The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first book written in The Chronicles of Narnia, can be read as a Christian allegory or a fantasy story. Author C.S. Lewis recommended that parents have their children read and fall in love with the tale first, before getting into the underlying Christian message.
During World War II, the four Pevensie children — Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy— are evacuated from London to a rambling country house. One rainy day while playing hide-and-seek, Lucy climbs into a wardrobe that is a doorway to the magical world of Narnia and its talking animals, centaurs and other mystical creatures.
Eventually all four children enter the wardrobe and discover a world where “it’s always winter and never spring.” They meet a witch named Jadis and a lion named Aslan, two of the story’s major figures, and their adventures begin. To tell any more would spoil the movie.
The Symbolism Aslan (which means lion in Turkish) is the creator of Narnia. He symbolizes Jesus Christ and the power of good.
Queen Jadis, the White Witch who has ruled Narnia for 100 years, represents the power of Satan or evil in the world.
Peter, the eldest Pevensie, is a strong leader who becomes the High King of Narnia. He has been compared to the Apostle Peter.
Susan becomes a courageous queen in Narnia, but later dismisses their adventures as childhood stories. She represents someone who was religious early in life but abandoned her faith as she grew older.
Edmund is tempted away from his family by the White Witch, her Turkish Delights and the promise of power. Because of his betrayal, he has been compared to Judas of the New Testament and Adam in the Garden of Eden. He also is the symbol of “everyman” that Jesus died for on the cross.
Lucy, the faithful youngest child, is the strongest believer in Aslan. She symbolizes the simple faith all Christians are asked to have in God.
The Stone Table is the Narnian equivalent to the cross Jesus was crucified on.
Sources: Louis Markos, professor of English at Houston Baptist University and a Lewis scholar; C.S. Lewis & Narnia for Dummies (Wiley Publishing Inc., $19.99) by Richard Wagner.
– The Chronicles of Narnia, The Story Within the Story, Barbara Karkabi, Houston Chronicle, Dec. 9, 2005
This post was last updated: Jan. 4, 2006