How Old Was Walt Disney When He Died Lion, Witch, Wardrobe, and Gospel: Narnia as Christian Allegory

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Lion, Witch, Wardrobe, and Gospel: Narnia as Christian Allegory

The Chronicles of Narnia, CS Lewis’s seven-volume saga for children, reveals a world that exists parallel to our own, populated by men and women, dwarves and talking creatures, giants and merpeople, centaurs and fauns, and ruled by a kind but terrifying brute. A giant lion named Aslan. Lewis, who died on the same day as JFK, November 22, 1963, combined three of his life’s passions–classical mythology, medieval fiction, and Christian-based philosophy–to create a microcosm of his own moral struggles in Narnia. Faces of the world.

Characters and plot
Along with Aslan himself, the protagonists of the Narnia books are the four Pevensie children Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. They are whisked away from their London home to avoid a Nazi bombing, and put up with an elderly bachelor professor in his country castle.

While playing hide and seek, Lucy, the youngest, 8 years old, hides in an old wardrobe filled with racks of overcoats. She moves further back to avoid detection, moving past Coats, expecting to hit the back of the wardrobe at any moment. Lucy instead feels the branches of evergreen trees, hears the crunch of snow at her feet, and sees the glow of lampposts in London in the distance.

This is the beginning of the four siblings’ many adventures in Narnia. Each book, though loosely connected to the others, can also stand alone. Eventually we learn where the lamppost came from and how the wardrobe became a portal. We learn more about Aslan, what it takes to be his friend and who his enemies are.

deeper meaning
For those who care to see it, Lewis fills Narnia not only with interesting characters, gorgeous scenery, and exciting action, but also with Christian allegory. Aslan represents Jesus Christ himself, “the lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 7:14). The Pevensie children eventually grow so at home in Narnia that they see it as their homeland and the place from which they see the world. Lewis, in his books on Christian apologetics, describes the spiritual world as a parallel to the physical world, not being vague and baseless compared to the physical, but having the quality of being more real, more colorful, and more alive.

As Paul explains,

…Many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Theirs is destruction, their god is their belly, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on worldly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And from there we eagerly await the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…. –Philippians 3:18-20 (see Hebrews 11:13-16).

Disney movies
The first of seven books, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, is now the subject of a major motion picture produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media and directed by Andrew Adamson. At the climax of the story is a beautiful sacrifice, Lewis paints a picture of the death of Christ.

If you go to the movies, watch for the breaking of the stone tablet, which symbolizes how Christ’s death and resurrection brought about the end of the Mosaic Law by fulfilling the demands of blood atonement. See also the role Susan and Lucy play in witnessing Aslan’s death and resurrection, relating to the historical role of mourning women at Jesus’ death and burial and as the first witnesses to his resurrection.

The professor helps Peter and Susan figure out how to get Lucy’s testimony about Narnia: if she isn’t lying and she isn’t crazy, then logically, she must be telling the truth. This relates to Jesus’ testimony about his own identity and his followers’ testimony about him—Lewis elsewhere describes Jesus as a triad: Is he Lord, liar, or mad?

Another important parallel is this: Aslan’s loyal followers play a vital role in the battle against the White Witch. As in our own spiritual warfare, Christ assures ultimate victory, but calls upon his followers to personally join the battle. For passages related to that conflict, see Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; 1 Timothy 1:18-20; 1 Timothy 6:12; and 2 Timothy 4:7).

Six more films are planned to follow this first film, in which the rest of Narnia’s history unfolds. If they are as faithful to the books and as well-imagined and crafted as this book, all of us die-hard Lewis fans will welcome them as they introduce Narnia to a bewildered world. We hope the audience will understand and appreciate the allegorical features as much as the page story. The goal is not only to learn about Aslan and Narnia, but to become his friends and subjects and live forever in his kingdom.

Want to go deeper?
You can explore documents that go into more detail on the allegory of Narnia, including three: “The Lion, the Witch, and the Allegory,” “The Wardrobe as a Christian Metaphor,” and “Myth Made Truth: The Origins of the Chronicles of Narnia.” “

If you want to buy and read your own copy The Chronicles of Narnia, they are available in a variety of editions, from a one-volume edition in softcover to a seven-volume boxed set in hardback or softcover. is also available The Official Illustrated Movie Companion for the The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobePhotos from the film and interviews with the director and cast, as well as EJ Kirk Beyond the Wardrobe: The Official Guide to Narnia. (My blog provides links to all of these, which can get you a substantial discount of 24% to 33% off retail prices.)

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