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The Chronicles of Narnia,

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

SYMBOLISM and MEANINGS

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first book written in The Chronicles of Narnia, can be read as a Christian allegory or a fantasy story. Author C.S. Lewis recommends that people first read the book (or view the film) as a story, before trying to understand the deeper allegorical symbolic Christian message.

The Story
During World War II, Four children- Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, are evacuated from London due to bombing from Germany, and move to a large old country house in the North. While there, Lucy climbs into a wardrobe that leads to the world of "Narnia". Eventually all four children enter the wardrobe and discover a world where it's "Always winter and never Christmas; They meet a witch named Jadis and a lion named Aslan, two of the storys major figures, and their adventures begin.

The Symbolism

Note: This is my personal take on the story's symbolism, and reader's responses and opinions are greatly encouraged and welcome and (if decent) will be added as feedback on this page. Here is my interpretation of the primary symbolism in the story.

• Aslan = Jesus Christ

(which means lion in Turkish) is the creator of Narnia. He symbolizes Jesus Christ and the power of good.

• Queen Jadis, the White Witch = Lucifer

who rules Narnia for 100 years, represents the power of Satan or evil in the world.

• Peter = The Apostle Peter

A strong leader who becomes the High King of Narnia. most closely would represent the Apostle Peter, who in reality is the first Leader of the Christian church after Christ ascended

• Susan = Mary

Is the second largest human figure in the story, standing as the courageous queen in Narnia, and though very important is likewise very human.

• Edmund = Man

He is tempted by the White Witch, her Turkish Delights and the promise of power. He represents all mankind who has betrayed Christ from birth, and who Jesus died for on the cross. Man is led away by the enticements of this world and becomes selfish and fallen from the standards of Christ. Because of his betrayal, he has also been compared to Judas of the New Testament and Adam in the Garden of Eden.

• Lucy, the faithful youngest child, is the strongest believer in Aslan. I believe she most closely resembles and represents children in general, and their simple innocent faith- which we should all have. Susan and Lucy also represent the two Marys who beheld Christ's death and came to His tomb early in the morning.

Mr. Tumnus, the Faun = Judas, who at first betrays Aslan and wants to kidnap Lucy, until Aslan appears out of the fire and he repents, however loses his life as a result, and is also similar to the "Doubting THOMAS" of the gospels. However, Mr Tumnus could also signify the apostle Paul, who first worked against Christianity, and then became a Christian. ("However" comment thanks to: Micah-Leah Woolley)

The Stone Table is primarily the Narnian equivalent to the cross Jesus was crucified on, however it goes beyond this and resembles strongly the end of the "Law" also, or the stone tablets, and the breaking of the temple curtain at Christ's death, (which brought salvation by grace through faith as opposed to the keeping of the old "Law" or what was also referred to in the story as the "Deep Magic" that satan does not fully understand.

Lucy's Healing Potion = Christ's blood, which heals our infirmities

Aslan's Breath = the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit, Demontrated on several occasions, Aslands breaths onto frozen characters (Those killed by the witch) and they are restored to life.

Helmet = Salvation

Shield = Faith

Sword = The Spirit within us

Susan's horn = Prayer

The beavers = Faithful disciples of Christ who try to show others the way through.this world = (The frozen lake)

St Nick = The Spirit of Giving, which is a gift of the Spirit and gifts of the weapons of our warfare (see Eph 6)

The Fox = People who might generally be considered, or do not appear to be Christians, and yet if they had to, would give their life for Him.

Wolves = Satan's helpers

The Professor = Me (just kidding)

Symbolic Events:

When Susan and Lucy walk with Aslan to a quiet place the night of his execution, depicts the Garden of Gethsemane, and similarly after his ressurection he appears first to them in a glorified body.

After his death, when Aslan goes to the witches palace and releases his frozen captives, would represent when in Christs' death "He descended into Hell and set captives free" (however, the meaning of the actual event in scripture is contraversial).

In the story as it draws closer to Aslan's return to Narnia, ice begins to thaw and spring begins because the witch's power is weakening, might suggest that as Christ comes there is a deminishing of the strength of evil and an increasing intensity of Christs Spirit, (Warmth), presence and power.

In the end after the great battle, Aslan's authority, and those worthy, are set in places of authority to judge in his kingdom, which follows that when Christ's kingdom is fully restored that humans are even to judge the world and angels (1Cor. 6)

Summary

Not only do all the people, objects and events in the story seem to have symbolic meanings, but the plot and chronology of the story seem to portray the history, fall, and plan unfolding in the world as well. We all start out in an imaginary innocent world oblivious to the real picture of what is going on here, unless by faith, in Christ, who is the only Door =(The wardrobe) we enter into and are illuminated, revealing the kingdom of God. The best way to enter is as Lucy does in simple childlike faith, however, most enter kicking and resisting all the way, as Edmund, failing continually until the end when we meet Christ. Like the much theologically deeper "Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan, not only do the Chronicles of Narnia help us understand individual struggles and events relative to the spiritual kingdom, but they give us an overview of history including apocalyptic events. The "Lion the witch and the wardrobe", after simply setting the stage, quickly moves to the central event of human history- the crucifixion of Jesus.(As capsulated in the "Passion of the Christ" by Mel Gibson).

Further, the chronology, paralleling the world, is one: Narnia exists and was here before our individual lives began, and it had likewise fallen into a long winter ruled by the forces of evil. Further, When we are saved, we enter in through the wardrobe of faith, we begin to understand and become part of what is unfolding. In this we realize, that the world was cursed, Christ (Aslan in the story) came, died for us and will come back again. This is so beautifully demonstrated when Aslan (Christ) has a gentle talk with Edmund (us) after Edmund repented, was rescued, and Christ knew he had to be sacrificed to save. The story also shows how we are to presently use the gifts God has given us in our war of faith (See Ephesians 6) against the rulers of darkness, and the great battle that will also occur at the end called the battle of "Armageddon" and the final victory of Christ.

The story definitely brings to the forefront, the importance of each of us choosing our sides, and standing for our faith to the end.

One more thought: To read the Chronicles of Narnia or view the film without appreciation or realization of the underlying meaning is a lot like the way many people go through life. However, according to scripture, for one to miss the meaning of life and God's plan of redemption has eternal consequences. This seems most clearly stated in Romans chapter one, where the Apostle Paul wrote concerning the wrath of God, what could be called the "Great indictment". Written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit it says that "The invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen, because they are understood by the things that are made- even His eternal power and Godhead so they are without excuse. Because when they knew him" (By all the things that He had made) "they glorified Him not as God neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing themselves to be wise they became fools"

Jonathan W. Selby

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Additional thoughts and Feedback:

(Feel Free to contribute YOUR thoughts to be posted here via Email)

In the movie, "The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe," I think that the overcoming of the White Witch and her followers by Aslan and those who follow him, could also symbolize the beginning of the great mellenium in which Satan is bound for a thousand years and no one is tempted and no evil exists. The spring in the movie causes me to think that it is the beginning of that time period. Springtime in the movie could also be a symbol of the great peace and joy that exists in one's soul when one accepts and lives the principles Christ has taught. Also it is interesting to note that the Red Lion on Peter's sheild is part of the coat of arms that belongs to the Queen of England. The Lion could also be a symbol of the decendents of Judah, son of Israel. In his final blessing from Jacob, Judah was referred to as a Lion. Also because the Nazis of World War 2 were so much into "White Supremecy," the White Witch could represent the enemy that was trying to destroy England at that time. (Bob Wilkes 5-20-08)

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CAST and KEYS

Sources: Louis Markos, professor of English at Houston Baptist University and a Lewis scholar; C.S. Lewis & Narnia for Dummies (Wiley Publishing Inc., by Richard Wagner. - The Chronicles of Narnia, The Story Within the Story, Barbara Karkabi, Houston Chronicle, Dec. 9, 2005

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