Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (1950)

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. C.S. Lewis. 1950. HarperCollins. 224 pages.

Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids.

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is one of my favorite, favorite children's books. Lucy Pevensie is one of my favorite, favorite heroines. And I love and adore this oh-so-delightful fantasy-adventure novel.

It is THE FIRST book in the Chronicles of Narnia series. It is the only book worthy of being considered as THE FIRST book in the series.

In The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe, four children are sent into the country during World War II. Peter, Susan, Lucy, and Edmund are just beginning to settle into their new home when Lucy stumbles into the magical world of Narnia. At first, Lucy is the only one. But Edmund also comes into Narnia before the others. And while there he is fooled by the "Queen" of Narnia. But Narnia soon sees all four children.

Narnia is not a land at peace. Not at all. For the land is under a spell--an enchantment--the White Witch--the supposed Queen of the land--has made it always winter and never Christmas. And the lives of the children--all four children--are in grave danger when they're in Narnia. For there is a prophecy that four humans--two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve--will come to rule the land as Kings and Queens and restore peace and order to the kingdom. The children's journey to Narnia, their quest to meet Aslan at the Stone Table, and their battle to save Narnia and their brother from the grasp of the evil and wicked witch....are unforgettable adventures that deserve to be experienced again and again by readers of all ages. You're never too old to experience the magic of Narnia.

While the movie depicts them as being doubtful and regretting setting foot in Narnia and shows them wanting to go home all the time and leave the fighting for others to do, the book tells a different story.
The children are mostly welcoming to the adventure before them. The book perhaps has less drama, the adventure seems to go smoother at times. The movie adds SO MUCH INTENSITY whenever possible. Dramatic scenes are added throughout, sometimes keeping in full spirit with the book, other times not so much. There are things that I absolutely LOVE AND ADORE about the film. (One of my favorite, favorite scenes, for example, is the meeting between Lucy and Mr. Tumnus. The film gets it so right!!!) I LOVE AND ADORE the entrance to Narnia and the first impressions of this strange-but-lovely world. And there are so many things about the movie that are just charming and just about perfect. (I think the soundtrack is just about perfect!!!) The movie doesn't just add drama, humor is added as well, especially with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. The film deviates from the book in places so that it can be a good movie. Lewis did not waste time spend time writing battle scenes or strong confrontations. The focus is on the characters and the ultimate outcome, and not necessarily how every little thing worked towards that end.

I love The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe for the characters, for the writing, and for the world-building. Narnia is not always a safe place to be, but I always found it beautiful and inviting, always memorable. I always found Aslan to be quite interesting as a character! I loved hearing the other characters talk about him and interact with him. I especially love seeing Lucy with Aslan! Their relationship is perhaps the strongest or deepest. Perhaps I feel that way because Lucy is the one who gets the most time with him throughout the whole series.

I had read the book dozens of times before seeing the movie, but I'm curious if the book would make the same impression, resonate the same way, if one watched the movie first?

Favorite quotes:
And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don't understand but in the dream it feels as if it has some enormous meaning--either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmare or else a lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into that dream again. It was like that now. At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
“If there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most, or else just silly.”

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


JoanneMarie Faust said...

The last time I read these books, I read them in chronological order and I liked the first two (with The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe being the second in the series). It was all down hill from there. C.S. Lewis' conversion to Christianity got a little heavy handed for me.

The story goes that JRR Tolkien was instrumental in Lewis' conversion and later begged him to dial it back.

Jamie E. said...

I loved reading this series. I agree that this book should be read first. This book is the setting stage for all the rest.
I also love Lucy and Aslan's relationship, but I think it is deeper because she has that innocent child outlook that trusted more and also put him is a position to be more gentle towards her.

Shelley said...

I will always have a huge place in my heart for the Chronicles of Narnia. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe should always come first. I hope they make a movie for the Silver Chair. I love that one!