As the cast takes its final bows and the last lingering threads are resolved, we bid farewell to the land of Narnia, but not without hope.
Both the children were looking up into the Lion’s face as he spoke […]. And all at once (they never knew exactly how it happened) the face seemed to be a sea of tossing gold in which they were floating, and such a sweetness and power rolled over them that they felt they had never really been happy or wise or good, or even alive and awake, before. And the memory of that moment stayed with them always, so that as long as they both lived, if ever they were sad or afraid or angry, the thought of all that golden goodness, and the feeling that it was still there, quite close, just round some corner or just behind some door, would come back and make them sure, deep down inside, that all was well.
That’s what Narnia feels like – that golden goodness, just round some corner or behind a wardrobe door.
I always seem to forget how wonderful this book is! It’s definitely one of the best books in the series, with a little bit of everything, and all extremely well-told. It’s a much more focused narrative than any other in the series, without a single superfluous character or event. It’s also one of the more emotionally satisfying narratives, dealing with Digory’s real-world griefs.
I like how Lewis didn’t see any need to marry off Polly in the epilogue, to Digory or anyone else. It’s nice to see singleness represented as a legitimate life decision in media! I also liked the hopeful ending for Uncle Andrew, a nicer old man with only a very benign brand of crazy. Overall, it’s easily the most successful prequel I’ve ever encountered, with a story that’s very much self-enclosed. It’s not a story that had to be told, but I’m very glad it was.
That said, I honestly dread the idea that some hack might try to make a movie out of this. It’s just not cinematic, and I cringe to think of what might be altered to cram it into a film-shaped hole. This is a story that’s not much concerned with plot, and that rarely flies in film (especially in children’s films). Please leave it alone. Go make The Horse and His Boy instead!
Next time: We embark upon The Last Battle…