Synopsis: Aslan calls the animals of Narnia into being. The Witch attacks him, then flees.
I would love to see the sequence described here animated somehow, especially the spreading of plant life outwards from Aslan. Whether I ever will, I don’t know.
I didn’t really expect Uncle Andrew to be brave enough to take issue with Jadis’ behaviour.
When Digory says to Andrew that, ‘You wanted to know about other worlds. Don’t you like it now you’re here?’ I’m reminded of the idea, mentioned in LB, that ‘All find what they truly seek,’ or the old saying, ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ Andrew didn’t really want to enter another world as an open-minded visitor. He wanted knowledge, riches or power which other people didn’t have.
‘The more dressed up you were to begin with, the worse you look…[when you become messed up]’ I’ve proved this theory on literally hundreds of nights out.
Do people make hissing noises at horses? Why? What do they mean?
When people talk about the best order in which to read the Narniad, I always think of this moment, when the lamppost begins growing from the ground. If you read this book first, when Lucy finds a lamppost in a wood you already know why it is there and how it got there. There’s no mystery about where you are, or what sort of place it is. However, if you read LWW first, when you read about the growing lamppost, you have that satisfying moment of recognition and the mystery is solved for you. I absolutely believe that publication order is the best way to enjoy the books.
Uncle Andrew’s ideas about the ‘commercial possibilities’ of Narnia show us just how lost he is, in a moral or spiritual sense. Edmund in LWW (planning to build roads and cinemas) and Eustace in VDT (thinking that Calormen’s trade and finance systems preferable to Narnia’s) made similar mistakes. They don’t see the value of the land itself, the worth of it simply existing. They want to ‘develop’ it for profit. This idea goes against Lewis’ deeply held values and beliefs, discussed in his non-fiction. Lewis would definitely not want to explore the ‘commercial possibilities’ of a place full of natural beauty.
For some reason, until Digory points it out here, I always forget that Andrew is not only brother to Letty, but also to Digory’s mother. He’s so callous about her.
Pauline Baynes’ illustrations of the animals bubbling up out of the ground always stayed with me. Her drawings were instrumental in developing the Narnia I saw in my mind’s eye.
Aslan choosing two of each species – ‘always two at a time’ – reminds me of the Noah’s Ark story. It amuses me that Aslan uses a ‘nose boop’ to select the animals.
When we are told that some sorts of animal weren’t chosen at all, this must presumably include mice, as we learn in PC that they only gain the power of speech after their actions at the Stone Table in LWW. Which other species were overlooked? Why? What were the criteria?
Why is Aslan described as unblinking? This is mentioned elsewhere in the Chronicles. Is there some significance?
Why is there a flash of fire?
When Aslan speaks here, for the first time in the book, it feels like a really emotional moment.