Friday, April 08, 2005


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Chapter 1
  • Air-raids. Bombing missions. During the early years of World War II, Germany frequently sent squadrons of bombers to lay waste to industrial and urban districts of England. The Allies, of course, sent similar missions to Germany, and did so more frequently after the Luftwaffe lost air supremacy in Europe.
  • Stag. Not an old bachelor, such as C.S. Lewis himself and his brother Warnie were, but an adult male deer.
  • Wireless. A radio. It’s unusual for an adjective to be used as a noun, but unusual devices sometimes acquire unusual names. In the first part of the twentieth century, the idea of receiving voices through the air (that is, via wireless technology) was as novel as cell phone technology is today.
  • Blue-bottle. A particular type of house fly.
  • Moth-ball. A manufactured product used to repel moths. Stored clothing (particularly woolens and furs) is susceptible to damage from moths.
  • Muffler. A heavy scarf. Much easier to wear and far less heavy than car parts (though probably not as warm!).
Chapter 2
  • Adam and Eve. The names given by the Bible to the first man and woman. In this context “Son of Adam” and “Daughter of Eve” mean “beings of human origin.”
  • Silenus. A satyr of Greek mythology, one with a fondness for wine. Satyrs were similar in appearance to fauns, like Tumnus, but apparently with fewer humanoid features.
  • Bacchus. The Roman name for the mythological god of wine. Narnia is an interesting place...
  • Christmas. As we see later in the story, a season of giving rather than the holiday with religious underpinnings which we practice in our world (the “Christ-Mass”).
  • Rather! A British expression indicating enthusiastic (and sometimes sarcastic) agreement. Similar to “Sure thing!” or “I suppose!”
Chapter 3
  • Sledge. Sometimes synonymous with “sled,” but indicating one of heavy construction and pulled by animals. (A sleigh is a lighter form of sledge.)
Chapter 4
  • Turkish Delight. A cube-shaped jelly-like candy. Think of sticky Gummi Bears covered in powdered sugar. Sort of.
Chapter 5
  • Queer. Simply “odd” in this context.
  • Sharp’s the word. An admonishment to be alert. In origin, used to alert shopkeepers to the threat of shoplifting.
Chapter 6
  • Camphor. The active ingredient in mothballs. It carries a distinctive odor (one that moths apparently dislike).
  • Bagged. Stolen. In origin, from poaching (illegal hunting), in which the meat was hidden in bags.
  • Crockery. Earthenware plates, bowls and so on. A step up from primitive wooden stuff, but still pretty rustic and certainly not fine china or the great plastic stuff we use today.
  • Chatelaine. The lady of a castle.
Chapter 7
  • Strain. A bit of the melody of a song.
  • Dripping. Grease or fat. Back when we all ate less healthily, it was quite common to leave the drippings from fried bacon, for instance, in the bottom of the pan. The liquid fat would solidify as it cooled and would liquefy again when reheated. Other food (such as fish, in this case) would then be fried in the drippings.
Chapter 8
  • Pedlars. British variant of “peddlers,” or traveling salesmen.
  • Lilith. The apocryphal and demonic first wife of Adam.
  • Jinn. Plural; synonomous with “genies.”
Chapter 9
  • Dunce’s caps. Back when teachers were allowed to insult and intimidate their students, slow learners might be made to wear a tall, cone-shaped paper hat to indicate that they were “dunces,” or stupid (dense in the head).
  • Cat-a-mountains. Mountain lions. Sometimes shortened to “catamounts.”
Chapter 10
  • Father Christmas. A European (but mostly British) version of Santa Claus.
Chapter 13
  • Boggle. Hobgoblin or bogie.
  • World Ash Tree. Yggdrasil, the tree of life (so to speak) from Norse mythology; as documented in the Younger Edda.
Chapter 14
  • Efreets. A branch of the Jinn.
  • Orknies. Possibly related to Tolkien’s “orcs,” or goblins of some type.
  • Wooses. Possibly related to Tolkien’s “woses,” or wild primitive woodmen.
  • Ettins. Giants. In Tolkien’s Middle-earth, the Ettenmoors are where the giant stone-trolls are found.
Chapter 15
  • Skirling. Shrill. A skirl is the sound made by Scottish bagpipes.
Chapter 17
  • White Stag. From Celtic mythology, a sign that the end is near.
  • Marry. An exclamation that has nothing to do with being married. Used a lot in Shakespeare, for instance.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This place is really cool, thank you for having it!!!

2/23/2006 6:46 PM  
Blogger Greg Wright said...

Our pleasure. Thanks for dropping in!

2/24/2006 5:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it was my pleasure!

3/16/2006 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The white stag is indeed from Celtic mythology, but it had nothing to do with "the end." It was widely regarded as a sign of great adventure to come (usually having to do with gods and fairies, and mostly seen in this context in the King Arthur and his knights' tales) or sometimes they would herald a trip to the otherworld.

2/16/2011 1:45 PM  

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