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CS Lewis's Lovecraftian ideas

NarniaWeb Regular

When reading the Space Trilogy, I was surprised that CS Lewis uses a similar concept that Lovecraft used in his work: this force that is so huge that can overwhelm you or crush you. I was wondering if it was coincidental or perhaps he was influenced in some way. Though, Cs Lewis uses the idea in a different way: the force is benign in nature but it could still do harm to you just because it is so much greater than you.

Topic starter Posted : October 12, 2020 1:36 pm
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

Lewis wrote his in the 1930s.  I think his came from his own experience as he journeyed toward Christian belief. At one point he believed in God, but not yet the gospel. 

His enjoyment of Northern myths would also have contributed to his sense of a great and strong force that could harm humans, whether or not it was good. 

There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.
"...when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."

Posted : October 13, 2020 1:23 pm
Lady Arwen
The Mermod Moderator

There's also the idea that many have reported that having a demon rest on you is a crushing force, whether it bows you over (George MacDonald, an influencer to both Tolkien and Lewis) or suffocating force (southeast Asian mythos, North American oral tradition). I wouldn't be surprised if both share an external experience or influencer that caused them to use that illustration in their own way.

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Posted : October 13, 2020 8:19 pm
NarniaWeb Guru

Well, I think I might lean toward the coincidence option here. After all, whether you're talking about Oyarsa or Cthulu, both writers are talking about gods. The idea of a crushing divine force is certainly nothing new, and has been around at least as Christianity itself (which, I think it's safe to say, was the main influence on Lewis, even though he might not have been a Christian at the time).

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Posted : October 13, 2020 10:17 pm