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  • Writer's pictureKara Chatham

Faith in Fiction: The Lion, The Witch, & the Wardrobe

*AUTHOR'S NOTE*: Spoilers for The Chronicles of Narnia will be discussed in this post. If you do not wish to be spoiled, please be advised to read no further. However, I do think that this is a fun topic and would love for you to enjoy it as well.

 

One of my favorite things is finding how the faith of others shines through without them intentionally planning it to be where you see it. It also shows how God truly is in everything - whether or not we realize it.


C.S. Lewis never intended for The Chronicles of Narnia to be allegorical tales. He sat down to write this series to be fantastical tales that children (and adults alike) could enjoy. The fact that the biblical allusions are present, and quite clear, just shows how Lewis' faith flowed through him.


In The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, the death of Aslan is a very strong depiction of Jesus' journey to the cross as well as the crucifixion itself. This event takes place in chapter fourteen - The Triumph of the Witch. With that chapter title alone, it shows how the Witch is a representation of Satan. Because Satan thought that he had won when Christ was crucified. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself...


In chapter thriteen we learn that Edmund Pevensie is slated to die on the stone table because he betrayed his family - which I think it interesting that the Witch is the one who points this out, because it points out how Satan will try to use our mistakes against us. At this point, Edmund has already spoken with Aslan about what has happened; and the Witch is fully trying to get Edmund in trouble, even though Aslan has said:

"- there is no need to talk to him about what is past."

Not that we shouldn't confess and talk to God about our struggles or sins, but once we have He has already forgiven us. He does not want us to dwell in the past or our mistakes. Learn, sure - but not dwell.


Chapter thriteen ends with Aslan and the Witch coming to an agreement. We aren't told what that agreement is exactly; just that the Witch renounced her claim on Edmund's life. So in chapter fourteen, we see more of a shift in Aslan. He is more melancholic. As they are changing the location of their camp, Susan and Lucy notice this change in him. It feels similar to Jesus in the garden before he is arrested. Continuing in the same vein, Susan and Lucy walking with Aslan to the Stone Table is like the Disciples accompanying Jesus in the garden.


Now for the whole Stone Table sequence. This depicts so much of Jesus' journey to the cross. Just take a look at a few quotes from the novel and some verses from Matthew.


And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him,

Matthew 27:28 (ESV)


"The fool has come. Bind him fast."

(Lewis)

"Let him first be shaved."

(Lewis)


and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head.

Matthew 27:29-30 (ESV)


"Why, he's only a great cat after all!"

(Lewis)

"How many mice have you caught today, Cat?"

(Lewis)

"Would you like a saucer of milk, Pussums?"

(Lewis)


And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.

Matthew 27:31 (ESV)


"At last the rabble had had enough of this. They began to drag the bound and muzzled Lion to the Stone Table, some pulling and some pushing."

(Lewis)

If you ever take the time to read both in their entireties, the imagery and the power of it all is just amazing. But let's go back to the title of chapter fourteen - The Triumph of the Witch. Right before she plunges the knife into Aslan, she makes a statement:

Now I will kill you instead of him as our pact was and so the Deep Magic will be appeased. But when you are dead what will prevent me from killing him as well? And who will take him out of my hand then? Understand that you have given me Narnia for ever, you have lost your own life and you have not saved his. In that knowledge, despair and die.

This is exactly how Satan thinks. But what happens displays the power of Chirst and the importance of Easter; and Lewis shows us this in chapter fifteen: Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time.


Susan and Lucy mourning Aslan is reminiscint of Mary Magdelene and Mary, Jesus' mother mourning Jesus. At the same time, Susan and Lucy are similar to Mary Magdelene and Mary, Jesus' mother when the resurrection happens. Just take a quick look at how the two resurrections are shared:


And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.

Matthew 28:2 (ESV)


"At that moment they heard from behind them a loud noise - a great cracking, deafening noise as if a gian had broken a giant's plate."

(Lewis)

Something that Lewis does with this honestly helps paint a clear picture of what Christ has done for us:

...that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know.... if she could have looked a little further back, into the still ness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have know that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed ina traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.

Christ willingly took our place on the cross, making it possible for us to have a relationship with Him and not having to be on the cross ourselves. I hope that is something that you can and do take comfort in. For me, it has taken time to understand and believe whole heartedly.


Happy Easter - He is risen!

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