Comments on Narnia

Lucy first enters the wardrobe because "she likes nothing more than the touch of fur." Later, when she and Susan are walking beside Aslan as he goes to his death, he allows them to do what they'd always wanted: place their hands in his mane.

Immediately after Peter receives his sword from Father Christmas and is showing it to Mr Beaver, Mrs Beaver says, "Come along, what a mercy I thought to bring a breadknife." Nice touch: while they could have used the sword or Lucy's new dagger to cut the bread, the breadknife is much more practical.

Prince Caspian is the worst of the seven books. One theme running through it is that of belief: the Narnians have forgotten about their heritage; Trumpkin doesn't believe in Aslan (or the Pevensies); only Lucy sees Aslan at first when he appears. It's as if Lewis is trying to regain the belief in his imagination that sustained The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It was the book he needed to write to get to the sublime Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Nuggets of Narnian wisdom: Never close a wardrobe door behind you. It is a weighty undertaking to invite a centaur for breakfast.

The Silver Chair is almost like a mirrored Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Many elements are the same, though reversed, or "upside-down": A boy (and the "bad" boy, Eustace) has been to Narnia first, and brings the girl in. Rather than entering the middle of Narnia, they enter beyond the end of the world, in Aslan's country. Their dour helper, Puddleglum, is the opposite of the cheery beavers and flute-playing Tumnus. Many scenes take place at night. The end of the book takes place underground. The piece of furniture in the title is a prison, rather than a means of liberation. The witch is not "white" but "green." When they emerge from the witch's underground domain, it is into a scene much like the one Lucy first saw in Narnia: faun, snow. At the end of the book, they watch Caspian become younger.

Extraordinary fruit: The berries the birds bring on Ramandu's Island, and that Lucy's cordial is made from, are fire-berries from the sun. Golg wants them to taste "living diamonds and rubies" in Bism. The fruit in Aslan's country would make "the most melting pear taste woody, etc." The children live on apples when they first return to Narnia in Prince Caspian. Jadis eats of the apple in The Magician's Nephew, and it gives her eternal life. A "child" of one of these apples saves Digory's mother.

In Prince Caspian, Doctor Cornelius describes dwarfs "shaving off their beards and wearing high heels" in order to evade the Telmarines. Sounds like they might have had issues other than their height.

There are a number of differences between the older US and British editions. These were made by Lewis when the first US edition came out. For example, Maugrim becomes Fenris Ulf in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Pretty touches: Ramandu's cloak shines as if it were made from the wool of "silver sheep."

Jadis's world, Charn, has an older, colder sun than ours. Thus it makes sense that, when she ruled Narnia as the White Witch, she would be very pale-skinned and create a world where it was always winter.

Neil Gaiman has written an interesting story, "The Problem of Susan," about a woman remembering her siblings who were killed in a train crash. It also examines the problem of centuar sex.

The sardines on toast Tumnus serves: who tins these? Is there a sardine-tinning factory run by dwarfs? Or are they imported from Calormen?

One can pass some amusing minutes imagining encounters of various Narnian inhabitants: Father Christmas meets Tash; Bacchus meets the Sea Serpent; Rishda Tarkaan meets the tapir from The Magician's Nephew.

Wikipedia informs us that a "Narnian" is a moniker for a gay person who is deep in the closet.