One of my favourite series of all times… Definitely a 5-star rating! And in honour of those 5 stars, I’ll give 5 reasons why I love this book…
*Note: This post may have some slight spoilers in it.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe // by C.S. Lewis
#1 – The Lion
You almost can’t separate Aslan from Narnia. I really do love that he’s a lion. It just works so perfectly. I love how we meet Aslan before we actually meet him. We keep hearing about him so it’s like we do know him. In fact, it’s kind of like the children not quite knowing him and yet knowing him all at the same time. (It’s also why I’d recommend reading this book as the first in the series. I really do think it’s the best introduction to Aslan!)
One of my favourite exchanges is as follows: “Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
#2 – The Witch
I think there’s a reason the movies kept bringing the White Witch back to have some part in each movie (at least the ones they actually made). I think that’s because she’s such a good (read: evil) antagonist! She has that lovely fairy tale witch-ness about her. You can sort of see why Edmund is drawn to her.
Now I love fairy tales (and apparently, so did C.S. Lewis), so I love a good (read: evil) bad guy. Or in this case, a wicked witch. (Note: We do also meet her in The Magician’s Nephew where Polly and Digory get to see her in all her wicked glory. Although, it is my humble opinion that, like Aslan, this is the better introduction to her character.)
#3 – The Wardrobe
Which, of course, leads to … Narnia! If I could visit any fictional land, yes, it would probably be Narnia. (I think I’d want to go during the time of The Horse and his Boy, which kind of fits in during the last little bit of this book. I.e. during the reign of the four kings and queens; after the White Witch has been defeated, of course!)
Here, it’s always winter, but never Christmas. I love how that encapsulates the whole of the oppression that the Narnians face under the reign of the White Witch. C.S. Lewis did some amazing world-building in these books and it all begins with this book. He was able to make this place so REAL, even though it’s obviously not real.
Or is it? I’m still checking every wardrobe I come across, just in case.
#4 – The Four Children
I have to say that, of the four, I’m partial to Lucy. In many ways, I’m probably more like Susan, but I WANT to be like Lucy! I’m definitely rooting for her. And, of course, that’s probably because the introduction of Narnia is seen through her eyes. So, I get quite annoyed at Susan and Peter and Edmund when they don’t believe her about the wardrobe.
But, I am also drawn to Peter and Susan in their own way. And as for Edmund… well, in this book, you just love to hate him! Oh, does he make my blood boil! (by the time of Prince Caspian and Dawn Treader, I have forgiven him and actually quite like him!) But in this book, how could he betray his siblings like that!
Maybe it was the Turkish delight. (Have you ever had Turkish delight? The real kind? It’s actually very good. I’ve had some cheap kind which did not impress me, but then a friend shared some amazing Turkish delight and I can sort of see why Edmund might have gone over to the dark side. Especially considering that there was sugar/sweets rationing during the Second World War.)
#5 – The Wonderful Characters
I love the idea of meeting animals that can talk. (Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Beavers!) Not to mention mythical creatures (Mr. Tumnus!) That scene where he first meets Lucy is so iconic. (And I love how he introduces himself as “Tumnus” but Lucy adds the “Mr.”)
And then there’s the Professor. While I’m one of those people who think you really should read this book first (rather than The Magician’s Nephew, even though, chronologically, it comes first), I do think it’s fun to realize later on that this is Digory. That’s where the magic of re-reading comes into play, folks! One of my favourite parts with the Professor is how he talks to Peter and Susan about Lucy. I just love his little asides on “What do they teach them at these schools?”
And then there’s the narrator. I love how he reminds us about the dangers of wardrobes! “Peter held the door closed but did not shut it; for, course, he remembered as every sensible person does, that you should never never shut yourself up in a wardrobe.”
When people ask me for my favourite book about Narnia, I usually don’t mention this one. In my opinion, it’s one of those books that goes without saying that it’s the best of the bunch. Usually, I tell people my second favourite. (Which happens to be The Horse and his Boy; although, when I was a kid, it was Voyage of the Dawn Treader. But really, I just love them all.)
Have you read this book? Did you love it as much as me? Let me know in the comments!