*This review does contain spoilers
- Published: October 16, 1950
- Publisher: Geoffrey Bles
- Genre: Fantasy
- Series: The Chronicles of Narnia
- Pages in Paperback: 76
- Preceded by (chronologically): The Magician’s Nephew
- Followed by (chronologically): The Horse and His Boy
- First published of seven novels although chronologically it takes place secondly in Narnia history
- Quote: “She did not shut it properly because she knew that it is very silly to shut oneself into a wardrobe, even if it is not a magic one.” —Source
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When Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy took their first steps into the world behind the magic wardrobe, little do they realize what adventures are about to unfold. And as the story of Narnia begins to unfold, so to does a classic tale that has enchanted readers of all ages for over half a century. —Source
Review of the Characters:
Aslan— The King of Narnia, who is both Great and Good. I love the way the beavers describe Aslan to the children, how he is not safe but he is on the side of good. As the son of the Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea Aslan’s power and goodness is unmatched. It is obvious that C.S. Lewis intends for Aslan to represent Jesus Crist in the Christian religion. Aslan sacrifices his life for others; endures torture during the process and after being sacrificed is resurrected. Aslan is almighty and it will be interesting to see his participation throughout the rest of the Chronicles of Narnia.
The White Witch— Just as in The Magician’s Nephew, the White Witch is evil to the core which again, is forgivable since she is not human. She represents everything humans should avoid: cruel, power-hungry, sadistic and lack of hope (I mean she made it always winter but never Christmas for goodness sakes). Since Lewis deemed the White Witch as the “Emperor’s hangman” ensuring the right to kill any Narnian caught in the act of treachery, it can be said that she therefore represents Satan; to whom the souls of damned sinners are forfeited. However I am conflicted in making this connection as Aslan so clearly represents Jesus while the connection to the White Witch is not so clear. (Can I say that she died pretty easy? If I was an animal in Narnia I would wonder why Aslan did not dispose of her before, but then again you don’t question Aslan).
Edmund— I liked Edmund very much as I feel he was one of the more accurate descriptions of humans. I’m not saying that I would find it normal for humans to betray family, I’m saying it is normal (especially for children) to give in to temptation. It was nice to see him grow and learn from his actions as we did when we were young. (I have countless stories of learning about the consequences of my actions). Edmund was human, he was a good person but a person with faults which is all the more relatable to children.
Review of the Story:
You can’t help but become enchanted as you read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It is a dream world that beckons all children. Full of talking animals, palaces and evil witches, this novel makes for an epic fantasy adventure. My only concern was that the ending was a bit easy, however I do have to take into consideration that it is children’s literature. I was expecting a suspenseful battle scene with the White Witch, who seemed unbeatable but further thinking on this made me realize that she was already beat when Aslan sacrificed himself for Edmund. Therefore, the battle scene did not matter.
Review of the Writing:
As he does in The Magician’s Nephew, C.S. Lewis continues to write in a tongue-in-cheek way that speaks to children. This tone contrasted with fantastical creatures makes for a fun read. Along with this, Lewis includes several references to the Christian religion such as an allegory of Christ, Satan and the Stone Tablets. Since the connection of Aslan to Jesus and the White Witch to Satan has already been touched on I’ll move straight to the Stone Tablets. The Stone Table in Narnia represents the Stone Tablets that Moses brought down which contained the 10 Commandments. In this period it was very harsh, with the punishment of death for sins. However, after Aslan is resurrected the Stone Table breaks in half representing the end of the harsh period and the beginning of more forgivable time in which you can seek atonement for your sins. (That’s just my take anyway). I should note that although these religious references can be made they do not in any way eclipse the story. In other words, I do not consider this a novel in which the author is preaching.
I highly recommend The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for anyone who would like to partake in an enchanting adventure. Although written for children, it is a story that all ages can (and should) enjoy!
P.S.– My next read is The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis (the horse better not die)!