When the children visit Narnia, much is made of the stars. Lucy remarks at how different they are than those of England. Caspian makes secretive roof-top trips with his old tutor Dr. Cornelius to “study the stars” while actually discussing the true history of Narnia.
Could C.S. Lewis have been drawing our attention heavenward for a deeper meaning to explain his hodge podge of mythological creatures and characters in his Chronicles of Narnia? Lewis’ scholar Michael Ward believes each book in the series can be explained through the planets of Narnia.
His comparison goes as follows:
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – Jupiter, the kingly planet, as the novel explores the kingship of Aslan and later Peter.
Prince Caspian, – Mars, the god of war, Narnia is embroiled in a civil war between Miraz and Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – Sun, much of the story revolves around sunlight and gold, the sun’s metal
The Silver Chair – Moon, Aslan stays in his high country above the clouds
The Horse and His Boy – Mercury, messenger, seperated twins Cor and Corin mirror Gemini in the house of Mercury, while Cor (aka Shasta) becomes a messenger
The Magicians Nephew – Venus, goddess of love and motherhood, Digory is on a quest to save his mother, while battling the evil Jadis, whom Lewis called “Venis Infernal.”
The Last Battle – Saturn, planet of death, the characters do not meet Aslan until they die, also Father Time is based on Saturn.
I perfer the much simpler explanation that Lewis himself gave: the whole series is “about Christ.” Ward downplays much of the Christocentric nature of Aslan in the entire series not just The Magicians Nephew, The Lion, and The Last Battle.
Here’s how I personally see and experience Christ in each of the Narnian novels. Many times I have been moved to tears as I read the passages of Aslan’s love and care for the characters.
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – Perhaps the clearest picture of Aslan as Christ, being the Suffering Servant, Redeemer, Forgiver and King.
Prince Caspian – Aslan directs the children to where they need to be in order to save Caspian, even though they can’t see Him at first. The friends of Narnia fall back to Aslan’s How, the mound over the Stone Table, showing us how we must fall back to Calvary in times of trouble. Aslan comes to bring freedom to those who were oppresed under Miraz.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – Caspaian and his crew set out toward Aslan’s Country, with Reepicheep desiring only to reach those shores. Our life is a constant journey toward Christ. He must be our desire. The moving portrait of Eustance having to allow Aslan to remove his dragon skin/sin nature. He appears as a lamb at the end of the novel. He also tells the children how they were brought to Narnia so that they may know Aslan better in our world, by His name here.
The Silver Chair – Sometimes, as those like Mother Teresa have made clear, God seems silent. We can only focus on His Word and the signs He has given us. When we can’t hear from Him in fellowship, we must stay in His Word, as Eustace and Jill learn in their adventure.
The Horse and His Boy – Aslan is working behind the scenes to make sure Shasta, Aravis, Hwin and Bree all arrive in Archenland when they need to. In one of Narnia most touching scenes to me, Aslan safely leads the unaware Shasta through a dangerous path. Shasta has no idea it is Aslan or that the trial winds through cliffs, but he is aware that he was protected.
The Magicians Nephew – We see Aslan as Creator God, who speaks sings beings into existence. His Word brings life. We also see Him breathe souls into animals selected to be “Talking Beasts.” Digory is tempted by Jadis, in an Eden-like situation, where Digory insteads listens to Aslans’ command.
The Last Battle – Death is the loser in the last battle, as Aslan conquers all His enemies. Clearly, paralleling the return of Christ, complete with an anti-Christ character in Shfit the monkey, the novel shows Aslans as Final Judge of all creation. Those who believe in Him and follow Him forever live in Aslan’s country – the real Narnia and real England. Lucy also points out as everyone is trying to understand how an entire world is inside the donkey stable, that our world too has seen something in a stable which the whole universe cannot contain.
The wonderful thing about great literature is how it causes you to think and how different people reading the same story will find different meanings.