Riding Aslan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Josue Cofresi '07 English 65, Fantasy, Brown University, 2004

Aslan plays the role of a divine being in C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. His sacrifice and subsequent resuscitation during the scene in which the witch and her minions torture the great lion exude religiosity. Having reawakened, Aslan seems mightier and even more disposed to give due justice to the acts of the White Witch. However, in order to shift the advantage of the battle to his side, with Lucy and Susan mounted on him, Aslan must dash to the castle grounds to reanimate and recruit the stoned creatures at Cair Paravel.

That ride was perhaps the most wonderful thing that happened to them in Narnia. Have you ever had a gallop on a horse? Think of that; and then take away the jingle of the bits and imagine instead the almost noiseless padding of the great paws. Then imagine instead of the black or gray or chestnut back of the horse the soft roughness of golden fur, and the mane flying back in the wind. And then imagine you are going about twice as fast as the fastest racehorse. But this is a mount that doesn't need to be guided and never grows tired. He rushes on and on, never missing his footing, never hesitating, threading his way with perfect skill between tree trunks, jumping over bush and briar and the smaller streams, wading the larger, swimming the largest of all. And you are riding not on a road nor in a park nor even on the downs, but right across Narnia, in spring, down solemn avenues of beech and across sunny glades of oak, through wild orchards of snow-white cherry trees, past roaring waterfalls and mossy rocks and echoing caverns, up windy slopes alight with gorse bushes, and across the shoulders of heathery mountains and along giddy ridges and down, down, down again into wild valleys and out into acres of blue flowers. [180-181]

Questions

1. By pointing out "the soft roughness of golden fur," how does Lewis hint at Aslan's dual nature?

2. In the sentence that begins "He rushes on and on . . . " how do the absolute words "never," "perfect," and "largest" aid in suggesting another aspect of Aslan's character?

3. In the next sentence, how might compacting so many natural locations that Aslan traverses suggest yet another one of Aslan's qualities?

4. Why would Lewis compare the experience of riding Aslan in Narnia to that of riding a horse in the real world?

References

Lewis, C. S. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. New York: HarperCollins, 1950.


Victorian Web Overview C. S. Lewis Victorian courses

Last modified 16 February 2004