Themes of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe


As we look forward to the upcoming big screen production there are a few key points in the book that we hope find their way into the motion picture. I am not talking about scenes or images that I can’t wait to see at the theater, but themes that bind not only this book but also all the Narnia books together. Themes like redemption and healing, brotherhood and the undying Good vs. Evil. C.S. Lewis was a deeply spiritual man, and being so he could not separate his spiritual ideas from his books. Ideas like a redeeming savior, however the literary idea of a redeeming savior is not a new idea. Any book can be a good one if it tugs on our heartstrings with a savior of man that has to die. However the themes that propel the Narnia series past the rest of the literary world are not based upon just one savior, but more touching themes that hit us at home in our chairs reading it. If the motion picture can hold true to these, then it may also one day be a classic story just as the book has become.

The most prominent of these themes, as it over arches the whole book is brotherhood. The brother that Edmund is, the brother he should be, and the brother he is to his sister, especially Lucy. All of the other themes fall into play under this one idea of brotherhood. The redemption he seeks from his family after his fall, the redemption given to him, and the Evil White Witch, choosing him to in act her plan against the Good Aslan.

The opening of the book finds the Pevensie children, playing hide and seek in their uncle’s house. Lucy stumbles into the magical land of Narnia first. After her comes Edmund, at this time they were the only two to have come to Narnia. At first when questioned about Narnia he denies ever being there showing Lucy to be a liar. When the evil witch tells him to bring his brothers and sister on his next visit, he finally comes clean with them. When they all are in Narnia they are befriended by a family of beavers and Edmund sneaks off to find the white witch. After betraying them many times and lying to his brother and sisters he finally finds his way back to the good side after a run in with Aslan. Weather or not the White Witch wins you will have to read the book or wait for the movie.

Lets take a look at this very short synopsis of Edmund. When we first meet him he is bad tempered from pretending. Next he is lying to his brother and sister:

“Oh, yes, Lucy and I have been playing – pretending that all her story about a country in the wardrobe is true. Just for fun, of course. There’s nothing there really.”

He wants to spite Lucy, and put on a show for his older siblings. Once they all got into Narnia and they found out Edmund was lying about the whole ordeal, aside from getting the cold shoulder from his siblings they marched on after a robin they came to the beaver’s house. Edmund made his escape then to go to the white witch. All the while planning to be King and have Peter serve him. He doesn’t want them turned to stone, but:

As for what the Witch would do with the others, he didn’t want her to be particularly nice to them – certainly not to put them on the same level as himself

His delusions didn’t end until people started to die and in the heat of the battle he finally turned on the witch and broke her wand. After his meeting with Aslan he was knighted and pardoned.

We can track the journey from being a selfish bad tempered boy to a knight in Aslan’s court, A King at Cair Paravel, King Edmund the Just. With all this betrayal and deceit the other children still take him back, as a brother. This shows great character on their part, if the movie can portray the difference between Edmund and his siblings with the great art of characterization, then we are looking at a good movie. Susan however, has a dichotomy all her own in the whole series of Narnia books. I would like to see hints of her disbelief in this movie.

There is a lot that could be done in the upcoming motion picture The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and all of it could be great. I wouldn’t get your hopes up to high for this film, because the books were written by one of the greatest authors of his day and to transpose those to film would take someone like Peter Jackson. We can only hope for the best. However if the motion picture can hold true to these themes and ideas, then it may also one day be a classic story just as the book has become. Edmund takes his journey through evil to arrive with Aslan (God), his siblings still are able to forgive him after his betrayal, and the timeless idea of Good fighting Evil. These are just a small taste of the themes in this classic children’s story. If the movie can play out these ideas through acting and screenplay we are looking forward to one of the best pictures coming out December 05. I look forward to seeing the portrayal of Edmund and a tear jerking Lucy, Peter the high king and his Queen Susan, who should have a dichotomy larger then the other two but smaller then Edmunds. We can expect a somewhat open ending to leave way for Susan to become the lady she turns out to be, and even Prince Caspian in the near future.


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