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My question is to the people who read at least one book about Narnia written by Clive Lewis. I want to know your opinion about it. I want to read it, but some of the people who have already read it say it's just a fairy tale and THAT'S IT... Do you think Narnia would be interesting for a sixteen-year old boy and, if yes why? 


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 24th, 2010 07:34 pm (UTC)
I´ve read first three books few years back. They read well, the story paces nicely, but there´s not much beyond the story. It could be more attractive to young children than late teens. There is a lot of moral talk that´s not well-hiden, which can be distracting.

I consider it something one should read, simply because it´s classic. And it can be nice reading for train or something. However, don´t expect much of tension or action from it.
Apr. 25th, 2010 12:34 pm (UTC)
there´s not much beyond the story.

...um. And the big honking Christian allegories?
Apr. 25th, 2010 12:37 pm (UTC)
I tend to to ignore these for my own sanity...
Apr. 24th, 2010 07:36 pm (UTC)
OK, I've read the entire series, and I absolutely adore it. It's most definitely a fairytale. I'm an adult female, so I have no clue what a 16-year-old boy would like -- but if he's into fantasy and adventure, he'd probably enjoy this.
Apr. 24th, 2010 07:37 pm (UTC)
I loved the series. It's more than just a fairy tale. It actually has a ton of religious undertones (ok, so they're not so much undertones and blatant overtures.) I think it was really interesting. I liked some of the books more than others (the last was my favorite) and the characters are ones you can really connect to.

However, as much as I love them... I don't think a 16-year-old boy would really be interested in them unless religious connotations and fantasy is his particular cup of tea.
Apr. 24th, 2010 07:38 pm (UTC)
A boy would probably like it especially further on in the series with the sword fighting, dragons etc. It's definitely not just a fairy tale, but there are fairy tale elements obviously. I read them and still read them in order but I don't think that's extremely important, however it does provide a more stable timeline which narnia doesn't have. I first got these books when I was really little and I still read them today at 20 years old and love them as much as I did as a kid. Good luck!!
Apr. 24th, 2010 07:49 pm (UTC)
I find it a little funny to come across this question since I just finished a Compare&Contrast essay the other day on Lewis and Tolkien, but, putting that aside...

Firstly, there is nothing wrong with it being JUST a fairy tale. I'm not quiet sure what else you're looking for. Its fiction, it isn't going to hold the secret to life or anything.

Not everyone will like one thing or another, the best way to tell is just to read it yourself; however, if you like the fantasy genre I'm willing to guess you'll like it. Narnia is just one of those stories that most people will enjoy. Even as a 16-year-old boy, I think you could find something to like in it. Narnia is a classic, even if you find you didn't like it, you shouldn't regret reading it. ^,^
Apr. 24th, 2010 08:01 pm (UTC)
I first read Narnia when I was about eight, I think, and I saw absolutely no religious imagery whatsoever in the story. Once it was pointed out to me (several years later... observant I was not), I could have cried, completely convinced that I would never see the books the same way again.

Then I read them again, and not once while reading did I think of the "deeper meaning" to the books. There was just... Narnia.

In short, I think you get out of them what you expect to get out of them. If you go looking for fairy tales, then you'll get dragons and Father Christmas and enchanted Turkish Delight and the dead city of Charn and giants and enchantresses and lions who are decidedly not tame and a whole world inside a wardrobe. If you go looking for Christian allegory, then you'll find allegory.

One way or another, they're well written, magical and exciting, IMO.
Apr. 25th, 2010 12:01 am (UTC)
This is a brilliant comment.

I read the series in middle school and I didn't get the religious aspects at all. Even knowing the religious part of it now, it doesn't make me like it any more/less.

I don't have anything else to say that irnan hasn't already said so perfectly.
Apr. 24th, 2010 08:21 pm (UTC)
I've read all books and since I was very young that time I saw only what was lying on the surface - action and action.
But then my mum told me that there's something beneath the action surface. That the books are much deeper. So I reread them. And you know I found something more. BTW my mum ment the other thing.
So my conclusion is this: thes books are for everyone ane everyone should read it. But not everyone will see what these books are about.
Apr. 24th, 2010 08:42 pm (UTC)
These are classic books. I read them several times as a small child, so I don't know how they'd seem to someone reading them for the first time at 16yrs old (nearly adult) but they are an excellent series.
Apr. 24th, 2010 08:47 pm (UTC)
I recommend them.

I recommend that they be read, not in the order given in the omnibus, but in the order published: start with The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe and go on from there. It makes more sense that way.
Apr. 24th, 2010 09:17 pm (UTC)
I second this recommendation.
Apr. 24th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
I read Narnia when I was 5. They are good books, but they're also children's books--so don't go in thinking you'll get the kind of depth of plot and storytelling you'd find in LOTR or even Harry Potter. The best reasons I can think of for reading the Narnia books is simply that a lot of other people have read them and they are therefore pretty culturally important by now--and they're short enough that you can read them quickly.
Apr. 24th, 2010 09:22 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure. Looking back, I remember them, particularly 'The Voyage of the Dawn Treader' and 'The Silver Chair', as being pretty awesome adventure stories in their own right and a fun read, but I'm not sure they'd be the same for me now. (I'm seventeen.)
Apr. 24th, 2010 10:24 pm (UTC)
the Narnia series not a fairy tale, it's a christian allegory for children and young adults. As a non-christan child, myself, that aspect was fairly opaque to me but I read it younger than 16 and didn't like the end/certian other aspects that related to the christian themes. There's a fair amount of action adventure however they might be a little young for a 16 year old and the author's racial bigotry (normal for his station and era) is rather stark in the modern day.

Also, the series ends with, essentially, revelations and everybody 'dies'.
Apr. 24th, 2010 10:39 pm (UTC)
Try 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' if you like that one then you'll like the other ones. I think they're great.
Apr. 25th, 2010 12:40 am (UTC)
I'd recommend them because they are classics, and its a good story. They might be a little tough for a sixteen year old who hasn't read them before. I read them when I was about ten or so, and they came alive for me then, but I reread them a few years ago and they were a lot harder to get through. I don't know, just something about how they were written makes them more accessible to children than to adults. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is probably the best one, so if you do decide to read them I'd recommend that first.
Apr. 25th, 2010 02:38 am (UTC)
There's plenty for all ages. Imo the numbers on the spines are for the very young or naive, and the books are better read in publication order (LWW, PC, DT, HB, MN, LB).

Might tell a teenager how Lewis was connected with Tolkien of Dungeons and Dragons fame.
Apr. 25th, 2010 05:17 am (UTC)
Tolkien wasn't connected to Dungeons and Dragons beyond inspiration to the creators and some blatant theft of ideas. And Tolkien stole most of his stuff from mythology in the first place.
Apr. 25th, 2010 04:39 am (UTC)
It's a great deal more intricate than a fairy tale, although to be fair, fairy tales are more complex than most people realize. People have forgotten that C.S. Lewis was a great Christian scholar and storyteller ... who also admired other faiths. If you know anything about history or European mythology, you will find many fascinating tidbits reflected in the Narnia books. If you're a typical sixteen-year-old boy, then you probably enjoy adventure stories and combat scenes; start with _The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe_ and you'll get plenty of that.

I certainly recommend reading Narnia. After all, if you don't care for it, you can always put the book down and do something else.
Apr. 25th, 2010 05:15 am (UTC)
Narnia is a Christian Allegory, very representative of Lewis' deeply held Christian beliefs. The story can be read without realizing the nature of the underpinnings, as it's not 'beat you over the head' but it's hard to miss.

It is best suited to younger readers, but it doesn't lose anything by being read by a YA or adult. I will point out though that the nature of the story telling is more akin to older styles and younger readers don't always appreciate the style. Not as bad as Tolkien (another of the Inklings) but certainly more descriptive, less action, than many modern books which were written after the wide spread availability of television and movies.

As pointed out by others, Narnia does show influences from a number of various myths and fairy tales, though less of it than the very Norse/Finnish nature of Tolkien. Those included actually tend towards a mixture of Grecian-Roman with a dash of various Germanic early on, with more variety by the time you hit Silver Chair which draws move heavily on the northern European views of the underworld.

As a male, who read Narnia as a child, I would say it's perfectly readable, but without knowing the boy and his interests I don't know how well he'll take to it. First, I'd really recommend reading it in publication order, which is:

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
Prince Caspian
Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair
A Horse and His Boy
The Magicians Nephew
The Final Battle

New versions are sold in the chronology of the world but stuff in Magician's Nephew takes away some of the wonder of the other books. Caspian, Dawn Treader, Silver Chair, and Horse and His Boy, are the most "action packed" of the books. But remember the characters here are significantly younger on the whole than a 16 year old.

Alternatively you might find that Raymond E. Feist's works, along with a couple other authors might be more suitable.
Apr. 25th, 2010 08:06 am (UTC)
My mom read the series to my brother & I, when we were young. I'd say younger than 3rd grade. I reread them as an adult, and still enjoyed them. :)
Apr. 25th, 2010 11:16 am (UTC)
I consider the Narnia books to be the best piece of literature I've ever read, and I'm a bookworm who reads for life. I read them first when I was 8 or 9, and totally did not notice the references to religion - as someone above already mentioned, to me it was all action and fantasy goodness! And it was only later in life that somebody pointed out the strong references to christianity that all went lost on me before. I was afraid I'd hate the books now, but they still read as a beautiful story of courage and adventure. I'm good at blacking out parts I don't relate to.

But then again, I'm not and never was a 16 year old boy. And probably never will be, unless reincarnation exists and we are all stuck in endless circles of existence. If you are asking yourself whether you should read the books, it means you were not convinced by learning what you know about them, and so you probably shouldn't.
Apr. 25th, 2010 12:12 pm (UTC)
"it's just a fairy tale and THAT'S IT"

...hmm. That's a tricky one. See, me, I'm fascinated by fairy tales, and folk tales, and all that jazz, and there's nothing "That's It" about them, afaic. They're the stories that last, and they reflect terrors and lessons about what makes us tick, and what's going to fuck us up, and what society expects/demands of us. They just tend to deal in metaphors, rather than address this stuff in literal and mundane ways. ('Little Red Riding Hood' isn't actually just about a girl and a talking wolf, for example - it's much more about learning to be wary of strangers, and trying to avoid being raped.) It's also particularly interesting to see the way in which these stories are changed in different times and places, and rendered more palatable - I mean, the bowdlerisation & saccharine Disneyfication of traditional stories tends to make me want to cut a bitch, but at the same time it's interesting in what it says about the culture that the story is being made for and by.

...sorry, I'm rambling a bit, yeah? Back to the point.

CS Lewis's 'Narnia' books are about Christianity. They're pretty much religious propaganda - now, I didn't twig to that, when I was a seven year old reading them obsessively & geeking out over them, but I was vaguely conscious that there were layers of meaning, and that Aslan was probably supposed to represent Jesus in our world.

I don't know whether you'd enjoy them - it depends on what kind of stuff you're into in general (and it's possible that you might be both too old and too young for them right now - I know there are books I couldn't read in my teens which I then went on to be able to enjoy a lot ten years later, when I was no longer in that whole defining-myself-as-no-longer-a-kid phase, and had moved on to the fuck-it-I-like-this-story-regardless phase).

There are seven different books, and they're definitely children's classics; Lewis is a creature of his time, and his attitudes to race, class and gender come across pretty damn clearly, but the stories are still well worth a look, and the questions that they open up (about faith, about family, about patriotism, about compassion, about friendship etc etc) extend beyond the page. The protagonists change over the course of the books - you get the four siblings in 'The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe' returning a couple of times, but eventually it's just the youngest two, and then other kids are introduced into the story. What remains constant is Narnia itself.

The stories give you various kids on various quests, with monsters and witches and bloodshed and moral dilemmas. There are images and lines from these stories that have stayed with me my whole life (and I'm thirty six now - I read these books nearly thirty years ago), so I'd say they're still worth a look, even if you're probably not going to be sucked into them to the extent that you might have been if you'd happened across them a few years ago.

If you do read them, I'd DEFINITELY recommend a compare'n'contrast between what Lewis does with the Narnia books, and what Philip Pullman does with the 'His Dark Materials' trilogy. I found the latter absolutely gripping (although I thought that 'The Amber Spyglass' was a bit of a let down after the earlier books).

I'd also recommend the b'jaysus out of China Mieville's "Un Lun Dun", which is a cracking piece of kidlit/YA that takes the whole Special Hero On A Quest trope familiar from a metric buttload of books (Harry Potter comes leaping to mind, but there are hundreds of them out there) and kicks it to the curb, cheerfully overturning the cliches of the genre in a wonderfully baroque and twisted sort of steampunk Alice In Wonderland tale. Whether that's your cup of tea depends on what kind of stories you like, and whether you can empathise with a female protagonist, of course - but it's a cracking story, imho.

Edited at 2010-04-25 12:26 pm (UTC)
Apr. 25th, 2010 06:30 pm (UTC)
My opinion: I read all seven of the Chronicles of Narnia books when I was eight or so, and I loved them ALL. It comes across as "just a fairy tale"... but it isn't, really. Reading and re-reading the series will reveal to you another, deeper story.

Whether or not it will interest you, as a sixteen-year-old boy, depends on what you're expecting. It is written for younger audiences, so if your expecting something else you'll be disappointed. However! This is not to say that teenagers and adults will be let down by reading it; just keep in mind that C.S. Lewis wrote the series with youth in his heart.

At any rate, I fully recommend that you read all of these books and cherish them.
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