Christian Themes In The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
Christian Themes In The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Although it is possible to read the Chronicles of Narnia as pure adventures, they also are very much grounded in Christian themes. Lewis seems to have intended The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe as a more accessible (for children) version of the Easter story.
Aslan, the Lion who sang Narnia into being in The Magician’s Nephew, clearly is a Christ-like figure. In The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, he returns to the world he created to redeem it from the eternal winter of the White Witch.
The witch is an evil figure, who tempts Edmund, one of the prophesied “Sons of Adam,” and turns him against the other “Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve” and against Aslan himself. Here, we have a parallel to to mankind turning from the Word of God.
Aslan defeats the Witch’s winter, but she has one last trick up her sleeve. She claims Edmund, saying that Deep Magic From The Dawn of Time has given her dominion over such traitors. Only blood will save the boy, so Aslan secretly agrees to be sacrificed by the Witch. His death, however, is only temporary, because Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time guarantees that the wrongly sacrified will be brought back to life. The morning after his sacrifice, Aslan returns to his final victory over the evil witch.
If you remove the fantasy elements, the basic outline is familiar as the Easter story. Other elements of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe further echo the Easter story of Jesus’ death and resurrection:
Just as Jesus held vigil at Gesthemane with a few trusted disciples, Aslan spends a lonely night before his sacrfice with Lucy and Susan.
Bound and condemned, Aslan is mocked by the White Witch’s followers; Jesus is mocked by Pilate’s soldiers.
When Mary Magdalene and the other women go to the tomb, it is empty, and Jesus’ body is gone. Later, the women are the first to see him after the resurrection. Similarly, in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, when Lucy and Susan go back to the table to find Aslan’s body, it is gone; they, too, are the first to see Aslan after his resurrection.