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Step into the Wardrobe
This peerless companion has served as an adventurer's passport to the land of Narnia for twenty-five years and was used by the cast and crew of the major motion picture The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. From Aslan, the Great Lion, to Zardeenah, the mysterious lady of the night, this comprehensive, accessible book contains hundreds of alphabetically arranged and indexed entries covering all the characters, events, places, and ...
Step into the Wardrobe
This peerless companion has served as an adventurer's passport to the land of Narnia for twenty-five years and was used by the cast and crew of the major motion picture The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. From Aslan, the Great Lion, to Zardeenah, the mysterious lady of the night, this comprehensive, accessible book contains hundreds of alphabetically arranged and indexed entries covering all the characters, events, places, and themes that Lewis brilliantly wove into his timeless and magical world.
For readers of all ages, this is the perfect guide for the enchanted world of C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia.
The test of a good story, said C. S. Lewis, is whether it is often reread.
His own stories, the Chronicles of Narnia (also known as the Narniad, imitating the great chronicle of the siege of Troy, the Iliad), have surpassed that test for millions of readers. Most of us who have fallen under the spell of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe have not only stayed to hear or read the story of Narnia from its beginning to its second beginning (The Last Battle) but find ourselves returning again and again, perhaps every few years, to appreciate anew its real beauties. Each reader brings to the Chronicles his or her own story and comes away with expanded horizons and renewed vision.
This Companion to Narnia has been written for those who know the Chronicles to be very good stories and who want to take a friend back with them to point out sights they haven't seen or want to see again through another pair of eyes.
If you have ever read the Chronicles aloud to a child or group of children, you know that they raise questions you haven't even considered. This volume does not intend to give final answers (because no final meaning can ever be put to a work of the imagination), but to suggest the direction in which answers and deeper meanings can be sought. Companion to Narnia means to help you explore the various strands that Lewis weaves into the fabric of the Chronicles -- literary, religious, philosophical, mythopoeic, homely, and personal images --the same fibers out of which our own stories are woven.
With the encyclopedic format of Companion to Narnia you may explore whatever angle you wish to take on the books. Beginning anywhere, with a character, an object, or a theme, you may go as far as you wish in pursuing a thread of curiosity. (See Using the Companion, after this Introduction, for more guidance.)
But no guide to Narnia can ever take the place of the seven books themselves.
This book has been written for young people and adults who have read the Chronicles at least once, and who now want to explore what one critic has called the "allusive sub-text" that Lewis, as scholar and Christian, delighted in providing older readers of his fairy tales. Lewis was convinced that while an author intends, a book means, that is,
the meaning of a book is the series or systems of emotions, reflections, and attitudes produced by reading it.
... this product differs with different readers ... The ideally true or right meaning would be that shared ... by the largest number of the best readers after repeated and careful readings over several generations, different periods, nationalities, moods, degrees of alertness, private pre-occupations, states of health, spirits, and the like cancelling one another out when ... they cannot be fused so as to enrich one another.
As far as is humanly possible Companion to Narnia tries to ascertain and reveal Lewis's intentions and only then proceed to suggest the meanings of Narnian events, characters, objects, and themes.
The best way to appreciate a story is to step into it and enjoy it. As Peter Schakel tells us, the Chronicles need to be read with the heart.
One hazard in an encyclopedic study such as this is the everpresent risk of analyzing the life right out of a story. Stories are living things, and the result of any vivisection is only data about the thing and not the thing itself. The information and analyses in this book are meant to guide you to a deeper experience of the openended nature of the Chronicles and not to close off all debate.
Another hazard to be avoided is the desire to look for allegories, one-to-one correspondences between philosophical or religious concepts and the characters or events or objects in a story. Lewis was adamant that he was not writing allegory when he wrote the Chronicles.
C. S. Lewis himself was very careful not to decode the Chronicles for the young children who wrote him about their meaning ...
Excerpted from Companion to Narnia, Revised Edition by Paul F. Ford Copyright © 2005 by Paul F. Ford. Excerpted by permission.
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