Over the past three months, I have read or listened to all 7 books in the Chronicles of Narnia series. I remember reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when I was young, but I must have never made it around to the others, because I didn't remember anything. However, I highly enjoyed them as an adult and I'm in a much better place to understand the allegory, so I'm not too sad I missed out earlier.
These books are all part of a very strong Christian allegory, and they do a good job of making me think about life on Earth, heaven, my relationship with Christ, and right vs. wrong.
They also helped me see evil in new, powerful ways. Although I have understood the concept of gaslighting abstractly, The Silver Chair gave me the most concrete example I have ever found. And reading The Last Battle made me very uncomfortable when I started to draw connections with the current government.
Two of my favorite quotes, both from The Last Battle, speak to what happens at the end of our lives, which aligns very well with what I was taught and what I have always believed.
A lot of sad, hard things happen at the end, including Susan, one of the original children from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, not returning to Narnia with the rest.
SPOILER ALERT [but can it really be a spoiler for a book that was published 60 years ago?]: At the end of the book, all the good characters from the whole series watch the Narnia they have known and loved die, and then they go into a new land, where everything seems familiar but better.
"The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this."
"For all find what they truly seek."
I love the idea of heaven as an improvement of this world, where we'll be comfortable and happy but know it's an upgrade. I also like thinking that people will end up where they are happiest. Bad things happen, but at the end, it will be alright. I look forward to the feeling of reunion with everyone who has ever left me. The end of this series feels hopeful, even with the heartache that accompanies it.
I know C.S. Lewis is highly revered, especially in the Mormon world, but I have never been able to get into his nonfiction. These books, however, are perfect at bringing the reader into the story in order to speak some real truths. I'm excited to reread them, hopefully someday with my future children (?).