Narnia and Magic
In 2015 I became a true Narnian. I realised that I’d never read the whole series – how had I gone that far in life and not read these books? So I did a Narnian Marathon. I read them in chronological order which goes: The Magician’s Nephew, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Horse and His Boy, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, and, The Last Battle. This was the ultimate challenge for me, to read all seven books in one go – because, as you might know, I truly suck at keeping to TBRs. And I so almost did it.
You see I happened to go on holiday just at the very end of the 5th book (The Silver Chair) and upon returning home lost my puff, dragged myself through the rest of The Silver Chair and collapsed in a heap of mwhfwljmnf. So I suppose you could say it was an Almost Narnian Marathon. But don’t worry! I did eventually read The Last Battle after much procrastinating and about 4 months of it sulking on my shelf feeling neglected.
I’ve always been a great admirer of Lewis’ works, I love the Chronicles of Narnia and the world is just so much fun. However, I don’t think it was until the first movie was released that I truly fell in love with the series. There’s just something so very magical about how Narnia was portrayed in the first movie, and it sticks really well to the books themselves. But seriously! The magic! I don’t know if it was the umbrella and the snow that won me over when Lucy first meets Mr. Tumnus, but I sure am jealous I’ve not made it to Narnia yet.
So! What am I really here to discuss today? Well firstly I wanted to talk about my experience of reading the series, and secondly, I wanted to talk a little about the book themselves.
More Magical than Hogwarts?
Part of the reason I was so inspired to start the marathon was because of the set of the series that I own. According to my mum, she bought them for me when I was much younger (back in the dark ages when I hated reading) and I never really read them. As you can see, however, from my cover photo up top, they’re beautifully illustrated (and rather heavy) editions – and that has to be one of the greatest things about the version of the series that I own. The other part as to why I read these, is the magic.
They’re an absolute treasure to read and I absolutely adore the collection that I have. Now I wouldn’t say Narnia is necessarily more magical than Hogwarts but it’s a great comparison. I would say that J. K.’s writing, although still children’s fiction, is somewhat more mature than Lewis’ – the story of Narnia is told to us in simple language and funny quips added in from the narrator in brackets every now and then. You grow really attached to all the characters and although not nearly as complicated as the Harry Potter universe with how everything adds up, everything does add up and knocks you out in a stella finale.
This series is so beautifully innocent and seriously rivals the magical feel of every single other book in the whole universe. Honest. The other big thing about this series is the extraordinarily prominent religious theme it has going on – now, don’t be put off. It’s not in your face with religious salutations and monkeys singing hymns; it slowly builds a subconscious understanding of what faith is and sort of dissects the meaning of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and what a relationship with ‘god’ would be, without specifically adhering to any particular religion (although that being said it’s very clearly based off Christianity). In any case, I’m not really one for books that tie religion into their stories too much, but you love Aslan because he is Aslan – a cool, magical, talking lion that’s pretty damn wise. It makes the whole thing read more of a fanciful imagining of a child’s understanding of something greater.
Book One: The Magician’s Nephew
Reading this book was awesome – it is the ‘creation story’ of Narnia, and wow, it explains a lot. There are quite a few familiar characters in this book and it was really cool to read it and work out how the events of book two came to place. If you’ve seen the first movie (The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe) then you’d find reading this one to be really exciting! Or, at least, it was for me.
When Digory and Polly are tricked by Digory’s peculiar Uncle Andrew into becoming part of an experiment, they set off on the adventure of a lifetime. What happens to the children when they touch Uncle Andrew’s magic rings is far beyond anything even the old magician could have imagined.
I think the coolest explanation that we get in this book, is the reason for the magic of The Wardrobe. Yeah, that’s right, now who’s interested. My only wish with this book is that they really should have made it into a movie. It would have been fantabulous.
Book Two: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
This is definitely the most famous of all the books. It’s essentially the beginning of the real adventures in Narnia and gets the ball rolling for the feel of the world and the huge cast of characters that we’re all about to meet.
When Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy took their first steps into the world behind the magic wardrobe, little do they realise what adventures are about to unfold. And as the story of Narnia begins to unfold, so to does a classic tale that has enchanted readers of all ages for over half a century.
I’m sure you’re all familiar with the story and if you haven’t read it, then out of any of these books at least read this one! You won’t regret it. The movie does the book almost perfect justice, as well.
I rated this 5/5 stars.
Book Three: The Horse and His Boy
For me, this is probably the weakest book of the series and it’s definitely weird. It’s role within the series more or less acts as a way of introducing us to a wider world, providing a sneak peak of some of the things that the Pevensies (as Kings & Queens) are up to, and is a self discovery journey for our characters. It’s quite a fun read, and definitely unique, but I have to say it’s existence sort of baffles me . . .
The Horse and his Boy is a stirring and dramatic fantasy story that finds a young boy named Shasta on the run from his homeland with the talking horse, Bree. When the pair discover a deadly plot by the Calormen people to conquer the land of Narnia, the race is on to warn the inhabitants of the impending danger and to rescue them all from certain death.
It’s definitely a very unique story within the series and it’s a great adventure if ever there was one. If you’re reading through the books and not sure whether or not to read this one, I would. It’s enjoyable and it does link up in the final book – so it’s worth it.
I rated this one 4/5 stars.
Book Four: Prince Caspian
Prince Caspian is a really fun story. I think the story takes several changes throughout its course and Prince Caspian is the first of these. Up until this point it’s been joyous frollicking through mischievous troubles and for the most part coming out on top. This book, I feel, sobers everything up a little bit.
Look sharp!” shouted Edmund. “All catch hands and keep together. This is magic! I can tell by the feeling!”
Prince Caspian is in terrible danger when his wicked uncle, King Miraz, decides to get rid of the young heir to the throne. In desperation, Caspian blows the magic horn, calling on Peter, Susan, Lucy and Edmund in Narnia’s hour of need.
We have a lot of fun meeting new characters in this book and exploring what side-effects growing up is having on the Pevensies. It explores things to a different depth and makes way for the next adventure where things really start to take a turn.
I rated this one 5/5 stars and I love the movie as well.
Book Five: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
It’s in this book that we get to meet the delightful Eustace, a character who I’ve grown quite fond of as the series progressed. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is probably my favourite of the books – we get to go on some really awesome adventures and the span of Lewis’ imagination for this adventure is crazy. In a ridiculously good way.
Lucy and Edmund, with their dreadful cousin Eustace, get magically pulled into a painting of a ship at sea. That ship is theDawn Treader, and on board is Caspian, King of Narnia. He and his companions, including Reepicheep, the valiant warrior mouse, are searching for seven lost lords of Narnia, and their voyage will take them to the edge of the world. Their adventures include being captured by slave traders, a much-too-close encounter with a dragon, and visits to many enchanted islands, including the place where dreams come true.
The characters are super funny and the array of Narnian animals that we meet is awesome. It’s a step to help us transition into accepting a new batch of characters and has a much more magical feel to it than Prince Caspian. After this book however things begin to change quite a lot.
I rated this one 5/5 stars.
Book Six: The Silver Chair
The Silver Chair was great and a little werid. The charcters of the Pevensies are now all but gone from the series, and the transition to the new protagonists was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Narnia definitely has a different ‘feel’ in this book, it’s hard to explain. I think they could make a really cool movie with this one.
Jill and Eustace must rescue the Prince from the evil Witch.
NARNIA…where owls are wise, where some of the giants like to snack on humans, where a prince is put under an evil spell…and where the adventure begins.
Eustace and Jill escape from the bullies at school through a strange door in the wall, which, for once, is unlocked. It leads to the open moor…or does it? Once again Aslan has a task for the children, and Narnia needs them. Through dangers untold and caverns deep and dark, they pursue the quest that brings them face and face with the evil Witch. She must be defeated if Prince Rillian is to be saved.
Going into this book I had no previous knowledge of the storyline so I didn’t really know what to expect. It was a really exciting adventure and had me very curious as to how Lewis was going to end the series in the final installment.
I rated this one 4/5 stars.
Book Seven: The Last Battle
I’m not going to lie, I had a little weep to myself when the series ended. It wasn’t an overly dramatic parting from the series but it certainly was a dramtic ending to the series. Holy moley I did not see any of that coming.
The Last Battle finishes up the story completely – and is the reason I would urge you to read them in chronological order. We get to revisit all of the characters from the whole series and the emotions feel just right because characters from book one feel so long ago and old to you know – just as they do to the current characters in the last book. So it’s much easier to connect with them.
The Unicorn says that humans are brought to Narnia when Narnia is stirred and upset. And Narnia is in trouble now: A false Aslan roams the land. Narnia’s only hope is that Eustace and Jill, old friends to Narnia, will be able to find the true Aslan and restore peace to the land. Their task is a difficult one because, as the Centaur says, “The stars never lie, but Men and Beasts do.” Who is the real Aslan and who is the imposter?
This is the final battle for Narnia and I was shocked with it’s finality. I was blown away by the ending of this book on a whole new scale of blown away. On a scale of 1 to blown away I was in Kansas. Nostalgic would be a great one to describe this book.
I rated this one 5/5 and it’s also one of my favourite all time books.
My favourite character? Mr. Tumnus
Well that’s all from me for today. I hope you enjoyed my post and I hope you feel inspired to pick up and read this series if you haven’t yet! Narnia is definitely one of my favourite children’s series for it’s cleverness and sheer levels of fun within its pages. The movies a whole extra level of fun to be had so I recommend watching those as well! It’s incredibly unique and an experience like no other.