Thursday, March 1, 2012

Classic Reads: The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe Takes a Basic, Slightly Boring Road to Fantasyland

Other "classic reads" can be found in the Books section.

The first of C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia series was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. At a country house outside of London during World War II, Lucy Pevensie and her three siblings are visiting a house that takes them away from the urban bombings and find a magical wardrobe that leads to another world.

With fur coats in the wardrobe somehow turning into trees, a half-man and half-goat invites Lucy to tea. But her brother Edmund comes face-to-face with the White Witch, who feeds him "the sweetest and best candy in the world, Turkish Delight." The witch is interested in knowing he is one of four siblings, and promises Edmund that, if he brings them all to the castle, he will get more Turkish Delight.

All the kids do eventually end up in Narnia and find a note that says Mr. Tumnus, the goat-man, has been arrested by the queen for high treason and turned into a stone statue at the palace of the White Witch. The children then find a beaver who tells them where they can find the statue, and also tells them about a legend of four children who would sit on four thrones and end the rein of the White Witch.

The witch kidnaps Edmund, and as the kids are traveling along a frozen river, they encounter Father Christmas, who gives Peter a sword and shield, Susan a bow and horn, and Lucy a magic elixir that will heal any wounds. The children recruit the lion Aslan to help them, and he enters negotiations with the witch to spare Edmund's life. She, in turn, stabs a "razor-sharp knife" into Aslan, but he miraculously heals. The children are able to save Edmund, defeat the witch, and rule Narnia for many years, until they stumble back into the wardrobe and into the house, where no time has passed at all.

The story is a little silly and basic, and a little too-hastily wrapped up, but it's fun enough if you're not expecting as much as most classics.

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