Christian Themes Suffused in C.S. Lewis' Beloved Narnia Tale
- Wednesday, December 07, 2005
After nearly 13 years in the making, one of the most beloved pieces of children's literature comes to life using technology unimaginable by its author when first published in 1950. Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media bring C.S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" to the big screen on Friday, December 9.
Authentic costumes, computer-generated animation, cutting-edge software and astounding special effects transport viewers into the breathtaking land of Narnia. There audiences become one with the classic tale, in which good triumphs over evil.
As described by Walden Media, "the story follows the exploits of the four Pevensie siblings – Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter – who enter the world of Narnia through the back of a magical wardrobe while playing a game of 'hide and seek' in the rural country home of an elderly professor."
The children discover a fantasyland with mythical creatures, talking animals and an evil witch who has cursed the once peaceful land with eternal winter. It only lasts until the children come under the guidance of a noble lion who leads his followers into a battle freeing Narnia from its icy spell forever.
Behind the Wardrobe
Behind the literary masterpiece is the late C.S. "Jack" Lewis, born as Clive Staples Lewis, who is considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century.
"The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" resulted from a conversation between Lewis and author J.R.R. Tolkien ("The Lord of the Rings") about the bewailing state of children's literature in the 1940s. They agreed that no one was writing literature that taught children lessons about life, so they decided to do it themselves.
"The result is we have some of the finest and most refined English literature ever produced …" said Lewis' stepson Douglas Gresham in an interview with AFA Journal.
For the Christmas moviegoing season, director Andrew Adamson and filmmaker Mark Johnson ( both Oscar winners) have turned this acclaimed literary work into a major motion picture. "It's a visually-stunning, beautiful movie, and it's very exciting and moving, and it's amusing," Gresham said.
Beyond the Wardrobe
Yet, at the story's core, there is more.
"It does encapsulate and exemplify all those great values commonly needed ... throughout the centuries – chivalry, honor, commitment, courage, courtesy -- all of the things that the 20th century has tried to do away with as being outmoded and out of date," Gresham explained.
And even beyond the moral message, there is a symbolic story of biblical proportions that illustrates Lewis' personal relationship with Christ.
"His faith permeates everything he wrote ..." explained Dr. Michael Travers, English professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, published author, literary scholar, and Lewis expert.
"[But] Jack didn't sit down to write a Christian book to begin with," Gresham said. "[Rather] what he did was he asked himself a question.
"The question was: Suppose there was a land or world where the animals could talk with the people and they lived in friendly harmony with mythological creatures like fauns and centaurs. ... And suppose somehow evil managed to get into that world, and God had to save that world like He had to save this one," Gresham explained on behalf of the late Lewis. "How might this come about? What might it have been like? How would it have happened?
"His answer to that ... supposal was 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.'"
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