I recently wrote about my favourite winter reads. If I had written this list with children’s books in mind, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe would be right at the top.
Stepping through the wardrobe with Lucy for the first time was one of the most memorable reading moments of my childhood. It’s the sort of magical memory that lasts a lifetime and can easily be summoned up when eating particularly heavenly Turkish delight or walking along a snowy forest path in the twilight.
As a child, I felt I knew Narnia inside out, but reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as an adult, I now realise a lot of that must have been my own imagination. The writing style is simple and not overly descriptive. Lewis gives the reader a scene to work with and they conjure up the rest themselves.
The Narnia in my head looks a lot like the Peak District. Growing up nearby, it wasn’t uncommon for my parents to drag me there at the weekends for long walks, bribing me with promises of picnics and cream teas. And this is what I love most about The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – it’s all a jolly, extremely English, adventure interspersed with stops for sardines on toast, boiled eggs and marmalade rolls. There are dangers, but even the children seem to forget this as they walk through the thawing landscape.
The danger the children face is the White Witch who has put a curse on the land, to make it always winter (but never Christmas!). She is most terrifying when she comes across Edmund on his first trip into Narnia and, with a sickly sweet smile, plies him with Turkish delight. Her house is one of the most scary settings in children’s literature, especially when Edmund is walking by moonlight between the eerie stone statues of the witch’s victims. It certainly filled me with dread when I was little.
For me, Narnia will always be a place of wonder and I hope to revisit it many times in the future.
If you would like a copy of the book, you can buy it by clicking on the picture below.