Danielle's Reviews > The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
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's review
Feb 13, 2008

it was ok
bookshelves: fiction

Okay, let me say first of all that I think C.S. Lewis is a brilliant man. That being said, this book made me feel like he could have given a little credit to the rest of us.
I wish I could review it based solely on the story, and not bother with the religious message, but unfortunately, it's impossible to read the story without getting a headache from the constant hammering that is "THE MESSAGE."
This story is a fun idea, fantasy-wise. I particularly love the ice queen and the Turkish Delight scene with Edmund. However (and there is a big 'however'), I just couldn't get past the whole lectured-in-church feeling that this book produced.
Don't get me wrong, I am a religious person, and I believe in Christ with all my heart. But, I personally get a lot more out of reading scriptures about him than this allegorical fantasy. So, if Lewis had allowed it to be a layered thing, ya know, enjoy the story, and if you see the parellels to Christ and his mission, good for you, I would have enjoyed it a lot more. As it was, I felt like every other paragraph was practically screaming at me, "Get it?? You Get IT?? The LION, came back to LIFE!!" Yeah, we got it.
I read Prince Caspian because I was curious about the rest of the story, but I'm done. It was a little too much for me, and I'll just stick to my scriptures, rather than talking lions.
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message 1: by John (last edited Apr 07, 2008 06:24AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

John Wiswell Your thoughts are interesting to me. I read this as an adult and almost totally missed the Christian messages. I got the symbols - yeah, the Lion dying and rising is obviously drawing on Christ symbolism and embodying values (in selflessness and sacrifice for the sake of others) that Christians dig. But it seemed to me more like it was drawing on those symbols and values in telling a very long escapist adventure story than it was, say, actually trying to form propaganda. More of the time I was thinking, "Lewis is really pandering to kids here." Could it be that I didn't care about this stuff enough when I read it?

message 2: by Danielle (last edited Nov 22, 2011 11:38AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Danielle Yeah, I think because I went to church every Sunday, etc. I was so familiar with Christ's mission as redeemer, that the parallels were more obvious to me than they might have been to someone else. Also, I agree that it was written for children, it felt like it was written for children, and so I shouldn't get too irate at being talked down to. Although, Lewis did say he intentionally wrote children's books so adults would read them. Anyway, I think your comment, John, is right on. For me it was heavy-handed, but I can definitely see the fantasy as priority side that would have stood out to others.

Arnab Das This was an interesting take on the book. I read this book a few days back; okay, maybe because I loved the movie so much. But frankly I would have to agree with John here. Its just a great story which has borrowed concepts and ideas from other sources. Yes it does get preachy at times. Also lack of details and clarity in some of the subplots are really striking. However inspite of all these shortcomings, this is a great book, for all ages.

Tracy Grant I think the thing is that since it was written for kids you maybe need to be a bit more obvious. When I was a child I never really picked it up, but reading it now it is clear.

Josh I think you have to keep in mind that the story was written for children. Lewis wrote the story for his niece, and incorporating Christian themes and a strong message into it, was a way for him to share spiritual truths with her in a way she might otherwise be too young to yet understand.

Danielle Duly noted, Josh. I was reviewing it as an adult, for other adults who might be inclined to read it, but of course you're right. It was written for children, and thus the Christ archetype needed to be explained and highlighted in a way that becomes glaringly obvious to adults, but probably only barely breaks the surface of consciousness for children. Even so, I seriously doubt that a child reading this story is going to understand the parallels to Christ's mission. I don't think it's going to give children a burning Spiritual witness of Him. I think that (like me) they're going to be intrigued by magic potion that can conjure up sweets and a closet with a secret door to a magical world. That's what I meant with the layers. He didn't need to make it so blatant, since even if he'd flat out said: "Aslan is Christ. Edmund sinned and Aslan redeemed him, just like Christ redeems us, who are all sinners," I don't think that would have increased the testimony-inducing aspects of the book. Since the allegory is likely to be lost on children anyway, he should have left the expository-like paragraphs out, giving credit to the teenagers and adults who re-read it for a sense of nostalgia to see the allusions without having them shoved in their faces.

Robert Lent The Christian allegory (yes, despite Lewis' denial, the Narnia books are allegory) was about as subtle as a baseball bat.

message 8: by Wendy (new) - added it

Wendy Terry I'm with John. I found it a very cool fantasy story with magic and such. I never did catch the whole allegory thing until other READERS started "hammering" it and insisting that it can only be read that way. I saw it as pure fantasy.

Erika I read it in grade school... Loved it. I didn't get the religiousness of it until watching the movie. Even then, I won't poorly rate the book. It's still great. The parallels are definitely there; "hammered"? Absolutely not.

Patrick Lewis himself never wanted the book, or series, for that matter, to read as allegory. His purpose was to entertain. These books have been in my life since my father first read them to me when I was 5. I love them and with each reading he more out of them!

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