Illustrations site for C.S. Lewis
I now understand why, with the exception of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and The Magician’s Nephew I did not work on completing the Narnia Chronicles until now.
They’re really not children’s books.
Rather, they are a treatise, albeit a gentle one resembling fairy tales, on Christianity. Perhaps this was the best venue to take when addressing such a complicated topic. Childlike faith, and all that…but, the books didn’t capture me when I was a child as much as now that I am an adult.
C.S. Lewis describes the plight of the unbeliever in the following way: “You see,” said Aslan. “They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.” (p. 169)
This comes after the most hilarious description of the Dwarfs being served a sumptious feast which they can’t taste, in the most beautiful setting which they mistake for a stable.
My favorite part of this book is when the characters arrive in the New Narnia, and all the people and animals from all the books in the series are reunited. But, even better, is when Lewis describes the reunion that takes place with ones who have gone before us: “…before he had much time to think of this he felt two strong arms thrown about him and felt a bearded kiss on his cheeks and heard a well remembered voice saying: “What, lad? Art thinner and taller since I last touched thee!”
It was his own father, the good King Erlian: but not as Tirian had seen him last when they brought him home pale and wounded from his fight with the giant, nor even as Tirian remembered him in his later years when he was a gray-headed warrior. This was his father, young and merry, as he could just remember him from very early days when he himself had been a little boy playing games with his father in the castle garden at Cair Paravel, just before bedtime on summer evenings. The very smell of the bread-and-milk he used to have for supper came back to him.” (p. 204)
I love imagining such reunions with lost loved ones. And Lewis himself must have feasted on such imaginings, having lost his beloved mother, and his beloved wife of only three years, much earlier than he was ready to do.
What a marvelous book.