My favorite book as a child is still my favorite series, The Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis, excluding the Bible of course. It does seem ridiculous because I am an English Literature major who has read thousands of masterpieces, classics, novels, poems, essays and articles. What can I say?? When I am asked, “What is your favorite book?”, The Narnia Chronicles immediately pop into my mind. I smile and all else fades into the background.
I read the entire series again about ten years ago and I was delighted. C.S. Lewis manages to reveal profound Christian truths in an enchanting tale that captivates little ones. This is not a heavy-handed, pedantic Victorian styled morality tale that pretends to be fiction. No this is a creative masterpiece that invents a whole country with a history, geography, politics, languages, races of beings, animals and a time sequence completely different from our own. The characters are ingenious but never cute. Even elves and talking animals are serious with deep, rounded personalities. It is not surprising that Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were good friends who discussed their creative endeavours with each other.
The most powerful and ingenious character is that of Aslan the Lion who is an archetypal figure representing Christ the Saviour in His Death and Resurrection. It is a masterful scene as the dark forces led by the Snow Queen, sheer off all his hair, tie him with ropes on a stone altar and kill Aslan. Then the stone altar cracks, thunder shakes the earth and darkness descends. In three days, though, Aslan rises in all his glory, sending the witch and her minions fleeing.
One of the sweetest, haunting moments is when the children cling to Aslan, not wanting to return to their own world. Aslan says that he is known by many names, in many lands and that they will have to discover him and find out his name in their own world. No mention of Jesus, just a teasing poke for the reader to discover God on his own
The last book in the series, The Last Battle, has a wonderful scene at the end where the children’s prison walls fall down revealing a new, resplendent Narnia with a feast laid out. The grumpy Dwarves take a taste of a delicacy and all they can taste is rotten cabbages and stale water, just like their prison fare. They think they are still in prison..and so they are!