Over the past year or so, I have read the entire Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis to my son at bedtime, one chapter per night. Some days we miss out on this, but it has become a pretty regular routine for us. He had listened to “The Silver Chair” on his own as a book on CD, so we had actually skipped reading it together, but after finishing “The Last Battle” we went back and read it together also. We finished it about a month ago.
Having read and often discussed the book “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” before the latest movie version came out made the experience of watching it very meaningful and powerful. We actually saw the film again at our local $2 movie theater today with our entire family, and that was a real treat! I think my favorite line of the movie is when the entire Narnian force is arrayed on the field ready to charge against the enemy, and Peter turns to the centaur Oreius and asks, “Are you with me?” Oreius, general of the Narnian forces responds, “To the death.” Their gallant charge and valiant struggle against the evil forces allied with the Witch Jadis are spectacular.
A week or so ago, my son asked if we could start reading “The Lord of the Rings” at bedtime. Those books were and are longtime favorites of both my wife and I, and we have been rather obsessive movie fans since the films first started their public releases. Because of the violent and graphic nature of the movies, our children won’t be seeing them for a long time to come, but reading the books is a different matter.
So, early this week we started reading “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien at bedtime. We have played several Lord of the Rings board games as a family (even though the kids know very little of the storyline) previously, so my son has heard some of the characters and a bit about them before. I do have a life-size cardboard poster of Gandalf in my office at work, so he certainly has “been acquainted” with Gandalf at least!
Tonight we read two chapters in “The Hobbit,” Chapter 4: “Over Hill and Under Hill” which relates the adventure of Thorin’s party being captured by the goblins in the Misty Mountains, and Chapter 5: “Riddles in the Dark,” in which Bilbo meets Gollum and acquires the ring of power which plays such a central role in the plot of the subsequent “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
What great fun it is to read superb fiction like this as a family, and uncover together (for yet another time for adults, for the first time for children) the magic, wonder, and boundless imagination of the authors and the worlds they created.
Bedtime with kids doesn’t get much better than this! (Rocking a sleeping infant has to rank high on that list too, however!) The kids went to bed tonight listening to the music from the “Fellowship of the Ring” movie CD. What great fun it will be to continue uncovering the adventures in “The Hobbit” and the other LOTR books together in the months and years to come. And then one day, perhaps after the age of 13, my children can be awed and captivated by the movie magic of Peter Jackson and the rest of the LOTR crew who created what I consider to be the greatest epic film series of all time. 🙂
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