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What I’m Reading: The Magician’s Nephew

Magician’s NephewMy five ladies and I just finished reading aloud the first (or last) of the Chronicles of Narnia, The Magician’s Nephew. I’ve had a number of friends mention reading them aloud as a family, so I took up the idea in our house. The girls were thrilled; the end of each chapter was invariably met with a request for “just one more.” It’s been a delight.

Our highlights from The Magician’s Nephew:

  • The record of creation in Narnia is enjoyable, and the fact that the fresh soil of Narnia gives life to all sorts of splendid seeds (from lamps to toffees to coins) is whimsically creative.
  • Lewis’ going out of his way several times to note that Uncle Digory (the human villain) was actually very like Jadis (the supernatural villain) is filled with spiritual significance.
  • The fact that the evil characters hate Aslan and are unable to understand Him is another clear biblical reference.
  • Jadis’ inability to even faze Aslan with her first attempt at harming him allows for a very stark contrast with the moment in The Wardrobe when he allows himself to be taken and killed by her. (Which, alas, reveals and/or promotes a terribly inaccurate view of the atonement!)
  • Aslan’s questioning of Digory rings true enough to be disturbing to the conscience.
  • The fact that Aslan knows what his subjects need, but “likes to be asked” made me smile.
  • The prospect of getting exactly what one desires, then loathing it is another reality of life and Scripture.

Beyond the valuable spiritual lessons, it is delightful the way the book brings the rest of the series together, especially by giving background info that sheds light on the other stories (e.g. the lamppost and the wardrobe) and results in “Eureka!” moments. We enjoyed it both for its spiirtual lessons and its well-told story. And we have another 6 to go!

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5 Responses

  1. Actually, it’s not ever considerd “last”- chronologically, it’s first, but in order of publishing release, it was 6 out of 7. And FWIW, I am a big proponent of reading them in publishing order rather than chronological. I still remember the thrill as a child when I discovered that Digory grew up to be Prof. Kirke in LWW. But seeing Narnia initially from the perspective of Lucy is an experience that really sets the tone for the other books, IMHO.

    That being said, I am glad you’re reading them out loud. We have read them all that way, and it is a treat for the reader as well as the kiddos.

    A favorite line, of mine from TMN is the encounter between Aslan and the jackdaw:

    “Did I make the first joke?”

    “No, you have only been the first joke.”

    Classic.

  2. Greg, you are such a Narnia snob…er, connoisseur.

  3. I’m waiting for the movie; I don’t read much. Isn’t it out this summer?

  4. I’ll second Greg’s suggestion for reading the Narnia books in publishing order for the most enjoyment. Our mother read these books to us kids when we were growing up and I’m still very fond of them…slightly off-kilter theology and all.

    As for the movies…well, I can’t say that I ever expect much from Hollywood, but I was especially annoyed to see that the next movie has the children starting off in a London Underground station rather than a railway station. I understand that they want to do this so modern viewers can relate, but to me it comes across as patronizing.

  5. I wonder, if Lewis was alive today, would he take the millions upon millions of dollars from Hollywood in order to make his stories into movies? Just think of all the missionaries he could buy with that kind of jack!

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