Narnia (III)

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair and The Last Battle.

narnia3 It’s about time we finished talking about the Narnia books. Frankie and I actually finished them a while back, I just hadn’t gotten around to blogging about it.

I am assuming that you’ve read the Narnia books. If you haven’t, prepare yourself for the odd spoiler and make sure your kids don’t miss out.
Every childhood should have a bit of magic in it.

When I was a kid it took me a few attempts to get into Voyage of the Dawn Treader. All the introductory stuff about Eustace and his family was a bit of a slog. It’s only a couple of pages but all that text can be a bit much for kids.

The standout parts, for me, were always Eustace’s incident with the dragon and the Dufflepuds. The transformation of Eustace back into a boy was quite fascinating, particularly the bit where he had to keep peeling his skin off, (I know, it’s gross – but that’s kids for you I guess).

Frankie’s preferences were “Deathwater island and I liked how he was looking for all these people and found them.”

When I was her age I thought water that turned everything to gold was great too. But nowadays (and having learned through experience that it’s the moment you take your eyes off the kids, that they’re going to fall off something), the idea of something that will kill you if you fall into it by mistake is not so good.

She found some parts scary (and I always say that you have to read through those bits so you know how they turn out and don’t have nightmares – which is why I endure horror movies to the end), and there were bits she found dull. But her guiding star throughout the whole book was Reepicheep, that two feet tall talking rodent. Just like Lucy, she wanted to cuddle him and bring him home. (Fortunately she hasn’t started dragging me to pet shops to eye up potential candidates).

Unfortunately Reepicheep isn’t in The Silver Chair.
Now, this is one of my favourites. There’s a darker edge to this book and Jill is by far my favourite character. She’s tough, sassy and not as upper middle class as the Pevensies (not with a name like ‘Pole’). She isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty and she messes up, right from the start.
This is a gritty adventure with ogres and witches and enchantments and nearly being baked in a pie.
And there’s a Marshwiggle. Possibly the best fantasy character ever invented.
But it didn’t really float Frankie’s boat. Maybe it was a bit too dark. Too many giants, not enough Aslan and talking mice.

But then we get to The Last Battle.
“Why is it the last battle?”
“Why is everything going wrong? Please tell me it’ll be all right!”
“I hate Shift, he’s horrible.”
“I love Aslan.”
“But Puzzle is a nice donkey – why is everyone being so mean to him?”
“I really hate Shift.”
“I hate those dwarves too.”
“I want Puzzle to come and live with me.”
“How can all the others be there when Aslan said they couldn’t come back to Narnia?”
“No. No it can’t be the end! I want Narnia to go on and on for ever. I want to go to Narnia. I want to see Mr Tumnus again”
“Reepicheep!”
I guess it’s fair to say that The Last Battle has it all, highs, lows, death, betrayal, more death, the end of the world, Aslan, more Aslan, more Narnia, a bit more death and a big slap-bang happy ever after.
Oh – and Reepicheep. (Forever).

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3 Responses to Narnia (III)

  1. Juneta says:

    I loved Narnia. I did not read it till my early teens, the first time. It was reading Narnia that lead me to reading more of C. S. Lewis books, but many are not fantasy. After that I read The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings, which is heavier fantasy, which lead me to Terry Brooks and Og Mandino The Christ Commission. Mandino’s books are christian fantasy and were very surprising. I enjoyed them a lot too. Og Mandino made me think of Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” just a little bit–it has a similar flavor.

    Anyway it has been a long time since I have read Narina, so I may have to reread them to freshen my memory–the last few books in the series are rather vague on details and events for me now. I may have to reread the others I named too.

    Funny it is only now that I am finding that book details have faded a little in my memory. I used to remember whatever I read for years and years like yesterday. I guess that is part of getting older.

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  2. Juneta says:

    P. S. Lucy Maud Montgomery is another childhood favorite of mine, “Anne of Green Gables”, but also the “Pat of Silver Bush series” and the “Blue Castle”. I was absolutely fascinated with the way L. M. Montgomery personified the environment and the way the characters interacted with it evoking emotion about their surroundings. I planted silver bushes in my back yard, when I moved into my first house in remembrance of those books.

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    • Angela says:

      I loved Anne of Green Gables, although I only discovered her in my teens and never read anything else by LM Montgomery.
      I really must read some Mark Twain, I loved the movie of ‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’, but that stemmed from Bing Crosby fandom!

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