DAY 12 – A BOOK THAT YOU LOVE AND HATE AT THE SAME TIME
I read The Chronicles of Narnia (I’m counting the series as one book) for the first time when I was about seven years old. What child wouldn’t enjoy reading about magical wardrobes, talking animals, and exciting battles? These books gave me a lifelong love of reading, and I still occasionally take them down from the shelves and lose myself in Narnia. But although I still love them, a lot of the magic has gone.
Because when I read them and re-read them as I was getting older, I became more and more uneasy. The Christian overtones which I had completely missed as a child, suddenly became very preachy to my teenage eyes. I could have just about coped with that if other religions were accepted. But they weren’t, and I hated that.
The treatment of the female characters also began to grate on me. When Father Christmas is giving out gifts, Peter receives a sword and a shield, and while the girls are also given weapons (a dagger for Lucy and a bow and arrows for Susan) they are not to be used for fighting. “Battles are ugly when women fight”, says Father Christmas. So Lucy is also given a bottle of healing gunk that she can use on people once the battle is over. Um, sexual stereo-typing much? And Susan is given a hunting horn to blow for help if she’s in danger. Excuse me, but surely the weapons would be more use if she’s in danger?
And talking about Susan… the thing that annoyed and upset me the most, was that at the end of The Last Battle, Lewis kicks her out of Narnia for growing up and becoming a woman. I have never forgiven him for this.
“There comes a point where Susan, who was the older girl, is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She's become irreligious basically because she found sex. I have a big problem with that.” – J K Rowling
So do I Ms Rowling, so do I.