The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

'They say Aslan is on the move. Perhaps he has already landed,' whispered the Beaver. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delightful strain of music had just floated by. And Lucy got that feeling when you realize it's the beginning of summer. So, deep in the bewitched land of Narnia, the adventure begins.The...

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Title:The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Author:C.S. Lewis
Rating:
ISBN:0060764899
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:206 pages

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Reviews

  • Aimee
    Apr 19, 2008

    I just re-read this book and got so much more out of it than the first time. The symbolism & parallels to basic Christianity stuck out.

    *turkish delight is our human nature, prone to addiction, selfishness and wrongdoing

    *Peter said about Edmund, "We should go after him. After all he is our brother." Even though he had just betrayed them and was causing grief they didn't mistreat or disown him.

    *The very mention of Aslan's name caused certain positive feelings to come over them all they didn'

    I just re-read this book and got so much more out of it than the first time. The symbolism & parallels to basic Christianity stuck out.

    *turkish delight is our human nature, prone to addiction, selfishness and wrongdoing

    *Peter said about Edmund, "We should go after him. After all he is our brother." Even though he had just betrayed them and was causing grief they didn't mistreat or disown him.

    *The very mention of Aslan's name caused certain positive feelings to come over them all they didn't know why. But it made Edmund feel guilty.

    *After Ed was returned and his siblings saw him for the first time Aslan said, "Here is your brother and there's no need to talk about what's in the past." They forgave their brother. Aslan neither excused him nor condemned him.

    *They all knew better than to go into a wardrobe & shut the door as the book mentions a whole bunch of times. We regularly do things when we know better.

    *The professor makes them think and questions their disbelief in Lucy's story. This is something the movie totally leaves out. "Who would you usually believe, Lucy or Edmund?" etc. Edmund shows the worst side of human nature, to betray & let others down.

    *I love that Father Christmas comes giving gifts that represent the gifts & talents we each have to help others with and to overcome evil with.

    There's more but I have to go! Loved the book. And the movie.

  • Manuel
    May 06, 2008

    I loved this book.

    It was first read to me in 4th grade. We would all come in from lunch and our teacher would read to us for about 30 minutes before we would start class.

    I remember this book because it wasnt read to us by Mrs Graham, but instead it would be read by Mr Goodwin, her long-haired, bearded, Birkenstock wearing teacher's aid.

    Over the next few weeks we were enthralled by this story, we couldnt wait for lunch period to be over so we could hear what was happening in this magic kingdom

    I loved this book.

    It was first read to me in 4th grade. We would all come in from lunch and our teacher would read to us for about 30 minutes before we would start class.

    I remember this book because it wasnt read to us by Mrs Graham, but instead it would be read by Mr Goodwin, her long-haired, bearded, Birkenstock wearing teacher's aid.

    Over the next few weeks we were enthralled by this story, we couldnt wait for lunch period to be over so we could hear what was happening in this magic kingdom, called Narnia.

    From the begining we all identified with Lucy and her siblings. How was it possible that an English girl could transport herself to another place, simply by hiding in a wardrobe? And once through the wardrobe, there was this wonderful and friendly creature called a faun, Mr Tumnus. All this in only the first chapter.

    As the chapters progressed we got to know more about the siblings and the other creatures who inhabit Narnia.

    Some people critisize C.S Lewis for using too much Christian symbolism, but I was in 4th grade and to me this was the most wonderful and exciting book ever written for children.

    When Mr Goodwin finished the book. I instantly went to the library so I could read it myself. I was very proud this was the first book I read "without pictures". To my joy, I discovered there were other books about Narnia and I eventually read all of them too. Evenutually I discovered other wonderful places in other books and I continue to look for them today.

    I will always be grateful to Mr Goodwin, he started off by telling me about Narnia, but in the end, he introduced me to so much more through my on going love of books.

    Thank you Mr Goodwin, for everything.

  • J.G. Keely
    Apr 24, 2011

    My greatest disappointment in

    was that Lewis was not able to demonstrate what made his good people good or his bad people bad. The closest he got to defining goodness was that you could tell the good people from the vague aura of light that surrounded them--and which even shone in their cat. In this book, the cat is much bigger.

    Aslan had no character, he was just a big, dull stand-in. Lewis often tells us how great he is, but never demonstrates what it is that makes him g

    My greatest disappointment in

    was that Lewis was not able to demonstrate what made his good people good or his bad people bad. The closest he got to defining goodness was that you could tell the good people from the vague aura of light that surrounded them--and which even shone in their cat. In this book, the cat is much bigger.

    Aslan had no character, he was just a big, dull stand-in. Lewis often tells us how great he is, but never demonstrates what it is that makes him great or impressive. Sure, he helps the kids, but all that makes him is a plot facilitator. He also has his big Jesus moment, but that has the same problem as the original: if he already knows that there will be no lasting negative outcome, how much of a sacrifice is it, really?

    But then, Aslan isn't based on the original fig-cursing, church-rejecting, rebel Jesus, but the whitewashed version. Like Mickey Mouse, Jesus started out as an oddball troublemaker with his fair share of personality, but becoming the smiling face of a multinational organization bent on world domination takes a lot out of a mascot, whether your magic castle is in California or Rome.

    Such a visible figure must become universally appealing, universally friendly and loving, lest some subset of followers feel left out. And it's this 'Buddy Christ' tradition from which Aslan springs. Devoid of insight, wisdom, or charm, Aslan is just here to do all the things that our protagonists can't do.

    This also beggars the question: why didn't Aslan just take care of all this stuff long before the kids arrived? Why did all the animals and fairies and giants have to suffer the pain of an endless winter? We're never given any good reason Aslan had to wait for the kids--since in the end, he does it all on his own, anyways. Sure, Lewis mentions something vague about a prophecy, but in fantasy, prophecy is always a bandaid authors stick over their plot holes:

    .

    The only thing the kids do is help run the battle, but this is only necessary because Aslan is absent, and he's only absent because the kids screwed up, meaning the entire thing would have gone off without a hitch if they had never showed up in the first place.

    In that regard, I have to say Lewis did an excellent job boiling down Christianity into a fable, and leaving the

    completely intact. Some readers suggest that Aslan lets the queen take over to teach the kids a lesson, but is it really worthwhile to let all the inhabitants of a kingdom suffer a century of misery just to teach a few kids about the true meaning of friendship?

    The villain is just as poorly-constructed, and seems less concerned with defeating her enemies than with being pointlessly capricious. She manages to trick one of the children, but instead of taking advantage of this fact, she immediately makes it clear that she tricked him. I mean, how did someone that incompetent take over in the first place?

    Selectively stupid characters are silly and convenient, especially as villains, because this completely undermines their role as foil. It is impressive when characters overcome challenges, but not when challenges simply crumble before them. The children are lucky the Queen was more of a

    than a Miltonian Satan, otherwise they never would have stood a chance.

    It is interesting to look at how many Christian authors have tried to reconcile their faith with complex fairy mythologies; not that Christianity doesn't have its own

    , but these other traditions are not exactly compatible. Dante has Virgil lead him through hell, the Buddha was

    , holidays were given new meanings (even if they often kept

    ), and magical monsters were also given a place in the new faith.

    In the Middle Ages, monks compiled

    , which described the roles of dragons, unicorns, and real animals in Christian synbolism; there were even century-spanning debates about

    . These books were rarely accurate, but allowed Christian theology to adopt many stories and superstitions from earlier periods; for instance, the connection between unicorns and virginity or the belief that pelicans fed their own blood to their young, in imitation of

    .

    So Lewis' attempt to take myth and adapt it to a Christian cosmology is hardly new--there is a long and storied tradition explored throughout the Chivalric period and recognizable today in books like

    , but Lewis doesn't do a very good job of reconciling these disparate mythologies.

    Like most Protestants, Lewis' religion was a modern one--not magical and mystical, but reasonable and utilitarian. He did not draw on the elaborate, convoluted apocrypha of hallucinatory monsters and miracles that mystics obsess over, instead, he made a small, sane, reasonable magical world--which rather defeats the point. It is unfortunate that many of today's readers think of Lewis' writings as defining English fairy tales, since his late additions to the genre are not original, nor are they particularly well-executed examples.

    Many authors have come to the genre with much more imagination, a deeper sense of wonder, and a more far-reaching exploration of magic. We have examples from

    ,

    ,

    ,

    ,

    , and even modern updates by

    and

    . Lewis, like Tolkien, may be a well-known example, but both are rather short-sighted, and neither one achieves as much as the many talented authors who came before.

    I'm not saying Lewis is bad, merely that he is unremarkable, and is hardly preeminent in fantasy, or even in children's fantasy. However, I do think his fundamental message is a bad one, even if he didn't realize he was creating it.

    In all his worlds, all his stories, he takes the sorts of people he dislikes, defines them as 'evil', then sets himself apart from them. There is no attempt to comprehend or to come to mutual understanding. I cannot respect a book which encourages people to vilify what they don't understand and to call isolation righteous. If any worldview deserves the epithet of 'evil', it is the sort of willful, prideful, self-indulgent ignorance Lewis displays.

  • Jason Koivu
    Aug 27, 2011

    It dawned on me the other day that I'd never read

    . What an oversight! I had to fix this.

    I knew the story. When we were kids, one of my cousins was

    this book and liked to tell me about it. I remember absolutely bawling my eyes out when the 1979 cartoon version aired on tv and Aslan was subdued. And then I also knew it through the more recent movie adaptation. Now, having read the actual book, it turns out I already as good as read the book. It varie

    It dawned on me the other day that I'd never read

    . What an oversight! I had to fix this.

    I knew the story. When we were kids, one of my cousins was

    this book and liked to tell me about it. I remember absolutely bawling my eyes out when the 1979 cartoon version aired on tv and Aslan was subdued. And then I also knew it through the more recent movie adaptation. Now, having read the actual book, it turns out I already as good as read the book. It varies very little, especially from the most recent movie version. And why should it? It's simple, straight forward, short and with very little story-fat to trim off.

    is seriously a sleek book! There's barely any filler, just a straight forward narrative that takes you through the adventure.

    And what an adventure! This is the kind of story young dreams are made of! What impressionable young mind could not get caught up in a fantasy of monsters, magic, evil queens, heroic lions and more with boys and girls to follow into a mystical land, leaving behind the mundane?

    The only thing about the story that I could speak negatively about is its everything-and-the-kitchen-sink tossing in of whatever legendary beast Lewis could think of, plus, what the hell, let's throw in Santa Claus, too! African savanna animals, Greek mythological beasts and Old Saint Nick...sure, why not?! Maybe it wouldn't bug me as much if I didn't know that Lewis made fun of his friend Tolkien for writing fairy tales, and then he comes out with this, one of the most fanciful of fairy tales, where any manner of childhood fancy comes true. Bah, let's leave these sour grapes.

    I respect Lewis the writer and thinker. I've enjoyed reading and contemplating a variety of his works. And even at the advanced age of 43, I found myself sucked into this story. I may be over 30 years beyond the target audience, but I still found plenty to love about

    !

  • Jonathan
    Sep 15, 2011

    Some thoughts recently crossed my mind

    in regards to arguments one could offer as a defence of the Christian side of this novel. The main arguments against this novel as a 'Christian allegory' that I have heard are: 1)Aslan is not a strong Christ-figure 2)That C.S. Lewis 'preaches' a black and white morality. So I'm going to roughly address them from my perspective and hope it encourages some discussion.

    Some thoughts recently crossed my mind

    in regards to arguments one could offer as a defence of the Christian side of this novel. The main arguments against this novel as a 'Christian allegory' that I have heard are: 1)Aslan is not a strong Christ-figure 2)That C.S. Lewis 'preaches' a black and white morality. So I'm going to roughly address them from my perspective and hope it encourages some discussion.

    1) I will agree that Aslan is not a strong Christ-figure. Firstly for Aslan to really represent Christ he would have to be true to the gospel story. In other words he would have to be god made into man come to die for all mankind. However as he only dies for the one traitor again it's not sticking true to the Biblical gospel that all have sinned and that Christ was needed as a sacrifice for that sin. If you take things too literally here, C.S. Lewis' novel doesn't make much that much sense theologically as a result. I'll explain where I am/was going with that in a moment.

    2) I debate that C.S. Lewis preaches in his novel. Occasionally he can be a touch patronising but compared to many authors he rarely slips into such condescension. As for his morality I think you must understand it from the perspective of Christianity. Christianity is about black and white morality essentially: good versus evil, light vs. dark and truth vs. lies etc. It is also very grey in that Christianity is about life and the fact that no one is perfect, that everyone fits into that moral grey area. Of course I explain roughly and inadequately.

    Ultimately I see that there is room to argue that C.S. Lewis does a poor job of writing an allegorical novel. However I see it as a very subtle novel that unlike others (for instance The Alchemist) does not build its story around expressing an ideology but rather incorporates an ideology into its storytelling. I think that if one wants to criticise this novel it should be for not properly showing the gospel rather than for 'preaching'. I know that I and many others enjoyed the story first before seeing the connection between it and the Biblical tales. I enjoyed it even more afterwards so, then again I could be a tad biased.

    To begin I must note that I grant this such a high rating due to the impact it had on my life. It to me is one novel that were I to pick the one novel that forged a love of books for me it would be The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Why? Because I can remember back about twelve years ago when I was homeschooled by my mother as a five year old. We wandered down during winter into the warm back room and she read the first Narnia book to us. The image of a red faun carrying parcels as he passed a growing lamppost would stick with me from that moment (as it stuck with C.S. Lewis). As I learned to read the Narnia books were the first novels I sunk my growing reading teeth into. And to this day I have read and re read the novels back to front (and maybe front to back).

    The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is a novel written for both children and adults. It contains highly allegorical elements as C.S.Lewis was a well-known apologetics writer. However he wrote that he did not write his novel as a pure allegory but as a story. And that is what The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is, a story to be enjoyed by everyone. And although written in simple language the reader can quickly, concisely and easily imagine the world without the clumsy constraints of overused words. I personally cannot imagine a world without these novels.

    Additional thoughts:

    1. Just a question at last. And one with a highly philosophical twist to it. Why is it that people so readily condemn those books which are considered as moral tales? You'd think we could do with more morality in such a twisted and confused world regardless of accepting the belief systems.

    2. I have heard many people describe the entire series as silly and far too preachy. I do not see it that way at all. Trust me if C.S.Lewis wanted to be preachy he would have written a lot more philosophy and less story. Yes I can see how some would call this silly but then I argue that they are missing the point. It's a fairytale type fantasy intended mainly for children (and for those children again as adults or for their parents perhaps). But I argue that as Lewis only wrote this story based on the story of the crucifixion in many ways that it was not intended as a preachy book. My question is that why is it that if I were to base a story along what some call the 'Christian myth' it is claimed as preaching while as if I were to base it on any other mythology or story it would be deemed as merely copying the themes of another mythology? Is this yet another example of doublethink?*

    *See

    (yes go and read it - you'll get what I mean)

  • Shovelmonkey1
    Feb 28, 2012

    The Role (bibli)call:

    The big cuddly cat = Jesus. Strange that a lion should be chosen to represent the big man when Lions are notoriously aggressive, solitary carnivores who are more likely to eat any potential apostles than than teach or lead them.

    The white witch = Satan or Eve the temptress depending on which side of the tree of knowledge you're most likely to be barking up. Famed for a monochrome wardrobe in the A/W line only. Like Alan Rickman in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, she has cancel

    The Role (bibli)call:

    The big cuddly cat = Jesus. Strange that a lion should be chosen to represent the big man when Lions are notoriously aggressive, solitary carnivores who are more likely to eat any potential apostles than than teach or lead them.

    The white witch = Satan or Eve the temptress depending on which side of the tree of knowledge you're most likely to be barking up. Famed for a monochrome wardrobe in the A/W line only. Like Alan Rickman in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, she has cancelled Christmas.

    Edmund = Judas Iscariot. Judas has been proven to be a more astute bargain maker and walks off with 30 pieces of silver for his denials. Edmund gets a box of sweets.

    Lucy, Peter, Susan = apostles, knights and other positive biblical forces. An unusual scenario given the general hoo-hah about whether or not any of apostles were female (see last supper male/female image debate).

    Mr Tumnus the faun = an aberration. With his goat like legs and general caprine features you might be forgiven for imagining that he might be an agent of Satan, or Pan or some other pagan deity. Nope. He's on the side of good and not evil and that there throws the nice set of biblical allusions into chaos.

    Beavers, birds, satyrs, fauns and other ancillary creatures = collateral damage.

    Plot summary: Icing sugar, picture perfect winter wonderland accessible through the rear of roomy wardrobe handily equipped with high-end (but non PETA approved) all weather garb. Ruled in supremely effective manner by single minded, highly organised, independent woman until arrival of children and large pet. Maybe this book is actually a metaphor for home life in the modern age.

  • Bookworm Sean
    Nov 15, 2016

    The real world is boring; it’s mundane, unimaginative and dry. So humans create fantasy as a means of escape. We watch movies or go to the theatre to see something more interesting than the standard realities of the everyday. We paint pictures and gaze up at the stars. We play video games and roleplay. We dream. Authors like C.S Lewis and J.K Rowling show us this miserable world; they show us its tones of grey.

    The real world is boring; it’s mundane, unimaginative and dry. So humans create fantasy as a means of escape. We watch movies or go to the theatre to see something more interesting than the standard realities of the everyday. We paint pictures and gaze up at the stars. We play video games and roleplay. We dream. Authors like C.S Lewis and J.K Rowling show us this miserable world; they show us its tones of grey. Then underneath it all they reveal something spectacular: they reveal fantasy.

    So we have four rather ordinary children about to embark on an extraordinary adventure. As a child I used to always daydream. I’ve always been somewhat introverted and would prefer imagining faraway places than existing in the now. I still do this as an adult. And this is why I love fantasy so much because it is so immersive; it literally takes my mind away. Lucy, Susan, Edward and Peter are the lucky ones. When they stumble across the wardrobe, the gateway into a more interesting realm, they experience something spectacular.

    Sure, there’s a war going on. And, certainly, there’s an evil witch going around murdering people. But, for me, that’d be a price worth paying. For in Narnia there is also Aslan and a whole bunch of interesting characters. There is hope, magic and companionship. The wise old Aslan though is the star of the show. He sacrifices himself for his friends, for his people. Though one issue I have with the book, and one that makes me very much aware of the text as a construct, is the questions over why Aslan actually needed to the four children. He pretty much deals with the problems by himself. There’s prophecy involved, but on a plot level he clearly could have sorted this mess out without any outside interference.

    I’ve seen a lot of hate over these books because of the Christian allegories involved in the storytelling. Now I find this somewhat stupid. I’m not a Christian, far from it, but you can’t really criticise a book because of this. It’s incredibly naïve. It would be like judging

    based on its feminism aspects or Shakespeare’s exploration of colonialism in

    It’s silly. This book is, undeniable, full of Christian dogmatism. But it’s what the author wanted it to be. If you read Tolkien’s work there are so many allusions the world wars; this doesn’t affect the overall storytelling. It’s simply what is there. Read this with an open mind, as an English Literature student, I read the bible. I don’t believe the words inside, but I can still enjoy the experience. And this story is no different. Take it for what it is.

    And that’s something special. I do, however, much prefer the works of Tolkien. I feel that his writing is more universal in terms of age audience. With this though, I’m very much aware of it as a children’s book. The prose is designed to sound like a children’s bedtime story in places. That’s not exactly a bad thing though. I love Narnia but I can, at least from my perspective, objectively say that Tolkien was a better writer. Though what Narnia does have is Aslan. It’s hard not to Aslan. Wouldn’t it be just wonderful if he met Gandalf? Could you imagine the stories those two could share? I'm dreaming again.

  • Laz
    May 06, 2014

    Well, can you blame me for loving this? I certainly hope not. It's Christmas and I feel like a little kid and I was craving something to make me feel like I am one, indeed, and this book travelled me to a wondrous world full of heroes and of course a villain. The ride was awesome and I found the characters warm and fuzzy despite the eternal cold that had been placed upon Narnia. Now, they're all free of the curse of the White Witch thanks to Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. The kings and queens of

    Well, can you blame me for loving this? I certainly hope not. It's Christmas and I feel like a little kid and I was craving something to make me feel like I am one, indeed, and this book travelled me to a wondrous world full of heroes and of course a villain. The ride was awesome and I found the characters warm and fuzzy despite the eternal cold that had been placed upon Narnia. Now, they're all free of the curse of the White Witch thanks to Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. The kings and queens of Narnia.

    This is remarkable. It's amazing how short it is, I only read it in one and a half hour, I simply devoured it. It's short but so detailed and concentrated. It's like a fairytale. I'll certainly be reading this to my kids in the future.

  • Patrick
    Nov 20, 2015

    This is the first book where I chronicled my thoughts as I read through it with my son. I don't know how easy it is for y'all to access the record of those here on Goodreads, but if you're looking for a detailed account of my thoughts on the book, you can look there.

    I'll say this. I've read a lot of books to my little boy these last couple years, and I can honestly say that This book is among the best. Good, tight writing, good description. Good action. Also there's not a lot of dead space or tr

    This is the first book where I chronicled my thoughts as I read through it with my son. I don't know how easy it is for y'all to access the record of those here on Goodreads, but if you're looking for a detailed account of my thoughts on the book, you can look there.

    I'll say this. I've read a lot of books to my little boy these last couple years, and I can honestly say that This book is among the best. Good, tight writing, good description. Good action. Also there's not a lot of dead space or trashy empty dialogue that just seems to be there to take up space. (That's become a particular peeve lately. And when you're reading a book aloud, it becomes really obvious.)

    The British slang will be a stumbling block to some. But it's not too bad. And there were a few slight pieces of sexism that I ignored, skipped over, or re-worded on the fly. But honestly, this book was written 60 years ago, and you need to cut it a little slack because of that. And in my opinion, it only needs a little slack. Truth be told, I've read books written this year that have ten times the sexism this one does.

    Also, I'd like to make it clear that this is the FIRST book of the Narnia Chronicles. This is where you start the series. I'm sorry if you read them in the wrong order, but if you did, it's better than you admit it now, come to grips, and move on with your life knowing the truth.

  • Moraes the Bookworm
    Dec 28, 2015

    I didn't read this book first. I actually read

    before I got to this one, so I was already familiar with Lewis' writing style and with the general idea of the world of Narnia.

    The exception is Edmund Pevensie, who is memorable only because Lewis makes him so unrelentingly obnoxious for almost the entire book. Lewis also draws on a my

    I didn't read this book first. I actually read

    before I got to this one, so I was already familiar with Lewis' writing style and with the general idea of the world of Narnia.

    The exception is Edmund Pevensie, who is memorable only because Lewis makes him so unrelentingly obnoxious for almost the entire book. Lewis also draws on a myriad old myths, fables and legends to create the Narnia, creating little from scratch. The plot is a bit creaky, too, with some machinations making little sense on their own, and needed solely to keep the story moving forward. I'm thinking, for example, of the note left behind at Mr. Tumnus' house after he is arrested - a note that exists only so that the Pevensies can find out what became of the faun.

    However, some of the characteristics of Lewis' writing remain fresh almost 60 years after the book was written. Lewis never lets you forget he's telling you a story, occasionally interjecting his own opinions of the characters' doings, and more than once reminding the reader of something that happened in "the last chapter." Also, now and again, he directly addresses the reader as "you," as would a parent trying to draw a child into a story. All things considered, it was a good story, but nothing special. I actually like the movie better.