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Articles about the CS Lewis novels, The Chronicles of Narnia

The Horse and His Boy

Published in 1954, A Horse and His Boy was the fifth book published in the series, although it is the third in the internal chronology, following The Magician’s Nephew and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

It is an interesitng book for a couple of reasons. First, it is the only book in the series which does not have as its main characters children from our world. And second, it is a “story within a story”, in that it is refered to in the fourh book, The Silver Chair.

Plot Synopsis

WARNING: Plot Spoilers

Raised as a fisherman’s son, a boy named Shasta is is surprised to learn that he was a castaway foundling when he is sold to a cruel Calormene general. Shasta learns that the General’s horse, Bree can talk, and the two decide to escape and make their way north to Narnia. Along the way, they are joined by another escapee, Aravis—a Calormene noble—and her talking horse Hwin.

Arriving in the Capital of Calormen, Shasta is mistaken by a procession of Narnian royalty for Corin, prince of Archenland, who had been travelling with the Narnians. He is too scared to reveal his true identity. Tensions are high, because the Narnians fear that if Queen Susan refuses to marry Calormene price Rabadash, they will be held prisoner.

Amazingly, Shasta is later helped to escape by the real Prince Corin. He reunited with Aravis, who is being helped by a friend. During her escape, Aravos learns of a plot to attack Archenland as a launching pad for an invasion of Narnia.

Escaping from the city, Aravis, Shasta and the talking horses cross the desert to try to warn the people fo Archenland. After an encounter with a lion, which injures Aravis and the horses, Shasta is forced to go on alone. He manages to warn Archenland of the invasion in time for a defense to be mounted.

Shasta is then revealed to be Cor—the long-lost twin of Prince Corin of Archenland—which explains the mistaken identity. Shasta / Cor eventually marries Aravis.

Posted by The Editor on 02/07 at 06:59 PM
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The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Published in 1950, The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe is the best known and the first to be published of the Chronicles of Narnia.

Plot Synopsis

WARNING: Plot Spoilers

In 1940, four children —Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy—evacuated from London during the blitz are assigned to live with an elderly Iprofessor named Digory Kirke, his housekeeper Mrs. Macready and three servants.

Exploring the house, the children find a room that is empty but for a large wardrobe. (made from the wood of the appletree from book, The Magician’s Nephew). When the others have gone, Lucy enters the wardrobe and discovers that it is the gateway to another world. She walks into the snowy wood, where she reaches a lamp post and meets a faun named Mr. Tumnus. Tumnus invites Lucy to his cave, where he confesses that he is in the pay of the White Witch, and has been ordered to turn over any Son of Adam or Daughter of Eve he encounters. Mr. Tumnis, however, finds that he cannot do it and returns Lucy to the lamp post where she goes back through the wardrobe. Miraculously, despite the length of her visit in Narnia, almost no time has passed in England.

Lucy re-enters the wardrobe a few days later and is followed by Edmund. He is unable to find his sister, but is instead met by the White Witch. She tempts him with his favorite treat—Turkish Delight—and convinces him to bring his brothers and sisters back with him. On his way back, he meets Lucy, who has been to meet Mr. Tumnus.

After returning, Edmund denies that the two of them have been to Narnia and says that they have been playing a game. After some angry words, narnia and the wardrobe appear to be forgotten.

Some time later, the children hide in the wardrobe to escape from Mrs. Macready and some visitors. Noticing a light at the back of the warddrobe, they push through the coats and find themselves in the snowy wod. Lucy takes them to Mr Tumnus’s cave, but finds that it has been wrecked. A note from the wolf Maugrim, Chief of the White Witch’s Secret Police tells them that Mr. Tumnus has been arrested and is charged with treason. Lucy realizes that she is the cause of his arrest and is determined to save them.

Visiting with a friendly beaver family, the children learn that the great lion, Aslan—maker of Narnia—is returning from across the Sea to meet them at the Stone Table. Mr. Beaver also tells them of a prophecy: that when two Sons of Adam, and two Daughters of Eve sit on the thrones of Cair Paravel (the Capital of Narnia), it will be the end of the White Witch.

During the visit at the Beaver’s lodge, Edmund manages to slip out unnoticed to return to the White Witch. She is furious that he returend without his siblings, and even more so when she learns that Aslan has returned to Narnia. The Witch orders Maugrim to go with his wolves and kill the beavers and anyone else he finds. She then takes Edmund on her sled to the Stone Table to confront Aslan.

The White Witch’s sled passes a group of animals who are eating a holiday meal. She demands to know who gave them the food, and when the animals tell her that it was Father Christmas, she turns them to stone. Edmund begins to realize that the Witch is evil.

In the meantime, Father Christmas has also come to visit the other thre children and the Beavers. Peter gets a sword and shield; Susan an ivory horn and a bow and arrow; Lucy receives a dagger and a potion which will restore ill or injured people to health. They continue on to the Stone Table, where they meet Aslan. By the time they get there, they find that the Lion’s magic has completely melted the snow.

Aslan sends a team of animals to rescue Edmund, and then shows Peter Cair Paravel, where he will be named High King. While they are gone, Susan starts blowing her horn. Peter returns and defeats Maugrim, the White Witch’s Chief of Secret Police. Edmund is rescued and reunited with his siblings.

The Witch, however, demands the return of Edmund, whom she has named a traitor. It is her claim that Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time has given her claim over all traitors. After a private discussion with her, Aslan announces that he has settled her claim on Edmund.

Later that night, Susan and Lucy notice that Aslan is missing, and go in search of him. While they watch from hiding, Aslan is executed on the Stone Table by the White Witch. His death is not final, however, and in the morning they find that Aslan has been brough back to life by an older magic which guarantees that the wrongly sacrificed will return to life.

Riding on the back of Aslan, Susan and Lucy are taken to the courtyard of the Witch’s castle. There, Aslan revives hundreds of creatures who have been turned to stone by the White Witch—including Mr. Tumnus.

A great battle between the forces of good and evil then ensues. The Witch is killed when she falls into a ravine while fleeing the victorious army of Aslan. Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are then crowned kings and queens of Narnia at Cair Paravel. They rule for many years.

A long time into their children’s reign, a white stag is spotted in Narnia. If captured, it will grant to anyone their wishes. In hot pursuit of the stag, the four children head into the Wild Woods of the West. There, they come acoss the lamp post, which they first saw many years before. They pass back through the warddrobe and return to England. Only a few minutes have passed in the real world.

The children tell Professor Kirke about Narnia, and he tells them that the gateway through the wardrobe to Narnia is closed. But there are other avenues.

Posted by The Editor on 02/07 at 06:57 PM
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The Magician’s Nephew

The Magician’s Nephew

Published in 1950, the Magician’s Nephew was the sixth book published in the Chronicles of Narnia, but actually comes first in the internal chronology of the series. Author C.S. Lewis never planned the series, and each book apparently was written as it occurred to him.

Plot Synopsis

WARNING: This plot synopsis contains spoilers.

The Magician’s Nephew centers around the adventures of Digory and Polly, two children who meet in London in the summer of 1900. Digory’s mother is dying—a plot element that later becomes important.

One day, while exploring the attic that is shared by the adjourning row houses on their block, they stumble upon Digory’s Uncle Andrew at work in his study. Andrew, a self-taught magician, tricks the children into putting on a magic ring which transports them to the Wood Between Worlds.

The Wood is full of strange pools of water, each of which will transport visitors to a different world. The first pool takes the children to the ruins of the capital of a world called Charn. There, in a ruined palace, they discover a bell—along with a sign that both warns against ringing, and dares visitors to do so. Digory accepts the challenge and rings the bell, which awakens the statue of the evil Queen Jadis.

Jadis tells them how—at the end of a long war between herself and her sister—she had used the incantation called “The Deplorable Word, “ which destroyed all life on Carn. All life, that is, except Jadis, who was placed in a state of suspended animation until the children awakened her with the bell.

Alarmed by Jadis’ evil, Digory and Polly try to escape back to their own world. Unfortunately, Jadis is able to grab Polly’s hair and follow them back to London. Andrew, Digory and Polly are able to return the Queen to the wood, but are sent back with her, along with a cab driver and his horse.

Thinking that he knows the way, Digory plunges teh group into a familiar looking pool, only to find that he has the wrong one. Instead of Charn, he has led them to a world which is dark, and completely empty. It is a world in the making.

Soon, the group hears singing which creates stars and the sun—and with the light, they can see the singer: The Great Lion, Aslan. Aslan continues to sing, and before their eyes sings a new world into creation.

Jadis attacks Aslan with a lamp post bar that she brought from London, fails in the attack, and then flees. Later, Aslan sends Digory on a mission to get a special apple as penance for bringing the evil witch into the land of Narnia. Polly, Digory and the Horse—given wings by Aslan—fly to a walled garden, where they are tempted by Jadis. The witch tells Digory that he can eat the apple and gain eternal youth, or use it to cure his dying Mother. Digory resists, and takes the apple back to Aslan.

Following Aslan’s instructions, Digory plants the apple in the ground. While it is growing, the cab driver and his wife are crowned as the Kng and Wueen of Narnia. The tree, Aslan says, will protect Narnia from the Witch. He then gives Digory one of the apples from the tree, telling him that it will cure his mother.

When they return to London, Digory gives the apple to his mother, who is cured. He then buries the core—along with the magic rings—in the back yard. Over the years, the core grows into large tree, only to be blown down in a storm. Digory has the wood from the tree made into a wardrobe—the same wardrobe which figures in the next book in the series, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Posted by The Editor on 02/07 at 06:56 PM
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