I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! Last week, I completed my yearly Chronicles of Narnia marathon. It was magical. Obviously. Although, I have to admit an ulterior motive in finishing them quickly- I am currently reading another incredible book and I wanted to make sure it was the last entry in A Year In Books. I can’t believe I actually fulfilled a New Year’s resolution for once! I’m feeling quite satisfied with myself to be honest. Anyway, on to the Chronic-What-Cles of Narnia.
The Horse and His Boy
I love this story because it’s a rare glimpse into the glory days of the reign of the Pevensies in Narnia. Also, it’s a great geography lesson of the world in which Narnia exists. You get to learn more about the other countries and customs that inhabit that world. I also love a great underdog story and this certainly is one. It’s the story of Shasta, a poor and beaten boy from Calormen who meets a talking horse, Bree, that tells him he clearly isn’t a native Calormene and convinces him to run away with him to Narnia. Along the way, they meet another talking horse, Hwin, and runaway Aravis. They join together to flee to Narnia and the North. I don’t want to ruin it for those of you who haven’t read it, but there is a pretty spectacular happy ending here.
The Pevensies return to Narnia! The Pevensies return to Narnia!! Except Narnian time works differently from ours so many centuries have passed since the days when Peter sat on the throne as High King. Telmarines have taken over and let me tell you, they aren’t so nice to the talking animals and magical creatures of Narnia. And the Telmarine King isn’t even nice to his own nephew, the rightful King, so his nephew, Caspian, flees into the forest and finds the remnants of Old Narnia. A war ensues and the Pevensies are called from our world to Narnia’s aid. And guess what? They totally win. It’s awesome. Except for the part when Aslan says Peter and Susan won’t be returning to Narnia, that’s actually a bit sad.
The Voyage of The Dawn Treader
Here we meet Prince Caspian again! He’s such a charming lad. Lucy and Edmund return to Narnia, well, not actually Narnia, but rather a Narnia ship bound for the utter East and Aslan’s country. Along the way, they seek to find certain Lords who were loyal to Caspian’s Father and had to flee the evil of his Uncle. Boy are there some adventures on this journey! Probably more than any of the other books, this one had me flipping through the pages furiously to find out what happened. It’s a great read and has one of C.S. Lewis’ best characters in it, Reepicheep the mouse, who is the most valiant and brave of all the talking animals. We also meet Lucy and Edmunds cousin Eustace, who is quite a pill although you come to like him by the end of the book. C.S. Lewis had such a knack for writing very developed characters in very few words and Eustace and Reepicheep are great examples of that.
The Silver Chair
This is my favorite of all the Chronicles. I absolutely love the story, I mean, you can’t really go wrong with an underground world and an enchanted Prince, but this book also features one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. Puddleglum. He is at once both pessimistic and hopeful. I adore him. This is another excellent example of Lewis being able to write a fully developed and endearing character in a short book. Whenever I think of my favorite fictional characters, Puddleglum is one of the first to come to mind. He’s so dark and yet so full of light. I also love learning more about Eustace and his companion on this journey, Jill. They both attend a wretched school full of bullies but they get their revenge in the end and it’s both satisfying and funny. I have to admit, I have a sweet spot for traveling tales and this is top amongst those.
The Last Battle
This book is the final adventure in Narnia. In fact, it’s the end of Narnia itself. Just as Aslan brought the world into being in such a beautiful way, so he ends it. This is a spectacular story and I rather think has some good lessons about not being swayed by propaganda. Everyone is back in this tale, yes everyone, including all four Pevensies. But how can that be? You may be asking. To which I reply, with Aslan, there is always a way. And it’s lovely and sweet and sad all at the same time. It’s an ending only C.S. Lewis could write and get away with.
Even though I read these books every year, I never tire of them. They never fail to delight and excite me. If you haven’t read them, and like fantasy adventures with talking animals, magical creatures, and children saving the day, then you absolutely must read these.
What are y’all reading this week?