Aslan. The King of Beasts. The Son of the Emperor over the sea. Lord of Narnia. There is something hushed and magical that comes over you when you first “meet” this venerated character in The Chronicles of Narnia. For me, as stated in this previous post, my first “meeting” with Aslan was the 1979 cartoon version of the character, voiced by Stephen Thorne. Though he didn’t give me the chills that Liam Neeson’s version of the lion did in Walden Media’s movie portrayals of the novels, I still felt very connected to this King of Beasts. When I read the books after seeing the 1979 cartoon version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, this odd sensation of connection and stillness continued each time Aslan showed up in the books.
Why? I firmly believe that Aslan, as a character, speaks to our hearts and souls about something inherently true and right in the universe. That is, the existence of a benevolent and loving Being that cares deeply about the states of all creatures. As a Christian, myself, I cannot help but draw parallels between Aslan and Jesus. Now don’t worry…I don’t intend to “preach atchya” in this post, but I do not want to downplay the importance of Aslan in my literary and spiritual experience.
In fact, in case you were unaware, C.S. Lewis was a Christian himself and all of his fantasy and science-fiction novels are tinged with Christian imagery. Don’t believe me? Then I’d probably say you haven’t read these books very closely…That being said, you do not have to be a Christian to thoroughly enjoy The Chronicles of Narnia or The Space Trilogy. If you are, though, I’d posit that you’d feel more immersed in the reading experience and that it might speak to your heart a bit more deeply than otherwise.
Aslan challenges the characters in the Narnia novels. He helps them. He often saves them. In Edmund’s case (in TLTWTW), Aslan dies to save life. Aslan is the ultimate hero, not because is always kind or always fierce, but because he is, as Mr. Beaver puts it, “good”.
Favorite Quotes by and About Aslan:
“Will the others see you too?” asked Lucy.
“Certainly not at first,” said Aslan. “Later on, it depends.”
“But they won’t believe me!” said Lucy.
“It doesn’t matter.”
“A voice had begun to sing. It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. It was hardly a tune. But it was beyond comparison, the most beautiful sound he had ever heard.”
~The Magician’s Nephew
“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”
~The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
“I have come,” said a deep voice behind them. They turned and saw the Lion himself, so bright and real and strong that everything else began at once to look pale and shadowy compared with him.”
~The Silver Chair
For a long, long while now, I’ve had the book A Year With Aslan: Daily Reflections from The Chronicles of Narnia on my wishlist. I’m hoping that it might show up among my birthday presents this summer *fingers crossed*. I’d love to reread the whole series again soon as well. I love Aslan to pieces.
What about you? What are your thoughts on Aslan? Do you remember the first time you read about him or saw him in the movies? What did his presence make you feel? I’d love to know your thoughts!
More Nine Nights of Narnia goodness: