I love to read.
I’ve been reading like a maniac since I was three years old and my mama taught me how. I own about 700 books (my own, not my family’s) and I have read at least a couple thousand – and I am not counting Dr. Suess!! 🙂 Why am I telling you this? Because I am about to do the first of seven book reviews on my all-time favorite series. And I want you to know that when I say that Chronicles of Narnia is my favorite series of all time, I am not saying it lightly.
I first encountered Narnia when I was really young – about six or seven. I was still living on Ranchito Ave (I’m not even sure if that is how you spell it!) at the time. Since then, I have read them no less than twice a year. People who don’t believe in reading a book more than once will shudder when I say this, but its true and I am not ashamed.
I stronly believe that every person should read these books, especially younger kids, as they were written for children. My job in the next seven weeks is to convince you of this. (You can tell I am my father’s daughter because I am starting a seven week series 🙂 So here it goes:
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Narnia was written as an analogy, to teach biblical stories, truths, and theologies to children. Lewis wrote the first book for his goddaugter, Lucy, and named the main character in the first book after her.
Summary: A young girl named Lucy accidentally stumbles into another world while playing hide and go seek with her brothers and sister. She learns that an evil witch is making it so that it is always winter. When she goes back to her own country, she tells her siblings about her adventure, but they do not believe her and when she tries to show them, they cannot get into the country. Later, they are all able to get in and they discover that there is a prophecy that four humans from Earth – two boys and two girls – would come and rescue them from the evil witch. Of course, the witch sets out to destroy them. One of the brothers defects to the witch’s side and betrays his siblings. Then Aslan, the great Lion King, comes and joins the other three and sacrifices himself to rescue Edmund (the brother who defected). He then comes back to life and defeats the witch’s army and establishes the children as kings and queens of Narnia. They live there for many years until one day, while hunting, they accidentally stumble back into their own world and discover that no time has passed on Earth.
This book and The Last Battle I think are the heaviest as far as analogies go. I will try to keep this post short although I will warn you, I could talk about this book for hours. Some of the best analogies are:
1. Aslan, who is a portrayal of Jesus Christ, willingly sacrifices his life to save the others. He goes very meekly and humbly to die, although we do get to see that He is troubled beforehand by what he knows he will experience. There is a beautiful scene after he comes back to life.
2. Aslan speaks of the Great King over all the worlds. He says that he is in submission to his father, the King.
3. Lucy gets into Narnia first, all by herself. She gets in through a wardrobe she was hiding in during a game of hide and seek. Later, after she comes back, she brings the others into the wardrobe to see it for themselves, but there is only a normal back to it. Lucy is very confused and upset by this. Later, her brother Edmund revisits the wardrobe and finds himself in Narnia. After this, Peter and Susan are also able to get through. I think this is a great picture of how God chooses who He will save and what time He will save them. He chose to let Lucy see before any of the others and even though she preached the truth to them over and over, often in tears, it wasn’t until later that He saw fit to open their eyes.
4. There is a great chapter you can use to discuss the value of a good reputation with your children. When Edmund goes to Narnia the first time, he visits alone, but Lucy goes in after him and she sees him there right as they are leaving. She is so excited because he can back up her story now, but he is upset that she was right all along and lies and says that they were just pretending. This obviously upsets Lucy even more and she is extremely difficult for her older brother and sister. She insists she is telling the truth and starts keeping to herself and crying a lot. Peter and Susan, worried about her, visit the Professor they are staying with and ask if he thinks that she might be mad. He says of course not and then asks a few questions about Lucy and Edmund’s character. They both agree that up until now they would have always thought that Lucy was telling the truth and Edmund was lying but, in this case, she couldn’t be telling the truth. The professor then gives them a very nice lecture on logic and tells them that accusing a person who has always been found truthful of telling a falsehood is a very serious matter and should not be undertaken without a very strong reason.
There is so much more I could go on about, but this post is getting long and it is getting late so I will end it. Join me next Monday for Prince Caspian (and don’t be deceived if you saw the movie – the book is excellent!)