Instead of a typical review, hence why there is no “review” in the title of the post, I will be gathering questions from around the Internet for each of the books in The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I hope to answer them intelligently and with my own spin. I invite all of you to chime in with your thoughts in the comments.
Do you think that our world is a battleground for the forces of Good and Evil in the same clear-cut way that Narnia is the site of contention between Aslan and the Witch? Why might it be more difficult to understand what is “right” or “good” in our world than it is in Narnia?
Oh it is absolutely not as clear-cut in our world than it is in this one. I know what I have grown up with in terms of values, school, belief, et cetera. I also know that many around the world have different views and experiences around values, belief, et cetera. I may think that certain things are “wrong,” at least for me, but are they necessarily wrong for another person? Is it hurting me? I will put this into context for a moment, although it is obviously much larger than one thing. I personally, would never want to have an abortion. Even if a doctor told me my pregnancy was not viable or another serious thing happened, I would really struggle with the idea (though I would have to do it, if it were to kill me or my child, for example). However, even though I would not choose it for myself, does not make the women who do choose that option “evil” in any way. It is their choice and regardless of what it is or why, I know that it would be the best one…a good one…for them. I would support anyone making such a decision.
I don’t know that there is ever really a line between good and evil necessarily. At least, everyone would have a different view on it in this world, which is why the lines are blurred a lot of the time. Another scenario is if a woman killed her husband. In that sentence, you would say that she was the “evil” one. But what if you learnt her husband beat her and had been punching her within an inch of her life when she killed him? Killing is not right still, but is this woman evil? Likely, your definition of evil would shift towards the man, but as you can see the context has just gone from one end to the other.
This is quite different from in Narnia. I do not see readers swinging from supporting the Witch to supporting Aslan or swinging from supporting Aslan to supporting the Witch. The way C.S. Lewis portrays them makes it easy for readers. We know who Lewis wants us to support. We know where our loyalties should lie.
Why are children the main characters in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? Why couldn’t adults travel to Narnia, fight for Aslan, and be crowned Kings and Queens at Cair Paravel?
My answers to questions like this are pretty simple. I find that Narnia, like many mythical worlds in stories for a younger audience, is run on belief. There is clearly magic in Narnia, just like there is magic in Neverland in J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. Both of these worlds are dominated by youth. Children have more of an ability to believe in magic than adults do. We know in our world that children are the ones who believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, et cetera. I think this belief is the first hurdle. You can already tell that Lucy, the most innocent of the Pevensie children, believes the most. The others already have some cynicism, I saw that immediately! So, getting into Narnia with belief is the first hurdle…the second is still run on belief. If you believe, you can fight and you can rule. It is that simple. And that complicated.
Which of the four Pevensie children are you most like – Peter, Susan, Edmund, or Lucy? Why?
I would like to believe I would be a combination of Lucy and Peter, but the majority of my personality would probably lend more towards Lucy. This does not necessarily have impact, but I am quite used to being the youngest (or close to it) in my life. I do not know where others are at, but I know that I have what I consider a large imagination. I like to believe in things and believe in goodness, although I also know my cynicism crops up more as I get older.
The reason I mention Peter here is because of how he protects Susan. I am sure that the other siblings would, but he is the one that does! I would definitely jump to protect the people I love most in this world if I felt like they were in serious danger.
Why is the Witch pale and cold? Why does she bother to make it always winter in Narnia?
I am thinking of it this way: summer is warm, kind, and good. Winter, on the other hand, is cold, unforgiving, and “evil.” With that in mind, I think the reason the Witch is pale, cold, and always makes it winter is to force her “evil” outwards. I think the harshness is an effort to make sure readers do not sympathize with her all that much. Novels for a younger audience, I find, tend to be more black and white than novels for adults. I am not sure that this is always the best thing for many reasons (which I should write another post about, frankly). However, I think that authors choose this, not necessarily to make things simpler for children, but maybe because even though children are more apt to believe in the “good” in people, they also are innocent and would see the world as more black and white than adults do. I, for example, am more apt to wonder why the Witch is the way she is in this book, whereas as a child I likely would not have thought about that!
I did enjoy this read. It certainly was a quick one! However, even though it was enjoyable I am not completely captivated by the story itself just yet. I can definitely tell it is written for a younger audience. There is nothing wrong with an adult reading a book like this, but I definitely know my tastes are a bit different now. Maybe my opinion will change by the end? We will see!
Title: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Author: C.S. Lewis
Publisher: Geoffrey Bles