Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – Apples to Oranges
Since 1956, millions of children have read, watched, or listened to C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series, starting with the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. This is fantasy story involving Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie escaping the war in London only to find themselves in even more bizarre situations. What child wouldn’t enjoy going to a magical world with talking animals and getting gifts from Father Christmas that would help you save the day? I certainly did!
This was one of my favorite childhood stories. Children of my age went inside a secret passageway to a land where lions, wolves and mythical creatures could communicate with human beings. An innocent girl named Lucy joyfully brought her own siblings and every reader on a splendid journey. In the process, we learned about Turkish Delight, the dangers of playing hide-and-go-seek with antique furniture, finding one’s way from a random lamp post and that no one can rush Mrs. Beaver.
Which version did I enjoy best? Drum roll please….. the movie!
The aspect that frustrated me the most in the book was the character of Edmund. He was a stubborn young boy who rebelled against his circumstances and frustrated everyone with his self-centered actions. In the book, he sides with the villain for selfish reasons and when reunited with his family, there is instant (and unbelievable) forgiveness. Plus, his quest for redemption on the battlefield is told passively so we don’t get to experience the scene of him trying to disarm the White Witch. In sharp contrast, the movie could have been renamed the Chronicles of Narnia: The Redemption of Edmund. There were two main film scenes that the book lacked that made all the difference for Edmund’s character arc:
1) Repercussions for informing the White Witch about Mr. Tumnus: It was such a heartbreaking scene when the faun was told that Lucy’s brother was the reason why he was in prison and the expression on Edmund’s face with the realization of his action’s consequences.
2) Risking his life to try to disarm the White Witch’s wand during the final battle: The audience got to watch Edmund, yet again, not do what he was told to do but for the first time, he disobeyed for the right reason. He knew what her wand was capable of doing and she was walking straight towards his brother. It was great to see the full evolution of his character unfold on the screen.
As I child, I tried to continue on with the series but as soon as I figured out the new story was a thousand years later and not about more people going to Narnia through the wardrobe, I put down the series. Now I’m going to finish what I started 20 years ago and read the next book, the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian for next month’s blog and compare it to 2008 Disney movie.
Columnist: Jessie lives in Oregon and writes to avoid the rain. She only feels compelled to kill her characters when she starts a new diet and if she hates the ending of a TV episode she’ll rewrite it to give everyone a happily ever after. Currently Jessie is an unpublished author but she works tirelessly to removed two letters – un – from that word.
Column book and movie tape drawn by Evangeline Owen
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