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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Friday Book Pick: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe is the first published and the best known of the seven novels that comprise The Chronicles of Narnia (1950–1956). The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe was written for children in general and is dedicated to one child in particular: Lucy Barfield, Lewis’s goddaughter. If you’ve read it, you know that it is imaginative and inspiring and has the enduring quality of the best of stories.
The context is World War II and the four Pevensie children (Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy) are evacuated from London to the spacious country home of Professor Digory Kirk. With a new house to explore, Lucy, the youngest, is the first to discover the magic way into another world.
The passageway is an old wardrobe. During a game of hide and seek, Lucy climbs in an old wardrobe and as she ventures in deeper, the wooden floor of the wardrobe gives way to the soft crunch of snow beneath her feet. Suddenly she is outdoors in winter, in “Narnia,” a world that we soon learn is inhabited by an array of creatures that will test the reader’s memory of Greek mythology. Fauns, Dryads, Nyads, and Centenars all coexist with more familiar animals such as beavers, squirrels and mice. (It is worth nothing that animals in Narnia, at least some of them, can talk; and obviously, the ability to talk reveals that they can think and reason and choose—just like people in our world can.)
All of these fascinating creatures inhabit this strange and wonderous land that is “always winter and never Christmas.” Narnia is under the spell of the White Witch, and her evil design keeps Narnia bitterly cold and covered in snow. She is a cruel, totalitarian ruler. This evil figure however, is no match for Aslan, the Lion who represents Christ.
Eventually all four brothers and sisters find their way into Narnia and get entangled in a battle between the good and evil in that land. It is a story chock-full of Gospel themes: betrayal, repentance, redemption, salvation, plus valor, courage and freedom.
Lucy Barfield, for whom the book was written, is said to have read and reread it (and finally had it read to her) all her days. The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe is a superb children’s book that is well worth the time of any adult. Reading it will give you fresh eyes for the battle between good and evil in our own world and a renewed desire choose the light, with valor, no matter how dark the darkness grows.
This is the seventh “Book Pick” in a series on the works of the great Irish-born author