Book Review: C.S. Lewis’s – Till We Have Faces

Hello Friends! A few months ago I finished reading C.S. Lewis’s retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche, and it truly blew me away. Despite its Greek origins, its content is rich with Theological juiciness, and I am super excited to share it with you! I know that I said I would posting on Attack of the Clones this week, but I decided to post this long delayed book review instead, but that post is coming soon!

I am going to take a bit of a different approach with this review, so that I cover all the main aspects. First, I would like to give a short summary of the book, then, discuss the main point that I found profound.

However, as always, I must give my disclaimer. This review will have spoilers for the book, Till We Have Faces if you would like all of the general book review information, kid readability, foul language, sensual themes, and my rating, just skip down to the end.

Now, without further ado, allow me to introduce you to the retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche. Let’s get right into it! Allons-y!

The Story:

The story is told from the perspective of Psyche’s sister, Orual, who is the oldest daughter to the King of Glome. She is considered the ugliest out of her two sisters, Redival (the second oldest) and Psyche (the youngest). Also apart of their family is the Fox, who is a “greekling” taken from Greece as a slave. He works for the King and educates the princesses.

The book begins with Orual and Redival as children after the death of the Queen, their mother. During this portion of the book, we are introduced to Orual’s hatred of the goddess that they serve, Ungit, which in the original myth is the goddess Venus the mother of Cupid. If you have read the myth then you know where this is going…

Hastily, the King picks another wife, who dies in childbirth with Psyche. Of course Psyche survives, and is so beautiful, she is considered to be a Divine goddess.

As Psyche grows older and grows closer to Orual, whom she calls Maia, and the Fox, destruction hits Glome. Crops begin to die and a terrible pestilence hits that seems to never end.

The priest of Glome attributes the destruction to Ungit. He believes that she is angry and demands a sacrifice. Ungit demands the “Great Offering.”

Now, only the purest in the land, the one of purest heart, is to be given to the “Shadow Brute,” which is thought to Ungit herself or her son.

Psyche is chosen as the purest, loveliest, and divine-like of all the King’s daughters. Orual is heartbroken and doesn’t not go up the mountain with Psyche because of her ailments.

(By the way because this is just the summary, I am skipping a few minor details, but all the important content that I want to discuss in this post, I am covering.)

Any who, eventually Orual decides to head up the mountain to collect Psyche remains and give her a proper funeral in Glome; however, what she finds is shocking. Psyche is alive and is living peacefully in a valley. She recants to Orual how she escaped her bonds, and how she is now the wife of a god.

Orual returns back down the mountain. Deeply disturbed by this news, for she feels that her sister is being deceived.

After this point in the book, things began to go very fast, and this myth becomes a page turner.

Orual, blinded by her love for Psyche, is deceived herself and causes Psyche to fall from grace.

Soon after this the King passes, and Orual becomes Queen of Glome, brining peace and prosperity to her new kingdom, but as she gets older after hearing the tale of the “Goddess Istra (another name for Psyche),” she begins to write her complaint against the gods.

As Orual approaches death, she finishes her book and part two of the story begins, which is my favorite part. She begins to have visions of the gods and after re-uniting with Psyche she dies, her head fallen onto the last page of her book…

Now, that was a very fast summary of the book, of course, to get the full wow factor, you need to read it for yourself, but for the sake of this blog post, I choose analysis over storytelling. I want to now back track and go over a few things in this book that I found fascinating.

The God of the Mountain and Psyche’s Journey:

“Orual…I am going, you see, to the Mountain…my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed now it feels not like going, but like going back. All my life the god of the Mountain has been wooing me. Oh, look up once at least before the end and wish me joy. I am going to my lover…”

Psyche – Till We Have Faces

Psyche’s internally longing for the Mountain, for the god of the Mountain certainly does sound like the human’s internal desire to be with their Creator. We all long for something more than earth, simply because are hearts are not of earth but were created for a higher cause. This reminds me of something the great C.S. Lewis said:

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity

Psyche also claims to be wooed by this god…hmm sound familiar, again C.S. Lewis provides great insight:

“Merely to override a human will…would be useless to Him. He cannot ravish. He can only woo.”

Senior Demon Screwtape – The Screwtape Letters

Psyche’s journey in this story is a picture of God’s love for his people. He will not stop until his beloved reaches his home, heaven. He longs to be with us, and he desires that we long to be with him, yet he never uses his power on us, but instead bestows upon us free will, the will to choose.

Later in the story we see Psyche choose her sister over the god. The god who saved her from her bonds and loves her ever so much. How many times do we choose people, things, and people’s opinions over the God who loves us.

The god has no choice but to send Psyche away, and away she tearfully goes. He is angry, but I don’t think he is necessarily angry at Psyche, which he is to some extent because she disobeyed him, but I think he is more angry at Orual.

Although the book is written from the perspective of Orual, I would like to focus on Psyche mainly in this post, but perhaps, later on I will write a character spotlight post on Orual. She really does deserve her own post.

Towards the end of the story, Psyche is put through numerous trying and dangerous tasks so that she can be worthy of the god and gain immortality, so that she can be with him. She is put to these tasks by Cupid’s mother, the jealous Ungit or Venus. These tasks make up Psyche’s journey.

Of course, we do not have to earn God’s love nor can we ever be worthy enough to be with him. We will never be worthy of this love, which is what makes His love for us so beautiful, but this picture of Psyche being put on trial by Venus to get to Cupid is a rather clear symbol for what goes on in our lives each day.

“Then there is a real Ungit?”

“All, even Psyche, are born into the house of Ungit. And all must get free from her. Or say that Ungit in each must bear Ungit’s son and die in childbedβ€”or change.”

Orual and the Fox – Till We Have Faces – Pg. 343

We are all born into a world that at the moment is undoubtedly under the influence of Satan because of our choice of our own free will that God granted upon us. God certainly has not left us nor ever will, but we are nonetheless born into the house of Satan, the house of Ungit. Our journey begins when we accept Christ. We must be free of evil (Ungit), or we conform to the evil that lives inside us as fallen human beings. Now, of course, we are saved by grace not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9), but our acceptance of salvation only begins the journey. It does not end the journey.

β€œBlessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:10 (ESV)

Just like Psyche, who was persecuted by Venus for righteousness’ sake, we will be persecuted in this life, but that is still not the end of the journey. Christ is a God who saves. He laid down his life for us, so that we may be with him in eternity.

“So Talapal (Venus) torments Istra and sets her to all manner of hard labours, things that seem impossible. But when Istra has done them all, then at last Talapal releases her, and she is reunited with Ialim (Cupid) and becomes a goddess.”

Till We Have Faces – Pg. 280

We may be persecuted in this life, but because of Christ’s great love for us, we are saved and live with him forever in eternity in a place that He has gone and prepared for us like a groom awaiting his bride. There are many scriptures I could site that back this up, John 3:16 being the big one, but there are two that stick out to me.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Revelation 21:4 (ESV)

“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

John 14:2 (ESV)

Indeed, friends, he has gone before us, our real God of the Mountain. He woos us with his love and wipes away our tears, so that one day we will be with him forever in eternity. Amen…

Conclusion:

Thus, as it happens, this Greek myth may have not been so Greek after, holding in its grasp many truths that we can learn from. Let us be like Psyche and persevere with the great, holy, almighty, and loving God of the Mountain guiding us step by step, wiping away our tears and wooing us with his love. Our hearts were made by Him, for Him, and for an eternity with Him. Here is my rating of this book:

9.0/10.0

Kid Readability: Ages 15+

Foul Language: B**ch is used a few times to describe Redival (Orual’s sister) and female dogs.

Sensual Themes: There are some hints at sex between Cupid and Psyche and the shadow brute and its prey. Orual’s virginity is referenced here and there.

Well, there is all for today, friends! I hope that you enjoyed this book review, and please stay tuned for my next review, which will be on Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

Until next time,

Time Lady of Coruscant 😁

The Mandalorian Season 1 – Chapters 2 and 3/The Child and The Sin

Hello, friends! I hope you are all having a lovely day and wonderful week so far! Today we will (finally…sorry for the delay, friends) be looking at the next two chapters of the Mandalorian season one, the Child and the Sin. I am super excited to review these chapters because we finally start some, but not all, of the analysis for this show, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself, which I always tend to do…😁

However, before we begin, as always, I need to give my disclaimer that this post will have spoilers for the Mandalorian season one, chapters two and three. If you don’t want any spoilers and want just the general review information, kid caution, foul language count, and my rating, than just skip down to the end.

Now, without further ado, let us proceed! Allons-y!

Chapter Two: The Child

This chapter picks up a little bit after the first chapter ends. We see Mando and his new son (yes, Baby is his son, and no one will ever convince me otherwise) get ambushed in a canyon path, and of course, Mando saves the day with his expertise in hand-to-hand combat.

This first scene with him and the Child literally frames the show, showing us a tiny peek of where the show will be taking us, but I will get more into this later.

However, disaster strikes Mando’s ship in the form of Jawas! The Jawas in essence trash his ship and leave him unconscious in the sand when he tries desperately to hijack their sand crawler to get his parts back. This leaves him with no choice, but to return to his new found friend, who rides deranged dinosaurs, Kuiil.

Kuiil convinces Mando that he can make a trade deal with the Jawas to retrieve the parts needed to fix Mando’s ship and promises that he will take him to them. Then, we get the cutest scene in cinematic history (okay maybe not the cutest, but pretty close). Baby, eats a frog to the great disgust of his new daddy, Mando.

Yay! I finally figured out how to insert gifs on WordPress! πŸ˜‰

Squeals with delight”

“Hey! Spit that out.”

Gulps down entire frog and shows satisfaction with a burp.”

The Child and Din Djarin – The Mandalorian Season 1 Episode 2

Any who, Kuiil takes Mando and the Child to see the Jawas, who turn out to be tough bargainers. In the end, they agree to give Mando back his parts if he retrieves for them the “egg.”

“There must be something else?”

*Speaking in Jawa* “We will require The Egg. Bring us The Egg.”

“The Egg? What Egg?”

Kuiil, the Jawas, and Din Djarin – The Mandalorian Chapter 1 Episode 2

To trade to receive his parts back Mando must steal for the Jawas the Egg of a dangerous creature, the Mudhorn, which is like a giant, shaggy, rhinoceros. Well, let’s just say that it doesn’t go well, and Mando ends up being tossed to and fro in the mud like a rag doll.

Just as he attempts to make his final stand, the Child sees, or maybe senses, the danger his new found daddy and friend is in. He stretches out his hand and stops the creature in mid-charge. He uses all his might and strength to “force” the mudhorn to halt, but he can only hold it for so long, and after a mighty stand, he passes out from the exertion.

The Child sees the kindness in Mando and the way he protects him, in this case, with his life, and responds to that kindness by saving the life of the man he barely knows. He doesn’t know that Mando is a bounty hunter and only found him because he has a bounty on his head, nor does he know that when they arrive back on Nevarro, Mando will hand him over to the Empire. He knows none of this, yet he gives all his power and all his strength to save the man that showed him kindness and looks out for him. But how much more beautiful is it that Jesus showed us that same love and protection, except that he knew our faults, and even when we showed him no kindness, he loved and chose to protect us anyway, just as it says in Romans 5:8.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:8 (NIV)

What a lovely symbol of God’s love found in the midst of the tumultuous Star Wars universe!

Alright, sorry, back to the story! I did warn you all that I would get into some analysis in this post! πŸ˜„

Mando, with the help of the Child (we actually do know his name now because of the newly released season two, but I will continue to call him Baby or the Child until we get there for the sake of those who do not know yet) kills the mudhorn and retrieves the Egg for the Jawas, who immediately slice it open and enjoy a messy, yolky, and a bit disgusting egg feast. However, on the up side Mando gets the parts for this ship back and with Kuiil’s help successfully puts his ship back together.

Here we say goodbye to Kuiil, for now, and watch as Mando and the now revived Child begin their journey back to Nevarro so Mando can return the Child to the client and collect his bounty, or so everyone believes. The Kid’s daring rescue with the Mudhorn may have had more of an effect on this mysterious, masked Mandalorian than anyone thinks. Luckily, I am covering both Chapters two and three in this post, so let’s get to it!

Chapter Three: The Sin

It is indeed a most interesting title for a most interesting episode, and I cannot begin to say how much I love this episode, which really sealed the deal for me liking this show, but again I do not want to get ahead of myself. Let’s just start at the beginning.

The episode begins with Mando landing back on Nevarro, and immediately he goes to the undercover imperial base and same client that we saw in the first episode.

As necessary he receives his bounty, a large container of imperial, once Mandalorian, beskar. However, then he asks a very interesting question when hears the Child cry for him when he is taken through a door by the imperial scientist. A question that a bounty hunter does not ask when delivering his bounty. A question that is not asked when the bounty is already in the hands of the client.

“What are your plans for it?”

“How uncharacteristic of one of your reputation. You have taken both commission and payment. Is it not the code of the guild that these events are now forgotten?”

Din Djarin and The Client – The Mandalorian Season 1 Episode 3

Satisfied, or maybe not so satisfied, Mando leaves, taking the beskar with him. He returns to the Mandalorian covert underground, and with the help of the Armorer, he forges with the beskar a new set of armor.

When the armorer offers to engrave the mudhorn onto his shoulder plate as his signet after hearing of how he acquired the damage to his armor, Mando refuses, remembering once again how the Kid rescued him. However, even without this signet he still gets some nice armor that indeed draws many eyes once he steps outside and visits Greef Karga again to get his next assignment.

“They all hate you, Mando, because you’re a legend!”

“How many of them had tracking fobs?”

*Scoffs* “All of them. All of them! But not one of them closed the deal. Only you, Mando. Only you, and with it the richest reward this parsec has ever seen. Please sit, my friend.”

Greef Karga and Din Djarin – The Mandalorian Season 1 Episode 3

Naturally, Greef offers him the richest of the bounties to go and hunt, but Mando only chooses those that lead him far from Nevarro. He wants to get away, far away, from something on this planet. Perhaps, it is the little Child he handed over to the treacherous Empire.

He picks his bounties and boards his ship, but he doesn’t leave. By the control panels he sees the little ball that the Child had been playing with on the way back to Nevarro. He remembers the mudhorn and the Child’s rescue, he remembers his little fuzzy head, deep eyes, and pointy ears, and he remembers his cry or plea for help to Mando as he was taken away by the Imperial scientist.

This is the scene that we have been waiting for, friends, for in this moment a little piece of the mysterious, masked Mandalorian is chipped away. We see his compassion and love for a little creature that he barely knows. It is now time for Mando to return the favor and rescue the Child from the evil he has found himself in. Perhaps, those little seeds of pacifism and compassion planted by the Duchess of Mandalore all those years ago have stuck with at least one Mando! πŸ˜‰

Swiftly and without hesitation he heads back to the Empire’s undercover base, and with the use of a well-placed grenade enters to save the day. He finds Baby asleep, and it looks like something was extracted from him by the scientist, who begs Mando not to kill the Child. However, it is unclear, at the moment, what they needed from him.

In a little bundle, Mando carries Baby and escapes through dozens of Storm Troopers by any means necessary, including the use of his newest weapon, the whistling birds!

I love the picture that we get in the final scenes of this episode. I very masculine male, gently carrying, protecting, and risking his life for a small almost helpless creature. It reminds me of a verse in the Pentateuch.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.”

Exodus 14:14 (NIV)

The Child is completely still in this scene. He is not helping Mando escape. He is doing absolutely nothing. He is simply being still. Sometimes the Lord calls us to be still so he can do the work that he knows needs to be done to get us to our next destination. We just let him hold us while we hold on for the ride, completely and utterly trusting in him. Sometimes we need to take a lesson from Baby and just be still.

Alright, once again back to the story! I just love how much you can pull out from these episodes, and yes, there is such a thing a gentle masculinity. It’s one of the things I love about this show. A big, strong Mando caring and loving for a little being five times less his size! He is definitely a dad now! πŸ˜ƒ

I digress…once Mando makes it out of the Imperial hideout, remember those tracking fobs that all those bounty hunters had? Yep, those all start to activate, and Mando becomes completely surrounded by bounty hunters.

He tries to no avail to escape, but just when things seem hopeless, the other Mandalorians show up and come to the rescue. Mando and Baby escape to their ship where they are briefly met by Greef Karga, who tires to stop them, but we now know that nothing is going to come between Mando dad and his son. They escape and live happily ever after…until the next episode, of course! πŸ˜‰

Conclusion:

Well, there it is, the Mandalorian Chapters two and three, during which we get a glimpse into the characters of Mando and the Child, and it is amazing that we can find such compassion, gentleness, and love, the themes of Christ, in a Star Wars show that has its violent moments. All truth is God’s truth, and there is definitely some excellent truths that can be pulled out of these two episodes. His truth can be found anywhere, friends, make sure and look for it, so you don’t miss it!

My Rating: 9.5/10.0

Kid Caution: High – for violence/ages 12+

Foul Language Count: Damn and Hell

I hope that you enjoyed this review, friends! Hopefully I will be able to post on the next few chapters of the Mandalorian in the next few weeks. My next post will possibly be on Star Wars Episode II: The Attack of the Clones, but I did say possibly because I haven’t decided quite yet. There are so many excellent things to review out there! Have a fantastic rest of your week, friends, and happy 2021!

Until next time,

Time Lady of Coruscant πŸ˜‰