Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Adventure of the Ordinary

I love the Narnia movies. They're awesome, and I really hope that they come out with more. The depth of meaning found in them, despite secular production, is fantastic.

However, one thing has always bothered me. In the Voyage of the Dawn Treader (my least favorite of the three movies), Reepicheep says something that's intended to be comforting and meaningful. "Extraordinary things only happen to extraordinary people," or something to that effect.

Not only do screenwriters often butcher the PLOT of books, this one evidently didn't know the author's philosophy as well. The very thing that makes Narnia so wonderful is that it can't happen. It's not ordinary. But if an extraordinary thing happens to an extraordinary person, is it so extraordinary after all?

G. K. Chesterton says this on the subject:

"Oddities do not strike odd people. This is why ordinary people have a much more exciting time; while odd people are always complaining of the dulness of life.

"This is also why the new novels die so quickly, and why the old fairy tales endure for ever. The old fairy tale makes the hero a normal human boy; it is his adventures that are startling; they startle him because he is normal. But in the modern psychological novel the hero is abnormal; the centre is not central.

"Hence fiercest adventures fail to affect him adequately, and the book is monotonous. You can make a story out of a hero among dragons; but not out of a dragon among dragons. The fairy tale discusses what a sane man will do in a mad world. The sober realistic novel of to-day discusses what an essential lunatic will do in a dull world."

Being ordinary is the greatest adventure of all, so to speak. If we are ordinary, everything not like us—not normal—must be extraordinary. And that makes life a lot more interesting, now doesn't it?


Galadriel said...

I love the G.K. Chesterton quote. But if you really want to make your head spin, try to balance it with Lewis's quote from "Weight of Glory" about there being no ordinary people.

Pathfinder said...

Aw, man! That means I must be the boringest (ha!) person I'm existence. Because my life ---never--- is.