Chapter 2 What Lucy Found There (Part One)

Chapter one opened with the children’s arrival at the Professor’s and closed with Lucy’s arrival in Narnia. Chapter two will have a similar symmetry. It opens with Lucy’s meeting with Mr. Tumnus and will conclude with her saying good-bye to him and returning through the wardrobe.

After Mr. Tumnus picks up the parcels which he has dropped, his first concern is to know if, in fact, Lucy is a “Daughter of Eve” (11). At the end of the chapter, Lewis will return to this point when we are told that the White Witch has been on the lookout for Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve (20). At that same time we also learn that four thrones wait at Cair Paravel and when they are filled, something will happen with the creatures the Witch has turned into statues, but it is not until chapter eight that readers learn precisely what the prophecy is (82).

Mr. Tumnus tells Lucy that he has never met a Son of Adam or a Daughter of Eve before and that he is “delighted” (11). He stutters over what to say next, and Lewis tells us that the faun “stopped as if it had been going to say something it had not intended but had remembered in time” (12). What is Mr. Tumnus Faltering about here? Readers have no clue and may even miss Lewis’ hint of what is to come. We will learn at the end of the chapter that Mr. Tumnus is in the employ of the White Witch and is supposed to hand over any humans he happens to encounter.

Next the faun introduces himself as Tumnus. While he will be the only faun readers will meet in TLWW, In Prince Caspian Lewis will briefly mention nine others by name. By giving them Latin sounding names such as Tumnus here, and later Mentius, Obentinus, Dumnus and so on, Lewis clearly intended to evoke the fauns’ connection to Roman Mythology. Paul Ford notes that the origin of Mr. Tumnus’ name “is not clear, although it is a Latin diminutive of some sort” and may be from tumulus, meaning ‘hill,’ as Tumnus lives in a hilly country”

Mr. Tumnus asks how Lucy Cam into Narnia, and this is the first time readers hear the name of the imaginary Land (12). How Lewis came up with the name is unclear. While several references to a historical city with the name Narnia exist, whether Lewis intended to refrence them remains unclear. Some say he “simply liked the name.” At the same time, Lewis had majored in the classics and ancient history at Oxford and he, quite possibly, came across “at least seven references to the Roman Narnia in Latin literature.”

Several Critics have suggested a comparison between Mr. Tumnus and the White Rabbit from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Like Mr. Tumnus, the White Rabbit—who wears a waist coat and has a pocket watch—is a wild creature who has been transformed into a civilized one and thus also demonstrates a blending of two worlds. When Alice speaks to him, the rabbit is startled and, like Mr. Tumnus, drops what he has been carrying, white gloves and a fan. Like Narnia, Alice’s Wonderland is bigger on the inside than it seemed on the outside and is entered through a tunnel like or holelike opening. After Lucy and Alice enter their imaginary lands, both encounter hostile queens.

Among the books Lucy looks at on Mr. Tumnus’ shelves are two that refer to humans: Men, Monks, and Game Keepers; a Study in Popular Legend and Is Man a Myth? (15), titles which suggest that humans have already had an encounter with Narnia prior to the events in TLWW—but possibly one which was either very fleeting or in the distant past. (Here is another example of why I read the books in the order I do.) In The Magician’s Nephew, set in a time long before Lucy’s visit, Lewis will have a human couple—a London cabdriver named Frank and his wife Helen—serve as the first king and queen of Narnia. King Frank and Queen Helen later have human children who will then marry with Narnians. In that story readers are told, “ The boys married nymphs and the girls married wood-gods and river-gods”(MN,200). We are left to assume that the children’s offspring also married with Narnians, so that by the time of TLWW their human genes and any memory of humans have long since dissipated. Presumably the myths and legends of man that Lucy finds in Mr. Tumnus’ cave have their origins in this earlier time.

The Horse and His Boy, one of the later books in the Narnia series, is set during the time Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are reigning as adult kings and queens of Narnia. In that story we find that human beings are living in Archenland, a country to the south of Narnia, and in TMN we are told that the second son of Frank and Helen would go on to become king and queen there. At this point in writing TLWW, Lewis had not yet conceived of Archenland and the human who would be there or why the author of Mr. Tumnus’ book would think of man as a myth or legend. Perhaps the Witch’s imposed winter has prohibited any contact with the outside world for a long time.

Finally, one should note that when Lewis wrote TLWW and had Mr. Tumnus tell stories about “summer when the woods were green,” he had not fully conceived the timeline of Narnian history. In later books this time period will be referred to as the “Hundred Years of Winter”, leaving three ways to interpret Mr. Tumnus’ remarks about summer. Perhaps Mr. Tumnus is over a hundred years old and is remembering the actual summers of his youth from a time before the Witch’s arrival. However, the fact that he will become “stout” and “middle-aged” over the relatively short course of the novel may undercut this possibility (184). Alternatively, he may simply be recounting tales he has heard of events that took place before he was born. Finally, readers could choose to read this passage as a handful of inconsistencies which resulted from the fact that when Lewis wrote TLWW he did not foresee that it would lead to a series and so had not yet decided that the Witch’s winter wpuld last a hundred years. I tend to follow the second line of thinking.

In Part 2 we will discuss the second part of what happened during Lucy’s trip to Narnia and “what she found there.”

I apologize…

I apologize for my lack of posts. I have been rethinking my format and will be back on Monday with a new one. Thank you for your patience…

Michael Terry

Lucy Looks Into A Wardrobe

I can start no better than Lewis, himself, did.

Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids. They were sent to the house of an old Professor who lived in the heart of the country, ten miles from the nearest railway station and two miles from the nearest post office. He had no wife and he lived in a very large house with a housekeeper called Mrs. Macready and three servants. (Their names were Ivy, Margaret and Betty, but they do not come into the story much.) He himself was a very old man with shaggy white hair which grew over most of his face as well as on his head, and they liked him almost at once.

Introduced Characters:

In this First Chapter we are introduced to 1 Professor (Just the Professor for now), 1 housekeeper (Mrs. Macready) , 3 servants (Ivy, Margaret and Betty) and 4 children (Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. Since the story is “about something that happened to them”… we will focus on them for now

Peter: As the oldest of the four, Peter tends to be the leader. He is shown in this opening chapter as being excited about the possibilities of their new lodgings. Almost as soon as they arrive he launches into how excited he is bout the place…“We’ve fallen on our feet and no mistake,” said Peter. “This is going to be perfectly splendid. That old chap will let us do anything we like.”

Throughout the series, Peter undergoes little in the way of character development. Even before entering Narnia, Peter is shown to possess strong moral fibre. Perhaps for this reason he undergoes the least development of the major characters; his experiences in Narnia serve primarily to strengthen his innate tendency towards humility and courage. He possesses the traits of maturity and discernment. In the books he is rewarded for this with the position as King Peter the Magnificent, High King over all kings of Narnia.

There are similarities between Peter Pevensie and St. Peter, who was one of Jesus’s original twelve disciples. In the story, Peter is the leader of the children as St. Peter is considered the leader of the twelve disciples. Peter leads the army of Narnia to fight against the White Witch as St. Peter led the early Christian church in spreading Christianity. Like St. Peter, who was given that name from Christ, Peter is given the name Sir Peter Wolfsbane by Aslan. The biblical St. Peter, according to Catholic tradition, was given the key to the gate of Heaven and Peter Pevensie shut the door, with a golden key, sealing the destroyed Narnia after the judgment in The Last Battle.

Susan: She is often seen as a motherly figure much to the annoyance of Edmund. Susan prides herself on her intellect and reason. She often speaks in condescending tone (though that happens less and less through her time in Narnia). The Christian significance of Susan’s character has been much discussed. Aside from her role together with Lucy paralleling the women in the gospel who first find the risen King, Lewis may have intended her to represent the good seeds which are “choked by thorns” in the parable of the sower from the Gospel of Matthew.according to the book, Susan’s failure is due to vanity and a false adolescent sense of “maturity”, not sexuality. Susan provides a striking contrast to her sister Lucy, who is a shining example of the Biblical “faith as a little child.” Even her chronologically older brother Peter begins to see Aslan before Susan does in Prince Caspian.

It has been argued that Susan’s maternal nature cultivates a sense of self-reliance that prevents her from sufficiently following Aslan (again, going against the sexuality argument). In this interpretation, Lewis intended Susan to represent those who in the confusion of their fallen state find a spiritual call to faith drowned out not by malice on their part but simply by the mundane distractions of everyday life.

Lewis’s supporters also point out that the other children enter into the “new” Narnia (representative of the eternal Heaven) because they have died in a train accident, while Susan remains alive on our world, so that there is no proof that she has been permanently “excluded” (i.e., damned). The first footnote under Susan’s entry in Companion of Narnia by Paul F. Ford is very helpful in understanding the meaning behind Susan’s absence at the end of The Last Battle. And perhaps most importantly, Aslan’s last words at the coronation in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe of the four Pevensies to the throne offer the best justification for believing Susan will eventually join the others when the time comes in Aslan’s Country: “Once a King or Queen in Narnia Always a King or Queen in Narnia…”

Edmund: He is the mischevious brat of the group. He snickers at the profesor and jumps all over Susan for “acting like mom.” Though pretty one dimensional in the beginning of this story Edmund’s character will be the most developed in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. In a Christian sense, Edmund represents the sinful nature of man as redeemed by the vicarious atonement of Christ. In The Horse and His Boy, Edmund assures Shasta he is not a traitor for overhearing their plans (he knows what being a traitor really means). He goes on to lead the defense of Anvard in the absence of Peter. In Prince Caspian, Edmund is portrayed as loyal and humble. In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader again with Peter absent, Edmund takes on the role of the mature leader.

Lucy: Lucy can be said to symbolize the virtues of humankind, whether manifested as “childhood innocence” or in its more mature forms as depicted in the later stories. In many instances, especially in a scene in Prince Caspian where she follows Aslan even though her siblings are unable to see him and believe Lucy is lying about seeing him, she seems to represent faith. At times, Lucy’s experience of Narnia goes beyond words. In a provocative scene in The Last Battle, Lucy declines to speak because she is in the throes of what is possibly a numinous experience. (“She was drinking everything in more deeply than the others. She had been too happy to speak.”)

Summary:

Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are siblings who come to live with an old Professor in his home “in the heart of the country” during the war, since air raids are throwing London into a state of terror. Peter is the eldest, followed by Susan and Edmund, and Lucy is the youngest. The Professor is an old, unmarried man who lives with a housekeeper and three servants. Lucy is a little afraid of him when they first meet; Edmund, revealing his unpleasant personality, tries to cover his laughter at the sight of the old man.

As the four children say good night and ready themselves for bed, they exclaim over the woods and mountains surrounding the house. Lucy hears an owl in the night, and the children exclaim in excitement about the badgers, snakes, and foxes that they may discover in the forest.

The following morning, however, they awaken to rain. Following Peter’s lead, they decide to explore the rooms in the mysterious house. There are many old passageways and rooms linking to other rooms and leading out onto balconies, with walls covered in books and old armor. The children then come upon an empty room with a large wardrobe, but while the others move on, Lucy, the youngest, stays behind and opens the wardrobe door. She looks in out of pure curiosity, and two moth-balls drop out. Inside, she sees a row of long fur coats. Still driven by curiosity, she climbs in and reaches past the coats, careful to leave the wardrobe door open. As she crawls further inside, surprised that she doesn’t immediately encounter the back of the wardrobe, she notices that the hard floor has become mysteriously cold and soft, and that something prickly is all around her. She realizes that the prickliness comes from the branches of trees, and that the floor is covered in snow. She is standing in the middle of a wood; it is night, and snow is falling.

Fearful yet excited, Lucy looks back and sees the wardrobe door and a bit of the empty room. She walks for ten minutes, and finally reaches a lamp-post. Just as she is thinking how odd it is to find a lamp-post in the middle of a wood, she is met by a man with the legs of a goat and two horns on his head. Carrying parcels and an umbrella covered in snow, Lucy imagines that he has just finished doing his Christmas shopping. The creature is called a “faun”, and when he sees Lucy, he drops his parcels and exclaims, “Goodness gracious me!”

Analysis:

This first chapter immediately situates the reader, pulling him into the narrative and introducing him to the wonders of Narnia. The time is firmly established: it is wartime, and the children have been evacuated to the safety of the countryside for the summer holidays. The house is a fertile place for exploration, and from the beginning the reader gathers that the children, while on holiday, are about to be educated in another way — a way that they would never experience in school.

The children’s individual reactions to the Professor immediately give the readers insight into their personalities. While the Professor is described as very old and unmarried, he inspires fear in Lucy, and mockery from Edmund. The attention paid to the different views expressed by the two younger siblings foreshadows the conflict that is to come. Additionally, we immediately learn that Lucy reacts with humility and timidity to the unknown, while Edmund reacts with disrespect.

Lucy is the youngest of the children, and perhaps the most apt to believe in a fantasy. She is also the first to peek into the wardrobe that leads into Narnia. She is the logical character to choose as the primary protagonist, since she is the youngest, and thus more open to the joys of wonder, belief, and curiosity for curiosity’s sake. There is nothing about the empty room or the wardrobe to spark one’s curiosity; in fact, it is something that most would overlook, as is shown at the very end of the story, when Mrs. Macready, the housekeeper, skips over the room with the group of sight-seers. The fantasy world, it seems, is beyond the attention of adults, or at least of adults who do not like children. Lucy’s pure, childlike curiosity, however, is rewarded by the appearance of a strange entryway, and an even stranger adventure.

By beginning the story with “Once there were four children” and concluding the first chapter with Lucy in a strange wood beyond the wardrobe, encountering a faun, Lewis successfully links the reader’s own curiosity to the narrative. There is hardly any time, the reader notes in retrospect, to question the veracity of Lucy’s experience. It is simply experienced. As the narrative unfolds, however, and as Lucy relates what has happened, the reality of the experience comes into question.

It is also important to note the seasonal difference between the summer holiday and the winter’s night that Lucy walks into: everything pleasurable about a summer holiday is reversed in Narnia. The soft fur coats hanging in the wardrobe transform into cold, prickly fir trees. At the same time, there is still a sense of wonder. Lucy has discovered a doorway into a fantasy land, and the lamp-post, though an odd sight in the middle of a wood, strikes the reader almost like a painting in which the images do not combine on a purely rational level, and yet make sense within the context of the work. For Lucy, the lamp-post is the first signal that the wood she has entered is not a regular wood, closely followed by the second signal: the appearance of the faun.

Long Live Aslan,

Michael Terry

It Begins Tomorrow

I shall post on chapter one of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe tomorrow. I will go through the books in publication order for these reasons…

1.) I always have.

2.) The Lion is presented very much as the first of a series. It concludes with the words ‘That is the very end of the adventure of the wardrobe. But if the Professor was right, it was only the beginning of the adventures of Narnia.’ The ‘second’ book, Prince Caspian, is subtitled ‘The Return to Narnia.’

3.) The narrator of The Lion says ‘None of the children knew who Aslan was, any more than you do.’ But if ‘you’ are supposed to have read The Magician’s Nephew, then you do know who Aslan was.

4.) The charm of the opening of The Lion is spoiled if you already know, from Magician’s Nephew, that the wardrobe is magical; that the Professor has been to Narnia, and why there is a street lamp in Narnia. Similarly, the ‘shock of recognition’ in Magician’s Nephew is spoiled if you don’t know the significance of the wardrobe.

5.) Why should The Horse and His Boy, which happens during the final chapter of The Lion, be set after it? Could an equally valid case not be made for saying that it should be set after The Silver Chair where it is presented as a story-within-a-story?

So tomorrow I will post on chapter one. I plan to post on Mondays and Fridays, Lord willing. I will attempt to cover at least a chapter a post but we will see how it goes. However i feel that any length of time is worth it to delve into this masterpiece properly. I hope you will have fun studing this series with me.

Long live Aslan,

Michael Terry

Myth Made Truth: The Origins of the Chronicles of Narnia

By: Mark Bane

In the process of writing the Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis gradually expanded the breadth and scope of his literary ambitions. What was foreseen from the outset as a collection of stories for children developed into a complex depiction of an entire moral universe. As the seven books progress, Lewis unfolds the whole Divine plan for this universe from its creation to its apocalypse. However, the uniqueness of Lewis’ literary achievement stems from the fact that Lewis manages to do two things at once. That is, he remains faithful to his original intention to write stories for children while adding in subtle moral and spiritual complexities. These complexities do not seem like authorial intrusions or editorializing. They are instead woven into the very fabric of Lewis’s creative universe. Thus, the Chronicles of Narnia are a series of books that can delight the senses as they challenge and stir the soul.

To understand the above statement, it is necessary to examine the circumstances under which these books were written. During the Second World War, Lewis took in a number of children who had been evacuated from their homes due to the Nazi air raids on London. Having no children of his own, he decided that the best way that he could entertain his young guests would be to tell them stories. A very short fragment of one such story survives. In it, four children (two girls and two boys) are evacuated from their home, separated from their parents, and sent to live with a strange old professor. Not only is this fragment nearly identical to the opening passages of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but also it is a predicament very similar to the one Lewis’s own real-life houseguests faced. After all, Lewis himself was (by the children’s standards) a “very old professor,” and no doubt, a bit intimidating to his young lodgers. Given that the author sought to make art imitate real life in this fashion, it is highly possible that Lewis’s original intention in writing the Chronicles was to entertain these young evacuees with a fantasized version of their own stories.

For whatever reason, C.S. Lewis chose to begin his tale in rural England, at the house of the aforementioned old professor. But what was to happen next? This was to be a children’s story, so Lewis drew on the sort of things that delighted him as a child. He had an enduring love of “fairy stories,” so that particular genre immediately. Also, it was a perfect format for a children’s book — it requires no romance, nor does it need much authorial intrusion.

Thus, it was decided that his book would be a tale of magic and fantastic adventure. But what sort of magical adventures could be had in the musty old house of an equally old and musty professor? Not many — which is why Lewis found it necessary to expand his setting. From his earliest childhood days, he had been occupied with the creation of his own imaginary country: Animal-land, which was later assumed into the larger state of Boxen. Lewis’s young imagination was meticulously detailed — he even plotted out his nation’s steamship routes and railway timetables. Though no steamships or railways exist in Narnia, that country beyond the wardrobe reflects the same great imaginative detail present in the author’s earlier creations. Soon Lewis’s fairyland developed its own history, geography, myths, legends, and prophecies. The loving care he addressed to the minutiae of Narnian life reveals that Lewis was not just intending to write a children’s story anymore; he was also participating in that powerful magic that Professor Tolkien calls “sub-creation.”

One of the most distinctive details of the young Lewis’s world of Boxen was its inhabitants. Many of the most illustrious Boxonians were, in fact, walking, talking “dressed animals.” These anthropomorphized beasts quickly found their way into Narnia in the form of such memorable characters as the swordwielding mouse-at-arms Reepicheep, the skeptical horse Bree, and of course, the great Lion, Aslan. However, the use of animals as main characters was not just a continuation of Lewis’s boyhood fantasies. It was a deliberate, calculated decision on the author’s part. By using animals, Lewis could communicate very subtle shades of human personality without taxing his young audience’s level of comprehension or interest. What better way to show royal majesty and glory than by making Aslan “the King of the Beasts?”

It was always Lewis’s intention to write the sort of books that he himself would want to read. In fact, he wrote his celebrated space trilogy because there were not enough science fiction stories of the kind he wanted to read being written. Therefore, Narnia became a place where Lewis could showcase some of his own literary interests. He had always enjoyed ancient mythology, so he added to his kingdom of talking animals many characters from the classical tradition, including fauns, satyrs, centaurs, dryads, naiads, and many other mythical creatures. Even Bacchus, the Roman god of wine made a special appearance. From the Norse mythologies, Lewis incorporated giants and dwarves and the World Ash Tree.

Next to classical mythology, the medieval tradition of chivalry and knights in armor was dearest to Lewis’s heart. Narnia developed into a realm where courtly ideals flourished under its stately kings and queens. There was knighthood to be won on the field of battle, and a strict code of honor one breached at his own peril. Lewis even added a form of “Saracens” for his Narnian knights to contend with: the Persian-like Calormenes under their vulture-god Tash. Also, Lewis borrowed the medieval ideas of the belle dame sans merci and the Arthurian Morgan Le Fay in creating his own villainesses: the White Witch Jadis, and the Lady of the Green Kirtle.

C.S. Lewis borrowed these elements because they were things he enjoyed and identified with himself. He sought to communicate his love for the heroic tales of antiquity, and perhaps to cultivate that same love in a new generation of readers.

Against this backdrop, in this newly-imagined world of Narnia, Lewis would write the stories themselves. He did this in a unique way, relying on pictures that he would see in his mind. Certain pictures, he said, would organize themselves together as a story. It was then the author’s job to “fill in the gaps,” so to speak. One picture, a faun with an umbrella, resolved itself into Mr. Tumnus. A snow queen on a sledge became the White Witch. Lewis formed these pictures into stories as a way of “exorcizing” them from his mind. The picture of the faun had resided in his head ever since his teenage years. Before he wrote Aslan into the story, Lewis was visited for a number of nights with dreams of lions. These haunting pictures came to him from an unknown source, but many of them all but demanded to be voiced in his stories. An interesting parallel to this phenomenon occurs in the third book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Here, a picture of a ship at sea grows and expands until it actually becomes a ship at sea, and a doorway into Narnia. It is a fine illustration of Lewis’s own intention to make his inner pictures come alive and act as windows opening in on his created world of imagination.

Up to this point, little has been said about the spiritual, the religious, well why not say it: the Christian element of the Narnia books. This is because that element was not present at the birth of the narrative. Lewis has emphatically denied that he sat down to write a series of stories that were encoded depictions of Christian truth, or moral lessons sugarcoated to appeal to children. Nevertheless, the Christian element of the Narnian mythos is unmistakable. So how did this element find its way into the stories? Well, in a sub-creative fashion, Lewis saw his handiwork — the Lion Aslan, and he saw that it was good. Immediately the author recognized the potential of his character. A lion had come “bounding” into the story, and He was obviously one of great importance. Lewis quickly noted the numinous awe in which the other characters held him. Also, it was not lost on him that the lion was a recurrent Biblical symbol for the Christ. Here the author asked “what if the Son of God entered into a world of talking animals in the form of a lion?” If Lewis could present a Narnian version of the Incarnation, he would have a forum to articulate some of his most precious feelings about his God. And he could do so without the Law, without religious duty and hypocrisy entering into the equation. It had been Lewis’s personal experience that what made it hard to feel the way one ought to feel about one’s God was the sheer fact that there were feelings one ought to have. With Aslan, Lewis had a tabula rasa. He could enjoin the reader to feel love and devotion without that suffocating sense of duty. He could convey his own great gratitude and love for his God without sermonizing. He could, as he once put it, “steal past those watchful dragons.”

In the first two books, Aslan is a clear-cut figure. He inspires fear in his enemies and love and devotion in his friends. He makes the four children from our world high kings and queens, and banishes all traces of evil from his kingdom. Here Lewis is speaking of the first glorious days of one’s spiritual experience.

However, with the advent of the third book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Lewis takes the reader into deeper theological waters. Here Aslan seems more distant; he appears in other forms, such as a lamb and an albatross. Lewis deepens the spiritual experience of his characters by making Aslan harder to find. Faith now enters into the equation — belief without seeing. This is best embodied by the mouse Reepicheep, who is determined to find Aslan’s Country, even if he has to swim to the end of the world to do so. Also in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Lewis introduces the idea of the skeptic, the non-believer, in the form of Eustace Clarence Scrubb. Eustace is turned into a dragon through his own greed and ignorance. However, Aslan peels away the layers of dragon skin until the real boy underneath is revealed. By this, the reader comes to understand the process of conversion and sanctification.

The next two books, The Silver Chair and The Horse and his Boy, reveal some of Aslan’s “wilder” aspects. He is after all, “not a tame lion.” In The Silver Chair, when Jill and Eustace first get into Aslan’s country, Jill pushes her companion off a cliff. For this piece of grave mischief, Aslan comes between her and a stream. He warns Jill that he has eaten small girls before, “and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms.” However, even in this fearful aspect, Aslan wants the girl to come and drink. The fear of the Lord should not prevent us from coming to Him. Later, Aslan gives Jill a number of signs to follow, which she promptly forgets. When she despairs about this in a dream, the Lion exhorts her to take courage. “I will not always be scolding,” Aslan says. Lewis is illustrating the fact that God’s correction is from love, not austerity. But God is a just God, as shown in The Horse and his Boy. Aslan scratches the Calormene princess Aravis, so that she will remember how it feels. Also, Lewis portrays Aslan as a Divine hunter, a hound of heaven, in this novel. The Lion pursues Shasta throughout his quest, driving him on to his destination and his destiny.

Having revealed God’s divine nature in the previous books, Lewis uses the last two Chronicles to address eschatological points — namely, the beginning and end of Narnia. The Magician’s Nephew gives us Narnia’s Genesis account. Here Aslan is established as the Creator — he sings Narnia into existence, and gives the animals the gift of speech. Evil enters the young world through a fallen creature: Jadis, queen of the dead world Charn. Like the story of Eden, Lewis incorporates a garden with very peculiar and powerful fruit. He even depicts man’s role in the creation by establishing Narnia with a human king and queen. The Last Battle shows the end of Narnia. First we see its descent into wickedness, and its rejection of Aslan’s authority. Next, the last few faithful Narnians are persecuted. Just when things look darkest, Aslan returns to save the day, but he does so by making it the Last Day. All worlds have their ends, according to Lewis, except Aslan’s own country. All of the faithful friends of Narnia enter into Aslan’s country, where they are reunited with old friends. But this is not the end. Aslan’s guests are invited to go “further up and further in” to glorious adventures too beautiful to describe. Lewis ends his last Narnia story by giving the readers an imaginative foretaste of what heaven is like.

In the final analysis, it is difficult to seize upon any one thing as Lewis’s sole intention in writing the Chronicles. His purposes were built on top of one another. He proceeded up from children’s fairy tales and took them into the realms of intense theology. However, neither side enjoys success at the expense of the other. It is the fact that the Chronicles are fairy stories that makes their spiritual richness shine out, and it is that richness that makes them the sort of fairy stories to be enjoyed by everyone — both children and adults.

Welcome

Welcome to Further Up & Further In. This is my Narnia blog. I will be going through the series and dicussing each section and it’s allegorical implications. I hope you enjoy this with me. This will also be a place for Narnia News


"And as He (Aslan) spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at least they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before."(The Last Battle)

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