Friday, Sept. 5, 2 p.m. ET

Lost Book Club: 'Prince Caspian'

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Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly
washingtonpost.com Staff
Friday, September 5, 2008; 2:00 PM

In "Prince Caspian" a rag tag band of well-intentioned souls battle for the freedom to live their lives unharassed by the power-hungry, greed-inspired Telmarine rulers, who want to control and exploit the Eden-like Narnia -- harnessing its riches and secrets for their own personal gain.

Sound familiar? It should -- the Narnians' resistance to Telmarine control is mirrored ever so nicely in our own modern day dystopian fantasy world: "Lost." And although the parallels may not be direct -- "Lost's" teams aren't so clearly defined -- the themes C.S. Lewis explored in "Prince Caspian" may provide a smidge of insight into the past, present and future of "Lost." And, of course, there's that whole bit about Charlotte being named in honor of Lewis.

And that's why "Prince Caspian" is the first selection in the second iteration of washingtonpost.com's "Lost" Book Club. At about 200 largish-type pages, it'll be a snap to read and get the kids back to school before we convene at 2 p.m. ET on Friday, Sept. 5 to discuss what we've learned.

For more "Lost," visit post.com's "Lost" Hub for show-by-show analyses,"Lost" Madness results and to review last year's book club selections.

Liz Kelly's day job is as Celebritology blogger, while Jen Chaney presides as Movies editrix. Both consider "Lost"-watching a passion.

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Liz Kelly: Welcome back to the reconstituted "Lost" Book Club for this month's discussion of our first selection, C.S. Lewis's "Prince Caspian."

Before I start gushing, though, about my life-long love of the Narnia series and dropping some serious Telmarine knowledge, a couple few updates:

-- The new season has an official start date: Feb. 4, a Wednesday. Apparently ABC didn't like me having a somewhat sane work schedule and thought they'd load up the middle of the week a bit more.

-- Michelle Rodriguez will make some kind of cameo appearance in the upcoming season. Yes, this news broke like a week ago but I'm sure it's news to some who may not be as avidly reading "EW" as Jen and me.

-- We're getting another new character in the form of Zuleikha Robinson, who will play a character named Ilana: "a European female who possesses great intelligence but who's also dangerous as all get out." (Sounds like Jen to me, but she's not European).

Okay, now that we've got those out of the way -- let's away to Narnia...

Jen Chaney: I might be European, Liz. I could be hiding it from you all as a function of my mysterious, "dangerous as all get out" persona.

But seriously, also in the "Lost" news realm, I am way behind in my Dharma Initiative tests. Is anyone else playing along with the alternate reality game that got kicked off at Comic-Con? If so, please share your insights into the process. I am hoping to get caught up soon. You know, after I finish my Dharma Initiative Testing Prep Course.

I am not as much of a Narnia nut as Liz, but I did enjoy "Caspian," and particularly appreciate all those "Lost" parallels. Which we should discuss ... starting now.

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dre7861 DC: I'm so glad you decided to revive the "Lost Book Club!" Did you know that ABC's Web site for "Lost" as well as Lostpedia are hosting their own book clubs as well. Liz and Jen, I bet you knew all along that you were trendsetters!

I remember liking the Narnia books as a child but I have to say re-reading this one as an adult I thought it was a little thin and fluffy. Especially when compared to the richness and texture of Tolkein.

The text I read of "Prince Caspian" had a blurb in the back that said that CS Lewis' nickname was Jack - something I had never heard before. I'm sure it's just a coincidence but we have been told that names mean something on "Lost." Narnia is rich in Christian allegory and Jack's last name is Shepherd. Plus Sawyer gives everyone a nickname. Could this be the Rosetta Stone of a clue we've all been looking for?

Like I said I'm sure it's a coinicdence but it did cause my brain to whirl. An observation with some more meat on it is the fact that the Telmarines were the descendants from pirates who were washed up on an uncharted South Pacific island and got to Narnia through a chink or doorway. Shades of the Black Rock came to my mind. Perhaps when Ben turned the Frozen Donkey Wheel - I love that phrase! - he didn't move the Island to another location on Earth or to another time period but perhaps he moved it to another world?

I picture one of those paper wheels in a pop-up book that with each turn of the wheel bring a new picture to a window. Maybe on other worlds the people have four-toes! Maybe the karmic wheel of the Dharma Iniative is symbol of this multiworld travel. Maybe on the other worlds people who have died on this world are alive on others. This concept seems very familiar to me but I can't for the life of me think where. Glad to have you both back manning the helm. Now if the new season would only start my life would be complete!

Liz Kelly: Luckily there are enough books in the "Lost" mythology to keep any and all book clubs well entertained.

RE: Thin and fluffy. You have to keep in mind that these books were aimed at children and written at a level that would not only spark their interest, but keep them reading. So there are "cute" flourishes here and there, things noted that would probably only matter to a child and larger themes can sometimes come off as glossed over.

That said, I would read a bit again -- maybe a crucial chapter like the final battle between High King Peter and Miraz, there is a lot going on here with an economy of language being used. Lewis was able to communicate much with only a very few words. Another example would be Aslan's quiet approach to omniscience. He's got all the answers, but he doesn't hit us over the head with them. It's different from Tolkein, but I wouldn't necessarily say lesser.

And you've touched on one of the pivotal bits of the book for "Losties" -- Aslan's explanation of how the Telmarines ended up populating Narnia and Telmar before -- they were not native to this world, but to ours.

Here's the crucial bit (the bracketed comments are mine):

"Many years ago in that world, in a deep sea of that world which is called the South Sea, a shipload of pirates [PIRATES!] was driven by a storm on an island. And there they did as pirates would: killed the natives and took the native women for wives and made palm wine, and drank and were drunk, and lay in the shade of the palm trees, and woke up and quarreled, and sometimes killed one another. And in one of these frays, six [SIX!] were put out to flight by the rest and fled with their women into the center of the island and up a mountain, and went, as they thought, into a cave to hide. But it was one of the magical places of the world, one of the chinks or chasms between that world and this..."

You get the point...

Jen Chaney: I understand the thinness point. They suddenly get swooped back to Narnia pretty quickly in the beginning of the book. But as Liz said, this is a children's story, after all, and the pace must be brisk and the prose not always as sophisticated as other books might be. (Reading the beginning of this reminded me a lot of the "Harry Potter" books, what the train station and all.)

To your point abuot the Frozen Donkey Wheel -- okay, stop right there. Is that not the best phrase ever? When does that ever come up in daily conversation?

Sorry, digression. Re: the Wheel and moving the island to another world -- I suppose it's possible, but I think it's time that's more of an issue. If you've watched the new Marvin Candle video they showed at Comic-Con -- and if you haven't, you can see it here -- you'll hear him say that time is not just of the essence, it is the essence. I think that's a clue that time is a major factor in the upcoming season, which makes me think that the island is more likely to have time shifted than location shifted, though, again, both are possible.

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Baltimore, Md.: Nice catch. My favorite of the Narnia books (it was all downhill from here).

Liz Kelly: I think they all have their charm, but one shortcoming is that just as you get comfortable with a set of characters Lewis totally abandons them in subsequent books. Makes it a bit jarring.

Jen Chaney: Honestly, this is only the second one I've read. (Also read "Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" ages ago.)

I don't think I would have the patience to read the whole series, only because my reading list is so robust these days. Not enough time in the day for all the books I want to check out.

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Ithaca, NY: FYI: IF Ansalan walks out of the Jungle and tells them that they have found his country I may just Dane Cook myself.

Liz Kelly: That's Aslan, and why would you want to sully a perfectly good book club chat by invoking the name of Dane Cook?

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Doc, Va.: I can't make the live chat, so forgive me if you've already covered this in your intro, but are you going to touch today on the "Lostie" elements from other books in the Narnia series?

For example, "The Magician's Nephew" has a "zone" between worlds where you can leave one world and enter another by jumping into one of several ponds in a forest. And, of course, "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" is all about visits to unknown islands with mysterious, magical influences and beings.

On an unrelated note, does Michelle Rodriguez's one-episode return mark a sort of partial forgiveness by Lindecuse of DUI cast members? If so, does that mean we may get to see Jin again, too?

Liz Kelly: If only -- that might mean that Mr. Eko would soon follow.

As to your question -- sure, we can touch on parallels from the rest of the Narnia series. I should warn you, though, that I'm a little rusty on all except "Caspian" and "The Magician's Nephew."

One interesting notion from "Nephew" -- about that woodland passage between different worlds. You never knew where you'd end up. There were countless pools and some very hostile places, indeed, as evinced by the witch drawn out of the one dead world and into Narnia. I'm not sure Lost is playing with such a vast cosmology, but hey -- like Jen said -- they're blowing up the formula in season 5, right?

Jen Chaney: I'll leave all that Narnia-ology -- Liz, a possible new blog for you! -- to my friend and colleague.

Re: Jin: Don't you worry about our stuffed panda purchasing old friend. He will be back. LindeCuse has said so. Whether he'll appear as a ghost or not is unclear, but Daniel Dae Kim is still part of the cast.

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Lost in DC: I think the most interesting connection between "Caspian" and "Lost" is the idea of time passing differently in the other world. When the four kids return to the peninsula/island, hundreds of years have passed in Narnia and only a single year has passed in our world.

A lot of people have predicted something similar for when the O6 return to the island. But I think the time difference will be the opposite: while several years have passed for the O6, little or no time has passed on the island. Because the island disappeared into thin air, it seems to have moved in time. If it moved backward, it would be existing simultaneously with a past version of the island, which would create a paradox. But if it jumps forward in time, it can land in a time when there's no island already there. Jumping forward in time also means the islanders won't have aged or died since the O6 left, which would be a problem for the actors.

Jen Chaney: I think this is dead-on. LindeCuse has already said time will function differently in season five and everything you suggest makes sense. At least to me, anyway.

Another potential parallel: As has been mentioned here and elsewhere before Charlotte shares the same initials as C.S. Lewis. If you can remember back to the episode where the freighter folk first came to the island, when she jumped into the water, there was a look on her face of supreme joy, almost as if she were back home again. And in the finale (I think it was the finale) Miles also suggested Charlotte had been to the island before.

I wonder if her Lewis-style initials are a hint that, like the Pevensie children, Charlotte may have been a leader of some sort on the island in the past.

Liz Kelly: It was actually implied that Charlotte was born on the island if I remember correctly.

As for those Pevensies -- ultimately they have to face facts and leave Narnia and return to good old England and boarding school. And we get the idea that Peter and Susan, being too old, will never return. Worse luck.

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Boston: Great choice!

To me, the "Lost" world has always reminded me of C.S. Lewis's vision of the afterlife, and of the underlying religious current which runs through all of his work. I know the Lost writers swear up and down that this is not Purgatory, but compare the island to C.S. Lewis's vision of after-death experience in "The Great Divorce," for example. The people in purgatory are each on their own search for inner understanding which they must achieve before they can move on to the next level. Kind of like that Robin Williams movie "What Dreams May Come."

There have been many overtly religious scenes in Lost, and not just limited to Mr. Eko. I remember Charlie's dream where Claire and her mother are dressed as saints, and Rose had an early conversation with Charlie which had a strongly positive religious message as well. So I believe that "Lost's" plot development is going to involve an overtly religious aspect before it's all over.

The word of Narnia also has lots of relevance with the character's journey through a portal into another world whose time moves at a different pace than the "real world." When the children return to Narnia after a brief time away, hundreds of years have passed.

Just a few random thoughts -- greatly enjoy your chats...

Liz Kelly: Well-said, sir, but now in addition to Dane Cook, you've had to go and mention Robin Williams. If someone mentions Diane Keaton, it's going to get ugly up in here.

Jen Chaney: You just mentioned Keaton, Liz. Things are officially ugly.

As our "Lost" readers know, I am totally with you on the religious undercurrent. To me, whether the island is purgatory or not is irrelevant. There is no denying that many of the central issues of the show relate to religion. The faith vs. science, aka Locke vs. Jack, conflict is central to the show. Ultimately, the writers must address the question: Is there something bigger worth believing in or is life really just every man for himself?

When I say that, I don't even mean God specifically. Locke believes the island and Jacob speak to him, that there are larger forces guiding him. Jack doesn't. Who's right? Inquiring Chaneys and Kellys want to know.

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Liz Kelly: Jen, I'm curious -- since you're not necessarily bowled over by the Narnia series, what do you think made this book a standout for LindeCuse? Surely there are other books about parallel worlds -- why this one? Nostalgia or something more?

Jen Chaney: Well, I'm not saying I don't like it, just that I don't know that I would read the entire series. At least right now.

It's a good question, actually. As far as parallel world books go, this is probably one of the most well-known and classic series. I mean, we all read at least one of these as kids, right?

And as a previous chatter said, the "Narnia" books are pretty laden with religious symbolism. So that could have been a factor, too. But I'm just spitballin. My head hurts from studying for Dharma exams. (The essay portions are so hard!)

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Pennsylvania: I've never seen "Lost" but just wanted to let you know that I'm a big Narnia fan. At this very moment, a completed puzzle of a map of Narnia hangs over my desk. I did this puzzle when I was about 10 or so and my mother got it mounted for me. It's very cool. Thanks for including a Chronicle in your Lost book club.

Liz Kelly: Absolutely and welcome to the club. Stick around, we'll be announcing next month's selection at the end of today's hour. I can't promise it will be another Lewis book, but I can promise it'll be a good read.

And, if you're interested, the first few seasons of "Lost" are available on DVD. I think you'd like them...

Jen Chaney: Indeed. Reviews of all those DVDs, as well as our many blog posts, are on the "Lost" hub, in case you want to check them out.

And I salute you for framing that puzzle.

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Arlington, Va.: How much do you think the source material we're assigned in the Book Club is cited while the show is/was being developed? Are the writers and producers sitting around and saying "Yes, and time will be different on and off the Island, like in the Narnia books!" or "Ben is a lot like Ozymandias from 'Watchmen.' "

Jen Chaney: I love that you use the word "assigned." It makes Liz and I feel like teachers. Which would suggest that we have knowledge of some sort. And that makes me laugh.

Anyhoo ... someone asked this question at the TV Comic-Con panel that LindeCuse participated in. (I think that's where it was.) I seem to recall them saying that they have a list of books that they are influenced by but they weave things in organically. I know that Damon Lindelof was enormously influenced by "Watchmen," and I think his story-telling style bears that out. But that doesn't mean that he consciously thinks about how to make a character in "Lost" more Rorschach-esque, if that makes sense.

Again, I hope I am remembering this right. I do think they make more conscious choices when, say, they actually insert a copy of a particular book into the narrative.

Liz Kelly: I think, Jen, what they said was that they have a list of philosophers names -- or names in general -- that they want to use for characters who pop into the storyline. But I'm guessing it's filed along with a similar list of book titles.

I've been wondering for some time if they actually found a copy of my K - 12 record and inserted every book I was ever required to read for school into the series. Meaning that most of these books, while incredible, are not exactly esoteric.

Jen Chaney: That's right, they said that specifically about philosophers. But I bet they do the same thing with books. Makes sense to me.

Honestly, makes my brain hurt to think about it.

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Seattle, Emerald City: I think Lost in DC is right - when the Six are sent back to the Island, little time will have passed On Island, whereas it's been years for them.

Even if it would make for easier casting for new actors who don't have DUIs. Glad to see my fave actress coming back, if even for a cameo, although I was surprised as to how short she really is in person ... thought she'd be taller.

Jen Chaney: Did you meet Michelle Rodriguez? If so, please share.

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Anonymous: "Locke believes the island and Jacob speak to him, that there are larger forces guiding him. Jack doesn't. Who's right? Inquiring Chaneys and Kellys want to know."

This is an important aspect of all of the Narnia books as well. There is always a small minority that still believe in Aslan and keep their faith in him (Lucy for one), while the majority are skeptical. This majority seems to forget easily and have to be reminded of Aslan by his presence. That being said Aslan is also reticent to reveal himself to the majority until the very last minute. He comes and goes disappears and appears at his own convenience. This seems to be another strong parallel. Jacob appears to be doing this through the appearance of his cabin and the smoke monster.

Liz Kelly: Right. It's reminiscent of other books, variations on the same theme. Another childhood read that comes to mind is "The Mists of Avalon" -- an incredible retelling of the Arthurian legend and one that pits new, Christian England against the age-old beliefs in picts, druids, Paganistic rites and the like.

It's a hard theme to beat for grabbing interest from readers, viewers and voters (think creationism vs. evolution).

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Are we saying that Jacob is Aslan? I'm not prepared to make that leap. We know that Aslan is absolutely good. He is diviinty in Lewis's world, or divinity's reprentative in Narnia. We still don't know what motivates Jacob or if he is good, evil or indifferent. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that in the world of "Lost's" spirituality, there will be a level above Jacob.

Jen Chaney: Agree. Aslan is unquestionably a force for good in Lewis's stories. Jacob may well turn out to be a false idol. He's definitely not particularly chatty.

To relate this back to other books we've read in this Club, Lucy is like Fiver from "Watership Down." She sees what others cannot, and others tend to assume she is crazy because of it. I would say Locke falls into that category. And so does Hurley who, as we recall from last season, also can see Jacob's cabin.

Liz Kelly: Oooh, Jen -- good that you pointed that out about Lucy because not only is she intuitive and more in touch with her spiritual side and think she's crazy, she is tested by Aslan -- if they'd only followed him when Lucy first thought she glimpsed him on the other side of the gorge, things may have turned out differently. Parallels nicely with John Locke's continued tests. He seems to be constantly beset by tests from Ben, Jacob and himself.

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Anonymous: In the Warren Ellis comic book "Planetary," there's an issue that deals with a covert experiment to pull a being from a fictional universe into "our" universe.

It would be an interesting twist of Charlotte was something like that -- a fictional being given life. If the Smoke Monster can be influenced by thoughts/feelings/imagination, it's not a huge stretch that something on the island could take on the shape/personality of a fictional character.

Jen Chaney: Ooh, that's interesting. Fodder for future thought.

Speaking of the smoke monster, a passage in "Caspian" reminded me of that, too: "What Lucy and Susan saw was a dark something coming to them from almost every direction across the hills." The dark something ends up being a mass of people and animals, including Bacchus. And at the end of that same chapter, Susan says she would not have felt safe encountering that rabble if they had not had Aslan with them.

Maybe the Losties also need Aslan -- aka Jesus or your spiritual guider of choice -- to protect them from the smoke monster.

Liz Kelly: Too funny -- here's the take I had on why Susan says she would not have felt safe encountering Bacchus without Aslan there to protect them:

Because Susan, as pointed out time and again in the book, is a sour-faced prude who wouldn't know a good time if it hit her on the helmet. And, to me, what is not actually said about Bacchus is that he's leading a moveable feast/party/orgy through Narnia and, if not for Aslan's presence, Susan and Lucy might be caught up in the revels. And that would never do.

Jen Chaney: That's a valid take, too. Lucy agrees, though, that they needed Aslan with them. And she's not as much of a stick-in-the-mud as Susan. (Although she is much too young for traveling orgies.) But maybe that's just a reflection of Lewis's prudishness, too, to some extent?

In any case, I thought the description of the dark mass coming out of the woods was very smoke monstery. You can't deny that.

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Seattle: So, if Prince Caspian is a template for Lost, which will be the template for Fringe?

Jen Chaney: Uh ... the Choose Your Own Adventure books? Love those. I know Liz does, too.

Liz Kelly: I don't think we should be calling any of these books "templates" for "Lost." They are merely light breezes in the air wafting through the show's atmosphere.

Jen Chaney: Or, to borrow another word Liz recently loaned to me, guideposts. Softer than template, but still carries some significance.

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Cleveland Please post a link to the hilarious SNL 'Chronic(what?)cles of Narnia' video. So appropriate for this chat, I'd say. Bonus: the ad leading into it (at least when I viewed) was an NPH Old Spice beaut.

washingtonpost.com: Hulu - Saturday Night Live: SNL Digital Short: Lazy Sunday

Liz Kelly: Okay, that is good. Combines three of my favorite things: Narnia, cupcakes and Chris Parnell.

Jen Chaney: You know what? I can't believe I've gone this long in the discussion without saying "Chrnic -- what? -- cles of Narnia." I seriously don't hear the name any other way now.

Also, I suddenly feel a desire to use Google Maps.

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Anonymous: Is there a representation of goodness/purity on Lost? Aaron or Hurley maybe?

Jen Chaney: I wouldn't say Hurley, only because he's got some issues. Don't get me wrong, I love the dude and he's unquestionably a decent person. But his soul is not undisturbed, if that makes sense.

I would say Aaron is about right. Nothing is more innocent than a baby. I suspect that whatever happens to him in these last two seasons will affect that innocence. When he realizes Kate's not his real mommy, he's going to be one ticked kid.

Liz Kelly: What about poor Vincent? Or even Walt?

Jen Chaney: Walt's not innocent. He walks around soaking wet and scaring people. At least Taller Ghost Walt does. Also, he killed birds with his mind in season one, didn't he? The kid has a freaky streak.

Vincent, however, total innocent. He and Aaron are the only being you can trust on that island. Them and, if you're in a helicopter, Sawyer.

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Arlington, Va.: If the character of Charlotte was created with the Narnia books in mind, are there similar literary reference points for Miles and Daniel?

Jen Chaney: Good question. Miles is obviously based on "Ghostbusters."

No, seriously, there may be reference points there, but if they have been mentioned in the past, my mind is blanking. Liz, help a sister out.

Liz Kelly: Jen, obviously you're forgetting that "Daniel" is based on Elton John's classic song.

"Daniel my brother, you are older than me..."

Jen Chaney: Thanks to producer Paul for reminding us that Miles is the name of the boy in "Turn of the Screw," which is a -- wait for it -- ghost story.

I should have recalled that since I was just perusing that again recently.

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the wardrobe: Dr. Cornelius is Ben Linus ... discuss.

Liz Kelly: Well, I could see where you might think Ben was born of the union between a dwarf and human.

But, beyond that, no -- I'm not seeing it. Again, we don't know what Ben's intentions are. Where Dr. Cornelius is -- as we know -- working for the good of all Narnians in helping Prince Caspian to realize his throne, the only thing that seems to motivate Ben Linus is the good of Ben Linus.

Jen Chaney: It wouldn't be a "Lost" chat if we didn't argue about Ben's intentions, would it? (Sidenote: I so hope Michael Emerson wins an Emmy in a couple of weeks.)

I agree that Cornelius -- which makes me think of Don Cornelious, so forgive me if I suddenly get groovy -- does not seem to have a dark side. Ben clearly is a manipulator and not always for the obvious good, at least in the short-term. But again, by the end of the series, we may better his motives and realize that he really was -- in his warped way -- taking action that resulted in a positive outcome in the wide scheme.

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Seattle, just a thought: Maybe Eko was Aslan?

He did die ...

Liz Kelly: Well, so did Nikki and Paolo. It doesn't make one a god-like being.

Jen Chaney: I don't know about you, but I pray to Nikki and Paolo every night. "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray Nikki and Paolo my soul to keep..."

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Seattle, Map City: The main lack, of course, is that there really is no Aslan in Lost.

Maybe it's one of those between Aslan kind of pieces, where his absence makes things darker and less hopeful?

Liz Kelly: Right -- or perhaps we've yet to meet "Lost's" Aslan.

Jen Chaney: And here we are, back in purgatory again.

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Seattle, Emerald City: Yeah, Michelle was one of the stars in Battle for Seattle, the Opening Night film at the Seattle International Film Festival - I was one of the people in the VIP tent.

While she wasn't as fun as some of her co-stars, she was fairly pleasant in person, if a bit subdued from her on-stage presence. Most of the audience loved her in the film, actually, where she did a far better job than Charlize Theron (note to self - casting couch does NOT improve your performance).

I thought Eko left over creative differences, and asked to be written out?

Jen Chaney: Eko did, that's absolutely right. The writers had a longer arc in mind for that character and had to cut it short because of that, which is such a shame.

And thanks for reporting on Michelle. (Dang, harsh words for Charlize. For the record, Stuart Townsend directed that movie, and he is her boyfriend. So it's not as bad as it sounds.)

Jen Chaney: That is, the casting couch thing is not as bad as it sounds. Can't say about her performance since I haven't seen the movie yet.

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Edinburgh by way of Washington, DC: Just joined in so my apologies if this has already been brought up, but in the end of "Prince Caspian" all the Telemarines who so desire are allowed to go back home while some decide to stay in Narnia. This is all done with no implied guilt being given out. Do you believe the ending of Lost will hold something similar, a choice to re-engage the world they have left for those who desire it, perhaps to forge a different path for themselves, or to stay on the island and seek out their own understanding of "Aslan" as they see fit (is the equivalent here the smoke monster?)?

Liz Kelly: That would indeed be a good ending, one that would force each of our Losties to confront their core truths.

Just as long as they don't use that annoying construct wherein the people who decide to leave the island behind forever suddenly have no memories of their time spent there. That kills me when that happens. Like at the end of "Donnie Darko" when Jena Malone's character is saved by Donnie's love and sacrifice, but the price is her forgetting she ever knew him. Maddening.

Jen Chaney: I like that as an ending.

I also still cling tightly to my idea that the last shot will take us right back to the very beginning, with Jack's eyeball just after the crash. I don't know what the heck that means, mind you, I just like the idea of it.

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RE:Aslan/Jacob: It is hard to call Aslan good and Jacob bad. While he is perceived as being right and just, he really is self serving. He wants Narnia to be the way he wants it with talking animals running around instead of people. Think about it from those peoples' point of view. He also has no qualms about using the children to his end. He keeps bringing more and more of them into his world to right the wrongs that he perceives to exist. Think about it from those peoples' point of view. Aslan seems similar to Jacob in that respect. I would also like to point out that there is a tier in the ? god? of Narnia patheon above Aslan as well. He always refers to the Emperor across the sea as the ultimate master of the world. Aslan appears to be his tool. Maybe Jacob is the same for the island or what ever force is behind the island?

Liz Kelly: You're right. Aslan is merely his god's representative in Narnia. Kind of like the Pope or Tom Cruise, right?

I still give Aslan the benefit of the doubt, though. Sure, he works to keep Narnia in the hands of Narnians -- but remember that he says Narnia is only truly happy when a "Son of Adam" (a human from our world) is on the Narnian throne. So his Narnia is inclusive of all, while the Telmarines tried their best to eradicate the native Narnians for three generations.

Jen Chaney: See, I just assume Aslan is good because Liam Neeson does his voice in the movies.

You raise some valid points, though. It's always wise to examine these characters -- in "Narnia," "Lost," whatever -- from multiple perspectives. I still think Aslan is overall a force for good, though.

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Anonymous: This may be a little bit off, but for those who've seen the -movie- version of Prince Caspian, are there any even more overt parallels to LOST? I think it's interesting how Peter fights Miraz as Caspian's proxy. Anything like that in our show? Protecting Hurley? Also, who would be Trufflehunter? Miraz? Peter (Jack?)? The stinky dwarves? I'm not too fond of Susan (due to stuff revealed during The Last Battle), so she could be your Kate. Who is our darling Lucy, however? And Edmond?

Liz Kelly: I think this book is more useful as further exploring over-all themes and the construction of a fantastical world than as an actual character-to-character, scene-by-scene comparison.

Jen Chaney: Yeah, I am not sure I can say which characters stand in for the Losties. The plot points -- the dropping onto an island and realizing they've been there before, the time issue, the pirates -- that strike me as most notable here.

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Liz Kelly: Another aspect of the time/space travel that came up -- at least for me -- in reading "Caspian" is that when someone bounces back and forth between two worlds or places or times, they end up not really belonging to either of them. The Pevensies can't stay in Narnia, but will they be content back in England knowing the lives they've led, the battles they've won, the friends they've left behind them?

This really resonates in the "Lost" world, too. Think of poor, drunk, bearded Jack desperate to get back to the island because he is no longer of our world.

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Liz Kelly: Thanks for joining us today. We'll return next month, specifically on Friday, Oct. 3 to discuss the new book club selection, the title of which high queen Jen (and I don't mean "high" in a "Pineapple Express" kind of way) will announce now:

Jen Chaney: You didn't know I was European, Liz. You might now know that I'm actually high.

(I am kidding. Geez. Please don't fire me, washingtonpost.com.

OK, back to business: Our next book will be: "Slaughterhouse-Five" by Kurt Vonnegut, which shares some remarkable parallels with "Lost's" finest hour from last season, "The Constant." It's a fabulous read and should provide much for us to discuss.

A discussion page will be set up soon, so we'll hope you'll join us on the 3rd, preferably in a Desmond state of mind.

Thanks again for the great questions and insights.

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