For some reason –which probably does not exist– I was quite sure that this’ll be my 5th review this month. Also, until very recently, I thought that the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia series. The reason for that maybe Carey Mulligan’s movie, an Education, in which this book is mentioned, and the first Narnia movie which is the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I have braved my way through all the confusion though and I have –finally!– finished the Magician’s Nephew and have successfully started reading a series I have been wanting to read for a while.
I had high expectations. Expectations that tower over the acme of all expectations because, you know, this is NARNIA. And it’s not like I didn’t know what I was going in for; I knew that it’s a children’s book and I quite enjoy children’s books, but still… I was disappointed. Please don’t think I’m schizophrenic; just bear with me till the end as I try to disentangle all my thoughts regarding this book.
The story of the Magician’s Nephew, in case you’re like me and didn’t know, is about how humans first found their way over to Narnia. There’s Digory whose mother is sick, his friend Polly, and Digory’s uncle who fancies himself a magician. Or these are the characters we start out with anyway.
I think C.S. Lewis is an incredible storyteller! He structured the story very well in terms of events and characters. Having watched the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I was happy to see some familiar things dispersed all over the chapters, and to see how the events occurring in the Magician’s Nephew would affect Narnia further on in the series. I loved how the story started out with Polly and Digory and I adored their friendship. It was quite lovely to see how much regard Digory held for Polly, even if he didn’t always listen to her. He was brave and chivalrous and he is one of the few main characters that I actually don’t feel nonchalant about. But the thing is, although I think Digory is the main character and the one upon whom the adventure depends, I also felt that this book didn’t really have a main character. The focus was divided upon so many aspects –and I say aspects because many of the events centre about inanimate objects and deserted places– that Digory wasn’t zoomed in on the entire time. And I liked that, I think. Polly is a really nice character as well and I loved how she was portrayed as a voice of wisdom.
To me, the story was pretty boring until they arrived to Narnia. I wasn’t necessarily concerned about any of the characters nor was I captivated by the descriptions of the places. In fact, sometimes I was a bit confused when Polly and Digory traveled. I usually like villains but the queen got on my nerves more than interested me. But then, they went ahead to Narnia and the Cabby tagged along and the animals began to talk, and things began to get a lot better. There was humour, adventure, confusion, emotions, and the story began to revolve around more than just a few kids messing about. I also think the climax was very well-executed and got me really invested in what should be the characters’ final fate.
So it’s not the most enjoyable read, honestly, but it does answer a lot of questions I know I would’ve had if I’d started out with the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Nonetheless, my excitement for the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe persists and I can’t wait to read it and see how it compares to the movie and all of that jazz!
Also, I’m travelling over the next few days to take my SATs, so do wish me luck. But you know what else travelling means? Reading time!!!