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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, #1)
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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 30, 2018 06:34PM) (new)

This is our discussion of the classic fantasy novel...

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, #1) by C.S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
(1950)

(In 2001 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was nominated for a Retro Hugo Award for Best Novel of 1950.)


message 2: by Cat (last edited Dec 01, 2018 12:41AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cat | 343 comments I think this has always been my favourite Narnia book. As a child, the White Witch always held a special fascination and horror - how can someone who has/likes Turkish Delights be so evil!? I definitely had to go and check my wardrobe for a magical doorway. (Please tell me I wasn't the only one to do that as a child!)
I'm really enjoying the excuse to re-read of it!


Luffy (monkey-d-luffy) I too think it's the best book in the series. I reread it about 10 times in the past. I was puzzled to see how Aslan easily bested The white witch. I thought he'd send her to her original planet.


message 4: by Andrea (new) - added it

Andrea | 2668 comments I always found the Turkish Delights fascinating because I didn't know what they were, they sounded so mysterious and exotic. I still don't think I've ever seen one.

But I agree with the two posts above me, it's the best book in the series and I'm loving spendig a couple of days back in Spare Oom in the city of War Drobe


Lori (loriann25) | 19 comments I also found the turkish delights fascinating and didn't know what they were. One year a customer where I worked actually gave us a box of turkish delights for Christmas. I was the only one that would try one, they looked like clear jello with powdered sugar and not very appetizing. After researching I did find out there are all kinds of flavor and I think this person gave it to us because they didn't want them !! I was super excited about the turkish delights because of the Chronicles of Narnia!!!


message 6: by Cat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cat | 343 comments Good Turkish Delight is the best! They are definitely hard to find though. I find them randomly at speciality food markets in Australia. They are cubes of soft squishy stuff - I suppose they do look a bit like Jello. Generally they're a very pretty pink because they're rose flavoured (at least that's the most common flavour I've found), and covered in icing sugar. Good ones have a beautiful floral taste, and not too much icing sugar. But bad ones don't taste very nice at all! In Aus, you can get chocolate bar selling itself as chocolate covered Turkish Delight but it is truly awful!


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) I started reading this one today and should finish in about a week. This book was my gateway drug into SF/F along with A Wrinkle in Time.

I have never had a Turkish Delight.


message 8: by Isabella (last edited Dec 01, 2018 03:22PM) (new)

Isabella | 87 comments Turkish delight is my Christmas treat and can be made at home if you're willing to give it time. It must be made with cornflour (cornstarch). True Turkish delight does NOT contain gelatine, although some recipes claiming to be Turkish delight use it.

Rose and pistachio is the best... The chocolate coated stuff is an abomination.

I read all the Narnia books when I was younger and passed them to my daughter. The first is the best and my biggest reservation is that C S Lewis was so obviously a product of his time and background. Of course, we all are, but his sexism, snobbery and religious fervour shows a bit more than I find comfortable now, although I didn't really notice it when I first read the books. I wouldn't advocate any kind of censorship - I read everything I could from an early age, stuff that many now disapprove of. I really believe that books should sometimes make us uncomfortable.

I'm not very far in yet so I may be remembering the wrong book in the series but I didn't like his discrimination between eating talking animals and dumb animals (I've been a vegetarian for many years) but I suppose it has its Biblical parallel and many people won't have any problem with it.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is no worse than many books for being a product of its time and it doesn't make things too easy for the children - they're faced with difficult choices and situations that hurt. It's a perfect fantasy world, where it was always winter and never Christmas.


message 9: by Andrea (new) - added it

Andrea | 2668 comments Isabella wrote: "The first is the best and my biggest reservation is that C S Lewis was so obviously a product of his time and background. Of course, we all are, but his sexism."

Just hit the bit where Aslan explains that the girls are not to take part in the great battle. Interesting though that the villain is a woman though, evil yes, but powerful. And in some ways, Lucy might actually be the most important character for her heart and kindness and ability to believe in this world.

I can confirm as a little girl I didn't think anything of the fact the girls weren't allowed to fight but Peter was out there with his sword getting bloody with the witch. I think as adults we sometimes come down on books that don't present "strong role models" or whatever, but in truth kids don't even notice it one way or another. I definitely didn't read the book and feel bad that I was a weak and emotional girl and would never amount to anything. I was just thinking it would be cool to go to a land where lions could talk, maybe if I was lucky I could ride him...

I also find it interesting that books like Harry Potter have been banned due to its depiction of witchcraft but Narnia is ok because it has a Christian theme (what with Alsan sacrifcing himself for the sins of another and then being resurrected) but again, as a kid I didn't get any of that, I never considered the possibility that Alsan might be Jesus in furry suit :)

I did however pick up on the growing up theme, when as the children get older through the series they can never go back. I always thought that was horrible and depressing, even though in some ways, it's very true. Grossman's The Magicians revisits this theme with college aged students. Even Lord of the Rings touches on this, they defeat Sauron but Frodo can't go back to the Shire and pick up where he left off.

Time moves on and things change.


message 10: by Isabella (last edited Dec 01, 2018 05:02PM) (new)

Isabella | 87 comments Andrea says "Just hit the bit ..."

It struck me that Lewis felt that to be 'real' women, girls had to be like Lucy. The Queen may be powerful but is corrupt in her desire for power. Susan is shown as shallow and vain and eventually cut off from the truth which Lucy believes. These characteristics show up in the Narnia series, where 'good' males are strong and fight, as Peter does but 'good' girls embody the gentle, modest, feminine virtues shown by Lucy. It also appears in the 'Out of the Silent Planet' series in a slightly different form.

I somehow doubt that Lewis would have approved of women priests, for instance. His view of the sexes is very much tied to tradition, hardly surprising for his times but one which still is surprisingly common.


message 11: by Cat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cat | 343 comments I think Luffy brought up a good point - what was with the big showdown with Aslan and the Witch? (view spoiler)

Similar to Andrea and Isabella - I also missed a lot of the Christian references and the more problematic aspects of the book. I remember being quite shocked when I found out that it was allegorical as it clearly went completely over my head! It was very definitely a product of a particular era.

Lucy was definitely my favourite of the children, she had adventures and a sense of curiousity - Susan always seemed like bit of a wet blanket. And it never bothered me that they didn't fight - I always thought Lucy's magic healing potion was very enviable.


message 12: by Andrea (new) - added it

Andrea | 2668 comments Cat wrote: "(view spoiler)"

Out of context that sounds a little...umm...not for children :)

I must admit the death of Aslan was pretty shocking though, I mean ok Lewis didn't describe the knife coming down but the humilation, the beating, and the description of the blood aftewards was actually kind of gory! Again, as a kid I wasn't traumatized or anything like that, we overestimated how much sugar coating they really need. On the other hand, the big battle at the end of the Watership Down movie was pretty scary (so was the trippy Bright Eyes sequence with the bloody heartbeat at the end) so there are different limits for different kids :)


message 13: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 524 comments The movie though (the original) I found the death of Aslan extremely upsetting as a kid. I did not catch any of the Christian meaning either (but I was not raised with that religion)


message 14: by Isabella (new)

Isabella | 87 comments I think the Christian slant of the books is mainly a result of his background. First, Lewis was born and raised in protestant Northern Ireland but went to English boarding school, early in the last century. He fought in the first world war and converted to the C of E as an adult, from atheism. His working life was spent at Oxbridge, in mostly male society and when he wrote the books he felt much of the zeal of the convert in his beliefs.
'Girls don't fight' is a reflection of the idea of women as nurturing, maternal figures who should both be shielded and hold themselves aloof from the brutality of the battle against evil - tell that to the female victims of war! It has something in common with the yin and yang of oriental philosophy in a way.


message 15: by Book Nerd (last edited Dec 02, 2018 08:23PM) (new) - added it

Book Nerd (book_nerd_1) | 154 comments lol We're all fascinated with turkish delight. As a kid I never knew what the heck it was. I just tried it a few years ago.
My first experience was an animated version, then I read it in my teens so I understood the Christian metaphor, especially in the later books.


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) I'm just about done with this one. It's shorter than I remember. I think I could have finished it in a day if I had really wanted to.


Rosemary | 65 comments I found turkish delight at a store a few years ago and immediately bought it just to try it out. It was OK, but I don't think I'd betray a friend for it. Maybe the witch's turkish delight was magically enhanced (or sprinkled with crack, lol).


message 18: by Cat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cat | 343 comments RJ wrote: "I'm just about done with this one. It's shorter than I remember. I think I could have finished it in a day if I had really wanted to."

It is quite short isn't it? I was also a bit surprised, in my memories it's longer. Actually, I seem to remember all the Narnia books being longer but I'm not really sure if they are or not.

Rosemary wrote: "I found turkish delight at a store a few years ago and immediately bought it just to try it out. It was OK, but I don't think I'd betray a friend for it. Maybe the witch's turkish delight was magic..."

Haha, no, I'm not sure I would either.

The only other thing I felt slightly puzzling about this story, was the presence of Santa. I always just thought that was such a random insertion of our world. Like why would talking animals and dryads and nymphs have Santa?


message 19: by Andrea (new) - added it

Andrea | 2668 comments Cat wrote: "It is quite short isn't it? I was also a bit surprised, in my memories it's longer. Actually, I seem to remember all the Narnia books being longer but I'm not really sure if they are or not."

I've got a box set and they are all nearly identical in width. If you last read it as a kid though, of course the book would seem longer since kids books are generally short, being slower readers and all.

Santa also shows up in the Dresden Files but as part of the Wild Hunt since he's a kind of elf and therefore following the Erlking. One can view him as just another famous fae being like Oberon or Puck, where our modern day tales of him may not be accurate (there are lots of older stories where he's not just a happy fat guy in a red suit, he's kind of scary in other folklore). And of course an eternal winter is pretty bad, but imagine an eternal winter but you never get to have Christmas! The worst of horrors for a little kid.


message 20: by Mary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mary Catelli | 746 comments Remember that this is taking place during WWII. Owing to rationing, ANY candy would probably have been something they remembered from before the war, not something they had actually had for months if not years. Adds to its charms.

The stuff I've had was rather nice.


message 21: by Cat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cat | 343 comments Lol, in an amusing coincidence, at work one of the patients bought in Turkish Delight as a Christmas present for the ward staff. It made me chuckle and think about this conversation! Also, I tried the lemon one, quite nice. Pistachio was the least popular flavour...


message 22: by Andrea (new) - added it

Andrea | 2668 comments Lorna wrote: ""Who said anything about safe? Course he isn't safe.""

I think that's my favorite quote from the book, there's also the bit about him not being a tame lion.


message 23: by Cat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cat | 343 comments The more times I read this, the more I think Mr Beaver is probably one of my favourite (non-human) characters in this book. And it is an excellent quote!


message 24: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 337 comments This book is also a successor, or perhaps a reply, to the earlier generation of children's novels written by E. Nesbit. It is very similar to her Psammead books, the four siblings adventuring magically to different realms.


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) Lorna wrote: "I think the character of Edmund is supposed to represent who in the bible, I mean its obviously a tale about repentance and forgiveness told in a way for children to understand."

There always seems to be a lot of fuss about the Christian themes in the Narnia series, but I didn't find it overwhelming at all. I agree with what you said: this is a book with a message for children that emphasizes forgiveness, a theme found in Christianity (and many other religions as well). Aslan's sacrifice and resurrection was the most overt reference to Christianity in the story, but I didn't find it to be overstated.


message 26: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 337 comments The very fact that there are children who read it and never notice the Christian element shows that it is well done. To have it running on two levels like that is very clever.


message 27: by Andrea (new) - added it

Andrea | 2668 comments In case anyone wanted to follow a re-read of Narnia with the Tor blog. I plan to finish reading the rest of Narnia next year (wanted to this year but didn't fit) - https://www.tor.com/2019/10/09/introd...


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