Thursday, December 06, 2018

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. (The Chronicles of Narnia #1) C.S. Lewis. Illustrated by Pauline Baynes. 1950. 186 pages. [Source: Bought]

 First sentence: ONCE THERE WERE FOUR CHILDREN whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy.

Premise/plot: During the second world war, the Pevensie children are evacuated to the country. Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy accidentally discover a magical country--Narnia--within a wardrobe in a spare room. Lucy discovers Narnia first and meets a faun, Mr. Tumnus. Next to enter is the turkish-delight-loving Edmund. He meets the Queen--or the White Witch. But it isn't long before all four children enter Narnia and change the course of its history--not to mention their own lives--forever.

My thoughts: I love, love, love The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I had forgotten how SHORT a read it really is. Perhaps because the movie adds so much drama and action. If I had to guess, I'd say that it would take a person longer to watch the movie than to actually read the book. At least if you're a somewhat fast reader like I am. 

I love that the book doesn't focus on battles and blood. Yes, readers know that there is a fierce battle taking place, but Lewis' focus is elsewhere. While the battle rages on, readers are with Lucy, Susan, and Aslan. We are eye-witnesses not to the battle but to Aslan's resurrecting power as he reawakens the statues and assembles his liberated 'army' to join in the battle.

No matter what the movie may be, the book is not action-driven. It is character-driven. It is focused on relationships and feelings. I loved that as a child and I love that now. That being said, the movie is very good.

  • Daughter of Eve from the far land of Spare Oom where eternal summer reigns around the bright city of War Drobe, how would it be if you came and had tea with me?
  • And really it was a wonderful tea. There was a nice brown egg, lightly boiled, for each of them, and then sardines on toast, and then buttered toast, and then toast with honey, and then a sugar-topped cake.
  • And the tune he played made Lucy want to cry and laugh and dance and go to sleep all at the same time.
  • “It’s—it’s a magic wardrobe. There’s a wood inside it, and it’s snowing, and there’s a Faun and a Witch and it’s called Narnia; come and see.
  • “I see you are an idiot, whatever else you may be,” said the Queen. “Answer me, once and for all, or I shall lose my patience. Are you human?
  • “A door. A door from the world of men! I have heard of such things. This may wreck all. But he is only one, and he is easily dealt with.
  • The more he ate the more he wanted to eat, and he never asked himself why the Queen should be so inquisitive.     
  • “Why don’t they teach logic at these schools? There are only three possibilities. Either your sister is telling lies, or she is mad, or she is telling the truth. You know she doesn’t tell lies and it is obvious that she is not mad. For the moment then and unless any further evidence turns up, we must assume that she is telling the truth.
  • “But do you really mean, sir,” said Peter, “that there could be other worlds—all over the place, just round the corner—like that?
  • “I don’t want to go a step further and I wish we’d never come. But I think we must try to do something for Mr. Whatever-his-name-is—I mean the Faun.
  • “They say Aslan is on the move—perhaps has already landed.” 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.
  • 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.
  • “Who is Aslan?” asked Susan. “Aslan?” said Mr. Beaver. “Why, don’t you know? He’s the King. He’s the Lord of the whole wood, but not often here, you understand.
  • “Turn him into stone? If she can stand on her two feet and look him in the face it’ll be the most she can do and more than I expect of her.
  • “Aslan a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion—the Lion, the great Lion. 
  • “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.
  • “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.
  • “I’m longing to see him,” said Peter, “even if I do feel frightened when it comes to the point.
  • “Didn’t I tell you,” answered Mr. Beaver, “that she’d made it always winter and never Christmas? Didn’t I tell you? Well, just come and see!
  • He was a huge man in a bright red robe (bright as holly berries) with a hood that had fur inside it and a great white beard that fell like a foamy waterfall over his chest.
  • He was so big, and so glad, and so real, that they all became quite still. They felt very glad, but also solemn.
  • People who have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thing cannot be good and terrible at the same time.
  • “Please—Aslan,” said Lucy, “can anything be done to save Edmund?” “All shall be done,” said Aslan. “But it may be harder than you think.
  • “Here is your brother,” he said, “and—there is no need to talk to him about what is past.” Edmund shook hands with each of the others and said to each of them in turn, “I’m sorry,” and everyone said, “That’s all right.
  • “Oh, you’re real, you’re real! Oh, Aslan!” cried Lucy, and both girls flung themselves upon him and covered him with kisses. 
  • “It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time.
  • But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation.
  • She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.
  • “Does he know,” whispered Lucy to Susan, “what Aslan did for him? Does he know what the arrangement with the Witch really was?
  • “Oughtn’t he to be told?” said Lucy. “Oh, surely not,” said Susan. “It would be too awful for him. Think how you’d feel if you were he.
  • “All the same I think he ought to know,” said Lucy. But at that moment they were interrupted.
  • But if the Professor was right it was only the beginning of the adventures of Narnia.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Alyssa Nelson said...

I love this book so much. It was one of the first fantasy books I ever read and it holds a special place in my heart. I agree with you--it's so nice that Lewis doesn't focus on the blood and gore of the battle. Great review!

Dora said... was awesome. What a difference it made in getting reviews and publicity (and sales)! I’ll definitely go this route again when I publish another title!