The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician's Nephew by C.S Lewis

January 6, 2011
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Digory and his new friend, Polly, know that Uncle Andrew is crazy. They've seen strange happenings in Andrew's attic study and have even heard him scream on occasion. Neither Digory, nor the adventurous Polly, would dare to enter his study...on purpose, anyways.

While traveling between the houses on their street through their attic hideout (on a venture to the said-to-be haunted house just on the other side of Digory's), they happen to stumble into Uncle Andrew's study, accidentally. And after several deceitful tricks and lies and evil sneers, Polly and Digory find themselves on a magical trip to the Wood Between the Worlds; a holding place for portals to countless numbers of other worlds.

And their adventure to the first new world--the desolate Char--begins an ageless battle in a yet-to-be-formed world which will continue for decades and centuries, until The Last Battle.

I was first introduced to The Chronicles of Narnia series when I found the VHS tapes of BBC's production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian/The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair (recently released to a DVD collection) at my local library; then several years later, Disney's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was released (quickly becoming a favorite of my sister's) and for my birthday, my parents bought me the collection of live-action radio dramas of all seven of The Chronicles of Narnia. I decided to listen to all the stories, beginning with The Magician's Nephew. (The first in the series chronologically; the sixth in order of publication.)

I immediately fell in love with the story. Even after watching Disney's Prince Caspian and falling head-over-heels in love with the gorgeous Skandar Keynes (portrayer of Edmund Pevensie), The Magician's Nephew still held my heart as favorite. After watching 20th Century Fox's recently released adaption of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, when I made the choice to read the series, I decided to read it as many C.S Lewis enthusiasts insist upon: chronologically, beginning with The Magician's Nephew.

The story is still my favorite, if not more so now. Filled with humor and peril and pure Magic, The Magician's Nephew tells the story of Narnia's creation (an allegory of Genesis chapter one), the invasion of Queen Jadis, also known as the infamous White Witch and the portals between our world and the other world, introduced in the more popular The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Uncle Andrew, the cabby and the creatures of Narnia fill the story with humor and such scenes as "The First Joke and Other Matters" will leave you laughing out loud at the ignorance and slight arrogance of Narnia's newly formed creatures.

After reading this story, I have yet to understand how one could say they do not like this series. C.S Lewis writes simply, leaving much up to the imagination, and his quirky sense of humor and slight sarcasm shines through on every page.

Much debate has gone on about whether The Magician's Nephew should be read first or sixth in the series, and I honestly think it depends. If you're familiar with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe movies (either version), I think reading The Magician's Nephew first is fine since the events of the final chapter will be all the more of a surprise and all the more special, even if you haven't read the book yet; although, if you're not familiar with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I recommend reading this story in its publication order; sixth (or at least after LWW), leaving the ending a surprise and completely clear.

Whether you're young or young-at-heart, the Chronicles of Narnia (no matter how you read them), and The Magician's Nephew, is for them all.





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Chris said...
Apr. 20, 2011 at 2:41 pm
When I pack up and go to Austrailia I will bring along a copy of your review to keep me warm on the flight.  It is a 6 day flight, and all you get are peanuts.  Maybe a can of Tab, if they don't run out before they get to you.  I like the feel of Dalmation Fur that they line the seats with.  It's like Cruella DeVille designed the planes!!
 
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