The Magician’s Nephew

It has been many years (since I was a little kid in fact) since I have read C.S. Lewis’ The Chrinicles of Narnia so I picked up Book 1 - The Magician’s Nephew - and read it today. This book is such a beautiful beginning to Clive’s masterpiece. It reminded me a lot of Tolkien’s Silmarillion as far as the Cosmogonic creation narrative goes, very artistic indeed. (See the bottom of this post for links to my blog posts on all the books in the series.)

The age old battle of good versus evil is clearly setup with Aslan as the caring Lion and Jadis as the cruel and self centered sorceress queen. It was also great to see the creation of Narnia, the coronation of the King and Queen, and the creation of the wardrobe. This first installment makes me really excited for reading the next 6 books!

I like how Lewis includes humor in creation as a good thing.

Laugh and fear not, creatures [says Aslan]. Now that you are no longer dumb and witless, you need not always be grave. For jokes as well as justice come in with speech.

Even God appreciates a good joke.

The portrayal of Aslan’s character is exemplified by two passages. The first relates to the young boy, Digory, and his concern for his sick and dying mother.

“But please, please - won’t you - can’t you give me something that will cure mother?” Up till then he had been looking at the Lion’s great feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his dispair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion’s eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory’s own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself.

Made me cry reading that part, especially when you know how concerned Digory is and realize that Aslan is even more so. The second example comes a few pages before the first.

“You see, friends,” he [Aslan] said, “that before the new, clean world I gave you is seven hours old, a force of evil has already entered it; waked and brough hither by this son of Adam.” The Beasts, even Strawberry, all turned their eyes on Digory till he felt that he wished the gound would swallow him up. “But do not be cast down,” said Aslan, still speaking to the Beasts. “Evil will come of that evil, but it is still a long way off, and I will see to it that the worst falls upon myself.

The allusion to Christ and his sacrifice is obvious, but what I find interesting is that Aslan, as Christ, seems to make that comment in passing. Seems to assume that it is a given that he will carry that burden and suffer the ramifications of the evil brought by man. This is Aslan and really sets up that character for the future books very well.

I went to see Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith again at Cinerama but this time was greeted with a wonderful surprise: they played the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe trailer! I had seen it on the computer, but was just blown away, even got chills, seeing it on the big screen. This movie is going to be a thing a beauty. I might go see Star Wars again just to see the trailer… (and I guess Star Wars was pretty cool too the second time…)

Time for Book 2 - The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

My blog posts on The Chronicles of Narnia series:

  • The Magicianďż˝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

  • Categories: Literature Tags:
    1. June 20th, 2005 at 19:44 | #1

      Isn’t The Magician’s Nephew book 5 or 6? I never remember if it was before or after The Horse and His Boy. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the first book.

    2. June 20th, 2005 at 19:51 | #2

      It depends on which series you read. Sometimes Magician’s Nephew is placed later because (I believe) Lewis wrote it later. But some series put it as book one because it is about the creation of Narnia and gives way to the creation of the Wardrobe. I actually just found a good Narnia “order” reference here if you want to check it out.

      Thanks for coming by, come back any time!

    3. June 21st, 2005 at 07:56 | #3

      It truly is a great series of books. My teacher made me read The Magician’s Nephew when I was younger and I have reread them a couple of times over the years. I may not be a Christian, but it did speak a lot about life, other than just religion.

    4. June 21st, 2005 at 11:09 | #4

      Indeed, I think regardless of your faith or beliefs, you will find Truth in these books.

    5. June 21st, 2005 at 15:38 | #5

      Lewis had some beautiful pieces of writing. While he was writing The Chronicles however, I don’t think he intended to make them explicitly Christian despite the fact that they had implicit meanings.

      I also saw the trailer when I went to see Starwars III. It is incredibly chilling and looks like it’ll be a great movie.

    6. June 21st, 2005 at 23:27 | #6

      Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate the comment and the guest book post! Come back any time!

      I would have to, however, respectfully disagree about Lewis’ intentions. Unlike Tolkien, who purposefully did not want any allusion to the Christian narrative in Rings, Lewis used intentional allegory to tell the Christian story in a way that would inspire children (and adults alike). Not that Wikipedia is any sort of authority on the subject, but you can check out their entry on The Chronicles of Narnia.

      I do agree about the trailer, it gave me goosebumps! I am really excited for it to come out!

    7. June 22nd, 2005 at 00:03 | #7

      Let me be a little more specific in my response there. While Lewis suggested that he did not intentionally allegorize Narnia, I tend to agree with Madeleine L’Engle when she suggested that he used anagogy.

      The anagogical level, I am convinced, is never conscious when it is there, it is sheer gift of grace; the writer cannot strive for it deliberately for that would be to ensure failure (L’Engle in the foreword to Compantion to Narnia by Paul Ford)

      Saying that, maybe I should step back from my complete disagreement and say that while Lewis says he did not intentionally allegorize, the writing of Narnia and it’s relationship to Christianity was intentional. If that makes sense…

    8. June 22nd, 2005 at 14:27 | #8

      yes yes, you may just be right there.

      hehe I may have to do some more reading into it after exams and then get back to ya about whether or not I agree.


    9. June 22nd, 2005 at 14:37 | #9

      Please do, I don’t like being wrong, but I am always open to it. ;) Good luck with exams!

    10. freddy
      December 19th, 2005 at 14:47 | #10

      can you send me chapters 13 14 15 to read

    11. cjb1879
      December 29th, 2005 at 10:58 | #11

      If you guys read the entire series, it seems quite clear that Lewis purposely put in the references to Christianity. It seems to me, to be the message of the entire series. That’s not to say that you can’t enjoy the book on other levels as well. In “Prince Caspian”, Aslan explicitly tells Peter and Susan that they will not return to Narnia. When Peter expresses concern that he will never see Aslan again, Aslan tells him that he is present in the other world as well, though he is known by a different name. He says in fact, that is why he has brought the Pevensies to Narnia, that by getting to know him there, they might know him better in their own world. He is quite clearly referencing Jesus Christ. However, anyone can still enjoy the book without acknowledging the Christian references. In fact, I was about 16 when I first realized that’s what the books were talking about. Just my two cents:)

    12. January 3rd, 2006 at 13:52 | #12

      Indeed cjb, thanks for that thought. His Christian foundations definitely shine through in his writings.

    13. elizabeth
      March 31st, 2007 at 09:05 | #13

      The Magician’s Nephew is accually the first book in the series and The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe is the second book. The order that they take place in the series is accually different than the order that they were writen.

    14. March 31st, 2007 at 13:10 | #14

      Didn’t I say that? :)

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