It’s well-known that CS Lewis was an Oxford man –he was a celebrated tutor in English Literature at Magdalen College, a short walk from Balliol— and his Narnia novels, loved by children across the globe, were heavily influenced by his time in Oxford.
In The Chronicles of Narnia, a family of English schoolchildren tumble through the panelled doors of an old wardrobe to find themselves, rather surprised, knee-high in snow and surrounded by fir trees: they are in another world entirely- Narnia. Yesterday evening, the ORA students in Balliol themselves entered something like that world, travelling outside of Oxford for a Narnia-themed mid-session party. Their Narnia was located in grounds of the great Manor House in the nearby village of Kingston Bagpuize; it had far more other visitors than the four Pevensie children, because two other ORA campuses –those in St Catherine’s College and Queen’s College— came to join, making it a proper celebration; there was no snow, and still less danger of being abducted by a psychopathic queen; and there was, in addition to that, plenty of music for dancing.
Students had lots of opportunities to pose for photos amongst the Narnia-themed props and scenery, and made full use of them. They also took the chance to try out a rather tricky surfing simulation: it’s uncertain how the faun Mister Tumnus would have fared on a surfboard, but many of the students put on a very good showing. Students also enjoyed the gladiator battles, with big inflatable swords while trying to knock each other off balance— but by far the most popular aspect was the dancing. Spontaneous dance-offs sprang up, with students full of energy after a large barbecue meal, and there was some impressive ability on display.
It was a fantastic night, and the buses back to Oxford were buzzing with happy discussion of the dancing, the food, and the fun had throughout the evening.