Have You Journeyed to Narnia?

Earlier this year, I finished The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis’s 7-volume legendary masterpiece. My dad recommended I read the series back when I was a kid. It only took me until I was 54 years old to do so. Better late than never, I guess.

This post isn’t intended as a full review of the series. Nevertheless, I want to pay tribute to what Lewis accomplished and encourage parents (with one caveat) to introduce their kids to the world of Narnia.

This series of seven books, first published in the 1950s, is renowned for its imaginative storytelling, rich allegorical layers, and profound moral and spiritual themes. Lewis masterfully blends elements of fantasy, mythology, and Christian allegory, creating a captivating world that has entertained readers of all ages — for decades!

Along with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (both written by Lewis’s literary colleague and friend J.R.R. Tolkien), The Chronicles of Narnia is among the most influential set of books written in the 20th century. It remains a formative work in the fantasy genre and a pioneering achievement in the world of children’s literature.

The series not only pioneered the concept of children journeying to a magical realm, but also set a benchmark for how fantasy literature can explore complex philosophical and ethical questions. Its influence is evident in the works of many subsequent fantasy authors and in its enduring popularity, reflected in various adaptations in film, television, and theatre.

I’m sad to say that I saw the films — the ones that came out between 2005 and 2010 — before reading the books. Now, having read the series, I can say that the first film did a marvelous job of capturing the essence of its literary inspiration. The second one, less so. And the third was disappointing.

Nevertheless…

I strongly recommend the book series with one caveat. And that caveat is this…

Lewis penned The Chronicles of Narnia in the 1950s and wrote it primarily for children. Therefore…

You’re reading mid-20th-century British literature, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The prose is sometimes whimsical, sometimes jarringly dated, and always British. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but some 21st-century readers may have a tough time getting fully immersed in the stories.

For those who can, however, it’s a treat indeed.

**A version of this article appeared on my pastor blog - PastorBrianTubbs.com**

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