I am absolutely mystified by this first story of the Chronicles. All the beautiful adventures that take place in the series were shaped from a single sentence in this 700 pages book. We’re lucky enough to assist to the creation of Narnia, in this book. I got wrapped up in Aslan’s singing and that rich, fertile world. This whole story is a breath of fresh air before more intense quests to come.
I use to dislike the fantasy genre, until I discovered the psychologist Carl Jung who studied, the relationship between the psyche, dreams and myths (he did much more, too). I only started to enjoy fantasy when I immersed myself in Jung’s work. I read Narnia with an open state of mind, analyzing the mythical and archetypal implications of the various stories. Psychology, especially Carl Jung’s ideas, is a passion to me and I like to mix it with my passion for reading.
I’ve had a lot of fun reading The Chronicles of Narnia with Athena and Alexandrine. Athena came up with questions regarding this first book, and we all answered. Here are our thoughts of The Magician’s Nephew.
Who is your favorite character?
Athena : I loved the Witch. She was hilarious, over the top, terrible and a complete diva. My heart ached when she was torturing poor Fledge (Strawberry at the time), but she just reminded me so much of the Goddess Aphrodite throwing an hissy fit. I wouldn’t want to be anything like her, but she was incredibly amusing. I also really like Aunt Letty. She may have been a minor character, but she was not afraid to stand her ground and take control of any given situation.
Alexandrine : Même si c’est cliché, je dois dire Aslan. Lewis n’en parle autant que dans les autres livres mais déjà on voit que c’est un personnage plein de sagesse et de bonté. Il est super doux et en même temps il impose le respect et tout les animaux l’écoute. Il fait preuve de leadership et de justice envers toutes les espèces de Narnia. Il aurait pu se fâcher en voyant Digory, après tout il a amener le mal dans Narnia le jour de sa naissance, mais à la place il a décidé de lui faire confiance et même de sauver sa mère. Bref c’est un personnage qui montre de belles valeurs et puis comment ne pas aimer la peluche de poils qui a créé le beau monde de Narnia?!
Victoria : It’s not easy to pick a favorite character! I like them all. Polly is the one who stood out to me. She is bold, funny and adorable. I like that she is smart and not afraid to voice her thoughts.
If you were one of Aslan’s creatures, who would you be?
Athena : If I were going to be one of Aslan’s talking creatures, I would the Elephant. I loved the Elephant in the book; he was very calm, logical, and a bit sensitive. He, in some ways, reminded me of myself.
Alexandrine : Il n’y a pas beaucoup d‘explications sur les créatures dans le premier livre. Je serais donc un des animaux, ceux qui peuvent parler bien-sûr, parce que moi pas parler ?… Impossible ! Donc je serais surement un cheval volant aussi juste parce qui ne voudrait pas avoir la puissance, la fougue, la beauté ET la liberté?
Victoria : Aslan’s creatures don’t stand out a lot in The Magician’s Nephew. Based only on this story, I would like to be a horse. Particularly, one of Fledge’s descendant. Why wouldn’t I be a winged horse if I could?
What are your thoughts on the Witch?
Athena : The Witch is just too much. As I said before, she is a total diva. I don’t like her per say, but at the same time, I can’t help but be excited when she comes up in the story. I loved how, when she was in London, and he realized her powers didn’t work anymore and he just went totally batshit. Or how she totally stormed off in a fit when she realized she couldn’t get under Digory’s skin.
Alexandrine : Je l’aime bien, même si elle est l’antagoniste du roman! Elle est tellement intense dans tout ce qu’elle fait et sa présence est fascinante, elle exerce vraiment un grand pouvoir sur son entourage. Le fait qu’elle ne soit pas invincible et qu’elle devienne si faible lorsqu’elle traverse les mondes la rend un peu plus humaine. Elle est soudainement beaucoup moins effrayante. Malgré tout je pense que si je devais la croiser un de ces jours, je garderais mes distance. Avec ou sans magie je ne voudrais pas offenser sa Majesté Jadis !!!
Victoria : The Witch is absolutely hilarious! I’m fascinated by how the whole book (700 pages!) is caused by the Witch’s awakening. As for the woman herself, I can’t help but picture her grotesque and silly. In this story, anyway, she is not scary to me, she is quite entertaining.
Why do you think Polly and Digory never went back to Narnia in the story?
Athena : There was an element of closure for Polly and Digory. They did what they needed to do and felt no need to return to the magical land. However, I suppose, if I were in their place, I would want to go back from time to time to check on the cabbie and his wife (now King and Queen) and, perhaps, even, to thank Aslan for saving Digory’s mother. i don’t know, I just think, as children at least, I would want to visit whenever I can. Who wouldn’t want to talk to animals and be friends with a giant, friendly lion? On the other hand, maybe there was an element of fear? Think of it; going into this new world is, in some ways, quite the shock…do they really want to relive it? In some ways, I can understand Diggory’s stance a bit more…his mother is no longer ill and dying and he would want to spend a much time with her as possible, lest she fall ill again (although the magical apple would prevent this). I think there are so many reasons for not returning to Narnia, but its for them to know and for us to guess…
Alexandrine : Je pense qu’ils n’y sont jamais retournés parce qu’ils avaient vécu tout ce qu’ils avaient à vivre là-bas. Ils ont appris leurs leçons et le reste Narnia ne pouvait plus leur enseigner. Aussi, les émotions ressenties lors du retour étaient si fortes qu’ils ne voulaient peut-être pas risquer de les gâcher en retournant là-bas. Leurs souvenirs étaient si beaux que s’ils retournaient et qu’ils trouvaient Narni changé ils auraient pu être déçus. Dans mon cas, je n’aurais pas pu me tenir loin des animaux parlant et de la magie. Les bagues se seraient pas restés dans mon jardin bien longtemps !!
Victoria : I think that what makes The Chronicles of Narnia a classic and timeless book is because there are few stories. Let me explain : we’ve all read series that lasted up to five, ten or twelve books. I feel like the quantity of stories make is less precious. I think that if Polly and Digory were to have many more adventures in Narnia, it wouldn’t be that much of a special book anymore. The Chronicles of Narnia is special to me, because the stories are packed with magical content, not spread out over many books.
More Narnia reviews and thoughts coming soon!