Tuesday, March 23, 2010

But such people!

A great crowd of people were standing all round the Stone Table and though the moon was shining many of them carried torches which burned with evil-looking red flames and black smoke. But such people! Ogres with monstrous teeth, and wolves, and bull-headed men; spirits of evil trees and poisonous plants; and other creatures whom I won't describe because if I did the grownups would probably not let you read this book - Cruels and Hags and Incubuses, Wraiths, Horrors, Efreets, Sprites, Orknies, Wooses, and Ettins. In fact here were all those who were on the Witch's side and whom the Wolf had summoned at her command. And right in the middle, standing by the Table, was the Witch herself.

Yes, I acknowledge how the condescending narrative asides C.S. Lewis uses grate upon my nerves now. But when I was eight this was the most exciting passage of prose I had ever encountered, that list of monsters inculcated in me a love of monsters that still abides. I have been collecting lists of monsters ever since and consider this blog to be, in part, a response to this very passage.

7 comments:

  1. COULD YOU DRAW THE CRUELS AND THE WOOSIES? IDONT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE BUT I 'D LOVE TO SEE THEM!!
    (I COULD NOT BRING MY SELF TO SEE THAT CRUMMY MOVIE THEY MAID)

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  2. I have always loved this passage too. The vision it gave me at a young age of an absolute Panic Rout of monsters is with me still. This was probably the first "real" fantasy novel I ever read. So glad that I had not yet been exposed to D&D and its deadening taxonomy yet...

    "Orknies, Wooses, and Ettins..." What were the chances Lewis was talking to Tolkien while he was writing this, eh?

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