The original and best-known volume of C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, Lion was published in 1950 and features elements of Norse and Greek mythology and allusions to Christianity and Nazi Germany.
In the story, four young siblings are evacuated from wartime London to live with an eccentric professor in the country. Playing hide and seek one day, they discover a large Victorian wardrobe which serves as a portal into a fantasy land called Narnia, held in the icy grip of a perpetual winter by the evil White Witch. The Witch captures one of the children, whose life is ultimately spared when Aslan the Lion – Narnia’s true ruler – sacrifices his own. In a clear Biblical allegory, Aslan rises from the dead to defeat the Witch and free all her prisoners. The children ascend to the throne in her place and grow to be adults. One day, they accidentally tumble back into the real world and emerge through the wardrobe as children once again.
Initially, the book met with neither popular nor critical success. Amid the stoicism and austerity of post-war Britain, fantastical or ‘fairy’ stories were considered indulgent, Victorian, unrealistic and even damaging to children. This state of affairs did not last and the book is now an undisputed classic, appearing in TIME’s 100 Best English Language Novels 1923-2005.
Gospel of Matthew, the Magi were a band of foreign travellers of indeterminate number, who came from ‘the east’ (possibly Babylon) to visit the newborn Jesus, “King of the Jews”.
They brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, leading to the widespread belief that the travellers brought a gift each and were three in number.
It’s also widely believed that they were royalty, owing to Old Testament prophecies which describe Jesus being worshipped by kings. The Protestant Reformation later challenged these givens.
The Sunday Times is a centre-right British broadsheet newspaper founded in 1821 as The New Observer; it became The Sunday Times the following year.
Founded independently of The Times, the two papers came under common ownership for the first time in 1966 and were acquired by Rupert Murdoch’s News International in 1981. The Sunday Times’ circulation currently stands at 1.3 million.
Daily Mail is a British right-wing middle-market tabloid newspaper, founded in 1896. The Mail on Sunday was first published in 1982. Scottish and Irish editions followed in 1947 and 2006 respectively. It is Britain’s biggest selling newspaper after the Sun, and the only UK paper to have a female readership of over 50 per cent, which is a curiosity given that the paper holds relatively traditional views on the role of women.
Infamously, the paper was a staunch cheerleader for fascism up until the outbreak of World War II. A notorious article written by Lord Rothermere (one of the paper’s founders) in July 1934 in praise of Oswald Mosley and his British Union of Fascists was headlined “HURRAH FOR THE BLACKSHIRTS”.
Lambasted by Martyn in the Brotherhood’s video message as “too lame”, the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (Chapter 2) is described thus: “An Act to provide for the making against individuals involved in terrorism-related activity of orders imposing obligations on them for purposes connected with preventing or restricting their further involvement in such activity; to make provision about appeals and other proceedings relating to such orders; and for connected purposes”.
The Act came about in 2004 in response to the assertion of the Law Lords that the detention of nine foreign prisoners without trial under the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 contravened European human rights laws.
The Act allows the Home Secretary to impose control orders on those suspected of terrorism, and to opt out of adhering to human rights laws. Critics claim that the orders are unjust and likely to lead to miscarriages of justice. For them, trial in a court of law is the best solution. Defenders of the Act claim that the right of British citizens to live their lives without fear of terrorist attacks takes precedence over the civil liberties of those suspected of terrorism.
Martyn may think the government’s Act “lame”, but in holding Padma captive on suspicion alone, the Brotherhood are following the tenets of said Act to the letter.
In the novel, after much of the world’s population is blinded by a comet shower, the triffids, originating in the tropics and latterly sought after for their oil, break free from the farms in which they were secured and set about bringing civilisation to an end. Their highly toxic stingers kill instantly.
A nightmarish work, the book’s skin-prickling descriptions of an eerie, silent, corpse-littered London slowly decaying and returning to nature are as haunting as the frenzied attacks visited upon humans by the grotesque triffids. The novel was filmed in 1962 and televised in 1981 and 2009. The word “triffid” has since become cultural shorthand for any towering or menacing-looking foliage.