The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (#2) by C. S Lewis

Published: March 5th 2002 (originally 16 October 1950)
Goodreads badgePublisher: HarperTrophy
Pages: 206
Format: Book
Genre: Junior Fiction/ Fantasy
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ – 5 Stars

Narnia…a land frozen in eternal winter..a country waiting to be set free.

Four adventurers step through a wardrobe door and into the land of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change…and a great sacrifice.

Note: There is a spoiler at the end of this review. I apologise but I needed to have a rant.

I am hoping I am not the only person in the world who never noticed the heavy, over the top and obvious Christian themes in this book. It wasn’t until I studied it at Uni that I noticed the religion in this book. I knew the story as a kid and I loved it but I guess not being religious I didn’t see the signs, I dunno. Either way I loved this book. I always wanted to know Aslan because I loved lions and I liked that he was never tame and had that wild part of him.

It is a very British book, everyone is so proper and behaves properly despite walking into a magic wardrobe and finding a snow filled world and talking animals. The eldest takes charge, the youngest is dismissed as being young and foolish, all very believable. I do like how the children soon learn their lesson and realise it isn’t about age and share the duty and think logically.

The characters are very sweet and well developed. There is an entire world of Narnia that I was unaware of as this was the first book I had read of the series originally. Reading it again you realise how much was being led into this book and how everything came to be, who the Witch was and what her role in Narnia is. I think you should read them in order, and it is a shame most people think this is the first book, but it does very well establishing itself and Narnia despite being the second book. Mr Tumnus and the Beavers, all the creatures welcome strangers into their world working under this prophecy and greater power. I was glad that it was Edmund who initially messed everything up, he was also such a brat and if it was a girl the cries of Eve and the apple would be too great. Even though this book was not necessarily about that, there was enough Samson and Delilah, crucifixes and good vs evil for one little book.

Like I said I did not know this was a religious themed text. When I was researching I was amazed at how Lewis had managed to disguise everything and create new situations that worked whether you knew the content or not. Aslan and the White Witch, the stone table, all of that worked on its own level without being confusing as a symbol of something else. What was also great was the fact that there were good dwarves and bad dwarves, good giants and bad. There was not bad animals and good animals, just animals who chose a side. You see the impact of being in Narnia has on the children, they grow stronger and are less childlike, I guess this helps in the accepting and motivation to fight. Tied in with general curiosity I guess it can take you a long way.

I was being very good and not ruining the ending but I think/hope people know the story because I need a rant. What always, always has annoyed me about this book is how accepting the children are at the end when they return to the real world. After spending what seems like forty years or so in Narnia, completely having forgotten the real world, they stumble across that blasted lamp post and just walk into the wardrobe. They are flung into the old house once more and seem perfectly calm and content having left the Narnian world behind, no explanation of where they went and no way to return. So quickly they forget that Narnia carries on without them and could people perhaps wonder where they have gone, apparently not a concern. But yep, just something that always bothered me, and just quietly, it is referenced later on about how they just vanished one day. I’m sure deep in Narnia there was mass panic, threats of war and suspicion over where their murdered bodies were buried. Or perhaps the Narnians accepted they were gone and didn’t need them anymore. Who knows.

The Magician’s Nephew (#1) by C.S Lewis

Please note, this series is reviewed in the Chronological order, not the Publication order

Published: March 5th 2002 (originally 2 May 1955)
Goodreads badgePublisher: HarperTrophy
Pages: 221
Format: Book
Genre: Junior Fiction/ Fantasy
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ – 5 Stars

Narnia…where Talking Beasts walk…where a witch waits…where a new world is about to be born.

On a daring quest to save a life, two friends are hurled into another world, where an evil sorceress seeks to enslave them. But then the lion Aslan’s song weaves itself into the fabric of a new land, a land that will be known as Narnia. And in Narnia, all things are possible…

I adored seeing how Narnia began. I loved how the next book was set up in the process and how the entire world was organised and thought out with ideal balance. I did understand the Garden of Eden references and situation but I didn’t mind, this was Narnia and the world is so complex and magical I think the beginning of anything new is always going to be stuck with an Eden stamp, intentional or not.

Initially I thought I had made a mistake reading these out of order (I had read The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe years before), but then I came across the Wikipedia article of the book. Apparently it was never intended as the first of the series, Lewis expected people to understand the world of Narnia from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe before reading about how it all began in The Magician’s Nephew. The mystery that Lucy experiences and the unanswered questions of the second book was Lewis’ initial plan as a first book. In the end The Magician’s Nephew has been set as the first book but can also be read out of order if you wish. I know, it is very confusing to get your head around it. I suggest you pick one order and stick with it rather than trying to figure out which way it was intended to be read. I followed the order my boxset provided which placed this book as number one, but because I had read The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe I knew the information Lewis intended readers to have. Reading this book as number six is kind of like answering all the questions but only after they have been asked from the other books; but if you read it first it is like giving you the information before you know why you have it. This made me a lot happier because as I read it I liked spotting the clues and realising where each hint and character or object would end up in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Let’s just ignore how you should read it for now and focus on the book. It was not just clues and trying to explain beginnings that was the focus, there was a lot more going on around main characters Diggory and Polly and their gradual understanding and acceptance of the adventure going on around them. We follow their introduction to this new place called Narnia and watch as they witness it grow and become stable and diverse. The adults and children in this story were refreshing from the Pevensie siblings everyone knows and who often dominate the recollection of the Narnia stories. It is a shame there were not film adaptations of each book because they certainly are deserving. I do not know how the more popular 2nd, 4th,5th and 6th books came to be the sole focus but it is a shame.

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