Catherine Thompson's Reviews > The Horse and His Boy

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
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's review
Dec 28, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: classic-literature, fantasy
Read from December 28 to 31, 2011

The third book in The Chronicles of Narnia, this one details the journey of Shasta, a boy brought up in Calormene, and Bree, a Talking Horse of Narnia. Shasta and Bree escape from their respective cruel masters and head north to Narnia. They meet up with Aravis, a young noblewoman of Calormene, and Hwin, another Talking Horse, both of whom are running from similar fates; Aravis has been promised in marriage to a much older man. They learn of Prince Rabadash's plot to invade Archenland and thence Narnia, and ride off to save the day.

The Christian/Biblical parallels aren't as obvious in this tale. What there is, however, is a great deal of the old British colonial attitude. The Calormenes are cruel and war-like people, who call Archenlanders and Narnians "barbarians" yet it's clear that Lewis means for the Calormenes to be taken as barbarians. There's also the great divide between classes, and between the sexes. Shasta is supposedly the son of a fisherman, and thus Aravis looks down upon him. Aravis, meanwhile, is more of a tomboy than her friend Lasaraleen, who is portrayed as an empty-headed noblewoman. Lasaraleen can't understand why Aravis wouldn't want to marry the Grand Vizier, a powerful and rich man who is more than thrice her age.

All in all, however, it's a representation of its age, and still a good read.

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