reading each other's works, and together building this sort of mountain-heaven concept. I personally love mountains and can imagine how they would both be attracted to using them in their works. But, I was wondering if there are any other stories/myths that somehow connect mountains with an afterlife/heaven, and why you think Lewis or Tolkien used this idea. Maybe mountains = higher elevation, which = closer to God? Or mountains are just a beautiful, intriguing, mysterious, even spiritual part of nature? Or perhaps they took the idea from somewhere else?

4 comments:

Elwing said...

The only example of mountains as heaven that I can think of is Greek mythology with Mount Olympus. I also loved the part in "Leaf By Niggle" when he's describing the mountains as somthing on the borders of his land that you can just barely see and know there's something beyond them. This really reminded me of Tolkien's picture with distant mountains or another scene visible on the edges of the picture. I absolutely loved the quote on page 118:

"Even little Niggle in his old home could glimpse the Mountains far away, and they got into the borders of his picture; but what they are really like, and what lies beyond them, only those can say who have climbed them."

Radagast said...

I was thinking along the same lines, with there is more beyond them. We can't see what's beyond or what's at the top really because it's too far to see detail so it's mysterious to us. I think this mystery just parallels the unknown of heaven and where exactly people go and what it's like so mountains work well as a parallel to going on that journey to the unkown.

Finwe said...

I agree. Mount Olympus is the only other one I could think of. Sacred places or believed dwellings of god were usually built on Mountains. Goes back to the idea that it is both on earth and not, not attainable by humans,

Haleth said...

All I can think of when I think of nature in literature is God now, thanks to AP English 3 when we read The Scarlet Letter. Wasn't it a romantic view that God was in nature? So maybe the two authors were just continuing this theme?