Thursday, October 18, 2012

Book Report: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardorbe

The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, completed in the winter of 1949 & published in 1950, tells the story of four ordinary children: Peter, Susan, Edmund & Lucy Pevensie. They discover a wardrobe in Prof. Digory Kirke's house that leads to the magical land of Narnia, which is currently under the spell of a witch. The four children fulfill an ancient, mysterious prophecy while in Narnia. The Pevensie children help Aslan (the Turkish word for lion) & his army save Narnia from the evil White Witch, who's reigned over the Narnia in winter for 100 years.

This edition follows the original numbering scheme. Recent publishers have renumbered the volumes so they are ordered chronologically. This was reportedly the author's preference. Other editions number this book as 2.

A literary analysis of the allegories to Christianity in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.


The Strife is O'er, the Battle Done
“The strife is o'er, the battle done; now is the victor's triumph won; now be the song of praise begun. Alleluia!” (Lutheran Service Book 464:1) Authors often use allegories in literature to symbolize a concept. In The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis uses allegories to teach readers more about Christianity's core belief through faith, sacrifice, and duality.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. Lucy discovers this hidden world inside the wardrobe, and, after spending several hours there, returns to the real world, the logical world. Her siblings question her sanity because she believes Narnia exists. Lucy even starts to doubt herself, yet she stills holds firm to her belief that Narnia is there. “Lucy was a very truthful girl and she knew she was in the right; and she could not bring herself to say this. The others who thought she was telling a lie, and a silly lie too, made her very unhappy.” (p.22) This is what faith in God should be like. Christians believe in something that is not logical or scientific, but rather is outside human reasoning. How can there be three persons in one God? How can someone be one hundred percent God and one hundred percent man? People question Christians' sanity. But even when they have doubts, they cling to God through their faith which has been granted them by the Holy Spirit. When in doubt, they turn to the Lord and His word, the Bible, just as Lucy returns to the wardrobe.
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13. Sacrifice is the greatest love. Aslan lays down his life for Edmund, a traitor, just as Christ has laid down his life for all people, who are all of them sinners. Aslan walks willingly to his death, knowing what is coming. He is tied to the stone table and killed. For a moment, it appears that evil has won; the White Witch has conquered the Great Lion, Aslan. The witch taunts him saying, “And now, who has won? Fool, did you think that by all this you would save the human traitor?...Understand that you have given me Narnia forever, you have lost your own life and have not saved his. In that knowledge, despair and die.” (p. 152) But Aslan returns, breaking the stone table and conquering death. Jesus went uncomplaining forth to His death, allows Himself to be nailed to the cross, and willingly gives up His spirit. The disciples believe that death has conquered Christ. But on the third day, Jesus rises, conquering over death and the grave. Christ gave his life to save all people. Even though we sin, the devil cannot have us because Christ triumphed over death and the devil. “The pow'rs of death have done their worst, But Christ their legions hath dispersed. Let shouts of holy joy outburst. Alleluia! The three sad days have quickly sped, He rises glorious from the dead. All glory to our risen Head! Alleluia!” (LSB 464:2-3)
Good versus evil has been the way of the world since the beginning of time when the snake offered Eve the fruit of the tree. The main example of duality is the Battle of Narnia. Peter, Aslan, and those who believe in a free Narnia fight against the White Witch and her followers, just as Saint Michael and his angels fought against Satan. “Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.” Revelation 12:7-8. Just as Michael and his angels overcame the dragon, Aslan defeats the Witch. “Then Lion and Witch had rolled over together but with the Witch underneath.” (p.174) And in both cases, good is victorious over evil. “He broke the age-bound chains of hell; the bars from heav'n's high portals fell. Let hymns of praise His triumph tell. Alleluia!” (LSB 464:4)
Faith, sacrifice, and duality are used as an allegory to Christianity in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Lewis uses the allegories to teach the core beliefs of the Christian faith. “Lord, by Thy stripes which wounded Thee, From death's dread sting Thy servants free that we may live and sing to Thee. Alleluia!” (LSB 464:5)

The Lutheran Service Book. Concordia Publishing House, 2006.

The Lutheran Study Bible. Concordia Publishing House, 2009.

Lewis, C. S. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Macmillan, 1950.

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