I read this book in a couple of days, I just couldn’t put it down! Michael Ward’s explanation for the structure of the Narnia Chronicles is simply mind blowing.
As a child, Ward’s parents read The Chronicles of Narnia to him and his siblings, but one thing in particular stood out to him that just didn’t seem to fit in. Father Christmas, in Narnia. Why in a world where Christ didn’t exist, but rather Aslan did, would there be such a celebrations as Christmas? Why not Aslanmas? Or something to that effect. To be perfectly honest with you, I had never even thought about that when I read The Chronicles of Narnia for the first time as a 10 year old, Father Christmas was in Narnia and I just accepted that. But when Ward pointed that out, I couldn’t for the life of me think of a reason as to why Lewis would include this jovial (a clue) character in a world he just didn’t seem to fit into.
Now, I’m not going to tell you what the connections between Christmas and Narnia are, you’ll have to let Michael Ward do that, after all, he is the one who’s written not one, but two books on this theory. (His other book is titled Planet Narnia, it’s on my to be read list!)
Okay, so I’ll outline a few things, because it’s just too interesting and I want to talk about it!
Back in the Middle Ages, not all the planets that we know of today, were known of then. There were only 7 known planets, two of which we don’t even consider planets anymore. They were Jupiter, Venus, the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury and Saturn. Earth was considered the centre of the universe and was not included as an 8th planet. So we have 7 planets and 7 chronicles. Ward believes that each book out of The Chronicle’s of Narnia correlates with one of the 7 medieval planets! Jupiter to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Mars to Prince Caspian, the Sun to The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader“, the Moon to The Silver Chair, Mercury to The Horse and His Boy, Venus to The Magicians Nephew and Saturn to The Last Battle. Now, if you’re like me, you’re currently racking your brain to remember what you learned about planets in grade 2 to see at all how it is possible for these stories to have a connection to the planets. And further, if you’re like me, it’s a task and a half to recall these memories and if there is nothing to prompt you, those memories will just go on swirling around and around in your head, lost forever in a vortex of useless knowledge. It wasn’t until I got further into The Narnia Code that I started to remember some of the things I had learned as a child, and once these things started coming forward, it all seemed almost too obvious to be true. There will be people out there who have straight away picked up on connections simply from hearing “the 7 planets”, that’s how obvious and simple it is.
Let me point out a few things. Prince Caspian is primarily a war story. It’s the reclaiming of land from invaders, it’s placing the rightful rulers back on the throne, it’s resistance, it’s revolutionary. So Mars has a martial influence over the story of Caspian. The word martial is derived from the word Mars, Mars was the Roman god of war and battle strategy. The word martial is also only used in Prince Caspian (never in any of the other books) when describing Reepicheep as a “martial mouse“, and when Miraz argues with his men about “martial policy” and whether to refuse Peter’s challenge.
How about the sunny influence on The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader”? For me, this was probably the one that stood out the most, I remember so much talk of light and stars, and the sun after all is a star or “a huge ball of flaming gas” as Eustace so eloquently puts it.
I don’t want to ruin any more surprises in store for you if you read Michael Ward’s The Narnia Code, I just hope I’ve given enough tidbits to get people interested. It really is an incredible read, I feel like I understand C.S.Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia so much more, it also expanded my knowledge of the world and universe! I could feel my brain filling! It’s such a rewarding book and I hope others get as much out of it as I did and will continue to do. If I hadn’t filled my February reading The Chronicles of Narnia (for the umpteenth time), I would have definitely read them all again straight after The Narnia Code, I feel like more things would continue to jump off the pages.
And now to read Planet Narnia!