Guest Post: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe – A Reader’s Retort

Posted 8 July, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in guest post, Reviews

Obligatory introduction: I’m Brooke, a friend of April’s, we met in high school, where we had brief band room exchanges at best, but Facebook drew us closer. Thanks, Zuckerberg. But truthfully…she has become one of my favorite people. Where we differ in theology, we find common ground in snark and the love of books. I’m also an elementary school teacher, so children’s books are a dear love of mine.
So here we go…
First, yes, like April mentioned…there is strong Christian allegory in the book. It’s undeniably the message of Christ and His last days. But I would expect no different from a Christian novelist. When you take an orange and you squeeze it, you get orange juice, no?
Being a Christian myself, I of course have no issue with the meaning behind the story, and indeed, appreciate a Christian based book that is as gripping and exciting as LW&W.  Overall though, if you are uncomfortable with the parallel, I would suspect a child, reading this would see a good story, with good messages. So what can a kid take out of LW&W?
Lets turn to the kiddos…
I’m going to be short with the boys…because I want to focus on the girls since April, you had a bone to pick with Lewis over their characters.
I love Edmund. He screws it up, over and over. He’s a smart mouthed kid, complains about everything, and loves to make poor Lucy come off like a fool when she starts in about the world in the wardrobe. 
So what does Edmund teach us? Forgiveness, forgiveness from his family, because even though Edmund is a complete schmuck his family still wants to save him from his stupidity because that’s what family does.
Not a huge fan, I admit. I tend to root for the underdog, so I am team Edmund. Peter is a bit self-righteous at times and definitely revels in the fact he’s the older brother.  Which is annoying. But you have to love Peter for facing his fears.  He takes the lead, literally, in battle. And is coming to terms of not only having to be responsible for his family, but to be a commander of an army of talking animals and centaurs. That’s a lot for a pre-teen to take on, let’s be honest.
So what does Peter teach us?  Bravery doesn’t happen all at once. But when forced in a situation that a talking wolf attacks your sister, you gotta do, what you gotta do.
Susan and Lucy
Okay so here’s the deal. April, you had issue with the fact that Susan and Lucy are lame. But take another look and buckle up buttercup, ’cause they aren’t.
Okay well…. maybe Susan… Susan is a little lame.
But my girl, Lucy. Here’s what’s heavy, out of the four kids, she’s the main one to focus on.
But first let’s address Susan and her boring personality and why she is super important to Lucy’s development of character.
Who is Susan?
She’s practical, she’s motherly, she’s nervous to go where no daughter of Eve has gone before… into the wardrobe, and beyond the light post. She sees the letter that Mr. Tumnus has been arrested and her first thought is,  “It’s getting colder every minute and we’ve brought nothing to eat. What about just going home?”
Nice, Susan…classy.  Her title is Susan the Gentle. Susan the Gentle?
Let’s be honest. Susan is a bit of a snooze fest and if you continue on with the books, April, you will discover (spoiler alert) that Susan doesn’t remember Narnia, and likes to party. Who would have thought?
But here’s what’s big for Lucy.
Lucy breaks down gender roles. She wants to fight. She’s ready to fight. Santa gave her a freakin’ dagger.  Her friend Tumnus is in trouble and what is Lucy’s first thought?
“We simply must rescue him.” Atta girl Lucy!
She’s young, but she’s adventurous. She’s stubbornly truthful. She doesn’t back down when the other’s don’t believe her about Narnia. She is Lucy the Valiant, having healed her brother after war.
(More spoiler alerts) Later down the road in the series, we see Lucy wishing to look more like Susan…but in that beautiful way, we know Lucy is worth ten Susans. Susan is necessary for us to see Lucy in her brilliant and fearless way.
So what does Susan teach us? When you go into a wardrobe that turns into a winter wonderland… bring food. She also teaches us by example… don’t be lame.
What does Lucy teach us? Don’t be a Susan. Be a Lucy.

A big thanks to Brooke, who became tired of me besmirching her childhood favorites on the blog. (See The Little House Posts, I also may or may not have insulted Charlotte’s Web at one time or another…) Anyway! 
Brooke is a talented artist who’s work you can see (and purchase!) at Art, Love, and Joy and who will occasionally pop into her own blog Applesauce is the New Black

Darlene from Lost in Literature also directed me to her review of The Chronicles of Narnia for another positive perspective on the series. Check that out too! 
What do you think Reader? Have I been too hard on Lucy? Who’s your favorite? Finally, do you see The Chronicles of Narnia as Christian fiction? I ask because I never considered thinking of them that way. If you missed my original negative review of this book – you can find it linked below.

April @ The Steadfast Reader


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