In March I started the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S Lewis, now I have the books as individuals rather than a collection mostly because I don’t like big books with many books within them, rather I like smaller easy to transport books. In March I read the first three in the series, at some point probably in May I plan on going back and reading the other four as well. For now, here’s my thoughts on the first three.
The Magician’s Nephew
I’ve read this book before years and years ago but literally all I could remember about it was a boy and a girl crawling through an attic. On this reread I was happy to find that that did in fact happen in the story. This book was really interesting, as someone with a basic knowledge of Narnia (meaning I’ve seen the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) it was fascinating to see how that world can to be.
The boy’s Uncle was horrific. He was so selfish and I generally could not stand him. But I liked how Lewis used this dark and dislikeable character juxtaposed with the loveable two children. There was the greed of the Uncle regarding what he had discovered that was put next to the innocence of the children.
Seeing how Jadis was awoken and how Aslan formed Narnia was really powerful. I knew that Narnia has Christian symbolism, everyone knows Aslan is Jesus right? What I didn’t realise was quite how much was going to be in it. Two of every animal was chosen by Aslan. They were told not to eat from a certain tree and Jadis tried to convince them to do so. The couple were then told to name each of the animals. This book is pretty much genesis.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was fascinated by the way they got from one world to the other, the introduction of the different places and most importantly the ending with the Wardrobe.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The second and most famous of the series and having now seen and read it, I can completely understand why this story is so well loved. I personally found the biblical elements less in your face in this book compared to the first. They were still there with Aslan sacrificing himself for the sins of Edmund only to rise again and lead them to victory.
This is a beautiful book that really tells of innocence and understand. The children – especially Lucy – are all rather young and naive within the novel, however as the older Philip and Susan like to think they have a better understanding and maturity. Often they do, but Lewis does also show us that they are still children at the heart.
The story shows Lucy stumbling across the world of Narnia and her siblings not believing her, then Edmund and eventually all of them discovering she was telling the truth. Lucy instantly makes friends with the fearful Mr Tumnus while Edmund is instantly manipulated by the evil Jadis.
The four of them are part of a prophecy regarding ‘Sons of Adam’ and ‘Daughters of Evil’ and eventually all of them get rid of the eternal winter that Jadis has forced upon them. There is something very powerful about the thought that it’s “Always winter but never Christmas” especially as it’s the return of Aslan that truly begins them being able to save Narnia.
I absolutely adored this book and definitely intend to read it again and again over the years.
The Horse and His Boy
This book was instantly quite jolting to me as a part of the Chronicles of Narnia series as it did not have a focus within Narnia. While the first two were about either discovering or saving Narnia, this one was about escaping to Narnia. This meant the vast majority of the story was set in a country south of Narnia – the name of which escapes me. The focus is on a talking horse and the boy he takes with him to escape the work he is forced into.
The horse and his boy leave the country they are in and aim towards Narnia, having to pretend they are not on the run a lot of the way as they go. They end up meeting a mare and the girl who is running away with her. Continuing the religious themes but in a darker way, Aslan hurts the girl to show her the pain that she caused her parents’ servant by running.
The story continues with a brief addition of the adult Susan, Philip, Edmund and Lucy thinking the boy is a Prince and eventually them finding out he is the long lost twin of the prince. They end up saving Narnia from an attack the other country wants to rage because of Susan not marrying their prince.
All in all this is my least favourite of the books so far, but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. It is still good. I would just prefer more focus on Narnia.