List price: £6.99|
Our price: £5.24
Usually dispatched within 24 hours
Average customer rating:
4.5 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : 0006716776
Manufacturer : Collins|
Release data : 02 October, 2000
Search for related products
A selection of product reviews
THE WORLD OF NARNIA, SO LIKE HOME
Set early in WWII, four children are evacuated from their home in London, which is being bombed by the German airforce and rockets. They are sent to the country residence of a wise old professor. There Peter, Susan, Lucy, and Edmund find that they have `fallen on their feet' as the house and its grounds are delightful. Most amazing of all (of all the things they discover, that is), one room contains a wardrobe which may allow entry to a land called Narnia, a land of myth made alive, full of creatures of legend, and ruled by a wicked queen whose magic makes it always winter. The talking beasts have taken sides, fearful or greedy ones like the wolves have turned bad and sided with the witch. But many who seem weaker remain loyal to the memory of before the witch's rule and to the true ruler of Narnia who is Aslan the great lion. And now the coming of the four children sets in motion the fulfilment of an old prophecy which gives hope to the true Narnians, and puts fear into the heart of the witch. If the four children take all four thrones that wait empty in the castle of Cair Paravel, they will become the kings and queens of Narnia, and the witch will be thrown down. So there will be war in Narnia too.
How can four children who have escaped from one terror hope to win against a clever and cruel witch of such power? All their courage and all their strength is required, and the help of all are willing to aid them. They will need weapons magical and weapons plain. Even the sheer power of Aslan cannot be used to simply destroy the witch as it becomes clear that the magic by which he made Narnia follows the laws of deep magic, which are part of the nature of Aslan himself. Even he must obey his own nature, which in Narnia governs everything as the laws are a part of the existence of the land itself. Now the witch, for all her cleverness, does not understand magic as well as she imagines, and in her haste to capture and kill Edmund and prevent the prophecy coming true, she makes a bargain of which no-one can see where it will lead except Aslan himself.
This was written first of the seven in the Narnia series and overall it is best read first. It is the easiest to read, and a five-year old can understand the story quite well if read out by an adult. It is probably best to read `Prince Caspian' next in the series as it was written second, and all four children appear in this story. `The Magician's Nephew' was written sixth in the series, and it explains how Narnia was created, and is a superb story. But none of Peter, Susan, Lucy, or Edmund appear in it as it is before their time. Also, the language in it is somewhat harder than that in `Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe'.
The Narnia books are not allegories, this is the wrong word for them. In an allegory, each character, and often each place, stands for one other thing. The names of these characters almost always give away what they stand for. A good (in fact the best) example of an allegory is `The Pilgrim's Progress' by John Bunyan, where there are characters called `Christian' and `Hope' and `Mr Worldly Wise', and places names like `Vanity Fair' and `The Slough of Despond'. There are many others, the Greek legends, Aesop's Fables, and fairy stories often work like this. Narnia stories are magical, mythical, parallel world stories but not allegory. The characters are living characters in their own right, they do not stand `one-for-one' as things or symbols. The stories do contain symbols and meanings, but then so do all stories, or they would not be called stories. The other thing you cannot call the characters is metaphors, they live and breath and develop in their own world. All language is metaphorical. The sentence `I see what you mean', is metaphorical. A blind man can `see what you mean', it does not take eyes to `see' meaning. So, what are the Narnia books? They are a `thought experiment' in a magical world. All stories are thought experiments, or they would not be called stories. The only question is, what type?
C.S. Lewis was a Christian, was converted around the age of thirty, and he knew what stories appealed to the non-Christian as well as the Christian. He was exceptionally clever, even for an Oxford don and Cambridge professor. He knew how to appeal to `hearts and minds'. That is why these stories are so popular, they ring so true. It is easy to be attracted to the goodness of the good characters in them whoever you are and whenever you are in life's journey. The `good dreams' which the ancient Greeks captured in their myths and legends attracted him, and that is why they reappear here. The things they did not understand well are all overshadowed in the light of a greater myth, the myth of Narnia. What the Greeks saw, in part and broken up, is seen here - brighter and more full of life. More of the good, better woven together. Because we have greater light, it does not mean that they did not do as well as they could with the light they had.
It is hard to create really exciting good characters in books, often the bad characters are more exciting--many books of magical tales have dynamic villians and wishy-washy cardboard good guys (it is not so hard to think of some). C. S. Lewis is one of the greats, and the mark of it is that his good characters really are.
A grand story...
One of the miracles of C.S. Lewis is that he is able to incorporate a sense of the mystical and magical with the form of the world in a Christian framework without either aspect becoming forced or stilted. The stories that Lewis has crafted in the Chronicles of Narnia stand on their own as good storytelling even without the underpinning of Christian imagery - they are strong tales, kin in many ways to the Lord of the Rings cycle, which makes sense, given the friendship and professional relationship of Lewis with Tolkein.
This particular text, 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe', is the second installment in the overall Narnia series, but each story is able to stand on its own. This is a story that almost begins with 'once upon a time...' It is a good story for children of all ages (including 40-year-old children like me). The story begins in the dark days of the London blitz, with the children being sent away for their protection. This was common for people in all social classes, from the royal family on down, to send the children out to the countryside for the duration of the war - when Lewis was writing and publishing the Narnia books, this experience would have been fresh in the minds of the readers. Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are the family children sent to stay with old Professor and his less-than-amiable housekeeper; it comes as no surprise that the children hope to escape from this as much as from the bombs in London, and escape they did.
Lucy found it first - the portal to Narnia, in the back of the wardrobe in the special room. Then Edmund (though he would lie about it), and then all four make the journey into Narnia, where they discover themselves to be the likely heirs of a prophetic chain of events freeing the land from the evil of the wintery White Witch, who was then styling herself as the Queen of Narnia. In fact, the real king of Narnia was Aslan, a majestic lion full of power and grace, whose soul was as pure as any child's hope for the future.
The Christian images would seem familiar to any liturgical churchgoer, but the there are also other symbols that fit beyond the religious that tap into deeper longings - evil here is not a hot place, but a frozen place, where the emotions are cold and sharp. The lesser creatures are the virtuous ones, and the children lead the way to the redemption of all. The battle of good and evil takes place in epic form, fitting many forms of heroic tales. The lion Aslan stands for the Christ figure, but can also conjure images of the lion of England - Peter's shield with a red lion makes him both the stand-in for the first of the apostles as well as a perfect casting for St. George. Other parallels abound.
The children themselves live a good life in Narnia, but eventually return to their English countryside encampment, with spirits and hopefulness renewed.
This is a tale of extraordinary power, and one that stays with the reader for a long time. Long before Harry Potter, there was Narnia - a tale that is not only fun and riveting, but also one with a strong moral lens that includes not only power, but the giving up of power; not only victory, but also forgiveness and sacrifice. Revenge is an emotion that is defeated here, and good triumphs at the last.
A grand story!
The Best of The Lot!!!
Edmund,Lucy,Susan ang Peter are sent to live in the countryside because it is a world war.[I can't remember which].In a game of hide and seek Lucy discovers a secret wardrobe in the spare room. She decides she will hide in there and win the game. Lucy pushes past the coats and everything gets cold. That's the land of Narnia. She meets Mr.Tumnus the Fawn who is working for the white witch.[Did I mention there's no Christmas in Narnia].After the trip through Narnia which Lucy thought went on for ages she discovers that Peter has just finished counting to 100. Then one night Edmund follows Lucy into the wardrobe and meets the White Witch. The woman who stopped Christmas and turned Narnia to ice.She gives Edmund Turkish Delight and tells him to bring his brother and sisters to see her. Edmund and Lucy tell the others about Narnia. Soon everyone goes to Narnia and meets Aslan the ruler of Narnia. [Aslan is a lion]. The children are gifted tools and fight with Aslan for Narnia. It's a brilliant book just try espicially if your somewhere between 0-200. An even star rating with Harry Potter.