Book #42

The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

Digory and Polly meet and become friends one cold, wet summer in London. Their lives burst into adventure when Digory's Uncle Andrew, who thinks he is a magician, sends them hurtling to...somewhere else. They find their way to Narnia, newborn from the Lion's song, and encounter the evil sorceress Jadis before they finally return home.

This is really the first novel in the tales of Narnia - an interpretation of how the world came to be, the origin of everything. I chose to read in publication order, rather than chronological order, so it came sixth in my list, but I can truly see the merits of reading this one first. And yet I’m glad it came almost at the end, because by this time there was something I was longing for which I hadn’t yet seen - the consequences of Narnia and our own world colliding.

I’d met one magician already on my journey - a nice one - and I’d assumed this magician would either be the same one, or of the same temperament. Instead, I met a selfish and power hungry magician without a care for other people or animals, hellbent on reaching heights no one from our world ever had before. 

As a result, his nephew Digory, and his friend Polly, are thrown into a curious woodland which serves as an in between world amongst worlds. They (naturally) choose to explore, they (needless to say) encounter evil, they (of course) triumph, they (not unexpectedly) meet our revered Aslan, and Narnia is born.

I really loved this one, and it’s quite possibly my favourite of the seven. Combining worlds was a masterstroke from Lewis - a seven foot tall witch rampaging through the streets of 1900s London truly is something to behold. With the addition of being allowed to see the birth of Narnia, to understand how the famous wardrobe became so magical, and to finally be told why there’s a lamp post almost immediately after you arrive, was simply gorgeous. 

A beautiful and completely magical prequel; a perfect origin story, and uniquely unforgettable.

Make your choice, adventurous Stranger,

Strike the bell and bide the danger,

Or wonder, till it drives you mad,

What would have followed if you had.