Monday, 9 February 2009

The Chronicles of Narnia

I've spent the last nine or ten days re-reading the seven Narnia books by C. S. Lewis. I last read them when I was much younger; I really can't remember how long it must be. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that it must be over ten years. I had only a few vague ideas about the plots of them - apart from "The Magician's Nephew" and "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe", both of which were quite clear in my mind - although I could still recall the names of most of the principal characters.

I was quite surprised, in re-reading them, just how well the books hold up. I feel as if there has been a bit of a backlash against C. S. Lewis in recent years, and that there is an idea he just wrote seven religious instruction pamphlets disguised as children's literature. While it's certainly true that there is a lot of Christian symbolism throughout the novels, I never felt that it was there at the expense of the stories.

"The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" was my favourite having re-read the novels, and that said I am nervous about the proposed film. In some ways it is quite an episodic story, as the protagonists sail from one place to another searching for the seven friends of King Caspian's father, but all of these incidents are vital to the story; will the film be able to keep them all? At the same time it has no episode which can really be built up to a large battle, and set piece battles were big parts of the previous two Narnia films.

No matter your age, if you haven't read the Narnia books before you should give them a go; if you have read them before then I'd suggest you make time for them again, on the whole they make for a really interesting and engaging fantasy sequence - certainly the most spiritual I've read, and that in itself was very refreshing.

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