The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
By C.S. Lewis
After Stumbling into the magical new land, the primary character Peter, and his three younger companions Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, the group is promptly greeted by a half man, half ram creature who informs them of their situation as well as the current state of the land of Narnia. The land is in the midst of great conflict, as an evil and treacherous queen is attempting to subjugate Narnia and its inhabitants under her control. The human characters then embark on a magical journey in which they encounter various fabled characters and creatures such as a Pegasus, talking beavers, and even Santa Claus, who is a key player in directing the young proponents upon their quest to save Narnia. Aside from the obvious draws of a plethora of talking animals and magical creatures, Narnia draws much of its secondary meaning from the elusions to both religion and politics throughout its story. The evil witch-queen, the primary ‘”bad guy” the reader is exposed to in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, is portrayed at first as a deceitful temptress, whom draws several of the characters into tasting the fruits of Eden (only in this case, the temptation is Turkish delight rather than an apple). The other most prominent ellusionary character is Aslon, the talking lion whom befriends the children. His actions and persona can be clearly compared to those of Jesus, up through his bodily sacrifice just before the climax of the second novel, making for an extremely entertaining story.
By reputation alone, the Chronicles of Narnia are instantly recognized as one of the premier fantasy stories, easily capable of pulling in and fully engrossing readers of all ages and walks of life. As a children’s novel, the series is quite successful in that its storyline has a good balance of adventure and lesson. The sheer scope of characters which are effectively amalgamated into the story throughout the chronicles make Narnia instantly entertaining to its younger audience; much similar to a younger reader’s Lord of the Rings, as it has similar draws, action, and enthralling nature with slightly less focus on violence and more on simple fantasy. As an adult’s story, the Chronicles can still be similarly engrossing in that picking up on the various allegories of life within the novel is entertaining in and of its self. The above truly makes it the perfect novel to be passed from one generation to another.
Why is this book “dangerous?”:
Throughout its existence, Narnia’s availability has been challenged in a variety of different settings. It has been banned in numerous public lower schools, faced criticism from various religious communities, and even faced removal from public libraries. A children’s fantasy by genre, this would at first appear extremely surprising. Christianity today, a popular Christian magazine, highlighted many of books anger arousing aspects when it said “it [Narnia] is a sullied book that attempts to animalize Jesus Christ, putting his struggles into clichéd animal characters…” On top of this, the book has often been cited for arousing children to act in mischievous manners, disobeying the conventions of their elders while looking for adventure. Even when read casually, many have dictated that the chronicles create “rebellious and unruly youth,” (Christianity Today). Although the above may be extreme situations, from it one can clearly gleam the controversial nature of this seemingly innocent and pure series of fantasies.