The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

11Feb07

I think nearly everyone has read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe in elementary school. It’s a great story, but it’s even better if you read the whole series.

My edition of The Chronicles is a hefty volume of all of the books and original artwork. I bought it for about $15 USD. It was worth it. It makes it really easy to read the books in the intended order and to zip through them in about two weeks (if you read a few hours a day).

The Narnia stories begin to depend more and more on each other as the series progresses. I.e., if you read the first book, you wouldn’t need to read the others, but if you read the last book, you’d be mighty confused.

I think reading these books as a child would be beneficial, just because they are great stories (despite some allegorical hitches, which I will mention later). However, I think every college student should read these during a Christmas break some year. That’s how I did it. Most of the stories have snowy forest scenes, and reading them by a window where snow is gently falling is really nice. Add some hot cocoa (like Edmund’s in TLTWATW), and you have a perfect lazy winter day.

Okay, now I must mention my aversion to C.S. Lewis in general. He is most well-known for the Narnia books (and The Screwtape Letters), but ol’ C.S. was a staunch Catholic who also wrote diatribes about heaven and hell. The Chronicles of Narnia are an allegory for Jesus (Aslan, who dies and rises from the dead) and his life. Once you finish the Chronicles, think about the ending of the last book and how it functions within Lewis’ theology.

I guess if you know that these books are supposed to be religious, then you can look past it and see through its flaws while still enjoying the stories and the characters. These books are classics, and every book collection should have them.
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