Thursday, October 29, 2009

chronicles of narnia

I read The Chronicles of Narnia to my son, over the course of the last year or so. We have the one volume, paperback version, illustrated by Pauline Baynes.

It is well known that the Chronicles are morality stories for children based both on the Christian bible and a romantic system of justice where the power of God is enforced by the sword, in hands of children, hand picked by the Son of God to root out evil. The seed of which was let loose into the world by the same God.

Lots of parallels and allegory here, but buried in escapist fun for kids. The stories are dream-inspiring, and in lots of ways dream-fulfilling because of their common basis in our real world. Lewis makes his Narnia accessible to children in the way Lewis Carroll did with Wonderland, or J. M. Barrie did for Neverland, but with a difference; Narnia has a realness, a seriousness to it, more like Tolkien's Middle-earth.

But Narnia is unique. Narnia is both accessible and 'real' but what I think really connects Narnia with it's readers, is how children are not only welcomed, but embraced, heralded, included, and indeed, relied upon to bring about real change by the adults they interact with in Narnia. And not only adults, but God himself! Kids in Narnia are respected, trusted, confident and brave. They have human failings, that any child can relate to, but work through them, and in the end, triumph.

What child, no matter their age, wouldn't be smitten. And ready to give themselves to Aslan.

Reading the Chronicles was like grandmother's cooking. I loved it.

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