Perelandra

by

C. S. Lewis

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Perelandra: Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Ransom hears the eldils speaking in their bell-like voices and realizes that one of them is the Oyarsa of Malacandra. The Oyarsa is telling its companion about Ransom and his world. Ransom asks to be introduced, and the other eldil identifies itself as Perelandra, the creator of this planet and all that’s in it. Yet today, everything he made is being taken from him, and he blesses Maleldil for this.
Earlier in Ransom’s acquaintance with the Lady, the Lady explained to Ransom that the eldila would not occupy a prominent role in ruling Perelandra. In this younger world, rule will pass into the hands of rational creatures—that is, the King and Queen.
Themes
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
The Oyarsa of Malacandra explains that today is the “morning day,” the birth of this world. It’s the first time that two creatures in Maleldil’s image will “sit in the throne of what they were meant to be”—an unprecedented thing. At this, Ransom nearly faints.
The Oyarsa means that this is the first time that two rational creatures (basically, human-equivalents) have remained unfallen when faced with temptation. In essence, then, the King and Queen are what the earthly Adam and Eve were originally intended to be.
Themes
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Innocence and Incorruption Theme Icon
Related Quotes
The King and Queen of Perelandra are climbing up the mountain even now, so the eldila—who have come to do them honor—decide to prepare visible shapes in order to make it easier for them to be seen. They try out various forms on Ransom. At first these are rather horrifying—pillars of eyes, pulsing flames, and other alarming figures—and Ransom asks them to stop, explaining that these appearances overwhelm his senses. Finally they manifest as two immensely tall human figures burning white-hot, with a halo of indescribable colors. The Oyarsa of Malacandra shines with colder colors, that of Perelandra glows with warmer ones.
The eldila aren’t used to interacting directly with rational creatures, so they try to assume forms that will be tolerable and comprehensible to mortal eyes, with mixed success.
Themes
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Despite the fact that neither of them has sexual characteristics, there is a discernible difference between the eldila which Ransom is nevertheless powerless to describe. He grasps at it by saying, for example, that Malacandra is something like “rhythm” and Perelandra like “melody.” (None of these comparisons helps Lewis very much.) The creatures explain to Ransom, as far as he can understand it, that only Maleldil can see them as they really are.
The eldila are somehow archetypes of male and female, essences which the human sexes only dimly reflect. Though he only hints at it here, Lewis explores his speculations about gender in greater detail in the third of the Space Trilogy, That Hideous Strength.
Themes
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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All the beasts of Perelandra have entered the valley by this time, making a great noise—presided over by four of the dog-like singers that Ransom had seen back in the forest. All the creatures arrange themselves expectantly; it feels like a ceremony is about to begin. As a perfect morning light settles over the valley, the King and Queen appear, and the eldila bow before them.
Here, the King and Queen receive the honor of those over whom they will reign, including the eldila. This is the King’s first appearance in the novel, and it's the Queen’s first reappearance since Ransom fought Weston.
Themes
Exploration, Wonder, and God’s Plan Theme Icon