At long last, I have finally read it! I was given this book when I was nine, but I never read it. It didn’t interest me in the slightest. I was given two other books in the Narnia series when I was ten, but I didn’t read them, either. I gave all three books away in a garage sale.
Years later, C.S. Lewis is my favourite author. I have read many of his books: Mere Christianity, The Weight of Glory, The Four Loves, The Screwtape Letters, and On Miracles. Yet I had not read The Chronicles of Narnia — arguably Lewis’s most popular series. I saw the film of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I had learned about the themes, the characters, and the plot of that book in particular, along with that of the rest of the series, through countless discussions in Christian groups. I decided that I would tackle the Narnia series, but alas, library school intervened.
I read The Magician’s Nephew back in September, but put the series on the back-burner at the cottage until I discovered that The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was on the reading list of fantasy novels for my older children’s materials class.
Finally, I have read it!
It was wonderful.
I’m the sort that can find Christian allegory in just about anything, much like how people find reference to sex in just about anything. Furthermore, all that I knew about the Narnia series was the allegory. Hence, my reading of the novel was clouded by my inability not to notice it. So much of the novel was Mere Christianity written in fairy-tale format! I loved it.
C.S. Lewis writes his Narnia series as though he is addressing his audience personally. His written storytelling is excellent. His audience for this book are children, or those who love enchanting stories as much as children. Moreover, he writes for those who have the faith of children. He also respects the minds of his readers. Children are smart and have rational minds. The Narnia series appeals to that.
I struggled with trying to enjoy the story without the allegory. Initially, it was difficult, but grew easier once I remembered what Lewis is quoted in saying about it. Basically, his intention was to imagine (like me, Lewis likes to imagine) a world of talking animals wherein God became incarnate as a lion. It is certainly not without the realm of possibility. The story takes on a life of its own from there.
Lewis originally did not intend to write a series out of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This story is perfectly adequate on its own. I would like to read the rest of the series eventually, and then I will analyse the whole story.
Interestingly, the film poster illustrates well who the main character is…but that’s another topic for another day.