I’ve been re-reading C S Lewis’ Narnia series again for the first time since I was a child. I’m always trying to read more fiction; even though I read a lot I feel the need for fanciful books. And Lewis himself called fairy stories the ‘right kind of books’. It’s no secret that the Narnian books have Christian themes but as I plow through them, I’m struck with how in each volume there is a central image. The Magician’s Nephew has Creation. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe has Atonement. The Horse and His Boy has a beautiful theme of Adoption. Prince Caspian I’m still pondering but The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (my favourite so far) has this great image of Repentance:
Eustace has been turned into a dragon by his greed and laziness but when he meets Aslan he peels off his scales. But underneath is just a new scaly hide. Again, he tries to shed his dragon-ness but can’t get free. Then the lion said – but I don’t know if it spoke – ‘you will have to let me undress you.’ I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it. The first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel away.
Self effort fails but when Eustace surrenders to Aslan’s surgical claws he gets free. It hurts but it heals.
The best part is when Edmund is told the story. Edmund, very un-older-brother-like, counts himself the greater sinner. You were only an ass, I was a traitor.