Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Chronicles of Narnia

In March I started reading the Chronicles of Narnia series.  This was the first time I had read these books.  I remember in college I went with a group of friends to see The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.  It was actually a midnight showing and was used as an outreach event to tell people about Jesus.  When the movie was over I said to one of my friends who was with me "That would have been a really cool book."  He looked at me like I was crazy and said "It is a book."  I think I probably said hmm.  I don't know why, but not only had I never read these books, I had never even heard of these books.  So, I decided I would read them.  Then you know how that goes, that plan got put on hold...then I kind of forgot about it.  Then awhile back the whole boxed series showed up in a book order I was sending home with my students.  I decided I would buy the series for myself and finally read them.  I originally thought I could read them all in March.  I probably could have if I had been able to stay focused.  And if I had not decided that was also a good time to read the House of Night series.  So, I just finished the last one on Tuesday night.  Here are my thoughts...
I chose to read the books in the order that they were in when I got them.  I did some research before I started reading because I know there is some dispute as to what order the books should be read in.  Here is how I got them (it was labeled 'Author's Order'):
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
The Last Battle

I was not really sure about reading The Magician's Nephew first since it was not the first movie.  My only exposure to this series had been the first movie.  I am so glad I started with this book and I am so glad I followed this order in reading the books.  My favorite part about this first book was reading about the founding of Narnia.  It could have been so easy to get lost in the other stuff.  The strange dialect.  The characters who seemed not fully developed in a literary sense.  But then it gets to the part where it talks about the Lion's Song.  About how Aslan himself called Narnia into being.  About everything springing up and being brand new and being like things they had never seen before.  I was in awe.  It was beautiful and inspring and tear jerking.  I wondered a lot about how this compared to the creation of the world. 

The next book-The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe-was all I had expected it to be since I had seen the movie.  However, as it usually is, the book was better.  I usually like to read books first because the amount of detail that is in them that it is just impossible to include in the movie.  I enjoyed reading about all the things I had enjoyed watching.  The shapes that came to life and danced in the fire while Mr. Tumnus first played his song for Lucy, the emotion when he realized what a horrible thing he had done, the despair Edmund felt when he realized he was wrong about the Whtie Witch, the way Aslan spoke and roared and commanded his followers.  It was beautiful.

The Horse and His Boy was an interesting read.  For those of you who are not familiar it is simply a story about an adventure that happens while the children are in Narnia.  It is in the years between when they defeat the White Witch and when they go back through the wardrobe to find that though it had been many years in Narnia (almost a lifetime) it had been only fractions of a second in their own world.  Nothing happened that left me in awe, but this book was a quick and easy read.

Prince Caspian is maybe my favorite of these books.  I loved it so much I have decided I want to name a kid after Prince Caspian.  Caspian is brave and valiant and a gentleman.  He leads his people with ease yet gives respect to Peter the High King.  My favorite part of this book is the description of the battle.  I could literally see this happening like a movie in my head.  Few books pull me in the way this one did.  I love how when Aslan asks Caspian if he is prepared to be the King, Caspian says no and Aslan knows that is exactly what will make him a great King.  Peter and Susan so bravely and willingly walk away from Narnia in this book.  Some may not see it this way, but to me it was about sacrifice.  Peter would have loved to stay in Narnia forever and ever.  But he was willing to leave because he knew that was what Aslan wished. 

After reading Voyage of the Dawn Treader I watched the movie and was so disappointed in the movie.  I could so identify with Eustace.  It is so easy to think that I have it all together.  I love how he talks about being scratched out of the dragon.  He says that it hurt but it was worth it.  I love Reepicheep.  He is so ready to take on any adventure for Aslan.  How many times could we benefit from that example?  To be ready and willing to go into the unknown in pursuit of our God.  This books surprised me in it's descriptions of places.  I enjoyed the adjective rich text.  My favorite part of this story was when Aslan told Lucy she would have to come to know Him by another name in her world.  How profound.

The Silver Chair was one of the hardest for me to read.  It was slow going.  I had a really hard time getting into the book, but once I did I read the last half pretty quickly.  It was a good story about the rescue of Prince Rilian.  It just seemed somehow disconnected from the other books.  And I guess I don't have much more to say about it.

The Last Battle.  Oh how I enjoyed this book.  I was not expecting it to end the way it did.  If you are reading this blog, you MUST read the book.  And when you do I want to hear all about your thoughts.  I don't want to give everything away, but I guess I assume that most people have read this.  The fact that the author refers to the world as "Shadowland" is perfect.  I like that it's talked about how when they go into "Aslan's Country" it is like Narnia and also like their world but somehow better and brighter as if they has been only looking at a reflection.  And as beautiful and awe inspiring as it was to read about the founding of Narnia, it was just as tragic to read about the end of it.  Not at all what I expected, but satisfying. 

So, that said I am now done reading The Chronicles of Narnia.  I am going to start reading the True Blood series next.  Don't think I can pick anything much different from Chronicles of Narnia than that.  I now anxiously await the rest of the movies to come out.  I will be interested to see what movies they make and what movies they don't make and how they do them.  And that is all my thoughts on that!

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read them all either, and I've owned them since I was a little girl. Last year I read 3 or 4 of them in a couple days, but then got busy getting ready to go home for a visit.

    I can't believe you didn't know they were a book! We could have done a Narnia book club, because at that point the only one I had read was The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe! Imagine the desserts and fun we could have had with it! G read all of them about a year and a half ago (after reading some work by C.S. Lewis), and loved them so much he plans to use them in teaching our children a few things.