Since I do not have much time to write a full length book review tonight, I thought I would revisit an idea that didn’t fit into my review of C. S. Lewis’ Till We Have Faces.
All of Lewis’ major works of fiction feature pagan gods as characters. The gods play a large role in his science fiction trilogy, where they are (as the Greeks had imagined them) the guardians of the planets that bear their names. Bacchus, greek god of wine, song, and ecstasy, shows up in The Chronicles of Narnia whenever Aslan, the Narnian Jesus, decides to throw a party. In fact, some have argued that the seven Narnia books correspond to the seven planets of the Ptolemaic solar system, and hence to the seven gods who guard the planets, and the seven days of the week, though not in order.
Till We Have Faces also features pagan gods: Ungit (something like the Roman Venus, but much more terrifying), her son, the god of the grey mountain (corresponding to Cupid… also terrifying) and the Shadow Brute (pure terror).
This raises an interesting question: did Lewis, the atheist turned Christian apologist, actually believe these beings existed? Or is their constant presence in his work just an extension of his lifelong fascination with mythology?