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The Horse & His Boy: Chapter 7 - moonspinner
moonspinner
moonspinner
The Horse & His Boy: Chapter 7
Aravis keeps her head with a pounding heart. She’s a sensible girl, but she’s not a Super-Woman either.

I like the way Lasaraleen’s character was subtly introduced in an earlier chapter when Aravis and Bree are chitchatting about Calormen aristocracy and battles. Shasta’s perspective dominates the story and it won’t have been out of place for Aravis’s friend to be an unheard of character. But it’s good story-telling to have introduced her earlier. I think TV Tropes call it the Chekhov’s Gun.

“Wanted to see her friend now that she was married and a great lady.”
Lasaraleen’s primary function is to act as a foil to Aravis. (Although she is an excellent character on her own – more on that later). She serves as reminder to Aravis of all that she’ll be leaving behind when she leaves Calormen.

“Aravis had been thinking about it a lot.”
It’s amusingly and perfectly in character for Aravis that she is more bothered by the fact that she’s running away with a common boy than the fact that she’s running away at all. Yet somehow this little insight comes as a shock to the reader because she’s been so steadfast in her decision to travel with Shasta. Unlike Shasta in the previous chapters, who had all but made up his mind to travel to Narnia by sea and abandon his companions, Aravis’s passes her own moment of temptation so effortlessly that if you blink, you’d miss it. The fact that she had been thinking about it at all really shows that she was not indifferent to what she was leaving behind – her family, the protection of her royal status, etc. However, meeting Lasaraleen again is an opportunity for her to see second-hand the life she would have lived – and to realize that she would not have liked it at all.

I love, love the fact that Lasaraleen is presented as a rather silly, bubble-headed girl but in such an endearing manner that we are not supposed to judge her – or perhaps, we are supposed to judge her and Aravis at the same time: “Both girls thought each other rather silly” has the silent implication that both girls were right. She recognizes Aravis despite the rags – evidence that she really isn’t that much of a snob. And she kept her mouth shut about Aravis’s whereabouts even though her own father was in the Palace looking for her, and that would have been a scandal to live off for years. She’s more interested in Aravis being bathed in milk and wearing nice clothes than the tedious details of Aravis’s adventures and I don’t see how I blame her for that. Poor Aravis! Who won’t hate that friend that makes sure you’ve been bathed in milk and dressed in the loveliest of clothes before hearing about your adventures. /snerk

“If only you had sense, you could be the wife a Grand Vizier!”
(Plot bunny alert!)

Once more a reminder of how much Aravis loathes her betrothed husband. It’s funny that even next to the vain Lasaraleen, Aravis still remains the bigger snob. Also note that Lasaraleen’s change of heart the next day isn’t based on her flightiness. It’s linked to the Narnians’s plan detailed in the previous chapters to escape under the disguise of hosting a banquet. The party Lasaraleen was dressing up for turned out to be a hoax; the hosts had abandoned Calormen in a dishonest, ungracious manner. At least, that was how it must have appeared to the ordinary elite of Tashbaan. Only the members of the Tisroc’s Inner Circle would understand that the Narnians were running for their lives.

So when Lasaraleen is begging Aravis in tears to reconsider her decision, she’s really acting as a good friend – advising Aravis against going to a land populated by faithless people and possessed animals.


“I’ll be a nobody just like him.”
I’m always going on about the shipping in this book but just in case I didn’t make it clear, I really like the relationship between Aravis and Shasta as unfriendly allies who gradually become friends.

Aravis’s side-adventures in Tashbaan first appear to be a side-story, a break from the main story. Up until then, the PoV character (in as much as there is a PoV character in a novel written from the Omniscient Perspective) and the protagonist of the story has been Shasta. But when Aravis introduces herself in the fire-side tale told in the grand old style of the Arabian Nights, we realize that she is the protagonist of her own story. This chapter and the next one puts her back in that role. Her adventures in Tashbaan reveal the background plot (the impending invasion in Archenland), drive the main plot (the foursomes’ journey to Narnia is no longer an escape, but also a mission to save the North) but more importantly, they drive her character forward. As I noted earlier, Lewisian heroes always travel the ethical and the adventurous journey. With this chapter, we realize that despite its title ‘The Horse and His Boy’ is not just Shasta’s story with Aravis playing a role, it’s Aravis’s story as much as it is his own.


Narnian fashions, at any rate for the men, looked nicer.
Why doesn’t she admit that she’s finding Narnian men more attractive? :P :P :P

Next: The Secret, Secret Plot. Hopefully the next chapter review will not take as long as this one to get up!

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Comments
aohdwyn From: aohdwyn Date: October 23rd, 2008 08:21 am (UTC) (Link)
The Horse and His Boy has always been one of my favorites of the Chronicles. I've just finished reading what you have up so far, and am really enjoying the insight and perspective you're sharing with regards to the books. Do you mind if I friend your journal? I'd love to be able to keep up with the reviews.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: October 23rd, 2008 10:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't mind at all. I'm always interested in making friends. I'm glad you like what I've written so far. I never knew I had so much to talk about this story. The Horse and His Boys is my favourite of all the Chronicles, although not really by much since I love all the books dearly. I think Aravis might be one of the best characters in fiction, don't you?
jessicarae729 From: jessicarae729 Date: October 23rd, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I just read through the Narnia reviews (and a whole bunch of other older entries on your lj), having been linked to it through your post on the CSL community, and I'd like to friend you too! My journal is not nearly as interesting as yours though. :)
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: October 23rd, 2008 03:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I'm really glad you enjoyed reading them. I really enjoy writing them and the encouragment doesn't hurt at all. :P I'm happy to be friended! :D
jessicarae729 From: jessicarae729 Date: October 23rd, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and also.. did you ever post a review of the Disney Narnia movies thus far? You mentioned at some point in time that LWW was a serious disappointment, but I didn't see a review. I thought LWW was a disappointment and PC was an absolute travesty. Sigh.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: October 23rd, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was, still am actually, trying not to dwell on too much negativity in fandom. Hence I decided to skip movie reviews because I really didn't have anything more positive than "Pretty cast!". :P
jessicarae729 From: jessicarae729 Date: October 23rd, 2008 06:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
hehe :) Understood. The cast in both movies certainly was well done - when I first saw the trailer for LWW, I was sooooo excited about Lucy, I think the actress (Georgie something or other) is PERFECT for her. And if we're going to operate under the surly teenage Caspian mentality, Ben Barnes is a lovely choice also. :)
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: October 24th, 2008 01:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I adore the actress that plays Lucy. She really did look the picture of Lucy.

And if we're going to operate under the surly teenage Caspian mentality, Ben Barnes is a lovely choice also. :)

Yeah, he was pretty. I could have done without the surly teenage rote interpretation of Caspian's character especially since there's so little in the book to support the surly teenage interpretation. *grumble grumble*

:P
dreamflower02 From: dreamflower02 Date: October 23rd, 2008 07:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well. I'm sorry to see that's as far as you've gone! I've really been enjoying this so far! Do you mind if I friend you, so that I can keep up with it?

I also loved the fact that Lasaraleen, even though she seemed like an air-head typical of some girls, was also a very deeply loyal friend. That's actually true in RL, by the way, contrary to how it's presented in most modern TV shows and movies (the beautiful girls obsessed with popularity and fashion are usually heartless and cruel.) But most of the ones I have known, while they might be "dumb blondes" in some ways, usually have very good hearts.

Aravis is having so many of her pre-conceptions challenged. I think that Lewis was very realistic in how Aravis thought about Shasta and what she was doing.

I hope we will see some more of this commentary soon!
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: October 24th, 2008 01:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I also loved the fact that Lasaraleen, even though she seemed like an air-head typical of some girls, was also a very deeply loyal friend. That's actually true in RL, by the way, contrary to how it's presented in most modern TV shows and movies (the beautiful girls obsessed with popularity and fashion are usually heartless and cruel.) But most of the ones I have known, while they might be "dumb blondes" in some ways, usually have very good hearts.

So much word on this. What bothers me about the concept/urban myth/truth-repeated-so-often-it's-taken-as-a-fact is the entire anti-feminism of it usually disguised as pro-feminism. It’s the “Traditionally Feminine Girls Are Evil” vs “Tomboyishness is Good” because Heaven forbid that a woman can be a good person by doing things that are traditionally feminine. Or taking it a step further, there’s only One Kind of Good Woman.

Aravis is having so many of her pre-conceptions challenged. I think that Lewis was very realistic in how Aravis thought about Shasta and what she was doing.

It was realistic and I guess that’s why the best stories should always have the heroes beginning with a genuine flaw and then learning how to get rid of it during the course of the tale.


Well. I'm sorry to see that's as far as you've gone! I've really been enjoying this so far! Do you mind if I friend you, so that I can keep up with it?

I’d love to be friended. Thank you! And now that I’ve got so much lovely feedback from you and a lot of new readers, I feel positively obligated to update at a more professional pace! :)
jump2narnia From: jump2narnia Date: February 28th, 2009 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I love, love the fact that Lasaraleen is presented as a rather silly, bubble-headed girl

LOL Lasaraleen cracks me up...she's such a blond prep. xD

Why doesn’t she admit that she’s finding Narnian men more attractive? :P :P :P

Aravis is crushin' on Edmund-Beefcake. D:
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: February 28th, 2009 01:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
LOL Lasaraleen cracks me up...she's such a blond prep. xD

Lasaraleen is adorable. The world needs more Lasaraleens.


Aravis is crushin' on Edmund-Beefcake. D:

Can anyone blame her? :P
jump2narnia From: jump2narnia Date: March 1st, 2009 12:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Lasaraleen is adorable. The world needs more Lasaraleens.

Amen, sister! 8D

Can anyone blame her? :P

*sighs in defeat* ...I guess not. D:
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