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The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: A Discussion

There are spoilers for THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE (LWW) in this post.

As I stated in my post Joining the Narniathon, I’ve decided to participate in a reread of The Chronicles of Narnia hosted by Chris over at Calmgrove. I’ve wanted to reread the series for a couple of years now as I want to see if my feelings, for THE LAST BATTLE in particular, are the same after a reread. I won’t say more than that as I want to discuss those feelings when we read THE LAST BATTLE.

I first read the Narniad 14 years ago as an adult. I read it with a couple of friends and they told me to read it in chronological order rather than published order. Even though it was my first time reading the books, I was familiar with the story of LWW as I had watched a TV adaptation with my mom when I was a teenager.

One of the things that I always thought was weird about LWW (from the adaptation) was how abrupt the ending was. I had always thought the TV people didn’t have the budget to end the story properly. Nope. I was very surprised to find out that the book ending is just as abrupt and that the adaptation was actually quite faithful to the book. The ending is the thing I least like about LWW.

The thing I like the most about LWW (or the Narniad in general) is the Christian allegory. I’m not sure if I knew about the allegory when I watched the adaptation, but I know I knew about it when I read the Narniad 14 years ago. During this read, certain parts of the allegory made more of an impact on me. Of course I understood Aslan’s sacrifice the first time I read LWW. This time, I noticed the wording surrounding the Deep Magic regarding Edmund’s treachery. CS Lewis termed the Deep Magic as “law” and when the White Witch and Aslan discussed what to do about Edmund, the White Witch said the law stated that anyone treacherous belonged to her. It immediately brought to mind an image of Satan and Christ bargaining for a wayward soul.

I’m also much more well-read this time around and I noticed that Lilith, Adam’s first wife in Jewish lore, was mentioned as part of the White Witch’s heritage. I felt like Captain America in Avengers:

I actually really like the Lilith lore and I love reading stories that include her in them. Do you know anything about Lilith? Have you read any other books that include her lore in them?

I wasn’t a reader as a child. I despised reading. In fact, my reading adventures didn’t begin until about 14.5 years ago. I wonder if I had read LWW, or any of the Narniad for that matter, as a child if I would’ve liked them more. I’m also curious if reading them for the first time in chronological order has any bearing on my feelings about the books. What do you think?

Have you read THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE? Did you like it? Why? Why not?

P.S. My two favorite characters from LWW have always been Lucy and Aslan. I think it’s obvious why Aslan’s one of them. Lucy’s one of them because I relate to her the most. She and I are both the youngest in our families, seen as small (her in stature, me in manner) but fierce, wear our hearts on our sleeves, think of others, and are especially fond of animals. Who’s your favorite character?

6 replies
  1. Christopher Lovegrove
    Christopher Lovegrove says:

    Lovely review, Jenni Elyse, you convince me that personally engaging with a work of fiction is a good indicator of whether a novelist has succeeded in communicating with the reader and so has done their job. LWW has clearly spoken to you in different ways from your several visits, much as it did for me, and that I think is a measure of its power. I agree that Lucy is probably the most engaging character (even though I’m an eldest sibling), the one I most empathise with, though I view Aslan with awe and not a little fear; he is I sense a mix of both the Old Testament and New Testament God.

    Reply
    • Jenni Elyse
      Jenni Elyse says:

      Thank you! Yes, I agree. If the reader can engage in a way that they feel like they’re a part of the story, then the author has definitely succeeded. This is why fantasy is my favorite genre (although I’ll read most genres).

      I love Aslan dearly. One of the things you may notice as we read the Narniad is that I like the books with Aslan in them more than the books without him. Because of my own religious beliefs, I view him a little differently than as a mix of Old Testament and New Testament God. I read how CS Lewis writes him and his writing can work with my belief in Christ.

      Just in case you’re curious, I don’t believe in the Trinity. I believe in God, the Father, and in his son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. I also believe that they are three separate and distinct beings and that God, the Father, and Jesus Christ have bodies that are flesh and blood like yours and mine.

      Reply
    • Jenni Elyse
      Jenni Elyse says:

      I understand completely. I learned about Lilith in one of my literature classes when we read East of Eden by Steinbeck. As you probably know, East of Eden is an allegory for the Cain and Abel story. Each character with a name that starts with an A and C alludes to Cain, Abel, or another person in that story, including Adam, Eve, Satan, God, and even Lilith. Well, Cathy Trask’s character is an allusion to Lilith.

      Reply

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