over the last several months i've been reading the entire chronicles of narnia by c.s. lewis to my oldest son at bedtime. we started with the lion , the witch, and the wardrobe, and finished just two nights ago with the last battle, and while i have read them all before, it was so much better to read them with my son, to see his reactions, and to experience them as a child myself. what a great joy.
the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe might just be my favorite, only because it is where i first walked through that wardrobe and felt the fur turning to pine needles. it is where i was first struck by the sight of that lampost there in the woods, and mr. tumnus walking by with his arms full of packages. no other discovery in the series had quite the magical impact as that one. plus, no other book in the series inspired a full-length album by a band called "the second chapter of acts" which still gets play on my turntable to this very day!
(warning: it's from 1980, and it shows).
prince caspian - maybe my least favorite of the books. i always get frustrated how aslan is so close, and yet no one seems to be able to see him or feel him. maybe this hits a bit too close to home!
the voyage of the dawn treader - although i could do without all of the nautical stuff, i love this book, partly for the adventure and discovery in it of magical creatures and lands, but, most of all, because of the incredible transformation of eustace from a snot-nosed ungrateful brat, to a slightly-less snot nosed, grateful little brat, who has been loved just the way he is. i am eustace! the scales have come off!
the silver chair - this one used to my favorite. i loved all the hidden underground worlds, and always felt a soft spot in my heart for puddleglum. also, marshwiggle drunkenness is always a nice touch. however, this time around, it felt a bit slow at times. a note here: while we were reading these, my son was also reading many other books, including the first 5 in the harry potter series. it is interesting how these books certainly show their age and their distinct british-ness. there were many things that he didn't understand, so we had to stop and talk about it.
the horse and his boy - i enjoyed this one very much, what with the interesting commentary about other cultures and faiths being offered by c.s. lewis here. in this case, aslan is always nearby without the characters knowing it, but in a less frustrating way than in prince caspian. great tension in the chase across the desert, and of course, a great ending with aslan saying these words to rabadash (andn to me): "justice will be mixed with mercy...you shall not always be an ass." thanks be to aslan.
the magicians nehpew - oh, we loved this one! i had sort of forgotten about this one, with the wood between the worlds, and the pools and the terrible jadis, and so on. this book explains the beginning of "the world" so to speak, and points to a wider circle of creation than one expects. lewis seems to be saying that there are other worlds, too; that the world doesn't revolve around you, nor the universe around your world. there is a farther, wider horizon, and a deeper, higher, truer truth.
the last battle - this time around, this one was my favorite. probably because i was able to hear more of the theology of lewis than simply the story, which is probably all i got the first time. the story is pretty depressing for awhile, until the end, so i dont' think i liked it much when i was younger. but this time i was able to "see" heaven. and so did jackson. when lewis was describing who all was in the land beyond the door (further up and further in), jackson looked up at me, smiled, and said, "it's just like heaven!" yes. yes it is. thanks be to aslan.