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First Impressions of Charles Williams

27 July 2016

De Librīs Magnīs

In most fantasy novels, the characters leave the ordinary world and enter into a fantastic world.  Harry Potter exchanges his aunt and uncle’s home for Hogwarts, Lucy enters Narnia through a wardrobe, and even Bilbo Baggins leaves his comfortable hobbit hole for a world of danger and adventure.  In Charles Williams’ The Place of the Lion, the situation is reversed–the fantastic world crashes into the ordinary world through the appearance of the Archetypes.

In reading this novel for the first time, I was most struck by this reversal.  It is not merely a few chosen, exceptional people who must learn to navigate a world unfamiliar to them, but rather it was an entire village of ordinary people that had to face the fantastic world invading their own.  Some embrace the Archetypes, some are driven to madness, and some are driven to fear.  The main character Anthony Durrant acknowledges feeling…

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