A Jolly Revisit to Narnia

Hey, happy New Year! (and happy Chinese New Year in just a few more days!)

This is a book response to the novel the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, and will mention briefly the 2005 film of the same title. Some flaws exist in this essay and therefore I do not recommend using it as any form of study material.

Picking up and getting lost in the world of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe again 13 years after its debut on the big screen is quite phenomenal for me — with a better understanding and a much more mature mind I am able to appreciate this work of art even more profoundly. My revisit to Narnia provided me with a second chance to fully experience the magical journey filled with surprises and details I couldn’t have noticed before. Every so often I stumbled upon a scene and I said to myself, “I didn’t know this happened!” or “So when he was referring to this he actually meant that! [1]” I realized I had missed out on a great deal of content and somehow, in the course of re-reading the whole story, I felt nothing but the warmth of joy coming from fulfilling the gaps between my childhood memories.

Despite my failing to comprehend it fully at the age of 7, the book should still be easy for general young audiences to read. That said, it is by no means a shallow story confined by simple words and phrases. In fact, without much presence of rare words or difficult phrases, the book still delivers rich levels of depth [2] that the author achieves by unleashing his rich imagination into the story. The result delivered to us is a unique, lively, and compelling story that is nothing short of a masterpiece.

I particularly like the extra touch of the third-person narrative perspective from which the narrator “talks” to the readers as if he or she is speaking to us in person, referring him or herself as “I” and from time to time expressing feelings towards the plots. It can be seen when the children were having a feast at Mr. and Mrs. Beaver’s place early on in the story, that “all the children thought — and I agree with them —” that nothing beat freshly served fish. Likewise, halfway into the story when the children exhausted themselves after a day of advancing, Peter’s voice through the author’s depiction became tired and pale. Upon that, the narrator noted “I hope you know what I mean by a voice sounding pale” in parentheses. Probably my favorite example of such is the part where Aslan secretly went to meet the Witch in the dead of night. Where he was then surrounded by all kinds of evil-looking creatures, some even too explicit to be described according to the narrator, because “if I did the grown-ups would probably not let you read this book.” I burst out laughing despite the grave condition I found that Aslan was in and instantly felt bad for laughing. These neat little touches, to me, not only add flavors to the story but also make me feel closer to the narrator, as if he is sitting right beside me reading to me. It is something I appreciate very much. [3]

Picking up and getting lost in the world of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe again 13 years later, I become more appreciative of this work of art by C. S. Lewis which broadened my imagination when I was a kid, and still goes on to amaze me 13 years later. It’s fascinating how coming back to a story years after gives us new insights into the story, arousing new thoughts and interpretations of it. Nevertheless, what never changed after all is my passion for a world like Narnia that lives in our hearts.

[1] lack examples.

[2] needs to be elaborated.

[3] Prof: Alice & Peter Pan also have narrators who occasionally speak directly to readers. How is this one different?

the chronicles of narnia book

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