The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 1: The Magician’s Nephew

My Narnia project is 1/7 complete! I just finished The Magician’s Nephew, which is the “first” in the series—by which I mean, it’s the first in the chronology of Narnia, but not the first one that C. S. Lewis published.

The Magician’s Nephew is the story of Digory and Polly, two children who meet and become friends during a rainy London summer. One dreary day, they decide to explore the attic tunnel connecting their two houses, planning to make their way into a third, abandoned (and, perhaps, haunted?) house that is also connected. Instead, they stumble into a mysterious room where Digory’s Uncle Andrew (who fancies himself a Magician) performs strange experiments.One of those experiments sends Polly hurtling into another world—and Digory must go after her in order to bring her back.

Together, they embark on an incredible journey to other worlds where they encounter evil queens, talking animals, and trees with silver, life-giving apples. One of these worlds is the infant Narnia, born from the song of Aslan, a Lion. There, they witness the coronation of the new King and Queen of Narnia and Digory receives an incredible gift from Aslan before returning home.

Okay, I’m just going to go ahead and say I didn’t know what I was talking about when I was younger, not being interested in these books. Even now, at 22, this book totally hooked me. I love C. S. Lewis’ narration style—it actually seems like he’s sitting next to me telling me a story. It’s very conversational and very different from many other things I’ve read, so it’s a nice change of pace. It’s also nice to be able to get through a book in only a few days (or, depending how much time I have on my hands, a few hours!). I had no idea that they were as easy reads as they’re turning out to be…I guess when I was in fifth grade the style just confused me.

The Christian allegory is also something I can appreciate. It’s pretty obvious, but not in an “I’m going to beat you over the head with it” way. I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of it plays out.

Mostly, though, I just really loved the story. The creation of Narnia was amazing. Some of the descriptions were just so terrific that I could really see (and feel, and hear, and smell) what was happening. But enough of it was left up to the imagination as well to create just the right amount of mystery. The descriptions of Uncle Andrew were particularly hilarious, as were the illustrations. One of the best parts for me was when he faints from shock at the talking animals and they can’t decide whether he’s a tree or an animal, so they try to plant him (thankfully not face down!). Ah, so awesome.

I really, really enjoyed this book and I’m so glad I decided to make myself finally read the series! I especially can’t wait to read them to my kids someday (or maybe just give them the books and let them read them once they’re old enough to read on their own). I think this is also Andrew’s favorite of the series, so he was really happy that I liked it. Yay!

A

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6 thoughts on “The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 1: The Magician’s Nephew

  1. Oh you are going to force me to re-read these all again! I loved how beautifully written these were. Next time I’m back at my mom’s house I’ll have to dig out my anthology and bring it back up to Boston.

  2. I love this series! I reread it a year or so ago and was surprised in a way about how much deeper it was than I had expected for children’s books. This isn’t my favorite of the series, but I do love all of them.

    • You’re right, they are a lot deeper than you’d expect for kids’ books. I love that about them. Something I’ve noticed about children’s books these days is that they’re overly pedantic and preachy, and tend to “talk down” to the kids. These don’t and it’s awesome.

  3. Don’t withhold the stories from your children waiting for them to be able to read themselves. Share the Chronicles with them while they’re little and give them their own copies when they are older! (This from a dad and grandpa who’s running through the second cycle of that process right now with 5 grandchildren.)

    • That’s wonderful!! I’m glad to know that they’d be able to understand it at still-being-read-to age. That was my only concern. 🙂 I can’t wait to share these stories with my own kids; in the meantime, I’m going to have to get a set for my younger brother and sister, who are 3 and 4!

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