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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

AtoZChallenge2015 - A is for Aslan, Ar

Greetings and welcome to day 1 of the AtoZChallenge 2015.

So during the AtoZ this year I am talking about fictional deities and demons, or rather deities that appear in fiction because some of them have a historical basis, but I am interested in how they have been used in a fictional setting.

Aslan

Aslan is a creation of C.S.Lewis in the Chronicles of Narnia. He is a giant lion and the creator true king of Narnia. Aslan is the epitome of all things good and right.

In 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe' he allows himself to be sacrificed in the place of Edmund and then, because he was an innocent victim, he was resurrected to help in the fight against the White Witch. Only to crown Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy as the next rulers of Narnia and disappear, to return only when he was needed.

There are many parallels between Aslan and Christ and I remember seeing the animated adaptation of the book at a very young age and thinking to myself, 'Oh, he's Jesus'. He can, however, be read as a completely original character.

I remember liking Aslan as a child, but being of the distinct impression that he had to always do things the hard way. The one thing I really didn't like was in 'The Last Battle' when he judges all the animals and allows some into paradise and banishes others - I always thought it would have been much better if they could have seen the light and been welcomed too - but I've always been a forgiving sort :).

Trivia - "aslan" and "arslan" are Turkish for "lion" (via Narnia Wiki - who have lots more trivia as well)

Ar

Now, while I suspect most people will have heard of Aslan, I suspect not as many will know about Ar.

The Great God Ar is a deity from the 80s fantasy film "The Beastmaster", staring Marc Singer, Tanya Roberts, Rip Torn and John Amos.

Ar is the god of the mad high priest Maax (Rip Torn) who you can see in the photo about to throw a child in the fire pit to sacrifice her. He controls the population of Aruk with fear, demanding their children and their obedience or he will bring down the might of the Jun hoard.

Ar seems to be a cruel god, demanding sacrifice and worse, but you do have to wonder if Maax twisted the religion to suit his despotic purposes.

I have loved 'The Beastmaster' since I first saw the film way back in the 80s (and no, not just because it has Marc Singer in a loincloth ;)). This is epic fantasy done right, but let's not mention the sequels.
It's available on Amazon in the UK and US (oh and if you search on youtube you might not be disappointed ;)).

Ar's Lament
Fanfic for The Beastmaster.
by Natasha Duncan-Drake

Ar stared into the great pool and watched as Maax lifted yet another child. He closed his eyes in sorrow at the child's screams, a tear rolling down his cheek. The madness had to stop.

Standing, he walked to the stone arch at the edge of the courtyard, wiping at his eyes. Barely had he finished when a naked, perfect child appeared under the huge stones and promptly burst into tears.

"There, there, little one," he said, creating a soft blanket out of the air and wrapping it around the crying little girl, "no one will hurt you here."

Sweeping her into his arms, he stood tall and began to carry her towards the gardens.

"I am sorry you have been so hurt, but here you may play and laugh and wait for the time your family are ready to join you," he told her, gently sweeping his large thumb over the girl's cheek. "What is your name?"

"Mara," she said, sniffing.

"Hello, Mara," he replied, "I am Ar, but I am not what Maax has been telling everyone. Once, they used to bring the sick and dying children to my temple. My high priest would use the gifts I gave him to heal those he could and help the others to their rest. Their twisted and damaged bodies were given to the fire so they could come here, perfect and whole, without pain, to live with me until their parents also passed over."

As he spoke he stepped into the garden and the little girl's brown eyes opened with wonder. It was always green here and the birds sang sweetly, and animals, some never seen in the mortal realm, walked among the trees. Children, too many children, ran and played on the grass.

"I am sorry I could not stop Maax from hurting you, Mara, I am bound by ancient laws, but, do not you worry, I have done what I can and, even now, a youth is becoming a man. He was marked at birth and he will be my instrument. He speaks to the animals like you will be able to do here. Would you like to talk to a unicorn?"

Mara's little mouth dropped open in awe and she nodded.

Ar smiled for the first time. Even if he could not save them yet, he would keep the children safe when they were sent to him.

So I know I'd prefer Aslan to Ar, but I have to admit to preferring The Beastmaster as a movie, even though I love The Chronicles of Narnia. Which would you pick to watch?


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102 comments:

  1. You're right, I hadn't heard of Ar. Looks like a fun film to watch one weekend.

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    1. I love the film, so much fun even if it does have 80s cheese in there too ;)

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  2. I'd actually heard of both of Ar and Aslan. What I hadn't thought of was the parallels between Aslan and Christ. Neat fact. Great start for the A to Z Challenge.

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    1. There is lots of material on the whole parallels between the Narnia books and Christianity - from people who explain it much better than me :).

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  3. I've never watched the Beastmaster, though I've heard about it. Sounds like a classic 1980s movie. Might try it ;-)

    I've only watched the first of the films or Narnia and honestly it didn't do much for me. I didn't particularly like Arslan because... I don't know. Too good, too wise, too much of the good stuff, if you know what I mean.
    I've meant to read the books for a lont time, but hadn't so far...

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    1. Oh yes, definitely a classic, definitely 80s - but I suggest never watching the sequels ;).

      I own more than the first movie for Narnia, but have to admit, I haven't yet gotten around to watching them :). I really enjoyed the first one, but I know what you mean about Aslan - sometimes he's a bit too much ;). I do have the BBC adaptations though and have watched all of those.

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  4. Hi Natasha - I hadn't heard of Ar .. but wasn't here in the 80s - perhaps a valid excuse ... I'd watch the Chronicles again and again ... I saw the show under the Big Top a few years ago in Kensington Palace .. it was brilliant - cheers and enjoy the A-Z - Hilary

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    1. Beastmaster is a fun movie :). The Chronicles of Narnia are more engaging - I've very glad I found them young because they were so fascinating.

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  5. You know I love Beastmaster :) I haven't watched it recently, I really ought to!

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    1. Yes :), I was looking at the blu-ray the other day, but it seems not be very good so I shall stick with the DVD for now.

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  6. I do know Aslan, but not Ar. I had never made the connection with Jesus before. Interesting. I see it know though.

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    1. It was hard to miss for us because the cartoon version was rather popular with the Christian set when we were kids :).

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  7. I love Aslan and how well C.S. Lewis portrayed him as Christ. I'm forever grateful to my sixth grade teacher for introducing me to The Chronicles of Narnia.

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  8. Aslan is a well-known and much loved character! Thanks for introducing us to Ar. I've heard of Beastmaster, but haven't watched it. Seems like I must now, Tasha. :)

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    1. It's a fun movie with lots of people in few clothes swinging swords and staffs ;)

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    1. To tell you the truth I had to look up his name. I knew I wanted to use him and I knew his high priest was called Maax, but I couldn't remember his name :)

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  10. Aslan ticked me off one time when I was researching an Algerian folktale where a prince was called Aslan. It was impossible to Google it because of Narnia... :D
    I never saw the original Beastmaster, only the short-loved TV show...
    Fun post!

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - The crazy thing about Hungarians...

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    1. Oh it is so annoying when that happens isn't it. That is when you have to bring out the hardcore googlefru ::g::

      The movie is great, the sequels, not so much and I only ever had a chance to see one ep of the series.

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  11. I'd never heard of Ar, but obviously I've heard of Aslan. Great post, thanks for sharing!

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    1. You're welcome, thanks for dropping by :D

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  12. I've never seen or heard of "The Beastmaster," so it's pretty cool to learn about something new (though, mention of Mark Singer will always makes me think of his tight white pants in "V" haha). So, if I had to choose between the two, I'd have to pick Narnia, of course. But then, that world was a childhood obsession of mine, so it's a bit unfair. ;)

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    1. He did fit his pants rather well didn't he - in Beastmaster he mostly just wears a loin cloth ;). I think Narnia might be a bit more civilised as well.

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  13. Oh! This is going to be a lot of fun!! Loved what you did last year. ;)

    --
    Tim Brannan, The Other Side Blog
    2015 A to Z of Vampires
    http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/

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    1. Thank you :). I assume this means your post is up now *runs to see*. I visited earlier, but it wasn't up yet :).

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  14. A little off subject, years ago I met Marc Singer... nicest person you could have met...

    Welcome in the "A"... as a host I am stopping by to say thank you!
    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2015]

    There's no earthly way of knowing.
    Which direction we are going!

    HOLLYWOOD NUTS!
    Come Visit: You know you want to know if me or Hollywood... is Nuts?

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    1. I've met him too - he is lovely isn't he. :) My sister was his PA at a convention once. She had to root around in his boxer shorts ... not while he was wearing them I might add :P, he asked her to go and pick up something from his room which was under them :).

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    2. that is so cool... your story rocks, i just walked up to him to say hello. he stood up shook my hand and introduced himself. i was a little star struck, he is the beastmaster. :)

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  15. Loved Beastmaster - but then I admit that was in part because of Tanya Roberts. But having creatures fight with you is cool - like playing characters like that in MMORPGs.

    Saw the Aslan Gate in Hittite ruin of Hattusas in Turkey. Great fan of Narnia but agree about Last Battle. Fav is Magicians Nephew.

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    1. I can totally see why Tanya Roberts would be a factor :).
      I'm not sure which is my fav book, I just know Last Battle is my least fav. Must read them again and decide.

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  16. That is a good start on the A to Z, Ironicly I visited the grave of CS Lewis for another blog of mine
    http://spudsdailyphoto.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/a-is-for-aston-rowant.html

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    1. I have to admit I have no idea where C.S. Lewis is buried.

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  17. I have never seen the Chronicles of Narnia but oh how I want to see it now! I love Aslan. Great post. Thanks for introducing me to something new and exciting.
    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. You're welcome, hope you get to see the films soon. :)

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  18. You are right, I have heard of Aslan but not Ar, so it was interesting to learn a little about Ar here :)

    betty

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    1. Thanks :) - I doubt that many people have seen Beastmaster - it's a classic, but of the cult kind.

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  19. I love Aslan! I have to admit to not seeing Beastmaster.

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  20. I love Aslan! I have to admit to not seeing Beastmaster.

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    1. It's a great film if you like slightly cheesey fantasy :D

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  21. I'll never love any character quite the way I love Aslan. He was a childhood idol.

    Good luck with the 2015 A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy
    http://pensuasion.blogspot.com

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    1. He's the kind of character you never forget isn't he.

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  22. I loved reading the Narnia Chronicles (two or three times!), and watching the Beastmaster! Great heroes to write about! The British series of the NCs were my fav's to watch. Thanks for the trivia! I didn't know that about Aslan... On to the next blog! Thanks for dropping by and commenting on my blog, A to Z co-host Lisa @ lisabuiecollard.com

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    1. Yes the BBC adaptation is my fav too. I didn't know that about Aslan either until I went looking :)

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  23. Aslan is an awesome character. I haven't seen Beastmaster though - sounds like something my husband would enjoy.

    Annalisa at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep

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    1. It's a fun film, but very much an 80s movie :)

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  24. Fun theme for your challenge. I know Aslan, but like others hadn't heard of Ar.

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    1. That's why I had two today because I knew Ar was very obscure :).

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  25. I love Aslan. Thanks to my son, we have watched Chronicles of Narnia innumerable times. Thank you for sharing about Ar, Tasha. Must check out The Bestmaster now!
    Co-Host AJ's wHooligan for the A to Z Challenge 2015

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    1. Hope you enjoy Beastmaster if you manage to find it. It's a great romp :).

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  26. I watched beastmaster so long ago I had no idea who Ar was.

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    1. I had to look up his name and I have no excuse - I have the DVD :D I could remember Maax, but not the name of his god.

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  27. Love it! Looking forward to reading the rest of your posts this month :)

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  28. I'd say your A to Z is off to a roaring good start (couldn't help myself). Now I want to watch Beastmaster again. :)

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    1. LOL :) Beastmaster is always worth the time ;).

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  29. After my mother finished reading the last Narnia book with me, when I must've been about twelve, she asked me if I knew what Aslan meant when he'd said he was known by another name in the other world. Innocently, I asked, "Lion?" She was annoyed and thought I was pretending not to know, though I really had no reason to know, given my parents' decision to raise me and my brother without religion so we could choose our own at eighteen!

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    1. He is designed to be read as an original character so if you don't know the background it's not that obvious :). My dad is a retired CofE vicar, so it was kind of up there in neon when we saw it ;).

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  30. I love the Chronicles of Narnia :)
    You're right. I've never heard of Ar, but is the Beastmaster the same as what Pierce dresses up as for Hallowe'en in an episode of Community? lol

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    1. I have no idea, I'm afraid I've never seen Community, but if there is a loin cloth and a big sword involved - probably ;)

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    1. There have to be a few of us around I am sure :)

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  32. Great "A" post. I read the Chronicles of Narnia books to my daughter, I think it inspired her love of mystical and magical realms. I think it inspired her passion for drawing.

    I'm looking forward to reading what comes next. Enjoy this Challenge.

    Jenny, Pearson Report
    2015 A to Z Challenge Ambassador
    @PearsonReport

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    1. It's lovely to see someone inspired by such great books. :)

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  33. I loved Beastmaster! And, I know this is random, but I was also a fan of the tv show Manimal. I know they're not related, it just popped into my head! Aslan is a truly memorable character. Add Liam Neeson's voice into the mix and he made an extremely powerful presence on the big screen :-)

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    1. I have Manimal on DVD - oh my, I had forgotten how cheesy it can be ;) I had no idea there were so few eps either. Imagine what they could do to remake it with CGI these days. :)

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  34. I love the character of Aslan. Hard to convey in film the character that Lewis wrote about:
    “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you."
    Hope you enjoy the month of A to Zing
    Moondustwriter

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    1. Yes, it's hard to add the underlying power on film.

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  35. Loved this post thank you, rich in many ways.

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  36. I was never a huge Aslan fan when I read the book, all my attention was on Lucy.

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    1. Well she is probably the most important character since she leads the children to Narnia :)

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  37. Ar is new to me. Aslan of the Narnia series....beloved by many I think. Didn't know Aslan is Turkish for lion.

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    1. I didn't either until I was looking up sources and then, there it was :).

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  38. I didn't know Aslan was Turkish for lion! Learning something new every day.

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    1. It's amazing what you can learn on the internet :) I had no idea before I started researching either.

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  39. Well, Ar seems like a good sort, it's his priest who's deranged with power. I liked Aslan but I never warmed to him hugely.

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    1. I think in the movie world Ar might be an arse, but I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt ;).

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  40. Oh my! I haven't thought about Beastmaster in years - it was once a favorite that I watched repeatedly. Great way to start this challenge!

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    1. Beastmaster is one of those guilty pleasures ;)

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  41. The Narnia stories were new to me as an adult. I enjoyed them very much and admired Aslan for the reason you mentioned. I learned a great deal here today. Good start for the challenge...thanks for visiting my blog.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal
    AtoZ 2015 Challenge
    Minion for AJ's wHooligans

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    1. The Chronicles of Narnia are wonderful books I'm glad they were made into movies and went mainstream media too.

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  42. I had the same thoughts about Aslan when I read The Last Battle. It seemed too harsh.

    Did I see The Beastmaster? I can't remember. It might have been during college :P

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    1. It was biblically harsh I suppose :). I have always found Beastmaster hard to forget ;)

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  43. I know both movies! Haven't read last battle yet despite owning the series.

    The creepy bat people were always my favorites of the film. That and the aminals (yes, I spelled wrong cuz that's how inused to say it when that movie came out. I was only in kindergarten!)

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    1. The creepy bat people were awesome :) Awww ... I'm trying to imagine watching Beastmaster while in kindergarten...

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  44. Loved Beastmaster and the show was rather good. They brought Marc in as the father.

    Saw the cartoon and read the first book, but none of the others. Only seen bits of the movies.

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    1. I never saw much of the show, only one whole ep and bits here and there.
      I remember the cartoon making quite and impact when I was younger.

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  45. I've heard of both movies but haven't seen either one, so am not familiar with the characters. Aslan definitely sounds like an animal version of God.

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    1. I'm pretty sure he was supposed to be :)

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  46. I discovered the Narnia books as an adult, and my god I wish I had read them as a child. I can imagine just how magical that would have been!!

    I have to admit I've never heard of Ar though, or of Beastmaster - something to add to the list of things to check out!

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    1. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe I find particularly magical because of the whole going through the wardrobe part.

      Beastmaster is fun - just don't expect Shakespeare ;)

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  47. I always loved Aslan. I live in a town where there is a brew pub called Aslan and they use the lion as their symbol. Very interesting.

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  48. I loved Aslan when I was a child. It took me a while to figure out the Jesus parallel, so I enjoyed him in his own right. I couldn't stand The Last Battle though because it was just too sad. It didn't seem true to Aslan as a character.

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    1. Yes, the Last Battle is simply too brutal for me and the destruction of Narnia seemed unnecessary.

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  49. Ar from Beastmaster is a new one for me. Neat facts, Tasha.

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  50. Oh... oh wow! Watching that trailer made me realize that I -have- watched that movie before! I know, because that ring gave me a nightmare (I was born in 85 and there were no parental controls on our TV, take from that what you will...) Talk about being thrown back!

    Alex Hurst, A Fantasy Author in Kyoto
    Out of Print, Fiction authors and their shorts

    A-Z Blogging in April Participant

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    1. The ring with the eye was rather yucky wasn't it :). Hope the flashback wasn't too bad!

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  51. Ahh, Beastmaster... that takes me back.

    Though there is a Machiavellian discussion to have here. The demon ruler ruled by fear, but eventually the people turned against him for promise of a better life. The new ruler at the end looks to rule by love... but how long will that last until people abuse his kindness?

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