Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Description from
The Narnia Chronicles, first published in 1950, have been and remain some of the most enduringly popular ever published. The best known, the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, has been translated into 29 languages! The illustrations in this book have been coloured by the original artist, Pauline Baynes. "This is the land of Narnia," said the Faun, "where we are now. And you -- you have come from the wild woods of the west!" "I -- I got in through the wardrobe in the spare room," said Lucy. Lucy steps into the Professor's wardrobe -- but steps out again into a snowy forest. She's stumbled upon the magical world of Narnia, a land of unicorns, centaurs, fauns! and the wicked White Witch, who terrorises all. Lucy soon realises that Narnia, and in particular Aslan, the great Lion, needs her help if the county's creatures are ever going to be free again!

My thoughts:While I have seen the movie for The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe I hadn’t read the book in years. This time I listened to it on an audio cd from the library with my children in the car. This was our second C.S. Lewis book and we are currently listening to book three in the series. The first one was narrated by Kenneth Branagh and I enjoyed how he changed his voice for the characters. This one had a different reader who while fine, just wasn’t quite the same. It is interesting how much the voice of the narrator can color you perception of the story being listened to. I am finding that I prefer female readers to male ones but can’t quite put my finger on why that is.

As with most books, there were so many more details and things were more richly described in the book than they were in the movie. I got a much greater understanding of the allure of the Turkish Delight Edmond gets from the witch from the book than I ever got from the movie. After listening we watched both the most recent movie theater version of the movie and one produced by the BBC. I find that once I’ve seen actors as the parts it is very hard to then imagine my own faces for each character. That is often times the reason I like to read before seeing a movie, although I do find that I then lose my imaginary versions once I’ve seen the movie anyway.

It was interesting how the children’s past became like a dream to them. Does childhood often become dreamlike as we get older and memories grow dimmer? I feel the older I get the less I remember all the details of the past, although things and people can remind me of things and the memories do come back, as the do for Peter, Susan, Edmond and Lucy. As we were listening I wondered when they would return to Narnia. The series has seven books and I haven’t yet read the rest. It will be interesting to see where it goes. Since we listened to this one and The Magician’s Nephew I kept comparing the Aslan from the founding of Narnia and the Aslan here and also wondering what happened to the people who were king and queen at the end of the first novel and it seems there are no humans left in Narnia. Also only one pair of each animal was made to be able to talk but there seem to be more here, is it from having offspring? It must be. I guess animal generations go a lot quicker than human ones. Plus time in Narnia does not seem to run the same as out time. What would happen if a non-talking and talking animal paired up? Would the talking one lose the ability to talk as it was warned by Aslan not to mix with the other kind of beasts in the last book? I wonder how long it has been since Diggory and Polly were present for the founding of Narnia in the last book.

About the Author
Clive Staples Lewis, born in 1898, wrote many books for adults but the Narnia stories were his only works for children. The final title, The Last Battle, published in 1956, won the Carnegie Award, the highest mark of excellence in children's literature.


  1. Great review. I'm quite fond of the Narnia books. I've read them through a few times each.

  2. It's my first time going through them, but I am enjoying them. I wrote this post a while before using it so now I am in book 5, Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

  3. I read the Narnia books for the first time last year. I really got a lot out of them and was so impressed at how well written they were. I love CS Lewis's writing.