C. S. Lewis and Narnia


Welcome to the pond at C. S. Lewis’ place, circa 2009.

It’s not clear or pristine and the banks were weedy, and I think I remember mosquitos, but it was still beautiful. Just look at that reflection in it! I was there today in 2009 so the picture showed up in my photo app to remind me. I toured Lewis’ home, including the inspiring wardrobe and the study where he wrote, so now it’s time to talk about Narnia.

I’m not much of a fan of C. S. Lewis’ Narnia. For starters, I don’t like talking animals (unless they be cats–like the cats of Haruki Murakami’s magical realism novels). 

Reading the books as a child, I was scared of Narnia. It is unfamiliar and often brutal. I can’t remember the series’ details, or even the general matter, but I felt uneasy reading them. What I seem to recall: The ship The Dawn Treader visits some eerie Gulliver’s Travels type places and sees the edge of the world… Susan becomes a non-believer and perishes by the end… The Silver Chair was scary, something about being locked in a chair… and I think I remember a massive crazy storm, basically judgment day, at one of the last books.  The Horse and His Boy was my favorite but even it had a feeling of loneliness to it, countries at odds with each other, perhaps? And Narnia forgot about the Pevensie kids and grew fallow and wild.

When I was in the third grade I watched the 1988 version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and hated each of the four Pevensie kids. Either Edmund or Lucy is the worst. After watching the movie in class, we sampled Turkish delight, which was disgusting, making me dislike Edmund all the more for his incomprehensible betrayal of his siblings for the stuff. That year I attended a play version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, heavy on the allegory and produced along with Everyman, and I was in the second row for Aslan’s horrific murder.

It bothered me that the Pevensie kids grew up and lived their whole lives in Narnia, only to return to the real world and be Benjamin Button’d back to kids. Adults in childrens’ bodies–like vampire literature? No, thank you.

Two things I like about Narnia: the Harry Gregson-Williams soundtrack of the recent The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the real life basis of the Pevensie kids. As for Lewis, I like his last name’s spelling and the C. S. part–Clive Staple, if I remember correctly. I liked The Screwtape Letters.

And I like his pond.

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