This is part of a series exploring quotations attributed to C.S. Lewis that are questionable for one reason or another. Presently a new article is posted the first Saturday of each month. There is an “at a glance” page HERE to quickly see what has been posted so far in this series. Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to read the INTRODUCTION to this series.
“Make your choice, adventurous Stranger; Strike the bell and bide the danger, Or wonder, till it drives you mad, What would have followed if you had.”
Here’s yet another quotation that lands on the questionable radar because of context issues. Notice two things about this quote; first, the above picture is actually from the official Narnia website. Specifically it was posted on their Facebook and Twitter accounts on July 21, 2014! So, even usually reliable sources can not always be counted on. Second is the fact that usually the longer version (shown below the above picture) is what you find other places.
This expression IS found in chapter four of The Magician’s Nephew. It is from words written in stone that Andrew and Polly found. Do you recall what happen when Digory did “strike the bell?” Later he regrets having done so because it results in Jadis being freed. You remember her, don’t you? She’s better known as the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe! I don’t believe the characters in that story were too fond of it being “always winter and never Christmas.” So, this quotation is advocating an impulsive choice that turned out really bad!
BETTER QUOTATIONS ON CHOICE/FREE WILL:
“God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go either wrong or right.”
from Mere Christianity (Book 2, Chapter 3)
“Evil comes from the abuse of free will.”
from The Problem of Pain (Chapter 7)
“Man is now a horror to God and to himself and a creature ill-adapted to the universe not because God made him so but because he has made himself so by the abuse of his free will.”
from The Problem of Pain (Chapter 5)
“God has made it a rule for Himself that He won’t alter people’s character by force. He can and will alter them—but only if the people will let Him.”
from The Trouble with ‘X’ (in God in the Dock)
The next quote examined is: