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Father Time, A Star?  

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The Rose-Tree Dryad
(@rose)
Secret Garden Agent Moderator

I was flipping through The Silver Chair earlier today, and something occurred to me:

And here, filling almost the whole length of [the cave], lay an enormous man fast asleep. He was far bigger than any of the giants, and his face was not like a giant's, but noble and beautiful. His breast rose and fell gently under the snowy beard which covered him to the waist. A pure, silver light (no-one saw where it came from) rested upon him.

Compare this description to that of Ramandu in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader:

Slowly the door opened again and out there came a figure as tall and straight as the girl's but not so slender. It carried no light but light seemed to come from it. As it came nearer, Lucy saw that it was like an old man. His silver beard came down to his bare feet in front and his silver hair hung down to his heels behind and his robe appeared to be made from the fleece of silver sheep. He looked so mild and grave that once more all the travellers rose to their feet and stood in silence.

Don't these two descriptions have a rather similar vibe? Not only the light that comes from them, but their long beards and the hallowed atmosphere about them.

I suppose, though, if Father Time were a star, he would be one of the supergiants. Grin It's funny, because for ages I can remember knowing about the theory that millions of years from now the sun (a star) will grow so large it will eventually engulf Earth, but I don't know if that was talked about in Lewis's time. (Considering that Father Time plays a critical role in the destruction of Narnia in The Last Battle.)

Twitter: Rose_the_Dryad

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Posted : June 19, 2020 5:32 pm
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Nut

For some reason, I think of Father Time as being somehow the same "species" as Father Christmas. There's not any textual evidence of that though. It's just a hunch of mine.

I never really got the impression he was a star but there's no reason he couldn't be.

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen

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Posted : June 19, 2020 6:43 pm
The Rose-Tree Dryad
(@rose)
Secret Garden Agent Moderator
 
Interestingly, Coriakin isn't described as having that curious light about him, which makes me wonder if that was "extinguished" because of the unknown crime that left him in charge of the Dufflepuds. If Father Time is a Star, he is a Star truly, deeply at rest, and not punished, it would seem.
 
It's kind of hard to imagine that Lewis wouldn't have thought about the Star connection when writing that description of Father Time in SC, when he had just been writing about Stars in VDT, but then again, he wrote about a dryad singing a verse to young Reepicheep in VDT just after writing PC when all of the dryads were asleep for 1,300 years until Aslan woke them up. Wink

 

Posted by: @col-klink

For some reason, I think of Father Time as being somehow the same "species" as Father Christmas. There's not any textual evidence of that though. It's just a hunch of mine.

I think that makes some intuitive sense, given that we refer to Father Time in our world, too (though the concept of him being an actual person is not nearly as prevalent as Father Christmas/Santa Claus being an actual person).

I think I have always grouped Father Christmas more so with the Greek characters, though... although as I think about it now, part of me wonders if Father Time is maybe the Narnian equivalent of the Greek god Cronos, the father of Zeus who was imprisoned in a deep abyss (!) called Tartarus and usually depicted as carrying a scythe or a sickle, which our depictions of Father Time also often include.

Cronos was an awful, terrible god, though, and Narnia's Father Time seems far too holy and noble to be associated with him... but perhaps Cronos is a "pagan nightmare" and Lewis intended Father Time to be the real thing that is both fearsome and good (if that makes sense). Similarly, the Greek characters that appear in Narnia are quite wild but a lot nicer than many of the myths about them would indicate.

Twitter: Rose_the_Dryad

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Posted : June 20, 2020 2:12 pm
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