For years, I’ve wanted to reread The Chronicles of Narnia. I think the last time I read them was around 2010 when the Voyage of the Dawn Treader film was released. (But I might have only reread that one, I can’t remember!) Every year, though, I find myself putting them off to read or reread something else. But alas, no more! Since Pixie Dust Official is curating their first seven boxes around the Narnia books, I thought it was the perfect time to reread the series. So for the next several months, I’ll be rereading one book a month.
I thought since I was rereading them, I’d share my thoughts about each book as well, especially since the last time I read them I was in high school. I’ve also decided to annotate these specific copies to keep track of my thoughts as I read. Pixie Dust Official is putting out boxes in chronological order, so the first box was themed around The Magician’s Nephew.
Growing up, The Magician’s Nephew was never a favorite of mine. I liked it because I liked all the books, but I always wanted stories about Lucy and Edmund instead. But rereading The Magician’s Nephew last month, I realized how much I love this story, possibly even more than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
The deep truths C.S. Lewis weaves alongside the creation of Narnia and the beginning of everything still speak to me even as an adult, and I think that’s what makes Narnia so memorable. They aren’t stories just for kids to read as entertainment and grow out of. They are the stories that change your life.
I relate a lot more to Digory than I initially expected. He’s going through a lot at such a pivotal point in his life. He’s been forced to move into his uncle’s house in the city because his mother is sick and his father is away, and then he learns his uncle is absolutely awful. The events he goes through before the book begins and during the book just pull at my heartstrings.
But it’s Aslan’s response to all of it that gets me every time: “For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion’s eyes. they were such big, bright tears compared with Digory’s own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself.”
It’s no secret that Narnia is rich with religious themes. Growing up, these books helped sculpt my own belief and theology of Christianity. So this line, above all the others in this book, hits me hard because it just makes me realize that Aslan (aka Jesus) knows everything Digory is going through and he understands it, he has sympathy for him, yet he also knows the bigger picture. And that bigger picture needs the tree of protection against the White Witch. So even though Aslan does not immediately give Digory something to help him save his mother, Aslan still understand what Digory is going through and he cares, just like I believe that Jesus understands what I go through and he cares about everything going on in my life, the good and the bad.
And then there’s also Polly. I love Polly. I think she’s one of the my underrated Narnia characters ever. She’s brave and determined, and she doesn’t put up with stupidity. I love how C.S. Lewis utilizes her to show how sometimes we can identify evil and sometimes we can’t and need a friend to help us see the truth. Polly sticks by Digory through it all, even though she barely knows him, and I think she’s admirable.
As for the White Witch—or as she’s called in this book, Jadis—she’s definitely interesting. The world she comes from, Charn, is intriguing. I’m not a fanfiction writer, but if I were to write fanfiction it’d probably be about Narnia (or maybe Star Wars), and a part of me wants someone to write a story all about Jadis. How she grew up in this cruel, cold world of Charn; the war between her and her sister; what the Deplorable Word she spoke was; how it all ended in the world dying and the inhabitants being frozen like statues. I just have so many questions that need answers.
One of the biggest highlights of this book, though, is the creation of Narnia. Essentially, the purpose of this book was to explain how Narnia came into being and how the wardrobe gives access to Narnia. And I love every moment of it. From Aslan singing stars and animals into existence to lampposts and toffee and coins turning into trees to the first and second and third joke. It’s so fun and magical and clever. I am amazed at C.S. Lewis’s ability to paint such vivid pictures with his words.
Narnia is an old books series, published during the 1950s. A lot of books written back then are boring and outdated and uninteresting. But not this series. This series thrives because C.S. Lewis is a brilliant writer. He adds truths that are still relevant today, he describes things that just completely capture a feeling or an experience, and he creates such vivid characters and conflicts.
I’m complete Narnia trash and I always will be. But rereading The Magician’s Nephew after years completely blew me away again and showed me why it’s okay to be such a fan of this series. I cried at Digory’s sorrows. I laughed at the first joke and the second joke and the third. I worried over Digory and Polly’s safety. I feared Jadis’ cruel power. I hoped in Aslan’s promises.
Narnia Reread Posts:
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Horse and His Boy
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair
19 thoughts on “Narnia Reread: The Magician’s Nephew”
I never read any of these books. My father thought they were too “Christian” and didn’t want us reading them.
You could read them now! It’s never too late to give a book series a try.
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Thanks but… I’m really not into fantasy stories these days.
I agree, The Magician’s Nephew is a book I like better as an adult than I did as a child. I always liked Polly, but the rest of the book was hit and miss for me. Now, though? It resonates with me a lot more.
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Yes! I feel the same. I always liked Polly a lot too, but now I see myself in Digory.
I agree, I think Digory is a lot more relatable now than he was before. Maybe because when I’d first read this book I hadn’t really experienced loss (or the fear of it).
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Oooh, yeah, that’s a good point.
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