Episode Show Notes

In this episode, Mike sits down with SFC’s Head of Schools, Rod Gilbert for the seventh installment of the Eagle Perspective’s series “A Yard of Books.” Mike and Rod discuss “The Chronicles of Narnia” and how fantasy stories can be powerful for believers.

Mike Siciliano, Upper School Dean of Students, has a long history with Sante Fe Christian, sitting in several roles including alumnus, US history teacher, and football coach. As a student, Siciliano felt he had teachers and coaches who personally invested in him and made a huge difference in his life. Now, he tries every day to continue that legacy for current SFC students, live up to the standard his teachers set for him, and have a lot of fun.

Rod Gilbert brings a fresh perspective as SFC’s Head of Schools. As a strong leader with a shepherd’s heart, Rod encourages SFC’s faculty, coaches, and staff to strive for excellence in all they do. At his core, Rod is an educator who wants children and their parents to see the world as something lovely, worth exploring and redeeming through Christ.


00:00:00 – Introductions

00:01:38 – Why “The Chronicles of Narnia” is a must-read

00:03:47 – Why many stories written by C.S. Lewis are not so-called children’s books

00:07:48 – Why fantasy stories can be powerful for believers

00:09:30 – Rod’s favorite parts of stories

00:11:30 – Lessons learned from “The Horse and His Boy”

00:14:16 – How Aslan helped Rod better understand Jesus

00:20:37 – Discussion of the conversion experience in the book

00:24:24 – Why they recommend the movies in addition to the books


Mike Siciliano [00:00:05] Welcome back to another episode of our Eagle Perspective Podcast. I’m Mike Siciliano. I’m here once again continuing our Yard of Books series with our Head of Schools, Rod Gilbert. Rod, good to have you back on, as always.

Rod Gilbert [00:00:16] Glad to be here. Thank you.

Mike Siciliano [00:00:18] Today we have an absolute classic. Really, in our yard of books, it makes up a foot, because it’s a lot of books, “The Chronicles of Narnia.” I know it’s a book that you’ve read through multiple times. Correct?

Rod Gilbert [00:00:32] Actually, that’s not true.

Mike Siciliano [00:00:33] That’s not true? I’m lying at the start of the podcast.

Rod Gilbert [00:00:35] You are. You have no idea what you’re talking about.

Mike Siciliano [00:00:37] Okay. When’s the first time you read through “The Chronicles of Narnia?”

Rod Gilbert [00:00:40] This summer. I had never read through the whole series.

Mike Siciliano [00:00:44] Okay. Awesome. You just finished it when?

Rod Gilbert [00:00:46] Last night at nine o’clock.

Mike Siciliano [00:00:48] Okay. So, this is fresh in your head.

Rod Gilbert [00:00:49] Yes.

Mike Siciliano [00:00:50] I last finished it at least 15 years ago. We’re totally on an even playing field here.

Rod Gilbert [00:00:55] Wow. Oh, perfect. I’m going to quiz you right from the start.

Mike Siciliano [00:00:57] Oh, boy. Okay. On top of that, you’ve enjoyed this so much.

Rod Gilbert [00:01:02] Loved it.

Mike Siciliano [00:01:03] You actually gave away a set.

Rod Gilbert [00:01:05] I did.

Mike Siciliano [00:01:06] Okay. Did you know that I also recently gave away a set?

Rod Gilbert [00:01:08] No, I did not know that.

Mike Siciliano [00:01:09] We were recently at this meeting and you said, “Who’s got the nearest birthday?” and I shouted out, “Hey, John Wallace’s birthday is tomorrow.”

Rod Gilbert [00:01:16] That’s right. Tomorrow. This set right here is John’s. 

Mike Siciliano [00:01:19] I later found out that Pamela Odin was in the process of raising her hand for her birthday, which is the same day.

Rod Gilbert [00:01:26] Yeah, I know.

Mike Siciliano [00:01:27] I shouted out John Wallace, and you gave the book to John Wallace. I felt a little bad about that. I got her a set, too.

Rod Gilbert [00:01:33] Good for you.

Mike Siciliano [00:01:34] Yeah. Don’t worry, I’ll charge the school. You gave away two sets.

Rod Gilbert [00:01:36] No, no. It’s out of your pocket.

Mike Siciliano [00:01:38] All right. What is it about “The Chronicles of Narnia” that, to you, is like, “This has got to be in your yard of books”?

Rod Gilbert [00:01:44] At the core of it, I would say it is perfectly childlike. There’s so many deep lessons to be learned. There’s something beautiful, just like the parables of Jesus Christ. There are very simple lessons, and yet they’re amazingly profound. C.S. Lewis did such a great job with that.

Mike Siciliano [00:02:06] In that process with C.S. Lewis — I know that’s something you’ve also talked about a lot here — how did he write these? What’s unique about that?

Rod Gilbert [00:02:12] C.S. Lewis, by the way, didn’t become a Christian till his mid-30s. He was a raging atheist as a professor in England and then over time found Christ or Christ found him, as he calls it. One of his best friends was J.R.R. Tolkien, who everyone knows, wrote “The Lord of the Rings.” Every week, Clive Staples Lewis (C.S. Lewis), J.R.R. Tolkien, and a couple of other friends who get together and share each other’s stories that they were writing or scholarship. For years and years and years they met once a week. They actually called themselves The Inklings, which means they barely had an inkling about anything. They were very humble. From those weekly meetings our whole world culture has benefited from Narnia, and Middle Earth, and Lord of the Rings. We have them to thank for that.

Mike Siciliano [00:03:08] Okay. Just to remind our listeners, viewers… I guess they’re both now, now that we have these cameras in here.

Rod Gilbert [00:03:17] Oh, we actually have a studio watching us.

Mike Siciliano [00:03:18] We do. We have an audience today for the first time.

[00:03:20 applause]

Rod Gilbert [00:03:23] I feel like I’m on The Price is Right or something.

Mike Siciliano [00:03:25] Do they have to clap? Was that part of the rule? Is it just purely for our ego or what?

Rod Gilbert [00:03:27] I don’t know. 

Mike Siciliano [00:03:32] If it were someone’s first time listening or watching today, this is not the first C.S. Lewis book we’ve talked about.

Rod Gilbert [00:03:37] No. We actually did “The Screwtape Letters” with Mr. Kim, one of my favorite C.S. Lewis books. Much harder to read. Really written for high school students or adults.

Mike Siciliano [00:03:47] Okay. That’s a good segue. Are these children’s books?

Rod Gilbert [00:03:50] Oh, my gosh, yes. In fact, I received these as a set in fifth grade under the Christmas tree, and I still have one left from that set way back then. It’s over on the other shelf. I read the first two books and then moved on with life, probably went back outside and rode my go-cart or something as a kid.

Mike Siciliano [00:04:08] You had a go-cart?

Rod Gilbert [00:04:09] Oh, yeah. That’s a different story. My mom didn’t know about it. My dad bought it, brought it home. We cranked it up, and then Mom found out about it.

Mike Siciliano [00:04:16] Kid me is very jealous of that because my mom was like, “No go-carts.”

Rod Gilbert [00:04:20] Yeah. We crashed and we got bloody. Then the first thing my brother… It was a two-seater so we flipped it all the time. The first thing we would say as we’re coming out pulling it off of us was, “Don’t tell Mom.”

Mike Siciliano [00:04:33] But I feel like this could actually fit in one of C.S. Lewis’s stories.

Rod Gilbert [00:04:36] It could.

Mike Siciliano [00:04:37] But anyway, we digress. You have a copy as a kid. You read the first couple, put it away, moved on.

Rod Gilbert [00:04:42] I had no idea that there was any theological underpinnings. I read this one, the most famous, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” as a fifth-grade child and just thought it was a really cool story.

Mike Siciliano [00:04:54] By the way, everyone thinks that’s the first book.

Rod Gilbert [00:04:56] That’s right. It’s not; it’s book number two. “The Magician’s Nephew” was the prequel to it all.

Mike Siciliano [00:05:03] Now, is this like a Star Wars thing, where if someone has not read any of these, the age-old question, when you start Star Wars, do you start with episode one or episode four? Narnia, do you start with “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” or do you start with “The Magician’s Nephew?”

Rod Gilbert [00:05:16] I would quote John Wallace on this. Since I gave him the copy, this whole set, a week or two ago I asked him the same question. He actually put it to a vote with his children, and they talked about it. They started with “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” because it’s so captivatingly beautiful, and it gives you so many substories of what’s going to unpack the rest of it. Those children will come back and read “The Magician’s Nephew” and understand where Narnia came from. As a father, I thought John made a wise choice. C.S. Lewis preferred “The Magician’s Nephew” first. That’s why this set has book one…

Mike Siciliano [00:05:52] Did he write “The Magician’s Nephew” first?

Rod Gilbert [00:05:54] I actually have no idea. I don’t know the order of it.

Mike Siciliano [00:05:58] I think, by the way, in Star Wars the right answer is you start with episode four. You watch them in the episode…

Rod Gilbert [00:06:03] I didn’t know there was anything before that.

Mike Siciliano [00:06:04] Oh, yeah. Well, the prequels a lot of people like to forget. But anyway, we won’t go there.

Rod Gilbert [00:06:09] Jar Jar Binks drove me crazy. Let me ask you this: which is your favorite Star Wars? I’m going to judge you.

Mike Siciliano [00:06:16] This is a hard question.

Rod Gilbert [00:06:16] I’m judging you. You’re debating this in your head?

Mike Siciliano [00:06:19] Well, The Empire Strikes Back is really good, to me. I really enjoy The Empire Strikes Back.

Rod Gilbert [00:06:22] Okay. You get points for that.

Mike Siciliano [00:06:23] Okay, good. That’s probably my favorite.

Rod Gilbert [00:06:28] Okay. All right. That’s mine, too.

Mike Siciliano [00:06:30] I will say I really liked the new ones.

Rod Gilbert [00:06:32] I did, too.

Mike Siciliano [00:06:34] A lot of people are critical of the last, especially episode eight, the middle one, but I love them. I like all three of them.

Rod Gilbert [00:06:41] Well, the horses running on the spaceship are a little weird.

Mike Siciliano [00:06:45] How can we say anything about Star Wars is weird?

Rod Gilbert [00:06:49] Solo was a wreck from the beginning. The producers messed it up.

Mike Siciliano [00:06:52] Rogue One’s really good, though.

Rod Gilbert [00:06:53] Yeah. I like Rogue One. Back to Narnia.

Mike Siciliano [00:06:55] Yeah, let’s get back to the other fantasy series that we’re talking about.

Rod Gilbert [00:07:00] Let me just add this to it. The reason that you and I are talking about Star Wars and many other science fiction books like this, Shannara… Anyway, there is a lot of science fiction… The genre of fantasy literature, actually, Tolkien is the fountainhead that started it. He started it by doing a scholarly paper on an ancient word called Beowulf. It was called Our Monster Beowulf or something like that. He wrote about it in such a way that caused people to want to study it more. Now it’s a part of our western canon. His work with “Lord of the Rings” and less so, Narnia, is why we have science fiction and fantasy sections in Barnes and Noble. They’re the fountainhead.

Mike Siciliano [00:07:48] What is it about this genre that we love so much and that even a believer like C.S. Lewis, who’s written all kinds of things including nonfiction, apologetic type stuff, and yet, he probably spent more time on this series? What is it about fantasy that as believers it can be powerful?

Rod Gilbert [00:08:09] I think that to come to the kingdom of Christ, you have to do it as a child’s heart. Jesus made that real clear. I think that’s why I talk more in stories than in theology. For every sentence of theological thickness in the book of Romans, we have many more stories that Jesus told to soften our hearts to the Holy Spirit. I think stories end up allowing our imagination to fill in some of the gaps, and I think they captivate our heart. I think from a conversion experience in our own walk of holiness in life it’s more about the heart than the head. I think stories make it happen.

Mike Siciliano [00:08:46] It’s almost like the nonfiction stuff. We have so many inputs and life experiences that we can’t, in a way, suspend our subjectivity, but in the fantasy world, we can suspend all of that and just get to the heart of what the message is.

Rod Gilbert [00:09:03] That’s right. I think it’s affectionate. I think the writers that do this well are tenderizing our own hearts toward Christ. Most of these books here — theology, history, economics — it’s my background. They’re important for me to know, but when it comes to really what guides my heart, it’s really more stories than it is a thick book.

Mike Siciliano [00:09:30] Okay. What are some of your favorite excerpts or pieces? I’d say no spoilers, but we’ve been down this road enough that I’m going to say no spoilers and you’re going to spoil something anyway. What are some only mild spoilers that stand out to you?

Rod Gilbert [00:09:47] I would start with this. I called my adult children a few weeks ago and told him I was reading through it. Ryan remembers Angie reading it to him at least two or three times. They’ve been listening to it on CDs. He didn’t remember all the little stories, but he immediately could give the theme of a couple of the books. I told him I was in “The Horse and His Boy.” “Oh, my gosh, Dad, you’re going to love that, because…” and then he gave me some of the key themes. We forget. We can’t keep up with every little story, but it’s the themes of each book that stand out.

Mike Siciliano [00:10:17] You mentioned “The Horse and His Boy.” There’s one that you’ve shared with me that has resonated with me quite a bit.

Rod Gilbert [00:10:23] Yeah, okay. I try my best as an adult reader to behave like a child reading it. Otherwise, I’m reading it like a theologian trying to interpret it. I know that sounds weird. I try to just read it for the purity of the story. What happens oftentimes is I get tricked, because I’m in a childlike reading state. I was 100 pages into the book before… I think Hannah may have mentioned this to me. No book makes any sense to call it “The Horse and His Boy.”

Mike Siciliano [00:10:57] Wow. I never picked up on that. My mind is blown a little bit right now.

Rod Gilbert [00:11:00] I’d seen the title. There’s his horse and there’s the boy. Then there’s this girl that he meets, and they’re on a grand adventure. I was 100 pages in before I realized — the horse, I knew it was a talking horse from Narnia — actually, the boy belongs to the horse. I thought, “Oh, that’s why the title’s that way.” There have been many aha moments for me. I tell Angie and she looks at me like, “Yeah, adults know that already.”

Mike Siciliano [00:11:28] Well, I didn’t.

Rod Gilbert [00:11:30] I didn’t, either. You asked me for one particular book. In this particular — I have a lot of notes on it — I was just so profoundly influenced by it. These two children and their talking horses are racing through the night. They’ve got to get to a castle to warn people about some bad thing. As they’re racing through the night, they’re exhausted; their talking horses are exhausted; they can’t go any further. But they have to get there in order to warn the castle about the bad guys coming from somewhere else. I don’t remember. If they don’t get there, there will be peril in the castle. About the time that they just give up in the dark of night and the horses are exhausted, a beast starts chasing them in the middle of the night. All they hear are these heavy footprints. Then at one point this beast actually starts clawing at the girl and actually claws and scratches the girl’s leg and harms the horse that she’s on.

Mike Siciliano [00:12:28] It’s very scary.

Rod Gilbert [00:12:30] It’s a true wound, a physical wound. The result of that was they ran faster than they could have ever possibly thought they could run, and they made it to the castle in time. In my childlike state I’m like, “Wow, that was awful that that happened that way,” because they almost died. About five chapters later… This is where the… Maybe I’m just not good at foreshadowing. I’m just not smart enough for it. About five chapters later Aslan, who is the Christ figure lion…

Mike Siciliano [00:13:02] In the whole series.

Rod Gilbert [00:13:03] In the whole series. He’s the main character. He explains to these two children and to their talking horses that it was he who chased them. He said, “It was I who chased you in the dark, and it was I who actually physically wounded you. Had you not endured some scarring and the difficulties, you would not have been prepared for the next battles.” I thought, “Oh, C.S. Lewis.” I don’t want to learn lessons with scarring. I think I read in the summer hoping to learn lessons when no one’s watching me. I think usually the way sanctification works is we learn lessons by being wounded by the Spirit of Christ and recovering. I just put the book down and said, “I didn’t see that coming.”

Mike Siciliano [00:13:52] The painful truths are the hardest ones and are the ones we remember the most sometimes.

Rod Gilbert [00:13:57] Yeah. It’s the trauma of the love of the Holy Spirit coming after us. Wow. I don’t know if I would have picked up on that as a fifth-grader, but as an adult, I’ve been through enough chases in the dark of the night that it prepared me for something else. I went, “Okay. All right, Lewis, I get it.”

Mike Siciliano [00:14:16] You mentioned Aslan being the Christ figure throughout. What is it about the character of Aslan that has helped you better understand Jesus?

Rod Gilbert [00:14:26] Okay. Most times when he appears, they’re frightened. Every time an angel appears, the angel says, “Don’t be afraid.” It’s because that’s frightening. Almost every single time that Aslan shows up… I’ve read them all since July 20. I’ve read them all in the last 45 days. Almost every time he shows up, he pretty quickly lays down in repose, and puts his paws like this, and leans. Everybody crowds him, and they touch his mane, and they are fearful in love with him. He allows them to get into perfect repose. Even someone that I thought didn’t understand Aslan, even in the book last night, he didn’t fully understand what he was doing, but he was so compelled by the approachability of Aslan — and he had just won the battle — even that guy in his conversion moment was in perfect peace. The first thing he did was he lunged onto the mane of Aslan, and Aslan just let him snuggle up to him. I thought to be creator of the whole universe and to be that approachable is really the Christ figure. When I think about working at a school and how we teach children about leadership and mentorship, it all goes back to… Mommies knew in the first century that Jesus had just cast out demons, or had performed other miracles, or had done all kinds of things, and they were crowding him. But when the mommies had their children — they’re Muslim — they would want to put their children into his lap, because he was approachable, too. That, to me, stood out in the last month. Maybe I needed to hear that personally.

Mike Siciliano [00:16:28] Well, the paradoxical nature of Jesus in so many ways, how can you be terrified of something and yet so drawn to it at the same time? That’s interesting. You’re making me want to go back and read these again.

Rod Gilbert [00:16:40] Well, I think you should do what your friend John Wallace is doing.

Mike Siciliano [00:16:44] Read it to my kids?

Rod Gilbert [00:16:45] Yeah. Either that or you and your wife take turns reading. Angie was always the outside reader, and I would hear it. But there is something about read-alouds. We’ve talked about that before. This one is so approachable with children.

Mike Siciliano [00:16:58] Is there an age that you would say that kids are ready for this story?

Rod Gilbert [00:17:02] I don’t know. You can read them out loud to six-, seven-, eight-year-olds. If there is a frightening part of the battle, it’s not like it’s gruesome. It’s not like the movie 300. It’s not a Quentin Tarantino bloodfest.

Mike Siciliano [00:17:19] Is that a critique of the book? If you would have thrown in…

Rod Gilbert [00:17:25] No, no, no. I wouldn’t want it to be a bloodthirsty Quentin Tarantino movie.

Mike Siciliano [00:17:29] Someone listening is like, “Let’s do a remake, and let’s do a Quentin Tarantino version.”

Rod Gilbert [00:17:34] Oh, God, please don’t do that. I think that any mother and father would make the judgment call on it. But I would say any child can hear it read out loud, and some of the books are just more entertaining than others. Some of them get slow like… Which one was it? Oh, The Silver Chair I finished about two weeks ago. Just the cover of it’s gloomy. Angie told me, “That’s going to be your least favorite, I’m thinking, because it’s so dark.” I think this may actually be my favorite, and I don’t know why.

Mike Siciliano [00:18:11] Well, you shared another little vignette from that one about being at the top of the mountain.

Rod Gilbert [00:18:18] Remind me. I’ve read so many things.

Mike Siciliano [00:18:21] It had to do with finding your place of calm amidst all of the chaos.

Rod Gilbert [00:18:27] Oh, yeah. For me, leading a school in a COVID era, it’s complicated. Theologians call it we’re often in liminal space. We just want things to get back to normal, and sometimes heartache lasts longer than we would want. We all go through different grieving processes with this COVID age. But at the heart of it, we know the end of the story. There were parts of that book that were gloomy and tiring. The kids were in this underworld for a while. They would meet these underworld people, and they would have to run from them, or they got put in a boat in the underworld. But at some point, there was this glimmer of light, and they were able to get out. Maybe that I liked reading it during COVID more, I don’t know. Maybe in two years, I’ll read it all again, I won’t like it as much.

Mike Siciliano [00:19:19] But that’s the beauty of a good book or a good series is that in many ways it feels like this is written for different people in different phases.

Rod Gilbert [00:19:28] Yeah, I think so.

Mike Siciliano [00:19:30] That’s even with, like you mentioned, reading it to kids. I’ll probably start reading this to my daughter pretty soon. My oldest one is six.

Rod Gilbert [00:19:38] Oh, I think she’ll enjoy it.

Mike Siciliano [00:19:39] Yeah, and she’ll miss half of it. Then she’ll come back in 15 years and read it again and understand so much more of it.

Rod Gilbert [00:19:45] Even the sibling rivalries between…was it Peter, Edward, Lucy, Susan?

Mike Siciliano [00:19:51] Well, that will hit home pretty quick for us.

Rod Gilbert [00:19:54] They’re normal siblings, so they bicker. They’re very judgmental of each other. They’re more forgiving to outsiders. The whole sibling snipping is in all seven books. That’s the beauty of literature, too, for children, to actually see the not-so-good parts of themselves when they’re sniping or being too critical of their sibling. It’s Susan and Lucy. They go at each other as sisters from time to time.

Mike Siciliano [00:20:27] Yeah, we got some of that in our house right now. You got any tips on that? How do you stop that from happening?

Rod Gilbert [00:20:34] I had a boy and a girl. I don’t know.

Mike Siciliano [00:20:37] Okay. One other part of these books… There’s a lot of characters who are already all-in on Aslan and who he is from the get-go, as is true with our faith, but there are others who are maybe more skeptical. I think there’s a conversion experience that you’ve talked about that stands out to you in this book.

Rod Gilbert [00:20:55] In the opening of “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” which is also one of the movies — it’s one of the four Disney movies — Eustace Scrubb gets pulled into Narnia, which appears to be by accident. His name is Eustace Scrubb. The author says, “and he had that name for a reason.” He was a pain. He was very judgmental. He kept a journal on everybody’s bad points in a lawyer sort of way. He was just a cruel, cruel, smart child. Combine cruelty with intelligence, and you have a really damaging person. He gets pulled into Narnia. For a lot of the part of it, I almost tried to skip pages where he was talking, because he reminded me of kids that picked on me when I was in grade school. But at one point… This is a spoiler, but you’ll get it.

Mike Siciliano [00:21:53] Some spoilers are worth it.

Rod Gilbert [00:21:55] He gets his just reward. He gets turned into a hideous, awful, fire-breathing dragon on one of the islands. He’s miserable. He’s got gold and jewels all around him like dragons do.

Mike Siciliano [00:22:10] Where’s the bad part? Fire-breathing dragon, golden jewels. I’m in.

Rod Gilbert [00:22:14] He realized while he was a dragon that what he really wanted in life was friendship.

Mike Siciliano [00:22:19] It’s hard to see a dragon.

Rod Gilbert [00:22:20] He showed up, and they tried to kill him.

Mike Siciliano [00:22:24] Why?

Rod Gilbert [00:22:25] Because he couldn’t talk. He was flying in, and when he was talking… His friends tried to kill him. What C.S. Lewis does in about eight pages, you see Eustace go from just one of the worst, most cruel kids I’ve ever read about to being so powerful that he could get anything he wants. He realizes at the top of power is really loneliness and heartache. We actually get to watch his conversion to being a follower of Aslan. I promise you, it will bring you and your children to tears. I knew it was coming because Angie had told me about it. He had to take his claws as a dragon and physically rip the portions of the dragon skin and scales off of his body. He was bleeding and hurting. It was like…

Mike Siciliano [00:23:22] That sanctification process.

Rod Gilbert [00:23:24] Yeah, the conversion experience. He was trying to get all the scales off in his conversion experience, and he couldn’t do it. Aslan shows up and begins ripping the old self off of him. It’s awful. It’s heart-wrenching. Then he’s reformed or born again — it’s a born-again moment — into a new boy. It’s frighteningly scary to… His need for Aslan was in an exterior sort of way, where you could see it. We actually need Christ. Most people really don’t know just how desperate we really need Christ. We keep a lot of our brokenness deep on the inside. To see it physically manifested, it was truly frightening. I would say, Disney… Disney did the first four movies. They’re not going to do any more for various reasons. I watched all the movies this summer, too…

Mike Siciliano [00:24:24] Do you recommend the movies?

Rod Gilbert [00:24:25] Yeah. I think you watch them all. I loved all four of them on their own merit. Movies have to take license. They do take license. They should take license. I think they’re very entertaining. They downplay it as a spiritual conversion because it’s Disney. I give them that. But they do a pretty good job of just showing how miserable and awful Eustace was as his dragon. When he is converted, it’s so beautifully clear. There was a moment in the movie that I thought, “Oh, that’s like that Forrest Gump moment where Lieutenant Dan looks at Forrest on the boat — remember the bubble gum shrimp? — and he goes, “Forrest?” Forrest looks at him. “Yeah, Lieutenant Dan?” He just looks at him, and the sun’s shining. Then Lieutenant Dan just dives into the water legless as a soldier. It was as close as the Forrest Gump producers could come to making peace…

Mike Siciliano [00:25:21] Yeah. It was almost like, “I’m not mad you saved me anymore.”

Rod Gilbert [00:25:25] Yeah, I’m no longer mad.

Mike Siciliano [00:25:26] Spoiler alert.

Rod Gilbert [00:25:28] When I saw Eustace, I thought, “Well, that’s Disney putting into a childlike version what I experienced in watching the Forrest Gump moment.” I thought, “That’s not that bad.” I’d recommend the movies.

Mike Siciliano [00:25:40] Okay. All right. I’ve got seven books and four movies. You just gave me entertainment for three months.

Rod Gilbert [00:25:46] It’s fine.

Mike Siciliano [00:25:47] It’s a gift.

Rod Gilbert [00:25:50] It’s fine. Let me just say… This is one thing that… I have friends that have read Narnia that always talk about this mouse named Reepicheep. Do you remember that?

Mike Siciliano [00:25:57] I don’t remember that character.

Rod Gilbert [00:25:59] Okay. I had friends in Austin that just thought he was the best superhero of all things…

Mike Siciliano [00:26:07] Which books is he in?

Rod Gilbert [00:26:07] Some.

Mike Siciliano [00:26:09] Multiple?

Rod Gilbert [00:26:10] Yeah. He appears when you wouldn’t expect it. I had friends that wanted me to… One of them said, “Let’s just change the mascot name of our school to Reepicheep.” I was like, “That’s probably not…”

Mike Siciliano [00:26:23] Maybe we could start with you dressing up like him.

Rod Gilbert [00:26:25] I don’t know if I’m worthy.

Mike Siciliano [00:26:27] I can think of no one more worthy. Hey, you brought this up.

Rod Gilbert [00:26:31] You’re a kiss-up.

Mike Siciliano [00:26:33] I own that. I own that with pride. Everybody who knows me knows that.

Rod Gilbert [00:26:37] But I always say there’s something about Reepicheep that I think children will go, “Oh, my gosh. I’m like him.” I think little children could see Reepicheep is the ultimate hero. One of my friends always would say this to me. He had five little children that we were helping him raise. He had his kids at the school. Now that I’ve read the books I go, “Oh, that’s why my friend wanted me to know Reepicheep as well as his five little children…”

Mike Siciliano [00:27:06] I don’t know if Santa Fe Christian Reepicheeps has the same ring.

Rod Gilbert [00:27:08] It doesn’t have the same flair, but eagles show up in the Narnia series. They become the heroes just like they do in the…

Mike Siciliano [00:27:16] In The Lord of the Rings.

Rod Gilbert [00:27:17] Yeah. They show up, and they rescue Frodo and Sam from the lava and all that. Eagles show up in a profound way in some of the books. I think that we just keep it as Santa Fe Eagles if it’s okay with you.

Mike Siciliano [00:27:30] I’ll think about it, but I’ll let you know what I decide.

Rod Gilbert [00:27:33] All right.

Mike Siciliano [00:27:34] Thank you. All right. This has been fun, as always. Thank you so much for your insights, Rod. Thank you to our listeners, and viewers, and our live studio audience for the first time. Another episode of Eagle Perspective Podcast. If this is your first one, feel free to check out our other episodes, both our Yard of Book series and also some other topics that we’ve discussed with a lot of guests on campus. You can find us on Spotify, Apple Music, other places where podcasts are available. We will be back soon with another episode, and we look forward to seeing you then.