The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was first published in 1950 and is the most popular of the C. S. Lewis chronicles. In the seventeen short chapters we are introduced to the adventures of the Pevensie children. Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are sent to live with old Professor Kirke and his servants in a country mansion far from the air raids of London. Their first day there they decide to explore the grounds but a downpour keeps them housebound and they end up exploring the crooks and crannies of the labyrinth mansion.
The youngest, Lucy becomes separated from the older children when she decides to check out a wardrobe full of furs in an otherwise vacant room. She can't believe how deep the wardrobe is and travels to the back with outstretched arms until she suddenly finds herself in a snowy forest, where she runs into a unique faun named Mr. Tumnus. He politely introduces himself and the land around them as Narnia.
Twist and turns finally lead the rest of Lucy's family into Narnia where they are separated from a 'spiteful' Edmund who is secretly under the White Witch's spell. These four children are told by the neighboring beavers they are the four daughters and sons of Adam and Eve come to free Narnia from the witch's cold spell. With the help of talking animals and the mighty Aslan they hope to save their brother and free Narnia from the wicked witch.
There are a few discrepancies that sidetracked (after reading The Magician's Nephew) me but don't influence the enjoyment of the story. They did make me wonder if I'd notice had I read in the published order instead of the chronological order. First, during Edmund's visit he tells the Queen he doesn't know the way back to his country she tells him: "Do you see that lamp?" She pointed her wand and Edmund turned and saw the same lamp-post under which Lucy had met the Faun. "Straight on, beyond that, is the way to the World of Men..." How is it possible she knows this if no one has travelled through the wardrobe before?
Later on the Beavers are talking to the kids about the prophecy of their coming and they say human's have never been to Narnia before. "We've heard of Aslan coming into these parts before -- long ago, nobody can say when. But there's never been any of your race here before." Again, according to the first book the first King & Queen were human.
And thirdly, the "Emperor's Magic" is mentioned often but I have no idea who he is and what his role was/is in Narnia.
The stereotypes really become evident when Santa visits the children to pass out their "gifts". The girls aren't expected to do battle. "Battles are ugly when women fight." Battles are ugly when men fight too. Later when the wolves attack, the impression of strength is given then taken away. Susan has the strength of mind to blow her horn, run to a tree out of reach of an attacking wolf but Peter sees her as about to "faint" and be eaten.
He often references parents with his mild humour in storyline departures. When describing the witch's henchmen Lewis says "and other creatures whom I won't describe because if I did the grown-ups would probably not let you read this book." While these side comments are amusing they do take you out of the story briefly.
Even now I still have the same emotional connection/reaction to the story and the characters especially when the freed stoned animals come across the great battle. This is still my favourite story from the Chronicles of Narnia. I recommend you revisit it.
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M. E. Wood lives in Eastern Ontario, Canada. If you are going to find this eclectic reader and writer anywhere it is probably at her computer. For more information visit her official website.