Revisiting Narnia

I was looking at my Netflix queue and saw that I had The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe coming up soon, so I decided to reread the book before seeing the movie version. I had committed to reading the series for a couple of challenges, but I hadn’t been in the Narnia mood. Or so I thought…

This was one of the first fantasy books that I read as a child. In fact, it’s the first fantasy book that I clearly remember reading as a child and I fell in love with it. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe and Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time were two of my favorite books growing up and really instilled my love for fantasy. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that the main reason I discovered these two books was because I went to a Catholic elementary school and they were required reading because of their religious undertones. And I’m thankful that they were given to me back then because as I said, they opened up the whole fantasy genre to me.

I’m fairly certain that I’ve read other books in the Narnia series, but I’m really not sure now. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe was like revisiting an old friend and it swept me back to my childhood…to a place that was at the same time forgotten yet just within reach after a few words. What a magical book, what a feast for a child’s imagination. I was instantly swept back to “reading time” while reading this and remembered how much I treasured those moments when we were able to spend some time with our books in school…I think I may have been the minority in that :p Lewis created such a magical universe with this book and created characters that truly live forever in our hearts and minds.

Sure I remembered going through the wardrobe, but I forgot the feeling of going through it for the first time and realizing that you’ve walked into another world…what a neat idea for a child. Sure I remembered Mr. Tumnus, but I forgot having tea with him and his quirks. I had completely forgotten Mr. and Mrs. Beaver and it was delightful to meet them again! And Aslan…what an amazing character, I can’t wait to see how he was portrayed in the movie.

I’m hoping to remember having read some of the other Narnia books as I continue with the series, but if not, it will be great to experience them for the first time. Like I said, this was one of my most cherished memories of reading as a child and I had lost my set of Narnia books in Katrina. So I bought a new set afterwards and they’ve just been sitting on my TBR shelf just waiting…I’m glad that they’ve finally called to me! Looking forward to the rest!

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25 Responses

  1. I’m so happy you got to this one! It is one of my favorites as you know, and there is just something oh-so-magical about it. I loved the movie. Make that LOVED the movie. It captured the wonder and the splendor and the awe of it all. Though when I was a kid it was the BBC videos I remembered of the books. With really bad animation and special effects. (Not to mention the bad-acting-Lucy) But I digress. I also loved the soundtrack to this movie.

    Regarding Aslan, there is a very cool Aslan-related song that I used as a poetry-friday post once. (There’s also the very cool Turkish Delight song).

    I’ve still got three books of the seven to get to for all my self-imposed challenges. But I do have the Hobbit out of the closet and by my bed. I’m hoping to start it soon.

  2. It’s sad to say but I’ve never read these books. I did join Becky’s challenge to rectify that though. I adored reading your review…your love for this book was palpable! You’ve definitely made me want to dig these out of the pile.

  3. I’ve seen the movie and I know you will like it !

    I’ve never read these books. I don’t know why I didn’t read them when I was young but it was probably that we couldn’t afford anything that we couldn’t wear or eat!
    Then when I got into reading all I heard was that they were heavily based on religion… that was enough to turn me off. If there’s one thing I don’t like it’s to be felt like something is being pushed on me. Probably if that was not so well known it wouldn’t have botherd me, because to be honest, I don’t read “religious lessons” into any of my reading.. be it a “lesson” or “anti religion”.. to me all I’m reading is a FANTASY STORY which equals “not real” and that includes religion either way it’s used. (so if “banned” because of anti religion that doesn’t phase me..if someone went against their religion because of a fantasy fiction book, I’d say they weren’t very strong believers to begin with!)
    So.. I didn’t mean to get off on why I’ve not read them lol… but I do know that everyone that Does read them enjoys them!

  4. Please read The Magicians Nephew (always overlooked) and The Silver Chair as they are my favourites. The Magicians Nephew shows the creation of Narnia and the origins of the White Witch and The Silver Chair is just a great fantasy book. I know Prince Caspian is due out at cinemas in the not too distand future. I understand why they skip The Horse and His Boy (book 3), but why has no one ever done an adaptation of the Magicians Nephew (book 1).

  5. Narnia and A Wrinkle in Time are the books that made me love fantasy too. πŸ™‚ And once a year I get a craving to revisit Narnia, so am constantly rereading the books – I’m so happy that your revisiting Narnia has been so splendid for you, and that you’ve been able to meet all the wonderful characters again! πŸ™‚ (And your review now has me craving my yearly visit through the Wardrobe myself.)

    I second what Rhinoa has said – you should DEFINITELY read The Silver Chair! It’s fabulous. (I’d also recommend The Last Battle. Even though the religious overtones are huge in that one, it’s got some of the best new characters, and brings back some of the best older ones too!)

  6. I adored this series as a child, and quite enjoyed the movie. I hope you enjoy the movie as well!

  7. I think The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is the only Narnia novel that I ever read.

    I think there was also an BBC adaptation of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Is that the version you’re getting on Netflix? Or are you watching the one with Tilda Swinton?

  8. Becky, I know you’re a big fan of this series πŸ™‚ When I was a kid, it was the cartoon version of this one that I loved so much…remember that one? I don’t think I’ve ever seen the BBC version…I’ll have to check it out! Turkish delight! When I was a kid I wanted to eat turkish delight so bad after reading this book thinking it would be so good and I still have never tried it…but I’ve heard that it’s not so good :p

    Debi, Dig em out! I really think that you’d enjoy these. Especially since in the last year you’ve had this new love of fantasy, I think that you’d really appreciate these. In my eyes, these are what the beginnings of fantasy are all about. Just magical lands with magical creatures. Lots of fun.

    Deslily, I know exactly what you mean. If I had never read this as a child, I don’t know if I would’ve read this as an adult because of that same reason and that’s unfortunate because I would’ve missed out. He certainly did put religious meaning behind these books, but I don’t think that Lewis was one to shove it down your throat and I think that’s what so many people don’t know who haven’t read the books. You can read these books and completely enjoy them as just a good fantasy story, no questions ask…the religious stuff is there for those who want it to be there in my opinion. It’s certainly nothing preachy…more symbolism type stuff. But they’re such good fantasy novels. I know what you mean though…

    Rhinoa, I’m definitely going to read the whole series! And I’m going to try to fit them all in before the end of the OUaT challenge now. Glad to know what your favorites are. I’m really looking forward to The Silver Chair as Silverchair is one of my favorite bands and it will be fun to see the book that inspired their name :p

    Court, Very cool that we share the same inspirations! I can see how you’re inspired to reread these books once a year. They’re great! Reread them again πŸ™‚ I’m going to read the whole series this year. Looking forward to it!

    Heather, Good to hear that the movie was good! I really didn’t hear much about it…looking forward to it!

  9. D-O, I’m getting the new one that was just released…not the old BBC version…I just learned about that one! I’m going to have to check out that one too! I didn’t know Tilda Swinton was in the new one…I love her πŸ™‚

  10. When I was a child, these were the books I read when I was staying home sick from school. As such, I have always attributed to them the sense of safety, comfort, and healing. It was always important to me to read the entire series before returning to school.

    The movie is simply amazing, and it was a special experience for me when I took my son to see it. I actually got a little choked up when I saw Aslan for the first time. (Just for the record, I also got a tear in my eye when Optimus Prime made his screen debut, so you know where my head’s at…)

    Do yourself a favor and read the entire series. All of the books are worthy.

  11. Maybe some day Chris.. but after as many years as I’ve heard the “religious aspect” I doubt I could sake it from my mind long enough to enjoy them. I’m SURE I have read other books that relate to religion but if I never heard about it then it doesn’t matter because I never read it that way.. and like I said same for “anti religion” I don’t take it to heart either. Thankfully I had heard very little about “anti religion” concerning “His Dark Materials” before reading it and it didn’t interfere!

  12. You know, I’ve never read any of these books!! I don’t really know why. I do know that as I got older, the religious aspect actually turned me off of reading them. Still, I took the kids to see the movie when it came out a couple of years ago, and loved it!! So maybe it’s time to read them.

  13. I wish I could get my hands on the whole set with these covers. I love them, but haven’t been able to find the covers anywhere.

  14. I’m with booklogged, I love the covers on your copies. I am collecting the series again, after having the Puffin editions as a child and absolutely loving them. I read them over and over, but have to admit that Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was possibly my favorite (even though Aslan dies and I cry every time….this seems to be a theme with me and books I like!), I loved the Silver Chair too – it was really neat. I liked them all. I’m enjoying reading your re-reading of them, Chris! And I missed the Christian element the first few times, too.
    The movie was good, very enjoyable – my daughter was young for it but really liked it – but I missed Aslan’s resurrection scene since she had to go to the bathroom,and when we got back she kept asking how the lion got back alive! Try describing resurrection to a 4 year old…..we have to rent the movie again soon and maybe now she’ll see the scene! πŸ™‚ I hope you get to see the movie soon, just to compare. Thanks for the review, Chris!

  15. These are books I never had the pleasure of discovering as a child but have really enjoyed as an adult.

    The Narnia books remind me of other stories where the character, and you as the reader, slip through to some fantastic dimension and I generally always enjoy those. At the same time that I enjoy them I always think of how melancholy it would make me to return to the ‘real world’. It is very bittersweet when the kids run back into the woods and find themselves tumbling out of the wardrobe. Not sure that I could handle that psychologically.

    That in turn makes me think of the Star Trek Next Generation episode where something happens to Picard (I’ve only seen this once a looong time ago so don’t remember all the details) is off somewhere and has a wife and kids…a whole life…that is lived but didn’t really happen and he comes back to the ‘now’ with the knowledge of all that. How devastatingly bittersweet would that be?

    Makes me glad that SPOILER FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER READ NEVERWHERE… Richard decided to go back to find Door and the others after he returned to his ‘real life’. I mean, how could you ever go back? SPOILER DONE!!!

    I often think that when watching the LOTR films as well. How they had all this intense adventure and then they all separated and lived their own lives. If you read the appendices you realize that they met on occasion, etc. but books like this always give me that ‘how do you return to real life’ feeling. I think Frodo even says something about this at the end of Return of the King. It is such a profound statement.

    I am thankful that books, stories, allow us to visit these worlds again and again. We can certainly be profoundly changed by the experience but don’t have to suffer the bitterness of the adventure ending as we can relive it, and others, whenever we so choose.

    I’ve been wanting to rewatch Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe as well in preparation for the next film. Maybe this weekend or next I’ll have to put that on my plans.

  16. Just had to pop in and say that the Star Trek episode Carl mentioned was Inner Light. One of my all time favorite-favorite-favorite episodes.

  17. I’ve been thinking about listening to the audiobook version of the series. After reading this review, I need to move that project up higher on my Do-list!

  18. John, I’ll definitely be reading the whole series. I can see how these would have a healing effect on you. The books have the ability to just take you away for a little while when you’re reading them…take you away from time for awhile. It’s great that you have that association with them. And I’m right there with you on Optimus Prime πŸ˜‰

    Deslily, I understand…I’m the same way and I know that I may have missed out on some good books because of it, but it really is so distracting…oh well.

    Stephanie, Same thing as me and Deslily were talking about. I think I would’ve been turned away from these as well b/c of the religious aspect if I had not read these first as a child and fell in love with the story without realizing it. And the truth is, you can enjoy the story without the religion getting in the way…it’s not shove it down your throat stuff, it’s symbolic stuff. Really great fantasy. I think you’d really like them. For the record, I have nothing against religion, I just don’t like preaching being disguised for the most part…but there was just something about Lewis that was special…I’ve always enjoyed him. His non-fic as well.

    Booklogged, Here is the link to the boxset I bought!

    Susan, See the link above for the boxset that I bought! The scene when Aslan died was so very very sad, but I remember being so happy when I was a kid and he came back to life….I felt so helpless and hopeless after he first died and I felt that same way again this time. He’s such a “mighty” character…just amazing. That must have been fun to explain to your daughter :p Really looking forward to the movie!

    Carl, You are so right on with that comment. When they stumbled back into the wardrobe at the end, I thought the same thing…how sad…to have lived a whole life and then to walk back an eternity like nothing happened. It reminds me of Puck’s speech at the end of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. And you pinned it perfectly with the SNG episode! When I finished the book I thought to myself, this reminds me of something, and now I really think that it was that episode of Star Trek. Like Becky, that’s one of my favorite episodes…so sad, but I think that it’s one of the thing that TNG did so well…they really tapped into human emotions and relationships and the way we interact and feel situations. I love the way you tie things together…your comment made my night…it’s like all of my favorite things tied together now! Now someone needs to write a book about Richard going back through the Wardrobe and meeting Jean-Luc and Frodo as they return πŸ˜‰

    Becky, That’s one of my favorite episodes too. I was just telling Carl how much I loved TNG for episodes like that. I miss that show so much 😦

    Robin, I’ve heard that the audio versions are really good! Let us know how they are if you listen to them, I’m curious to get your opinion!

  19. Thanks for the heads up on which Star Trek episode it was. At least I know now that it wasn’t just a delusion. πŸ˜‰

    I can’t say I don’t like those bittersweet, melancholy endings because I do. I sometimes refer to them as a delicious melancholy because they are so much a part of the human condition and yet in many of these stories they are not devastating things, just bittersweet ones.

  20. I had actually never read any of these until this year. i saw the movie for Lion, Witch and Wardrobe when it came out on dvd and actually liked the movie better. I am only through the first 3 books but i have enjoyed them myself.

  21. Melanie, Glad to hear that you’re enjoying the books so far! I need to get started on the rest of them. I signed up for this series challenge that ends in may and I’ve only read 1 :/ They’re quick reads though, so I should be ok. Looking forward to the movie….sounds like it will be good!

  22. I just read “The Magicians Nephew” and I’m slowly, very slooowly working my way through the series. I may get to this one next year. But I loved Nephew and I’m looking forward to reading the rest.

  23. awesome Framed! I’m looking forward to finishing this series. I’d like to finish it in time for the end of the Once Upon a Time Challenge, but I don’t know if that will happen…will see. Hope you enjoy the rest of them!

  24. […] Ballads by Charles Vess 7. The Bone Doll’s Twin by Lynn Flewelling 8. Tamsin by Peter Beagle 9. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis 10. Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham 11. The Raven by John Lawson 12. Prince […]

  25. I never read these books as a child but did read them all last year and loved them. Once I got into the rhythm of the writing I was amazed once again by how well written CS Lewis is.

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