Let's Talk Narnia (and Christmas!): The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

By Tuesday, December 15, 2015 , , ,

Here I begin a new series of posts. A series is somewhat daunting for me, but I’ve been considering the idea of posting on each of the Narnia books for a while and it just can’t seem to leave me alone. As with any post here, they will be meant to provoke discussion and analysis. I’ll just be sharing favorite tidbits, quotes, and other such thoughts on each book. I hope you’ll join in! 

Another part of this idea is the coming holidays. With Christmas approaching, I’ve been thinking a decent bit about The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This book has a strong Christmas theme throughout much of the storyline. At the beginning, Lucy is appalled to discover that not only has the White Witch held Narnia under a wintry spell for a hundred years, but also that this winter never gives way to Christmas. Cold, ice, bitter winds, and deadness reign year after year with no relief. But as Aslan makes his move, one of the first signs of his coming victory is the return of Christmas. The joyous scene in which the children receive their gifts from Father Christmas always puts a lift in my heart. The children are given tools for the coming battle in this Christmas scene, and the first actual Christmas was also a turning point in the battle that our Lord promised to wage on evil. Father Christmas’ visit in the book was the first tangible sign that the Witch’s power was weakening, and indeed, Christmas was God’s Word and power coming among us to defeat evil. This is just one aspect of the beautiful, poignant gospel allegory that is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. There’s so much to love about this book. Not only is it one of the most moving pictures of the gospel in literature, but it’s also a delightful children’s fairytale. The magic, the characters, and the simplicity resonate with so many. Here are a few thoughts and favorites from the book as a whole! 

Favorite Quotes
“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight, 
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more, 
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death, 
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again” 

“‘Safe?’ said Mr. Beaver…‘Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.’” 

“[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.” 

“Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen. Bear it well, Sons of Adam! Bear it well, Daughters of Eve!” 

Yes, it’s true that all of those are either about Aslan or spoken by him. But how could I resist?! That one about the Deeper Magic gives me chills every time I read it or hear it in the movie! What a picture of our Savior this wonderful Lion character is. 

Favorite Characters
Lucy: Ahh, where do I even start with her? I think (albeit speculation, but I have a good hunch) it was very intentional on C.S. Lewis’ part for the youngest child to be the one who first discovers Narnia. Lucy perfectly embodies the simple, childlike faith that Jesus speaks of so many times in the New Testament. Her delight in the discovery of Narnia is completely pure and without skepticism or caveat, and she can hardly wait to share the beautiful new land with her siblings. Her faith in Aslan is strong from the beginning, and she heartily forgives Edmund’s betrayal. No wonder she becomes known as Queen Lucy the Valiant. Her loyalty and unwavering faith are indeed courageous and are needed examples to us now. 

Mr. Tumnus: You could argue that Mr. Tumnus was the beginning of Narnia. As the tales tell, C.S. Lewis’ musings about a magical land of dryads and talking animals began with a simple image of a faun in a snowy wood that he couldn’t get out of his mind. Aren’t we glad he couldn’t?! And Mr. Tumnus is certainly a keeper. He’s a sure and steady picture of one enslaved to evil until a heart change renders him completely devoted to the true King. His newfound allegiance to Aslan is so wholehearted that he willingly risks capture and being turned to stone in the Witch’s house. And even though both of those things do happen, his restoration at the end shows him it was undoubtedly worth it. 
James McAvoy as Mr. Tumnus and Georgie Henley as Lucy in Disney and Walden Media's 2005 film adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Photo Credit: Alexa Chipman Writings

Favorite Scenes
Again, where to start?! But here’s an attempt.

Lucy’s Discovery of Narnia: Who else can basically feel Lucy’s excitement, surprise, wonder, and breathlessness as she realizes she’s standing in a forest rather than a wardrobe? Everything in this sequence captures her curiosity and awe perfectly while also leaving many details to your imagination. And her first encounter with Mr. Tumnus couldn’t be more endearing, could it? I still can’t help but smile at their conversation in which he’s trying to figure out whether she’s human, and of course at his “Spare Oom” and “War Drobe.” The beginnings of such a sweet friendship right there. 

Aslan’s Death and Resurrection: I’m listing this one at the risk of being repetitive or unoriginal, but I just have to! It’s not one specific part in these scenes either. The whole sequence is so layered and rich with meaning and emotion – Aslan’s walk with Lucy and Susan to the Stone Table, Lucy and Susan’s agony and confusion as they watch the Witch’s creatures jeer and shave him and then the Witch kill him, the heavy sadness as the girls stay beside his body, and the shock and joyous wonder at his resurrection. Each section provokes different emotions and points to some aspect of the gospel, Christ’s crucifixion, or His resurrection. I love that C.S. Lewis featured Susan and Lucy in these scenes too. I think it points well to Jesus’ affection for Mary Magdalene and to how it was women who came to the tomb to find it empty. 

Concluding Scenes – Coronation, the Children's Reign, and Return through the Wardrobe: These last few significant scenes in the book are summarized pretty succinctly in a few pages, but relish them, friends! The resolution and the joy in the lines that tell of the children’s coronation and the celebration afterwards are so satisfying and sweet. It always makes me think of Revelation, where we’re promised that we will reign with Christ. And it’s interesting to get this short glimpse into the children’s reign since not much is said on it here or in the other books. I find their return through the wardrobe amusing and bittersweet in a way. Professor Kirke is wonderful of course (what a treat for him to hear all that from them!), and his admonition at the end to keep their eyes open gives a wonderfully hopeful ending note to the story. It’s not the end! Only the beginning. 
Skandar Keynes as Edmund, William Moseley as Peter, Anna Popplewell as Susan, and Georgie Henley as Lucy in Disney and Walden Media's 2005 film adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Photo Credit: FanPop

So, what do you think of all these scenes, quotes, and characters?? What are your favorite moments of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? What symbols and allegorical aspects are your favorites? I’d love to hear!

*I do not own the rights to the second and third images in this post. These photos were retrieved from credited Internet sources*

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  1. Do I love me some Narnia!?! I love that you're starting a discussion series on them! They are some of my favorite posts for the Inklings series.

    I love Aslan and all he represents and I love how Lewis showed that in this book (the magic deeper still part...gets me every time). Since I love like 97 other quotes, here's the link to my post about it. I think that will be easier :)


    1. I loved your post, Jamie!! You have so many great thoughts there, especially relating to Aslan. I had forgotten about that quote in the scene when the children meet Aslan and go "all trembly." :) SO GOOD! C.S. Lewis was just brilliant...every time I return to these books I feel so refreshed. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :)