Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is the first book C.S. Lewis wrote in his Chronicles of Narnia series. It’s a brilliant, fun story. It’s obviously written for older children, but with a style and creativity to make grown-ups smile too.

How did I not read this as a kid? I vaguely remember reading The Magician’s Nephew, though I don’t know how that came to be. I remember wanting to read the Narnia books, but it never happened. There’s one aspect of the book that makes me glad to have read it as an adult (which I’ll comment on momentarily). The rest of the book is just perfect for kids who are maybe making the transition into “chapter” books. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe would have been a perfect read for me at around the same time I was reading the Sweet Valley books. (Yes. I admit to reading and loving those books.)

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe follows four siblings, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy on their adventures in Narnia. These aren’t the perfect four children. I think children can relate to these characters and so can adults. They all have flaws. Edmund is almost one big flaw. He has a bossy older brother, a cutesy baby sister and an older sister that’s trying to mother him. I can understand how he would want to rebel. Like many adults, Edmund deludes himself into thinking what he is doing isn’t wrong. The children feel real, though their adventure is fantastic.

SPOILERS One thing that stunned me a bit as I was reading the story is what Father Christmas says to Susan and Lucy when he gives them his gifts.  Though Lucy says she is brave enough, Father Christmas responds, "But battles are ugly when women fight." Women/girls shouldn’t be in battle. This is a view which corresponds to the time the story was written, but one that is not held (I hope) by most people today. Women are just as capable as men, in and out of battle. I remember hearing about the change in script from book to movie.  They were including Susan in the battle, even though she wasn’t in the book. Most of the time, I’m not one for messing with the story as laid out in a book, but this was one change I understood and could appreciate. Even though Susan and Lucy weren’t in the battle, they did have to watch something wretched and were strong and brave. While I didn’t like that the girls were purposefully excluded from the battle, I still think Lewis wrote a pair of strong sisters. SPOILERS End

So if you haven’t read this book yet, what are you waiting for? The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is the first in what promises to be an exciting and interesting series of novels. I hope that my daughter (and any future children) will be as excited to read these books as I am.


  1. I LOVE the Narnia books. Mum read them to us when I would have been about 10 or 11, then I re-discovered them at age 22. Since then, I have re-read them about once a year.
    The comment about women in battle had always jumped out at me too. I've always assumed that it was Lewis' social commentary, since the books were written post-WW2 when women were more actively engaged in battle than they had previously.

  2. I don't know why I didn't read this as a kid, either!?! I should read this before my students beat me to it :D

  3. One of the best things that happened when I moved in with my husband was finding his collection of C.S. Lewis books. The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe is something every kid should read. It's just fun. and anything in it can and should be taken with a grain of salt.