Read: 10 January, 2017
This is the story of a boy and his horse (and a girl and her horse, too, but I guess titles can only get so long before they become unwieldy), and their escape to Narnia and the north.
I had a lot of trouble getting into this one. Every time the adventure starts picking up, there’s a sudden Grownups Are Talking scene that just seemed to go on and on and on. My poor son has taken to drawing pictures during bedtime reads because, advanced in so many ways as he is, he just can’t find it in himself to get excited about Calormen politics. And I honestly can’t say that I blame him.
I might have felt differently if there had been something interesting or creative about the Calormenes. But, instead, they’re pretty much just a hodge-podge of “oriental” middle eastern stereotypes. Which really only serve to date the book.
I’m also unsure of what this does to the Narnia universe. In both The Magician’s Nephew and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, there was a sense of an empty world. Sure, there was the cabby who served as the first king of Narnia, but his court was comprised of talking animals. And in TLTWaTW, everyone makes a huge fuss over there being actual human children in their world.
Now, just a few years later, we find out that there are whole nations of humans less than a day’s ride from Caer Paravel.
It reminded me of the book of Genesis: God creates Adam and Eve, who have three sons, who then go off and get married. And, suddenly, we have near descendants going off to other lands and living in the cities there. Knowing a little of C.S. Lewis’s religious perspective, I can’t help but wonder if he wasn’t having a bit of a larf when writing this.
In conclusion, I found this to be a very pale follow up to TLTWaTW. There are too many grownups and grownup doings, and the use of stereotypes just comes off as lazy.
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