I first read The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis when I was in middle school. I had a teacher who read The Hobbit to her fourth grade class every year, and I fell in love with that story. Being a rather voracious reader for my age, I then proceeded into The Lord of the Rings. However, three books only last so long, so I was then looking for something else.
The wardrobe opened for the first time, and I devoured all seven parts of this series first and foremost because they are very good stories. As a middle schooler, I didn’t think about literature in the way I do now. I didn’t recognize all of the symbolism laced throughout these books. I didn’t understand cultural apologetics at all and had never considered the idea that an author might be able to use the storytelling as a way to point people towards the Truth.
All I understood at the time was that they were good stories with battles, heroes, villains, adventures and of course the majestic Aslan. Also, I was about the age of many of the different protagonists, so I could identify with Peter as he fought with the wolf or Eustace as he transformed into a dragon. They were kids like I was albeit with a much more dangerous travel plan.
I then did not read Narnia for several years until I got to high school. I needed to do some type of presentation in an English class, and I don’t remember all of the specifics beyond that it was my sophomore year. I went back to Cair Paravel again, and I was drawn in again by the storytelling. Since I was a few years older at the time, I recall getting a little bit more out of the books the second time around, but I still did not grasp very much of what Lewis accomplished through this series.
I then was finally transported back to the Stone Table while getting my Master of Arts in Apologetics at Houston Baptist University. Under the tutelage of Dr. Michael Ward, the author of Planet Narnia, I took an entire class on CS Lewis and Imaginative Apologetics.
I read the series again at this point, and through that class, I finally saw so much more than I had ever seen before. Part of that might be because I was again older and more theologically aware, so I was in a better place to comprehend deeper themes. However, most of it was probably from the guidance I received from my professor and classmates.
I want to take quite a while to share what I have learned and observed with you. This is going to be a seven-week project. Each week, we’re going to look at one of the Chronicles. We’re going to do them in the order they were written.
1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
2. Prince Caspian
3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
4. The Silver Chair
5. The Horse and His Boy
6. The Magician’s Nephew
7. The Last Battle
I hope that you can stick with me through what is going to be the longest series I have put together on this website so far. This is not just going to be a book report. The themes that we see in various parts of these stories are directly applicable to things that we see around us and the world today. Lewis understood the direction the world was moving and anticipated many things about life in the 21st century. This is going to be using these stories as a way to think about and illustrate the world we see around us. We will be talking about postmodernism, skepticism, the problem of evil and so many other things that are brilliantly interwoven into a story that I first picked up simply because it was a fun adventure. Now I see that it is so much more.
If you have never read the Chronicles of Narnia, I encourage you to read along with me. Individually, they are not very long, so reading a book per week really should not be very much. Trust me, they are well worth your effort.