Chapter Eight – The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe

Chapter Eight is titled: What Happened After Dinner. This week’s short essay on the chapter focuses almost purely on the spiritual, so do not come to read this expecting a review of CS Lewis’ writing style – it is his underlying subject matter that I am dealing with here.

Without further ado, on we go; into the land of Narnia.

We begin when Mr Beaver mentions Aslan’s name and the children have once more a wonderful feeling run through them. This parallels the longing and perfect joy a Christian feels at the mention of Christ. But again, there is one child who shivers with fear at the mention of Aslan’s name. Edmund asks a question:

“She won’t turn him into stone too?”

We understand Edmund’s question better than Mr Beaver, so we know that he did not receive a satisfactory answer to it. He is relying on the Witch (the Devil or this world) to fulfil his desires, because of this he wishes, dreams, longs for that she would destroy Aslan (Christ or God).

Shortly after this Mr Beaver reveals that he shares a similar task to we who are saved. He is to lead the children to Aslan as we are to guide people towards Christ. He is there to lead them on a set route, like us. We have the Bible to teach us each turn and the dangers we may face along the way and Mr Beaver also knows his way through the land. Are we as competent as Mr Beaver at noticing and foreseeing dangers? Do we know our God’s guidance in His word?

Both Lucy and Susan consider Aslan a man and may be excused for believing this, but it would be terrible for any to believe Christ to be a man or in any was lesser than God the Father or God the Holy Spirit. They are an equal trinity. Three in One. Here are some texts, but if a detailed explanation is needed please let me know. Proofs of the Trinity: Genesis 1 verses 2 and 26, Matthew 3 verses 16 and 17. Proofs of Christ as part of the Godhead: Matthew 16 verse 16, Revelation 1 verse 8.

What Mrs Beaver then says is this: “…if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.” It is Biblically based and contrasting to what many people have said, such as when Winston Churchill said “I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.” Who could stand before Christ on judgement day and speak so brazenly to Him? No, not even one who is brave or silly.

Then Mr Beaver answers Susan’s and Lucy’s question. “‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” Christ shall be our judge. He shall point us to Heaven or to Hell and we shall have no argument to give, because He is perfect and just.

On a short side note, I fully agree with Peter’s words here: “I’m longing to see him, even if I do feel frightened when it comes to the point.” It shall be an indescribable moment to finally see Christ in all His glory. As the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 1 verse 21 : “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” For when I die I shall be with Him in paradise. I long to be with Him.

Now. To tackle a single name that CS Lewis causes Mr Beaver to say: “Lilith.” In Jewish folklore she was Adam’s first wife. There is no Biblical basis for this argument. You can see the verses that the belief has stemmed from, but when you interpret Bible verses you have to be very careful not to end up with a confused study. People claim there are two accounts of creation. One in Genesis 1 and a second in Genesis 2. I do not wish to divert too far into Theological debate, but I will say this: The second chapter of Genesis simply gives the account of the creation of man in further detail, it is not a new or separate item.

And now we come back to the story arc, and Edmund’s thoughts are turning into actions. Here in this chapter we meet a great betrayal that shakes the whole company.

“Then during the moment of silence that followed his last remark, Lucy suddenly said: “I say – where’s Edmund?” “

A chill always greets me when I read of Edmund’s desertion of his siblings. It is as if someone I know has denounced their family unjustly and stormed off boiling with hate. I fear for him, and others like him, every time.

“…everything they wanted to say died on their lips…” It is a depressing moment when one cannot defend another’s spiritual life. Something they have done that leaves no room for ‘possible’ or ‘maybe this or maybe even that’. There is no doubt as to what they have done and where they most likely stand; against God.

Mr Beaver goes on to say how he could be sure that Edmund would betray them. As Edmund could so easily be told apart from the others we must be sure to ask ourselves: “How am I seen by others, do I give a good witness of the Christian life? Am I clearly of God’s chosen people?” We may also see it this way: look at your friends. What do they claim to be? Christians? Atheists, Buddhists, Catholics, Muslims, etc.? Compare your own, and their, lives to scripture. Consider carefully and tread lightly. Please do not run to your friends and aggressively throw Bible verses at them, that is not what I mean to encourage. I mean to encourage caution in actions around others, and careful consideration of how our friends and colleagues act. Who has influence over you? Whose life do you look to and wish to follow? Is it Christ’s? Is it the Apostle Paul’s? Read and be filled with vigour to maintain or improve your witness, and to consider others’ spiritual state.

One final point (although CS Lewis’ writing is very good and I have only touched very briefly upon it, I am afraid that these things are far far more demanding of our attention, and I am confident the author himself would agree), Lucy fears the situation they are in. “Oh, can no one help us?” wailed Lucy.” I will now change Mr Beaver’s words slightly here: only Christ. We must go to Him. In life we find ourselves in a constant deluge of things to do, temptations, tragedies, and troubles. These things do, naturally as we are sinful fallen beings eat away at our faith. They attempt to douse our spiritual flame. But we should never fear! In all times we must ask ourselves: what does God’s word say? Be assured, be at peace, be in Christ. He is ever present and guides you home to live with Him in eternal glory. Fear not.

Thank you for taking the time to read my little writings. Feedback is greatly appreciated and will be read and digested. I’ll be back with a special post on the same chapter next week. Till then:

Best wishes,
Andrew

Advertisements

Chapter Seven (Aslan’s Name) – The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe

What I am about to write on is a heavy subject that cannot be taken lightly. It is incredibly important and I cannot stress that enough. Here we are talking about souls and their spiritual life. So, please, bear that in mind whilst reading this and my other pieces on Narnia, because life is more than the here and now. We have eternal souls and where they stand before our Creator should be of concern to us all.

Aslan’s Clear Parallel with Christ

Aslan, throughout these books, is seen as an allegory for Christ by many – though I have been informed by a friend that Narnia was written as a supposition – and here we have an example of a clear parallel. It strikes me even more so, because CS Lewis uses (possibly in an undeliberate manner) the first half of a line from a hymn written by Caroline M. Noel, but he replaces the name Jesus with Aslan: “At the name of Aslan…” A little later we will come to the clearest connection with Christ when Aslan dies at the Stone Table and then rises from the dead in chapters fourteen and fifteen respectively.

The Children’s Reaction to His Name

 

Each child has a reaction to the name of Aslan. Each reaction shows something about that child and a different spiritual state. Firstly, Edmund is clearly a distant sinner who is far from help. His reaction is one of horror. He cannot tell what is in his future, but he knows it is something shocking. Aren’t many like that today? Many who hear Christ’s name react in anger and horror. Why? Because they fear facing God after this life is through. Their conscience speaks to them and tells them of their sin. That they are far from God and can never be kept in his presence. That is what Edmund’s feelings portray. Thankfully, as we shall discover, Aslan saves Edmund in such a grand manner – we will look at this when the chapter arrives and the parallel that it also displays.

Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous.” Peter is stirred up by the name of Aslan to fight for him. He is a soldier for Christ. At the name of Jesus many Christians are invigorated and, after previous time spent reading some of Paul’s letters and other books that express a saved person’s desire, some will immediately wish to work for Him who died for them. They will lay down their worldly play things and their bodily thoughts and turn to higher things. Paul puts it in several ways: “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection” – 1 Corinthians 9 verse 27. Philippians 3 verses 8 and 9. 2 Timothy 2 verses 3 to 6. It is in 2 Timothy 2 verse 3 that we find the kind of Christian Peter portrays “…a good soldier…” A soldier who is trained and ready for the service of his King. In Peter this is taken literally, but in us it is to be taken spiritually. It is a call to arms in spiritual warfare. To fight against the world and to stand by Christ through all hardships.

The smell of something and the sound of music flow over Susan: “Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated over her.” Maybe I am incorrect that this passage proves what I shall say now, but I feel it is backed up by what occurs in The Last Battle when it is revealed that she has denied her faith and has no place in heaven set aside for her. Susan is a false convert. Susan feels a connection to faith in Aslan (Christ) via feeling something. Whether it is by incense or by the music she likes that is how she maintains her hope in salvation – which is clearly shown to be misplaced as she falls back into her worldly ways after a short stint as a believer in Aslan (Christ). What is your faith based on? What do you seek when you are low in mood? What takes up your time? How do you worship? These are questions even Christians who are old in the faith must keep asking themselves; for the temptation of our old nature is strong and the Devil is wicked in his manner.

Lucy represents the young Christian. She is full of youthful vigour towards her new found faith and is eager to begin the walk with Christ. She gets: “the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realise that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.” We all know this feeling of being free from school after what seems like such a long time that dragged on without end, but now it is over! It is finished! The green fields of joy roll out before us as the summer holidays start and we wish them to never end. That is how it feels when you first come to Christ. You are asleep one moment in the world and lie in its terrible pain, anguish, and horror, but then wake up, open your eyes, and find before you peace, forgiveness, and freedom! It is a joy like none other to find yourself in Christ. It is a joy to be able to say with King David: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” – Psalm 23 verses 1 and 2.

Thank you for taking the time to read this far. It means a lot to me in several ways to have this sort of work read. I pray that it shall be a blessing to you all.

Best wishes,

Andrew

Chapter Seven – The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

Chapter Seven is titled: A Day With The Beavers. In this chapter we see further development towards Edmund’s betrayal, we begin to get to know more characters in Narnia, and we hear mention of Aslan.

Without further ado, on we go; into the land of Narnia.

C.S. Lewis’ Writing

Their apparent guide, the robin, has flown away. The children are lost in an uncharted forest, within the reach of enemies. A bush rustles and a shadowed figure of an unknown creature is seen flitting between bush and tree. CS Lewis builds the tension and steadily adds details to the encounter, before revealing the creature is a beaver by Peter saying

“…it’s a beaver. I saw the tail.”

We all breathe a sigh of relief! Lewis then captures childish innocence in Lucy and Susan’s reactions of

“I think it’s a nice beaver.”

and

“I feel I want some dinner”

respectively. They consider only the outward appearance and their personal feelings. Even Peter their leader misses the possibility that there may be more than one creature lurking nearby. Nevertheless, this beaver is fondly referred to as Mr. Beaver by the children once they feel safer around him.

Edmund is held apart from the other children in CS Lewis’ writing. This is shown by his vastly different reaction to the mention of Aslan’s name. It is one of horror, for he stands by the Witch’s regime. It is further displayed by only him not trusting Mr. Beaver and his longing look between the two hills – towards the White Witch’s palace.

“…Edmund could see two small hills, and he was almost sure they were the two hills which the White Witch had pointed out to him…”

The final piece of CS Lewis’ writing (and the final point of this short essay) that I wish to draw attention to is his creation of the Beavers as a very comfortable couple. The beavers’ house is given to us in even more detail than Mr. Tumnus’ is earlier in the book, and the characters are given a lot more time to show themselves to us. We see Mr. Beaver’s dam that is praised out of courtesy by Susan:

“What a lovely dam!”

To which Mr. Beaver can’t help but reply in feigned modesty:

“Merely a trifle!”

By this we can clearly see that Mr. Beaver is a homely chap. Mrs. Beaver sows and cooks very well, and Mr. Beaver fishes and drinks a little beer. What a gentle couple, and so very welcoming. For the first time that the children are in Narnia I feel they are in safe hands.

Thank you for taking the time to read my little writings. Feedback is greatly appreciated and will be read and digested. I’ll be back with a special post on the same chapter next week. Till then:

Best wishes,
Andrew Davies

Chapter Six – The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe

Chapter Six is titled: Into The Forest.
Without further ado, on we go; into the land of Narnia.

It is a most wonderful experience, as a reader, when we are allowed to watch a beloved character head towards (unbeknownst to them) a delightful experience that we, the audience, are aware of. And here, CS Lewis provides us with that as two new characters are introduced to the land of Narnia!

Susan and Peter are our main focus in the opening paragraphs, as all the Pevensie children enter into the wardrobe. They feel cold and wet. They discover snow. And Susan finds she is sitting by a tree! We know what they have found, and we are so glad to have them there! But someone is not. Edmund speaks once in this first scene, and what he says is only fully understood by ourselves and Lucy.

“Let’s get out,” said Edmund, “they’ve gone.”

I am glad they ignored him. I am also glad for Mr Lewis’ writing here. He exercises the rule of showing, not telling, because Edmund – the beast, as Peter soon calls him – does not feel as we do about Narnia. Already he has a sickening feeling towards that magical land of Narnia that shall only grow as the story continues.

“I apologise for not believing you,” he said, “I’m sorry. Will you shake hands?”
“Of course,” said Lucy, and did.

I have three points that I wish to bring before you from this extract:

My first is that Peter is strong enough of a leader to apologise. He does not ignore Lucy out of cowardice, and nor does he pretend to have forgotten that he disbelieved her story. Displaying natural leadership, he bows to his mistake and shakes hands. Thus, affirming his acceptance that a misdemeanour has occurred and displaying his wish that it has a positive resolution.

Secondly, Lucy accepts his apology. She does not stand all high and mighty, demanding that he owe her more than a forgiving handshake. She kindly, gently, and immediately accepts his proposal.

Finally, I return to a hypothesis that I previously made in my first essay back at the opening chapter of this book: “Does Lewis write his character Lucy as a reflection of his goddaughter, or what he wishes she would become/learn?” The hypothesis now leads me to this: “Can we learn from each of Lewis’ characters individually?” For me, the answer to such a question is yes, most definitely, and I hope I can make that clear as I progress through this book.

Oh dear Edmund! What a blunder you have made!

“I say,” began Edmund presently, “oughtn’t we to be bearing a bit more to the left, that is, if we were aiming for the lamppost?

This then leads to the others realising he has indeed been to Narnia before and Peter calling him a poisonous little beast. Then Edmund does something that shows how far he has gone into his anger, self-pity, and selfishness. He hates them more for telling him he has done wrong. Such a strange thing to do I think, yet people do this quite often, because they feel the ones telling them off are stuck up – as Edmund says. Mostly they are not stuck up, but they have a strong sense of morals (be it correct or not).

What a terrible sight for Lucy as she comes to Mr Tumnus’ house, or what is left of it. A friend’s house. Her only Narnian friend. And he is gone. Taken by the Secret Police (which clearly denotes evil to our modern eye, and is a parallel to the SS that was active in Nazi Germany during the time this book was set – World War Two). She must have felt lost, heartbroken, and (as is shown) guilty.

The final point that I want to make from this chapter is at the very end where Edmund takes Peter aside and speaks into his ear. Some of it is good counsel, but it is all said in a wicked tone and leads to Edmund sowing doubt – which thankfully does not take seed. There are those who will speak good things to you in this world, and mix in a little bad so as to slip it past you unawares. Listen carefully and be cautious.

Thank you for taking the time to read my little writings. Feedback is greatly appreciated and will be read and digested. I’ll be back with Chapter 7 next week when we’ll meet the Beavers. Till then:

Best wishes,
Andrew Davies

Chapter Five – The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe Chapter Five, titled: Back On This Side Of The Wardrobe. In this short piece I write on Edmund’s cruel deceit, Peter and Susan’s paternal-like behaviour, and a point towards the author’s writing.

Without further ado, on we go; into the land of Narnia.

Poor, dear Lucy. She is so excited upon her and Edmund’s return from Narnia, and she stands aghast – unable to speak – as he denies the existence of the world he has only just stepped out of. What a terrible slope he now finds himself on! He denied clear truth, so that he might (instead of all the siblings enjoying the world together) receive pleasure by cruelly bringing tears to Lucy’s eyes. Peter is correct to admonish him for this behaviour, but perhaps not as harshly as he does. We shall see a development of his character in a later chapter to do with this specific moment, when Aslan himself is present.

Throughout this day, Peter and Susan are displaying more and more fatherly and motherly qualities towards their younger siblings. They lead, reprimand, care for, and stand by them. Specifically, in this case, they stay up quite late discussing what they should do about Lucy and her (from their view) imagined land. Finally, they agree – with Peter leading – that they should seek help from an older, and wiser man; the Professor is sought out.

The Professor is a kind, old man and when they bring their concerns and their story before him, he sits and listens patiently. He lets them finish speaking to entirely and then spends further time dwelling upon what they have said. Only then does he begin digging deeper into the problem in front of them all. He takes their concerns as highly serious things, and this is something I feel that we all can learn from. If it is worrying someone then it is no small matter, irrespective of what we ourselves feel towards the thing. So, we should take care and spend a sensible amount of time thinking on each problem placed before us. Those who need advice can learn here too; from Peter and Susan’s example. Seek advice from those who have walked longer paths than you.

During the considering of this problem concerning Lucy we come across an intelligent lesson in logic from our author, CS Lewis (in case anyone has forgotten). It focuses finally, at the end, on the logical thought of children. Children, when creating an imagined world, can come up with things incredibly quickly – having been one myself and imagined many different worlds and creatures I know – but Lewis is entirely correct in what he says, because of the depth and detail of Lucy’s tale and the time she spent away.

Now are two things which the Professor says that make me chuckle. The first I can imagine all parents or grandparents saying at some time:

“I wonder what they do teach them at these schools.”

The second is when he ends the conversation thusly:

“We might try minding our own business.”

And though I laugh at this rather humorous line (especially after the build-up it received) it does have a sounding of truth to it. Sometimes the best thing that we can do is to leave something well alone. As a Christian I would say have faith for Romans 8 verse 28 says:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Finally in the last section of the chapter, we read of Mrs Macready and her tours. This is simple, smooth writing from CS Lewis. He believingly pushes the children back into the wardrobe – as if moving them there with his author’s hand – and, as we see in Chapter Six, all of them into Narnia. Oh, Edmund, how far you shall yet fall!

Thank you for taking the time to read my little writings. Feedback is greatly appreciated and will be read and digested. I’ll be back with Chapter 6 in one or two weeks time (I can’t decide at this moment in time) when all our Pevensies enter into Narnia! Till then:

Best wishes,
Andrew Davies

Chapter Four – The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe

Here we are at the beginning of chapter four, and we have in front of us the most evil character we shall find in all of the Narnia books: The White Witch. In this short essay I shall attempt to show why we believe that CS Lewis wrote her character as the Devil. There shall be a couple of KJV Bible verses pointed out; to show where he might have looked to for guidance on this character, so for this chapter you shall need your copy of The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, and The Bible (you can download a KJV as an app).

Without further ado, on we go; into the land of Narnia.

On the very opening page of this chapter we find several reasons already to point to why readers have compared her to Satan. The first are her harsh, cruel words which are spoken to Edmund. For example:

“I see you are an idiot, whatever else you may be.”

Disregarding his confusion and anything else he may have in ways of positive characteristics, she verbally lashes out with an insulting comment on his intelligence, putting him down. This shows murder of character, an attribute not just of the Devil, but of any fallen being.

Secondly, we find out, on the very same page, that she has some form of plan that can be wrecked by Edmund. Later we find out exactly what this plan is. Her words “this may wreck all”show us, coupled with how she then proceeds, that although she may heighten herself to Aslan’s level, it is a lie. The Witch is not omnipotent, omniscient, nor is she omnipresent. This reflects Satan’s bid to level himself with God (as seen in 2 Corinthians 11 verse 14), but, despite his attempts, he falls on all those points also, and it is a height that he knows he shall never achieve.

Finally from just this page, we see

“her eyes flaming; at the same moment she raised her wand.”

In these words we see that there is great intent to harm. Coupled with “he is easily dealt with.” we see the calmness of her majesty when she is about to commit murder. She has moved from a lashing tongue to a lashing sword, and feels no qualms about this. This should remind us of Peter’s warning of The Devil in 1 Peter 5 verse 8.

But,

“just as he gave himself up for lost, she appeared to change her mind.”

Here we should take note of her sudden change of plan concerning Edmund. It is a sly manoeuvre indeed. Threatening to kill him, so showing her strength, but then holding back and offering (as we shall see) a ‘loving’ hand. Slyness has been known to be used by Satan since the Garden: Genesis 3. The Witch continues to speak “My poor child”. A child, we must remember, who one moment ago was an idiot to her. “I will put my mantle round you and we will talk.” An offer of companionship, company, and care. The poor boy then “sat at her feet” as one might do before a great teacher. It is a sign of worship, respect, and attention. He submitted himself to her. Edmund should have refused this offer, but we can’t think too little of him, after all, he was only just threatened with death, so he is rather shaken.

Turning over the pages there are even more instances that we may compare The Witch to The Devil. Here in these few quotes we see offerings of material pleasures that ensnare Edmund “like best to eat” “she knew…that this was enchanted”, a desire by The Witch to glean a much knowledge in any way possible “he never asked himself why the Queen should be so inquisitive”, her forcing information from him “ she got him to tell her”, and (once the information is taken) the falling of the pretence of her monarchic title “forgetting to call her ‘Your Majesty’, but she didn’t seem to mind now”. I shan’t go into detail on these points, because if I did they would treble this writing’s length and I would begin to repeat myself on many a thing.

The wicked words and ways continue till The Witch offers Edmund his heart’s desire: power far above his brother, Peter. First, though, he must bring his siblings to her, so they may be made Duke and Duchesses – which Edmund does not like the sound of, for when you have found something like this and you are selfish you never want to share.

She parts from him with these words almost as her last “you needn’t tell them about me.” She knows they will discover one way or another that she is wicked, so, seeking to hide this, she gives the pretence that it is a game. In a similar way, Satan whispers into minds that this life is just a game, and we should have no other thoughts than that of fun and frivolity. Though there is nothing inherently evil about fun, it is wrong to direct our lives entirely towards selfish ambitions of want and desire for this world.

Edmund then meets Lucy in Narnia! This should have been a wonderful joy to them both, but (as we discover) he is feeling uneasy in his stomach and about the ‘friend’ he has made there. So much so that he puts Lucy down when she talks of the Fawn describing The White Witch as a “perfectly terrible person.” By writing this in CS Lewis has foreshadowed what will happen later in the book with Edmund’s betrayal, because he hates having to admit he is wrong:

“Edmund secretly thought that it would not be as good fun for him as for her.”

So, I hope I have covered the subject matter in this chapter well enough in the short writing I have put before you, that it may be profitable and interesting. Feedback will be read and digested. I’ll be back with Chapter 5 in two weeks time when the two children return to the real world and their elder siblings. Till then:

Best wishes,
Andrew Davies

Chapter Three – The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe

In chapter three Lucy returns from Narnia, is disappointed when the Wardrobe yields no magic, Edmund takes his first steps in the snow, and we meet one of the key figures for the rest of the book.
Without further ado, on we go; into the land of Narnia.

The title of this chapter is ‘Edmund And The Wardrobe’. This serves to reassure us that others will find Narnia as we read the next few pages whilst Lucy cries and the wardrobe is found, by the others, to be entirely ordinary.

What a dreadful thing! Imagine experiencing something so magical so clearly and then when you tell someone they half believe you, but when they investigate they find no evidence of it. No woods. No snow. No fawn. For standing for what truth she believed in we must commend Lucy; especially after the confusion of the strange ratio of the elapsing of time, and for it to be her siblings that she stood up to also. What a dreadful thing. So dreadful that the poor girl cries and remains downcast for the following sunny, bright days.

Thankfully, her curiosity and belief remain mostly intact, so she takes the next opportunity when she is free from people to discover whether it all really was real. Edmund is also presented with an opportunity. An opportunity to tease Lucy. Throughout this chapter we ae shown glimpses of, and great hints at, Edmund’s cruel and self-serving nature – and to what he may do in the future.

Now, here in this passage, we are given for the first time a viewpoint separate from Lucy’s. We follow Edmund on his travels into Narnia, and he is a rather different character to her. While she found beauty, wonder, and magic in the new and mysterious land around her, he finds loneliness, fear, and a conscience. He begins to notice his unkindness and apologises aloud, but when he receives no answer this is quickly replaced by a stereotypical young boy’s line of:

“Just like a girl”.

Some may say this is CS Lewis’ sexism clearly presented, but I would simply call it character. It adds another depth of flaw to Edmund.

Then we hear bells ringing, and some reindeer pulling a sledge draw into view. Before now I considered these reindeer to be decent sized, but having seen Shetland Ponies (thanks to my fiancée’s love of horses) I now realise how dinky these must have been. The description surrounding this sledge, the dwarf, and the Witch shows to me that Edmund is impressed by material things rather than the nature around him. The pompous show put on by the Witch and her small entourage impresses him so much that he wishes to impress her also. This placement of description is an example of CS Lewis’ skilled writing as he executes a switch of point of view while also providing us with a show of Edmund’s character.

Finally, I wish for us to consider what the Witch represents. Satan. The Devil. That is quite clear in these books, and even here – just in this chapter and the next – it shows. The material presentation. The claiming of royal office. The preying upon impressed minds. The less than subtle threats, the slyness, and then supposed friendship as the metaphorical arm is placed ‘comfortingly’ around Edmund in the next chapter. CS Lewis nails the character so well that you can almost see the horns poking out from either side of her crown.

In the next chapter we have a conversation between the Witch and Edmund, and Lucy returns to find him also in Narnia. I hope that it has been an interesting read. I am fully open to all feedback.

Best wishes,

Andrew Davies

Chapter Two (Part Two) – The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe

Ahead of us is the second part of chapter two. So far in this chapter I have covered up to the point of Mr Tumnus’ tearful breakdown and his subsequent admittance of his planned betrayal. In this piece my main focus shall be CS Lewis’ writing style and what we can gain from it.

We come back as Lucy wakes up to the fading light of day and Mr Tumnus’ begins to look sad – about what, we are not yet told. He then begins to cry and expounds to her what he had been planning. What I want to make a note of here is the kindness and care that Lucy displays, and also draw attention to who (or whom) CS Lewis’ audience is. We recall that he is writing this story for his goddaughter, called Lucy, and other young children. Since his main character (in this book I consider her such) is named after his main audience, we must consider whether he also took her attributes or if he assigned the character attributes that he wished her to have. I suppose the point I am trying to make remains the same: when writing always keep in mind the message and values you are presenting to your audience, and be especially careful with influential groups – such as children.

Presently we turn to the last two pages of the chapter in my copy of the book. Here we find a well-executed change of tone shown by sentences that are sharp and empty of the beautiful description that was once on display. Still, right at the end of the chapter, CS Lewis brings a light of hope and continued friendship in the way of Lucy allowing Mr Tumnus to keep her handkerchief. This I find to be a proof of his wonderful story-telling and writing ability; as if it was doubted.

This has been a very short post, but I wasn’t originally planning on one this week, so I hope that it has been an interesting read even in it’s brief nature. Next Friday I shall resume my usual slot at 14:00 with chapter three where Lucy returns to the normal word. I am fully open to all messages and wish you well throughout the week.

Best wishes,

Andrew Davies

Chapter Two – The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

Here we meet again. For to view the second instalment in my ongoing series on The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. In this chapter we find interesting writing techniques, naming of a Greek god at a fawn’s tea party, and the twist in the fawn’s tail; his unwilling betrayal.

I have decided to split this chapter into two parts as I found so much material  that I wanted to cover within it. In this first part I will write about CS Lewis’ interesting writing techniques, and his choice of naming Greek gods. In the second I shall deal with Mr Tumnus’ secret.

Without further ado, on we go; into the land of Narnia.

When beginning his next chapter­­­­­­ CS Lewis wastes no time in getting back into the story. There is no ‘fluff’ dialogue as he sends Lucy into conversation, and then he doesn’t throw around words on an unnecessary detailed description of the fawn. He gives us what we need to have good character, no more and no less. This writing helps keep the atmosphere based in wonder and excitement. It is also perfect writing for a child to read; there is nothing to bore them and slow them down, but it holds enough detail to make it interesting and developable.

On another point of writing, we see the Faun halt in the middle of his sentence showing Lucy and us quite clearly that he is hiding something. CS Lewis does this in such a way that makes it very easy to pick up on. This serves two purposes: The first, that a young mind can get a sense of the trouble that may begin, second, that Mr Tumnus is shown to have an inability at subtlety.

Before we move on any further, I actually want to move back up the text to Mr Tumnus’ question. Asking Lucy if she is a Daughter of Eve is the first mention of creation in our book so far. These Adam and Eve references will come up quite often throughout all the Narnia series; most times with a prophecy in mind. Still, we have yet to come with a deep doctrinal parallel to the Bible, and (as you shall see) we will soon face the naming of a Greek god. So, from where I stand, despite strong Christian tones later in the book, the use of Greek myth and woodland fairy-tale quite undermines any message that he, CS Lewis, may have wished to convey. I will of course take this point up again later, and if I make it to The Voyage of The Dawn Treader (my plan is to do overviews of each remaining book in the series in one piece each), and if my memory is correct, I will show a defence against myself. Back to Lucy now.

Where Lucy almost laughs at the fawn’s geographical fumbling I most certainly do! The thought alone of him pronouncing ‘spare room’ as “Spare Oom” brings another laughter line to my face. The author most definitely has a good sense of humour that can capture even the grumpiest child’s heart and smile. Or maybe I’m just simple to please!

And so, all of a sudden, Lucy finds herself:

“walking through the wood arm in arm with this strange creature as if they had known each other all their lives.”

This displays Lucy’s trusting nature that all the world can be lovely if you just give it a chance, and (in part) Mr Tumnus does prove that a stranger can be lovely and become a lifelong friend. As adults we lose this natural trust through various ways – whether something bad happens to a friend or us, or someone we thought we knew well does a terrible thing – , but here in Narnia perhaps even we would have taken tea with Mr Tumnus; after all, it is a rather magical land. Soon we shall see Edmund face a stranger too, but with that encounter the signs of danger he ignored were far more obvious.

Now we arrive at the fawn’s house after a quaint walk through the woods, past trees, hills, and finally some rocks. Lucy sits down to wait.

“And it really was a wonderful tea.”

And some wonderful stories too no doubt! I have an interest in all fairy tales and mythology, so I would have loved to sit and listen to that fawn talk away for hours on both of these, but what CS Lewis has written here shall have to suffice.

And what he has written here is fine up to a point. Just before his stories end we are given the first proper mention of religion in Narnia. Even before Aslan. Two Greek gods are named: one; Silenus, Greek god of drunkenness, and two; Bacchus (called by his Roman name here, rather than Dionysus), god of fertility and wine. Why CS Lewis felt the need to put these two into his book I do not know. I see no advancement to the tale, and no point is made of them. They aren’t even referenced again throughout the series. It only serves to tie his tale early on to mythology rather than Christianity, which is quite sad from my point of view. He could have kept it a pure tale, free of wine and drunkenness, but he chooses not to. He panders to his own love and knowledge of myth rather than stand by a message solely consisting of Christian views. How sad that is, to have confusion passed on to so many. This confusion comes even clearer in the final Narnia book The Last Battle when the god of the Telmarines, Tash, is revealed as being real and that some of his followers can even enter Narnian heaven.

I shall have to end it there I’m afraid. Apologies to stop this part on a negativity, but there’s a large chunk of the chapter to go and we all need to be fresh to pay it attention. I plan to post the second part for this chapter next week, and then start on chapter three the week after that. I hope that it has been an interesting read. I am fully open to all feedback.

Best wishes,

Andrew Davies

Chapter One – The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

This is the beginning of a set of personal essays based upon my love of the Narnia books and what subjects I can find within it. There will be points on religion, myth, words, character development, and a few other things. I don’t know how many of you reading this will have read TLTWATW previously, but it was a favourite book of my family (and many others I know) throughout my childhood, and when the most recent movies were released we went to watch them at the cinema. I would say that CS Lewis’ writing style and the genre identified with him, that fantasy/real-world mix, has influenced myself greatly.

Without further ado, on we go; into the land of Narnia.

Written for his god-daughter, Lucy, CS Lewis began the Narnia series with this title. In just the first few lines you can see the simplistic nature of the writing that makes it so easy for a child to read and enjoy the book. It is the beginning of a charm that draws you deeper into the world of Narnia. A cheerful, smiling, childish innocence kind of charm.

In contrast to the pleasant writing, we quite quickly come across the children bickering. This immature bickering of the Pevensie siblings is mixed with the excitement of a new place to explore. This resonates with me on a very personal level, as only three years ago I was in this position myself still.

Thankfully there is more to the Pevensie children than bickering and excitement, seen even at this early stage. I would like to take note of their characters shown in this chapter, so we may later track their growth. The eldest is Peter: he is set up as the leader, but leads them through feeling and not wisdom, and so they are led poorly. Then there is Susan: she is a motherly character, but is bossy rather than caring. Next is Edmund: being the second son he is an upfront and challenging character, but he is more argumentative and picky than thoughtful. Finally we have Lucy: she is such a gentle girl, but she is frail to opinions, especially to those of her siblings.

The children set about exploring this grand, old house that they have found themselves in and we find the first mention of The Bible here. It is not in a religious or spiritual context though, but it is used to bring the sizes of the books the professor owned to life. “Some bigger than a Bible in a church.” And as we will see at the very end of the chapter Greek mythology is properly introduced well ahead of any Christian undertones, so despite this being frequently hailed as a Christian book can it truly be called that? Although it is questionable, I will still bring forward as many points towards this as I find. I am a Christian, just in case you were wondering.

Soon, the children encounter, along with us, the wardrobe for the first time. It is entirely dismissed by Peter (not even acknowledged) and the others follow his leadership – except Lucy. Thank goodness for that little girl, or this would be have been a very different story!

I want to bring to your attention a small detail. One that I’m not even sure if CS Lewis meant to write into the story at all, but here it is. We meet the third element of the title first. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Second we shall meet the Witch, and final the Lion. Why was the book not named The Wardrobe, The Witch, and The Lion, so as to reflect the order they appear to us in? I think the title lists them in order of importance to this Narnian tale. The Wardrobe: merely a vehicle for entering the world. The Witch: an enemy at Narnia’s beginning, but killable. The Lion: need I list the deep role he plays? Maybe I am making too much of a little thing, but I do enjoy myself while I do it, and there will be several more theories that appear I’m sure!

When Lucy enters into the Wardrobe the book reads “It was almost quite dark in there.” – what a strange use of language! Yet, because of this the story begins to be set apart as something very different to another war-time tale. It touches you ever so slightly – a quick prod as to the strange and wonderful things that are about to occur!

As we know, Lucy walks through the Wardrobe and steps into a wintry Narnia. She sees a lamppost and walks towards it. Then, whilst wondering what a lamppost is doing there, she meets the Fawn (here is the Greek mythology), Mr Tumnus. I adore the little details CS Lewis writes into this scene. The leaving the door ajar, Mr Tumnus’ tail tucked over his arm, his immediately shocked reaction. It all adds such character to this book, is it any wonder why so many love it?

So, I have very loosely and swiftly covered the first chapter in a way I hope is readable. Feedback will be read and digested. Please, please, please let me know what you thought of this. I’ll be back with Chapter 2 in two weeks time. Till then:

Best wishes,

Andrew Davies