There are spoilers in this post.
I received the Chronicles of Narnia series for Christmas but before I started reading, I looked up on where to start the series because book #1 according to the book set I received was “The Magician’s Nephew”. This book was published in 1955 while the “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” was published in 1950 and it was #2 in the box set. After doing some research, I agreed with one commentator who said to read the series in the order they were published, not in Narnia chronological order. This made sense to me. For more information on where to start in the series, I found this site very helpful.
So my daughter and I, depending if we get ready for bed on time, read about a chapter a night. And we both loved it. She saw the movie before hand though, but that didn’t seem to deter her in wanting to read the book. She actually asked why they didn’t follow the book in the movie if that is what was written. I told her that I didn’t think the movie did that bad of a job compared to others in straying from the book, but either way I was excited that she was able to see the differences and preferred the story told in the book.
The book is for children, but I enjoyed it also. As an older Christian the death of Aslan and the “great exchange” made for the life of the traitorous Edmund reminded me of the exchange of Jesus’ righteousness for my traitorous life. There is a depth to this book that unfortunately my daughter missed, only because of her age and she yet has felt the pangs of her sin. But to me that is okay. She loves Aslan, and was happy when he didn’t stay dead. But I had to fight back the urge to emphasize that Aslan is likw Jesus in this book. Although I believe that is the intention of Mr. Lewis, I also believe there is a delicate balance between spiritual symbolisms in fiction that we must take into account. Saying Aslan is like Jesus is very different to saying the lamb in the book of Revelation is Jesus. C.S. Lewis was not inspired by the Holy Spirit the same way John was in Revelation or any writer of the Scriptures. And I didn’t want my daughter to confuse that. As for now, she is just enjoying a really adventurous story, if she draws the parallel later on, good for her.
Colorful fiction has a way of pointing out truths differently than black and white non-fiction and because fiction has a tendency to stir feelings and emotions we must be careful that those feelings and emotions are based on truths. Remember the heart is deceitful. So while I will not get my theology from a C.S. Lewis children’s book, I will enjoy the emotions caused by the death and resurrection of Aslan on a different level than my daughter because of the truth I know, and pray she will know soon also.
Recommendations: I recommend this book to older children. The witch is mean though and beats on Edmund and turns cute, furry animals into stone. To any one who enjoys books on magical lands and children’s adventures. This is definitely a great book to read out loud to your family.
To the Christian: I really enjoyed this book, but I really didn’t like that Mr. Lewis used mythological creatures as characters in his book. I found it took away from the “Christian” feel of the story.