loulamac’s #CBRV review #73: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis

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It’s the early 1900s, and Digory and Polly are next door neighbours in a smart part of London. Digory, whose mother is very sick, is staying with his aunt and uncle, and the two children form a friendship as they play in their houses and gardens over the course of the summer. One day, their adventures take them to Uncle Andrew’s study. Uncle Andrew is a nasty piece of work who has been dabbling in magic. He tricks Polly into touching a magic ring that causes her to vanish, and Digory has no choice but to follow her to bring her home.

The two children find themselves in the ‘wood between worlds’, and their first adventure takes them to the dying world of Charn and introduces us to Queen Jadis (who we get to know even better in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe) when Digory awakes her from her sleep. After a disastrous trip back to London, the children, with Uncle Andrew, Jadis, a London cabby and his horse Strawberry in tow, end up in a dim new world. Light dawns with Aslan, whose song gives life to the darkness, and the land and seas, plants and animals of Narnia are created. After a failed attempt on Aslan’s life, Jadis escapes to the north, and to atone for his part in bringing such evil into the new Narnia, Digory goes on an errand to bring back a magical apple that will protect Narnia. With Narnia now safe, Aslan returns Digory, Polly and Uncle Andrew to London, where a fruit from the magic tree restores Digory’s mother back to health.

The Magician’s Nephew, although published sixth, chronologically speaking is the first of the Narnia stories, dealing as it does with the creation of the magical land. As well as meeting Aslan for the first time, we learn the origins of The White Witch, and discover how the wardrobe came to be a magical portal to Narnia. The book gives the Narnia series its own creation myth, and as you’d expect with Lewis, there are biblical parallels with this and the forbidden fruit that Jadis gorges herself on. As with the other stories, Lewis doesn’t shy away from showing the selfish, cowardly and greedy sides of his characters, and as with the Pevensie children in later books, Polly and Digory are more real and likeable for it. This book was is magical to me now as it was on first reading when I was seven years old, and I don’t think that will ever change.

Captain Tuttle’s #CBR5 Review #19 – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

Two of our Pevensies, Lucy and Edmund, are visiting with relatives – including their awful cousin Eustace. Eustace’s parents are supposedly modern, and their son is a total wiener. Lucy and Edmund can’t stand him, of course. One day, they’re in Lucy’s room, and they get sucked into a painting of a ship. Like you do.

They land in the sea, in Narnia. They’re rescued by the ship, which is captained by their old friend Caspian. Narnia is at peace, so he decided that it was time to explore. He was going to try to find his father’s old friends, who had been sent away by his nasty uncle to see what lay beyond the Lone Islands.

As they travel, Caspian learns that the outer reaches of his kingdom aren’t being run quite the way he wants, so while exploring, he also solves problems, does away with the slave trade, stuff like that. While they’re doing this, Eustace is still being a total wiener, but he learns his lesson when he wanders off and gets turned into a dragon. Aslan likes to teach lessons in interesting ways.

This is another of my favorite Narnia books, more of an adventure than some of the other stories. There is some sadness to this, because it’s the last time any of the Pevensies will return to Narnia, and the last time we see Reepicheep as well. I may be taking a break from Narnia for a bit. I started to read The Silver Chair, and I’m not enjoying it as much as I had the other books. Maybe a break will do us both some good.

Captain Tuttle’s #CBR5 Review #18 – Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

And the travels through Narnia continue. The Pevensies are on their way back to school, about a year after their initial visit through the wardrobe. They’re sitting in the train station, and are suddenly sucked back into Narnia. They land on an island, which turns out to be Cair Paravel, their castle, but hundreds of years have passed, and the castle has fallen into ruins. They start working their way to the mainland, trying to figure out why they’re there. On the way, they encounter a dwarf. They save his life after some bad guys toss him overboard, and he becomes their guide.

The dwarf tells the kids a tale; the tale of Prince Caspian. Caspian’s father had been king of Narnia, until his sudden & untimely death. Caspian’s uncle Miraz is now king, and Caspian will inherit when Miraz dies, unless Miraz has a son. Unfortunately, that’s what happens, so Caspian is expendable. His tutor sees the writing on the wall before Caspian does, and spirits the boy away to safety. Caspian also runs into some dwarves, and then begins gathering his army to take his rightful place on the throne of Narnia.

So much time has passed since the Pevensies ruled Narnia, that the talking beasts and dwarves have gone into hiding. The people that conquered Narnia drove them away. They didn’t disappear, they were just hiding. Waiting for the true king – who turns out to be Caspian, of course.

The war begins, and the Pevensies join forces with Caspian. This being a Narnia book, one can expect a reasonably happy ending. Of all the Narnia books, this is definitely one of my favorites. For me, Pevensies + Narnia = happy reading.