On The Chronicles of Narnia

The War of Light and Darkness

By Herbie Brennan

The Chronicles of Narnia is a seven-book tale of good versus evil–the age-old war of Light and Darkness. It’s a story you’ll also find in the Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potter series, and many other fantasy novels–a heady brew of myth and magic, brave heroes, dark villains, mystic artifacts, and occult powers.

But that’s all just fiction–right? You’d never get black magicians, mystic artifacts, and occult powers in the real world, would you?

Well . . .

The author of the Narnia chronicles, Clive Staples Lewis, fought in the First World War. He joined the British Army in 1917, and was commissioned an officer in the third Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry. He fought at the Somme and was subsequently wounded during the Battle of Arras.

He was forty years old when the Second World War broke out, a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford. Just four years after the war ended, he began writing The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first of his Narnia Chronicles. Was the book inspired, at least in part, by the war he’d just lived through?

Before we tackle that important question, we need to ask another: could World War II be reasonably described as a War of Light and Darkness?

Conventional historians dismiss the notion. They see it as a conflict arising out of political, social, and economic issues. Your school history books will typically lay emphasis on the Treaty of Versailles (which ended World War I with humiliating terms for Germany), on the doctrine of  …

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