Goodreads synopsis: When Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are sent to stay with a kind professor who lives in the country, they can hardly imagine the extraordinary adventure that awaits them.
It all begins one rainy summer day when the children explore the professor’s rambling old house. When they come across a room with an old wardrobe in the corner, Lucy immediately opens the door and gets inside. To her amazement, she suddenly finds herself standing in the clearing of a wood on a winter after-noon, with snowflakes falling through the air. Lucy has found Narnia, a magical land of fauns and centaurs, nymphs and talking animals — and the beautiful but evil White Witch, who has held the country in eternal winter for a hundred years.
The Chronicles of Narnia is the title of the collection of seven books written by Clive Staples Lewis, better known as C. S. Lewis. Although he first published The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the author has said several times that this book is the second of the collection, and The Magician’s Nephew is the first one. However, I decided to start with this one because it was the only one available at the book fair that I visited in December.
It is with great pleasure that I say I enjoyed reading this little book and I’m glad I read it in English, as if I had read it in Portuguese, the impact would not be so great. It is undoubtedly one of the best children’s books, as everyone says. It has everything a child could love in a book: magic, charming characters, spectacular creatures and simple illustrations, but beautiful. No wonder that this author has been a major influence on J. K. Rowling, the writer of the Harry Potter series.
Let’s start with the plot, which is lovely and innocent. There are four children with different personalities that started to live in a big house of a strange teacher. In one of her explorations through the house, the youngest child, Lucy, discovers a wardrobe and decided to hide in it. However, she did not expect to end up at a place full of snow, nor hoped to find a Faun. Of course, the girl told everything to her older siblings who, at first, thought it was just a story created by her, until they themselves got into the wardrobe to hide from the maid of the house and saw the white place. It was Narnia, a land full of strange magical beings and animals that could speak. It was a beautiful place, but cursed by the White Witch, who preferred to be known as Queen of Narnia. But with the children in Narnia, everything changed and hope started to fill the hearts of the inhabitants of Narnia.
As you can see, it is a simple and ligth plot, perfectly suited for children. Also, it is amazing how the author has combined these Christian themes, such as the representation of Christ (Aslan represents the Son of God), with the fantasy elements and you can see the author’s enthusiasm for mythology, as there is a strong presence of mythological beings such as fauns, centaurs, minotaurs, Dryads , mermaids, giants, etc.
So the story was very well built, although there aren’t many details, like major descriptions of the magical beings, or the previous lives of children or of their own personalities. But I understand that the author certainly wanted to write a light book and it is interesting enough to captivate younger readers.
The writing is very natural and fluid and it’s not tiring, since there is also no great descriptions of places and characters. However, the descriptions are still enough for the reader’s imagination. For being so accessible and light, there is not much to say about the writing, unless, that it is ,in fact, perfect for children. It is not boring and its simplicity provides the magic that any Fantasy book should have.
As for the characters, the author did an excellent job of creating Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. I especially liked Lucy, she is a very innocent, charming, friendly girl. I also liked Edmund, who, despite being the “traitor” of the story, he managed to captivate me for being a great contrast when compared to Lucy. But about Peter and Susan… There is not much to say, because although they have played a role in the final battle, especially Peter, they didn’t bring anything different to the plot. Still, they are good siblings and they are kind of sensible for their age. Aslan and the Witch are also interesting contrasts and I was curious about their past, which is something that was never mentioned throughout the book. Aslan is a character who defends the goodness and justice, while the Witch prefers to be greedy and revengeful.
In conclusion, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a wonderful, magical, innocent book, but it represents the good and the evil in a naive and creative way. It is an excellent for children who do not like to read, so that they can realize that reading itself is magical, but this is also perfect for adults who would like to be children again.
It’s a fascinating story and that delights for its simplicity.