Wednesday, February 13, 2008


When Ben stated Charlotte's full name as "Charlotte Staples Lewis" on last week's episode of 'Lost', just about every blogger out there picked up on the allusion to sci-fi/fantasy author CS Lewis, a fellow Inkling and friend of Tolkien's. Many wondered if there was some connection to the "Narnia" books, and Doc Jensen of Entertainment Weekly thought there was a specific connection to "Prince Caspian" (soon to be a major motion picture).

However, I think the connection lies in the second book of the "Space Trilogy", "Perelandra". (The other two are "Out Of The Silent Planet" and "That Hideous Strength".)

Here are some selections of the 'Perelandra' synopsis from Wikipedia that sums up what I'm referring to:

1] Ransom arrives in Venus and finds it to be an oceanic paradise. One day is about 23 Earth hours, in contrast to Earth and Mars with their (roughly) 24 and 25 hour days, respectively. The sky is golden and very bright but opaque - the sun cannot be seen, hence the night is pitch black with no stars visible.

Ransom will be the stand-in for several 'Lost' characters. Here, it is Ben Linus and Daniel Faraday. For Ben, the Island is a paradise which is why he teams up with the Others. (Perelandra's native inhabitants are about as "other" as you can get.) Upon arrival on the Island, Faraday notices that the light doesn't scatter the way that it should. The Island is unseen by the outside world and apparently Time does not pass at the same rate as it does in the outside world.

Also, I just like their use of the word "oceanic".

2] Strange, mythical creatures roam the planetary sweet-water ocean, which is dotted with floating rafts of vegetation. These rafts look like small islands, and actually have plant life growing on them and animals living on them; however, due to the ocean underneath, they are in a constant state of motion like in an earthquake.

Smoke monster, anyone? And there has always been debate as to where the Island actually is. Still on Earth at all? If so, is it really 1600 miles off course but still in the Pacific, or up in the Arctic, or down near Antarctica?

3] The desperate Ransom hears in the night what he gradually realises is a Divine voice, commanding him to physically destroy the Tempter.

This could be John Locke and even Ben Linus again. Jacob could be the Divine voice. Or the manifestation of Giant Walt urging Locke to kill Naomi to keep the Freighter folk from arriving.

4] Returning to the planet's surface, Ransom recuperates from his injuries, all of which heal fully except for a bite on his heel which he sustained at some point in the battle, which continues bleeding for the rest of his life.

Most of the survivors have shown miraculous healing powers, right from the disappearance of Jack's back wound and Locke's ability to walk again. The one never-healing wound reminds me of the Fisher King in the Arthurian legend. As to its significance in 'Lost', that wound may be spiritual and in all of them. It could be specific again to Locke and his missing kidney and the bullet holes he now carries.

5] His mission accomplished, he returns, rather reluctantly, to Earth to continue the fight against the forces of evil on their own territory.

This could refer to Jack and the other members of the "Oceanic Six", who eventually realize their error in returning to civilization and try to get back. (At least Jack and Hurley so far.) Hurley has to face that force of evil in the person of Matthew Abaddon, whose name is that of a powerful demon (seen in the first season finale of 'Torchwood').
It's all speculation of course, and there's no way I even really want to know where Lindelof and Cuse are going with the show. (It's a common mantra among fans of the show: "I'm going along for the ride.")

Even if it turns out to be a ride that's also inspired by "A Voyage To Arcturus", as "Perelandra" was......

Toby OB

If only Perpigullian Brown's first name was Perelandra instead! But that's a whole different fixation of mine.....


the Cur family said...

Great O'Bservations... More than Lord of the Rings or even Narnia, I was taken with the Space Trilogy when I was young, and it's nice to see it being referenced. Those stories seem forgotten these days in the (albeit well deserved) rush to Middle Earth and Narnia.

T Ucko said...

Wow! I guess they have to get their ideas from somewhere. I keep coming back to what one of the producers said during season 1 – something to the effect that everything on the show will be grounded in earth-bound reality, i.e., so purgatory, aliens, science without a rational explanation, etc.

T. Ucko

Brian-El said...

I never read C.S. Lewis. I heard early on that he was a "Christian
author" and, since I'm not a Christian...guess I read Sholom Aleichem instead.

But clearly the name is no coincidence. Someone on another blog wrote that Narnia is a place where "time is different from the outside world" and you can only go there "if Narnia wants you to come". Hmmmmmm.......

nonfinis said...

It's funny how spot on you were with this (or seemingly so) one year later (i.e. Season 5 Finale, and the Un-Locke!)

Good catch.