Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Speaking of the Inklings and Father Christmas...

Since I clearly haven't been covering that ground myself, in spite of my blog's title. Sad.

Father Longenecker at Standing on My Head does the job quite nicely. As most folks obsessed with Lewis and Tolkein know, the two had an uneasy relationship that finally imploded. It's sad to think of, especially since Tolkein originally brought Lewis to Christ through myth and imagination. Ironically perhaps, it was myth that also drove them apart. (Well, that and personality clashes).

Contrary to popular belief however, Tolkein wasn't just a prickly professor engaged in world-building and myth-making. He was first and foremost a devoted husband and father, as is obvious in the posthumous collection of "Father Christmas letters" that he wrote and illustrated for his children.

The best part is when Father Christmas tells stories of the North Pole. There's a friendly but bumbling polar bear who's constantly gumming up the works; he sometimes makes an appearance (with distinct handwriting) to contradict Father Christmas and set the record straight. It's also so delightful to see how Tolkein has Father Christmas addressing the children by name and individually. And just like Narnia, sometimes the kids are "too old" for Father Christmas, but he remembers them just the same.

And you have to love how Father Christmas tells the kids how to take care of their new kitten (with spots so she's easy to find in a snow storm):

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