Category Archives: Thoughtful Essays

Nick Tosches’ Remarkable Introduction to William Lindsay Gresham’s Novel “Nightmare Alley” (Nightmare Alley Series)

At A Pilgrim in Narnia, we are in the midst of the “Nightmare Alley Series,” inspired by Guillermo del Toro’s new film starring Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Willem Dafoe, and Toni Colette. Moving back from the star-filled screen … Continue reading

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“From Communist to Christian”: William Lindsay Gresham’s Conversion Story (Nightmare Alley Series)

At A Pilgrim in Narnia, we have been looking at Guillermo del Toro’s critically acclaimed new film, Nightmare Alley, and its connections to the past. The 2021 film, is an adaptation of the 1946 novel by William Lindsay Gresham, the … Continue reading

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“A Sense of the Season”: C.S. Lewis’ Birthday Pivot and the Cambridge Inaugural Address (Updated 2021)

In the autumn of 1954 at the age of 56, C.S. Lewis was at the height of his academic career. With a chance to speak to the academic community at Cambridge and the listening world on the BBC, Lewis used … Continue reading

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“There Are No Cruel Narnians: What The Horse and His Boy Can Tell Us About Racism, Cultural Superiority, Beauty Standards, and Inclusiveness” by Daniel Whyte IV

There Are No Cruel Narnians: What The Horse and His Boy Can Tell Us About Racism, Cultural Superiority, Beauty Standards, and Inclusiveness by Daniel Whyte IV The Chronicles of Narnia has legions of fans around the world. According to journalist … Continue reading

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Ursula K. Le Guin’s Manifesto Against Genre Snobbery

One of our greatest speculative fiction writers, Ursula K. Le Guin, has never been one to turn down a fight. A genius in two of my favourite genres, science fiction and fantasy–especially planetary SciFi and magic-world fantasy–Le Guin has also … Continue reading

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“The Once and Forgotten T.H. White: Lessons from Obscurity” by G. Connor Salter

Terence Hanbury White was one of the founding fathers of fantasy in the twentieth century, producing nearly twenty-five novels, including the beloved modern Arthurian retelling, The Once and Future King. Still, much of T.H. White’s life remains a mystery and … Continue reading

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The Thing about Riding Centaurs: A Note on Narnia, Harry Potter, Madeline Miller’s Song of Achilles, and the Black Stallion

As a child reading in a bed surrounded by acres of horse-less fields, I was completely taken up by the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. Marooned survivors of a shipwreck, city kid Alec Ramsay befriends an untameable stallion, whom he … Continue reading

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Three Myths Retold: Madeline Miller’s Song of Achilles, Margaret Atwood’s Penelopiad, and C.S. Lewis’ Till We Have Faces

While I love the Odyssey, I always dread returning to The Iliad. I just find all the war and posturing and characters to be ash and dust and thorn for me, just weariness and work and pain. The moments of greatness within … Continue reading

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“Just Enough Light: Some Thoughts on Fantasy and Literature,” the 2021 Tolkien Lecture by Guy Gavriel Kay

I was pleased last week to watch the 8th annual J.R.R Tolkien Lecture on Fantasy Literature, an annual lecture on fantasy literature held at Pembroke College, Oxford, this year broadcast online. The Tolkien Lecture on Fantasy Literature was established in … Continue reading

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Reading J.R.R. Tolkien by Audiobook and Adaptation: Thoughts on a Portland Discovery

It was pouring rain in Portland as Nicolas and I wove our way through the artisan-filled streets of this renewed East Coast City. I love Portland, though we were not visiting on the best of circumstances. Just a couple of … Continue reading

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