Theology in the Chronicles of Narnia the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

RELAMPAGOS, Nicola Liane C. POSADAS, Klarizze FINAL PROJECT: The Chronicles of Narnia The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia series written by CS Lewis. The book series was such a great success that in 2008, the first book was turned into a film. What many people may not realize is that CS Lewis wrote the book series with a specific goal in mind: to showcase the word of God to different parts of the world through an artistic lens. This paper will focus on the theological nature of CS Lewis’ book based film, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
This will include a number of noticeable parallelisms, allusions and symbolisms found in said work. Although The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe was originally a published book, this paper will focus on the film adaptation of the book. One of the noticeable symbolisms in the movie would be found in the main characters of the film: Aslan, the Witch and the children. Aslan was portrayed as the original king of Narnia and when Narnia was held deep in the clutches of the White Witch, Narnias looked to Aslan as their redeemer.
Aslan was also the one who died so that Edmund may live. He was the only one who was capable of defeating the White Witch. Aslan in the film was an artistic representation of Jesus Christ. The parallelism found in the resurrection of Christ, his absorbing of our sins and overcoming death is seen in the depiction The Witch, on the other hand, represents Satan. It was the White Witch who covered Narnia in snow: no sign of life, simply cold and dead. The Witch is consumed in her own vanity and the longing to fully overcome Aslan and rule over Narnia forever.

It isn’t clearly stated, but it is seen in certain parts of the movie that The Witch feared Aslan: when the Witch spoke out of turn after their agreement and Aslan roared at her and she quickly sat down in fear of him. Much like the Witch, Satan will always be inferior to God but will always try to put himself about Christ but will never achieve such. Lastly, the four children (Lucy, Edmund, Peter and Suzan) are human beings. They represent four different kinds of people who have different encounters with God.
For Peter, he is the skeptical type of Christian. One who is doubtful by how God can use him to help build God’s kingdom, yet at times he forgets that it is only Christ who can defeat evil and not by his strength alone. Edmund is the type of Christian who has sinned and fallen short many times along the road before choosing to love and follow Christ. While Suzan is the type of Christian who has consistently doubted whether or not Christ, even really exists before fully trusting God with the things that don’t seem to make sense.
Lastly, Lucy represents the Christians who just love, follow and dedicate their lives to Christ without hesitation and without doubt. Lucy’s childlikeness showcases how Christians should love and trust Christ with our lives. Since the four children can be seen as symbolisms of human beings, their relationship with Aslan shows a lot about the grace, mercy and overall character of God. One of the main examples where this is seen is the grace that Aslan showed to Edmund who was a traitor.
Despite Edmunds’ choice to prioritize Turkish delight over his family and his right as one of the king of Narnia, Aslan still accepted Edmund into his army and not only that Edmund still inherited the kingdom of Narnia not by his own works but by Aslan’s choice. Much like the plot of the movie, Christ will continue to accept sinners into his family despite what they have done in the past. As Aslan said, “What’s done is done, we need not speak to Edmund about what has happened anymore” this has a similar message in Philippians “I focus on all my energy on one thing: Forgetting what lies behind and focusing on what’s ahead”.
Also, Edmund’s choice to pursue Turkish delight over his unmerited right to be a king of Narnia, is similar to the story in the Bible of how Esau gave up his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew. Both Edmund and Esau’s common mentality was the seeing the situation only at the present and forgetting the eternal value and purpose of their lives. But despite Edmund’s decision, Aslan accepted his presence with open arms, which is a similar characteristic to the story of the Prodigal Son.
True sacrifice is an act that any human being can never really fathom, due to the only considered true sacrifice that was only made by God Himself by offering his own son to the world that is bound to perish in eternal debt of sin. In the movie, true sacrifice was first depicted through the following event, which was the acceptance of Edmund despite of his treason towards Aslan and his own brothers and sisters. Without the mistake that Edmund committed earlier in the movie, true sacrifice would have not been clearly depicted.
The scene where Edmund was enticed by the Witch’s offer of Turkish delight and then the throne shows a great parallel of how the world committed the very first sin, the original sin. Adam and Eve were tempted by the devil, who took the form a snake and they were blinded by the temptation of knowledge that was offered by the apple. Same goes to Edmund, he succumbs to the lavish offers of the Witch that led to his treason towards his siblings. In the end, Aslan accepts Edmund despite his betrayal and also became the emancipator from the Witch.
This selfless act then led to the suffering and supposed death of Aslan. The altruism that Aslan performed is an exact parallel to the suffering of Christ, which was the crucifixion. With such altruistic acts of both Aslan and Jesus Christ, it is believed that their sacrifices are yet to be unvarnished. No one in this world is capable of such because only the savior can absorb the sins of the world. In the movie, Aslan was put to death and was humiliated in front of the presence of many followers of the Witch by cutting off his mane, which is parallel to Christ’s crown of thorns.
The Witch wanted to show her iron fist by showing the execution of Aslan in public, which only goes to show that she fears Aslan. She needs the approval of many, for her to feel superior over him. Although she thought she had succeed with the humiliation and execution, little did the Witch know that Aslan was to come back to life and save his followers despite their treason. The representation of Christ’s suffering and resurrection was fairly accurate; the breaking of the stone table which Aslan’s body was left behind is aligned to the opening of Christ’s tomb.
In addition, Aslan was first seen back to life by the girls, which in the film were Susan and Lucy, and just like Christ who appeared to the women first (Mary and Mary Magdalene; found in Matthew 28:9). The movie then proceeds to the war between good and evil, which illustrates the consistent internal battle inside every human mind. When Aslan came back to life, he did not eradicate the battle between the Narnians and the forces of the Witch. But instead, the battle continued on even to the point that the Narnians began to face defeat.
This shows that although the Jesus Christ overcame death, there will still be an internal battle between good and evil within us. In the film, Peter and Edmund try to lead the battle against the forces of The Witch and even tried to kill her but their attempts only would lead to death. It is only when Aslan comes into the picture, that he is not only able to breathe life back into the dead but also defeat the Witch. This is an artistic depiction of how human beings cannot overcome death by their strength alone. It is only Christ’s power that Satan is fully defeated.
Therefore during spiritual battles within humans, one was surrender and acknowledges that he cannot do it by themselves and it is only by God’s help that we can overcome evil. Lastly, Aslan’s words after he defeated the Witch were a direct parallelism to the words that Jesus Christ utters when he defeated death on the cross: “It is finished”. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe film holds a great number of theoretical references but the major and more obvious events would be the characterization of Asaln, the Witch and the three children, Aslan’s sacrifice and battle between the two forces.

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