Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

One of the most timeless fantasies of all time is The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. Whether beloved or criticized for being didactic, this cannot be argued. The tale follows the Pevensie children named Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. The tale is classic but let me rewind for those of you who haven't read these books yet for some odd reason. Youngest sister Lucy discovers a Wardrobe one day while the siblings are living in a large home during the second World War. When she goes inside, she finds there is no back to the Wardrobe but instead a mass of trees leading to a winter wonderland. She soon meets Mr. Tumnus who tells her she is in Narnia which is being ruled by the White Witch who has cast a spell over the land for eternal winter with no Christmas. That is the shortest summary I can give without giving anything away. I read this book for the first time in high school though I was hardly unfamiliar with the story. The Disney live action adaption had come out the year before and the story had been told to us a hundred times in elementary school. It would be practically unnatural of me to not be familiar with the tale. What I was unfamiliar with was the series. I knew there was a series but had no knowledge of the other books.
I felt like rereading the most iconic book in the series to refresh my own memory and to be able to discuss the book with proper knowledge of the source material. The book is a unique study on children's literature, fantasy, religion, gender roles, and more. The Narnia books are quick reads so I had no problem finishing this in a few days time, making this a nice break from the long books I have been reading lately.
While I can't call this book a favorite, I can say that I loved it. It is a really good book! C.S. Lewis knows how to write good children's literature, that is for sure. The fantasy elements mixed with real world attributes was awesome. Each Pevensie child is unique and has their own trials in the book. While the symbolism is obvious, I like it. It's not like C.S. Lewis made us believe this was a Christian text. It's just engrained into the story. It doesn't have to be seen as Christian unless you allow it to. And besides that, why is it wrong to ingrain your life into a text you write? Every author does this. And why is a metaphor considered bad? The whole idea of not liking this book or the series for these reasons really bothers me. It seems very hypocritical.
This book is great. It is a quick and easy read but there are also so many layers to the text which I love. Definitely 5 out of 5 stars!

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