The second of the Narnia chronicles takes place in England during the
Second World War. Four brothers and sisters called Peter, Susan,
Edmund, and Lucy are evacuated from London to a big house in the
country owned by an old professor. It’s the sort of house that
invites exploration, and that is how the four come to wander into
Lucy is the first to find the door into Narnia when she explores the
inside of an old wardrobe. When she pushes through the coats to
the back, she finds herself walking on snow under a lamp in a
wood. Mr. Tumnus, the faun, happens to be passing and offers her
tea. He also explains to Lucy that Narnia is under a spell from
the White Witch so that it is always winter, but never Christmas.
Mr. Tumnus also warns Lucy that it is dangerous for her to be in Narnia
because the witch is hunting sons of Adam and daughters of Eve, meaning
When Lucy returns, it seems to her brothers and sister that no time has
passed at all, and they refuse to believe Lucy’s story. However,
Edmund soon ventures into Narnia himself, where he meets the White
Witch. The White Witch is very cunning and treats Edmund very
well, serving him turkish delight upon which she has cast a spell so
that he craves more. She convinces Edmund to go back through the
wardrobe and bring his brother and two sisters with him. Edmund
agrees to do that, never dreaming that her intent is to kill the four
of them; he just wants more candy.
When all four of the children finally get into Narnia together, Edmund
plays the traitor and goes off to find the witch, while the other three
side with the Narnians.
While Peter, Susan, and Lucy struggle to
free Narnia from the magic spell so that Christmas will come, followed
by spring, Edmund vainly begs for more turkish delight. He is the
witch’s creature, and only the Great Lion Aslan can free him from his
captivity and break the witch’s magic.
The story of the saving of the traitor Edmund and the liberation of
Narnia is analogous to the Christian story of redemption.
Although the parallels are very clear to anyone familiar with
Christianity, the allegorical aspects in no way interfere with the
tale, which can be enjoyed as a simple adventure. Everyone will
enjoy cheering for the amiable and courageous creatures of Narnia, and
adults will find themselves assenting to the author’s observations on
good, evil, personal responsibility, and forgiveness.
After reading about the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, readers will
be eager to read the third of the seven Narnia adventures. There
they will again encounter Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy – sons of Adam
and daughters of Eve, kings and queens of Narnia.