An enchanting encounter

‘The Magician’s Nephew’ was the sixth of seven books to be published but its events occur long before those of ‘The Lion’, ‘The Witch’ and ‘The Wardrobe’ (the first to appear in print), ‘Prince Caspian’ and ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’.

 Had you got acquainted with ‘The Magician’s Nephew’ before you came across ‘The Lion...’, there would have been fewer surprises as you read or watched the latter; for instance, the White Witch who traps Edmund in ‘The Lion’, appears in ‘The Magician’s Nephew’ as Queen Jadis, an imposing figure ‘with a look of fierceness and pride’. Her particular target here is Digory (the ‘nephew’ of the title). Digory’s mother is seriously ill, and Jadis tries to tempt the boy to get her cured by wrongful means.

Digory and his neighbour Polly meet Jadis because Mr Andrew Ketterley (Digory’s uncle and the ‘magician’ of the title), dabbles in spells in an irresponsible manner. His experiments land Jadis in London and several characters —including himself — in Narnia, which comes into being at Aslan’s bidding.

That lordly Lion (familiar from the other books) alone can control the powerful Jadis. Aslan exalts humble folk, and a good-hearted cab-driver and his wife are assigned important roles in Narnia: a place inhabited by talking birds and beasts. In The Lion the Pevensies enter this enchanted world through a wardrobe. The Professor in whose house they do so is a grown-up Digory, while the wardrobe itself has its origin in a tree that plays a significant part in his earlier story.

Who is Strawberry? What happens to Digory’s mother? Will Digory and Polly — who tend to disagree with each other — resolve their differences and prove worthy of Aslan’s trust? Read ‘The Magician’s Nephew’ to find out. The movie is sure to prove a lot more exciting if you know the book.

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