Last weekend, my good friend Spidey announced in another place (and, for UK readers, I don't mean the House of Lords!) that she was planning to start the year by reading through the C.S.Lewis Narnia books, one per week - and invited others to join her. I do seem to read most of them at least annually, but haven't done so as a project, and feeling full of new year cheer I signed up. You all know the books backwards, but I'm thinking I'll blog as I go, anyway, even if I've nothing original to say.
Of course, the first decision to be made was in what order to read them...as written or in their correct chronology. Chronology won, which suits me beautifully, so this week I've been reading The Magician's Nephew.
As an only child, I was specially fond of the book, because I could identify so much with the children. Like Polly, I spent long afternoons reading in the den in our boxroom, like Diggory I had an invalid mother, and like every child since the world began I dreamed of adventures in another world. I always loved that the book opens by referring to some other good friends of mine, E.Nesbit's Bastable children, using their adventures to set the time frame for Polly and Diggory's adventures.
"When Mr. Sherlock Holmes was still living in Baker Street and the Bastables were looking for treasure in the Lewisham Road"
was for my child-self every bit as much of a root in reality as
"When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King..."
So much of my theology was shaped by Narnia, and as I grew older I loved picking up and recognising the origins of some of the Narnian loveliness.Reading this time I was specially delighted by the way in which Lewis rewrote Genesis so that it is Diggory who yields to temptation and rings the bell that wakens the evil in Charn and, instead of handing on the blame in whatever direction presents itself, dares both to admit his own responsibilty and to make it clear the Polly did all she could to prevent him.
It's not often that Lewis allows womankind a positive role - his writing is very uncomfortable once you read it through an adult feminist lens - so this made me cheer!
Favourite moment - Aslan singing the world into being and the creatures of Narnia bursting from the earth....LIVING creation, rather than the image of moulded clay that I carry from Genesis.
Now on to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - while the snow lasts!