Sunday, December 1, 2013

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

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
172 pages

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the incredible first book published in The Chronicles of Narnia series. Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie are four young siblings who are staying at Professor Kirke's estate in the countryside for their safety during a war in London. The children play hide and seek in the large house on a rainy day when Lucy chooses to hide in a wardrobe in an empty room. Lucy tries to reach to the back of the wardrobe and enters into another world where it is snowing. At a lamppost Lucy meets a Faun named Mr. Tumnus who tells her she is in Narnia.

Mr. Tumnus invites Lucy to his home where they have tea and talk for hours. Mr. Tumnus tells Lucy that Narnia has been under a winter spell cast by the White Witch for 100 years. He confesses to her that he was going to turn into the White Witch who commanded Narnians to turn in any Son of Adam or Daughter of Eve. Lucy forgives him then realizes she has to go back to her own world. When she gets out of the wardrobe and finds her brothers and sister in the hallway outside the room she tells them she is back. They question her and she says she was gone for hours in another world. After they respond by saying she was only gone for ten minutes and to stop making things up she runs away crying.

Over the next few days after Edmund makes fun of Lucy for the Narnia story, Edmund follows Lucy into the wardrobe out of curiosity and enters Narnia too. The White Witch passes Edmund on her sled and orders her servant to stop. She asks Edmund what he is and he tells her he is a human. She offers him Turkish Delight that bewitches Edmund into becoming addicted to it. The White Witch tells Edmund to bring his brother and sisters to her castle in order to get more Turkish Delight. After the witch leaves, Lucy sees Edmund and is delighted that they can both tell Peter and Susan that Narnia is real. However, Edmund denies having went to Narnia when he returns to their world and claims he was playing a make believe game with Lucy. Peter is angry with Edmund for being cruel to Lucy and tries to comfort her. Peter and Susan talk to Professor Kirke in their confusion where Professor Kirke implies that Lucy is telling the truth and that there are other worlds.

Later when the four Pevensies hide from the housekeeper in the wardrobe they all go into Narnia. Peter and Susan apologize to Lucy for not believing her and she says it's okay. The children go to Mr. Tumnus' abode and see a sign that says he's been arrested for treason. They meet Mr. Beaver, a talking beast of Narnia, who invites them to his home where Mrs. Beaver is cooking a meal for their guests. Mr. Beaver tells the children they are in danger in Narnia because the witch fears an old prophecy about two Sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve sitting on the throne of Cair Paravel, thus ending her reign as Queen. Mr. Beaver tells them that Aslan, a great Lion, is coming back to rescue his people. After their meal they notice Edmund is missing. Mr. Beaver states he has betrayed them to the White Witch and they must leave at once.

While the children flee Mr. Beaver's home, Edmund reaches the White Witch's castle in the freezing cold where he sees many Narnians have been turned to statues by the witch. The White Witch is furious with Edmund for not bringing his siblings and makes him her prisoner until she finds them. During her travel to the Beavers' place she notices the snow is melting and flowers are growing, signifying Aslan has returned and her powers are weakening. Peter, Susan, and Lucy are greeted by Father Christmas after leaving their hiding place and given gifts: a sword for Peter, a magic horn for Susan, and a healing potion for Lucy. Soon afterwards the children reach the place where Aslan is and he greets them with the other talking beasts of Narnia. They prepare to go to battle with the White Witch.

The White Witch sends a small army to attack Aslan's camp and decides to kill Edmund. A group from Aslan's army rescue Edmund right before she stabs him. In the same evening the White Witch goes to Aslan and informs him that Edmund is a traitor and belongs to her by the law of deep magic. Aslan acknowledges her claim and negotiates with her in private to free Edmund. The Witch is satisfied with his arrangement and lets Edmund go free. Aslan doesn't tell anyone what he said to free Edmund. After everyone in Aslan's camp goes to sleep Lucy and Susan see Aslan leaving and follow him. Aslan tells them they can come with him but they have to stop when he tells them to. They go to the White Witch at the Stone Table where Aslan is bound by ropes, shaved of his mane, and mocked by the Witch's followers. She calls Aslan a fool and says she will triumph over the prophecy now that he has given himself as a sacrifice. Then the Witch kills Aslan with a knife. Lucy and Susan are horrified, but keep quiet behind bushes. After all the Witch's people leave they go to Aslan's body and cry.

Awhile later the girls are woken up by a loud cracking sound. They see the Stone Table is split in half and Aslan is gone. They search for him and find him on a hill nearby where he tells them he came back to life because a deeper older magic resurrects an innocent person who takes the place of a traitor, but the witch didn't know about that. Aslan lets Lucy and Susan ride on his back to the White Witch's castle where he breathes on the statues and brings them back to life. They all assemble to meet the Narnians at battle with the White Witch. When they arrive at the battle the White Witch is winning by turning her enemies to stone with her wand. Edmund reaches her and breaks her wand with his sword. The Narnians who turned to stone are freed and they are joined by Aslan and the newcomers from the castle. In a matter of minutes the Witch's army is defeated and Aslan kills the White Witch.

Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are crowned the Kings and Queens of Narnia, and the thrones are restored at Cair Paravel according to the prophecy. The children rule in Narnia for many years in what was later considered the Golden Age of Narnia. On a hunting trip for a white stag, the now grown Kings and Queens reach a lamp post and get strange feelings. They walk through the forest and go through a wardrobe entering their own world as children again. Professor Kirke smiles when they tell him their story and insinuates he knows all about the kind of adventures they had, alluding to his childhood that is featured in the prequel The Magician's Nephew.

No comments:

Post a Comment