Saturday, 6 January 2018

Review: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

This is the edition I had when I was a kid. I still
own it, along with a commemorative edition
I don't think that anyone ever really forgets their first visit to Narnia ... for me, my first visit came about when I was playing at a friend's house and, suddenly, she turned the TV on and said that there was a really good show about to start on Channel 2. (Back the late 80s, that's what we all used to call the ABC.) The show was the first instalment of the animated series of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I was utterly intrigued and ended up watching the next three episodes at home as they were broadcast.* A few years later, when I became interested in books (I never took much interest in books until I was eight, nearly nine,) this was one of the first children's classics that I took interest in reading. Lucky for me, The Afternoon Show the BBC live action version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and I found an absolutely beautiful TV tie-in edition at Myer, which I bought and paid for out of my own pocket money, even though it was $8.95. (I should probably explain, this one was much nicer than the edition published by Lion that was around during the early 90s. You can see a picture of the 90s edition here) And that was the first time that I read the book. Eagerly, I read it's prequel, The Magician's Nephew, and then The Horse and His Boy. My cousin loaned me her set so that I could keep reading.

And then I stopped reading them.

I'm ashamed of that. The books got too hard and I stopped reading them. My cousin's boxed set was returned to her. Certainly, I read the books when I was a bit older, and got more out of it, but it has always bugged me that I gave up just as soon as it got to hard. I was, am, a reader. Anyway, later when the film version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe came out, HarperCollins re-released special full colour commemorative editions of the books and I went and bought them all and re-read the books then, discovering for the first time that the order of publication was quite different from the suggested reading order. Consequently, I found that the books were A LOT more enjoyable if you read them in order of publication.

Anyway, this week I re-read, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe again and, once again, found myself quite enchanted by the story of Lucy Pensive and her siblings, the wardrobe that led to another land, and their journey to save Narnia from the White Queen, with the help of a great sacrifice from the loving and wise Aslan. This time around, the Christian elements were quite obvious to me, but so was Lewis' skill as a writer so I'm not going to grumble too much about being preached at. In fact, it's actually quite an interesting way of looking at the Gospels, when you know where to look. (The whole thing went completely over my head until I was about twelve and make some remark to my brother about Aslan's death being a bit like that of Jesus, and then the whole thing clicked into place. I guess I wasn't always the brightest of kids.)

Whether you take anything from the religious parallels or if you'd rather ignore them, this still makes for entertaining reading. Highly recommended.  


*Note: I can find no evidence on the internet of there being an animated TV series of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, however there is an animated film that looks very similar to the television series I remember. It's possible that the TV Network cut the film down into four instalments and broadcast them as a kind of mini-series on The Afternoon Show, or my memory may be playing tricks on me.