C.S Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe has been part of my life for over twenty years. My sister, of all people, handed the book to me at yet another long out of business book store. She insisted it was really good and even then I liked stories with magic in them (I blame video games and Disney) so I took her up on it. It cost my parents a mere $2.95. I still have it, as well as the other six. The price aside, you can tell my edition is old since it’s still book 1. Now days, the old book 6, The Magician’s Nephew, comes first. This is likely due to wanting the timeline to go in order since TMN is when Aslan created Narnia.

My Collier Books edition has a lovely cover by Roger Hane. It’s an image that’s been part of my visual memory since I first saw it.

Up through about third grade, my father would often read me bed time stories. The Narnia books became part of that tradition. I never actually read any of them when I was a child, but do remember them all thanks to him. It wasn’t until last week when I actually read the whole book myself. It’s easily something that could be done in a day if one had nothing else to do, but it feels good to have actually done it after all these years.

My third grade teacher was a big fan of the Narnia series as well. She was talking to me once and somehow it got out that I was familiar, and next thing I know she’s offering the class extra credit for reading any of them. We watched both the old animated movie of TLTW&TW and the made for TV movie that I think was done by the BBC, but I can’t say for sure. They did the next two books as well, but I don’t think it ever went past that.

I’ve not seen the newer movie, but maybe I shall just to see what they did with the material.

After reading as an adult, I do consider the possibility that Lucy and her siblings have wonderful imaginations and this is an escapist fantasy. They seem rather glum having been sent away from their family for schooling, and people are coming in and out of this home they’re in all day that they don’t care for. I’m probably wrong that Narnia only exists in their heads, but it’s fun to think about anyway. The situation certainly isn’t as terrible and nightmarish as something like Pan’s Labyrinth. I don’t remember enough of the series to say if there are ever any mixings of Narnia and the real world.

C.S. Lewis writes this book as a storyteller. There are several interjections as though speaking to an audience. One can easily see him reading from his favorite chair while surrounded by a group of children. It’s charming. Lewis had a real love for stories and children and it shows. While it was written for children (even says so inside) it’s still easily enjoyable by an adult. Like any good writer for a younger audience, Lewis doesn’t talk down to his readers and has good messages beneath the action. There’s depth to his work that resonates years later.

 

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