Saturday, 17 November 2012

The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

When Digory and Polly are tricked by Digory's peculiar Uncle Andrew into becoming part of an experiment, they set off on the adventure of a lifetime. What happens to the children when they touch Uncle Andrew's magic rings is far beyond anything even the old magician could have imagined.

Hurtled into the Wood between the Worlds, the children soon find that they can enter many worlds through the mysterious pools there. In one world they encounter the evil Queen Jadis, who wreaks havoc in the streets of London when she is accidentally brought back with them. When they finally manage to pull her out of London, unintentionally taking along Uncle Andrew and a coachman with his horse, they find themselves in what will come to be known as the land of Narnia.

I enjoyed reading about Narnia was founded and meeting Aslan along with the other creatures. They are transported by magical means to a dark void where Aslan sings an entire universe into existence. Amid the creation, Jadis attempts to kill Aslan with a piece of lamppost, which bounces off him harmlessly and instead takes root, growing into a new lamppost. Yes `that' lamppost as we find out later in the chronology.

What follows is very much a God (Aslan), Satan (Jadis), Garden of Eden (Narnia), tree of knowledge allegory.

Digory is allowed to take an apple from the tree back to England where it heals his dying mother, and from the planted core gives rise to a great tree. When that tree is blown down in a storm many years later, Digory has the wood made into a wardrobe.

Although The Magician's Nephew was the sixth book published in the Chronicles of Narnia, it is probably the world's first prequel and is definitely best read first. It is, as I say, the genesis of Narnia, the establishment of Aslan as a God figure, and the explanation for both the wardrobe and its power as a gateway, and the incongruous lamppost at the entry to Narnia.  I'd recommend this book to any fantasy lovers.

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