Open the wardrobe door for spoilers galore…

Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew
Chronicles of Narnia: The Horse and His Boy

Thea’s Review of The Chronicles of Narnia

Who wrote this book and when?
C.S. Lewis, in 1950.

Has there been a film version?
Several. A major motion picture company put an excellent version out in the Christmas season of 2005, which I highly recommend watching (but only if you’ve read the book first!) There have also been radio and stage versions made, and a horrible 1980’s BBC TV miniseries which unfortunately won several awards.

Who are the main characters?
Lucy Pevensie – the youngest of the Pevensies, she travels to Narnia through a magic wardrobe first
Edmund Pevensie – the youngest male Pevensie
Susan Pevensie – the oldest female Pevensie
Peter Pevensie – the oldest Pevensie
Mr. Tumnus – a faun whom Lucy befriends on her first trip to Narnia
The White Witch – Jadis, a witch who has set herself up as Queen of Narnia and cast it into eternal winter (with no Christmas!)
Aslan – the Lion
Mr. and Mrs. Beaver – friends of Aslan and Narnia who help the Pevensies

What’s it about?
Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie are four children from London who are sent to live in the country because of the air raids of WWII. They are put into the care of the eccentric Professor Digory Kirke, who lives in a monstrous and mysterious house.

The youngest Pevensie, Lucy, is the first to discover that through a wardrobe’s door lies much more than fur coats – a magical world called Narnia opens up. Soon she and her three siblings are caught up in one of the most dramatic power shifts in the history of Narnia and introduced to magical creatures they never dreamed of; including the great Lion Aslan.

Why is this book a classic?
I believe this book is a classic because of the tone which C.S. Lewis uses to tell his stories. He tells them simply, without being patronizing, and keeps you supplied with enough details for your imagination to let loose and create your own version of Narnia. They are beautiful and entertaining enough for children and literary and deep enough for adults.

Why should I read this book?
If you ever have aspired to read the great books of the world, read these.

Has it won any awards?
I can’t find any record of it having won any literary awards, although the recent movie cleaned up award wise…

Favorite quotes:
“Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids.” -p1

Anything else?
The word “Aslan” is “lion” in Turkish. And Lewis pulls from so many mythological sources it’s impossible to list them all; they range from norse, to celtic, to middle eastern.

Personal thoughts:
This is a book I wish I could read for the first time everytime I read it. There is nothing quite as magical as reading a magnificently good book for the first time, especially when it turns out to be as timeless as the books in “The Chronicles of Narnia” series. Not only are we now introduced to the Pevensie children and Aslan, but we are presented with one of the most beautiful fictional stories of self-sacrifice and ideas of a savior (whether you are a Christian or not) ever put into words. True, there are individual “chronicles” I enjoy reading more than this one; mainly because this is the most famous of all seven and because the story is so worn into my memory that I find myself telling the story in my head and jumping forward from where I actually am in the plot. Plus, Lewis’ narration is so down-to-earth you feel like you’re actually sitting at his knee being told the story by the author himself. The only thing like it nowadays which I could use as a comparison is listening to Garrison Keillor. (Which I also highly recommend.) This book is perfect for reading out loud to your children or your friends, if you’re of that sort, or for picking up on a snug rainy day with a mug of a hot beverage of your choice.