The Introduction of Aslan

David Washington '07 English 65, Fantasy, Brown University, 2004

C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia series takes the reader on a majestic, splendorous journey in the realm of Narnia, a world populated by talking animals and various other humanoid life forms, such as dwarfs and centaurs. A major character central to plot of the Narnia series is that of the great lion Aslan. The great Aslan is revered in the land of Narnia. The reader is first introduced to Aslan by a talking beaver of Narnia who addresses four human youths who happen to stumble unto this alternate, fantastic world.

"They say Aslan is on the move perhaps has already landed."

And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don't understand but in the dream it feels as if it had some enormous meaning---either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmare or else a lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into that dream again. It was like now. At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or beginning of summer.

No one except Edmund felt any difficulty about trusting the beaver now. [74]

Discussion Questions

1. C.S. Lewis does a fantastic job of relating the emotions of the children after the name "Aslan" is mentioned. What makes his description so effective?

2. The passage describes how the name "Aslan" affects each child. From contextual clues and other hints Lewis provides, what does he tell us about their characters?

3. In a religious context, to what biblical character does Edmund seem to be an allusion?

4. What does that fact the children at this point know no more about Aslan than you do suggest about the him?

References

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


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Last modified 16 February 2004