m. wilson (mkwilson) wrote in lovesbooks,
m. wilson

This was the first time I read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.

I was surprised at how blatant the Christian symbology was. For some reason, I assumed it would be subtle and easy to miss if you weren't looking for it. Was I ever wrong. Narnia is in perpetual Winter, which can only be broken by the return of Aslan, whose coming is heralded by the arrival of Christmas/the birth of Christ. Aslan, the majestic son of the all-powerful Emperor-Over-The Sea/God, dies in place of a sinner, and his body is tended to by his female followers. However, Aslan rises from the dead (complete with a doubting Thomas moment), and thus breaks the old laws/the Stone Table/the first Covenent. Traitors are no longer the property of the White Witch. He ascended into heaven, and was seated at the right hand of the...oh sorry. Slipped into the Apostolic creed by accident. The time frame of events are different, but it is clear that Lewis was trying to make the Jesus-story more accessible to children. A man dying for all sinners is a difficult concept for children to grasp - much more so than a lion dying to save Edmund. In that regard, I believe Lewis succeeded brilliantly. The changes to the story (time frame of events) work well in Narnia.

Did I enjoy the story? Yes and no. The writing was entertaining, though it often bordered on preachy. Narnia as a world was well developed and beautifully described - significantly more so than the characters. The characters were not allowed to breathe or grow within the text, with the possible exception of Edmund (don't the bad always have the better arcs?), and most of his growth occurred off-page. The other siblings were good, and remained good - that pretty much sums up their characters. The same can be said for the creatures they met. I detected a rather sexist undertone - Peter and Edmund fight, where as the girls must remain "safe". The rest of the females were happy homemaker types - with the exception of the Witch, and she was Evil. It rubbed me the wrong way, but as a child I am certain it would have gone right over my head.

I am certain if I had read these as a child, or was reading them with a child, I'd enjoy them more today. I can see why these tales are considered to be classics, and are well-loved by many people.
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