One of my goals for 2013 is to make more time for re-reads. I have been slowly working my way back through my childhood favourite The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis. Knowing my love of this series my friends couldn’t resist buying me The Lion’s World by Rowan Williams when they spotted it at a Christian event. I thought this would be a perfect accompaniment to my re-read of The Chronicles of Narnia so started reading it almost straight away!
In The Lion’s World author (and yes former Archbishop of Canterbury) Rowan Williams explores the magical world of ‘Narnia’ that C S Lewis created with so many characters, landscapes, themes, and layers. Williams admits he was a late comer to The Chronicles of Narnia series having missed out on reading them as a child; but even as a young adult he found himself instantly endeared by The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Williams doesn’t just focus on his own enjoyment of the series though. As a Christian Williams spends the majority of the book reflecting on the parallels and references to Lewis’s own faith and beliefs which he wove into ‘Narnia’. I found this book utterly fascinating. Both as a Christian and a fan of The Chronicles of Narnia. If you are not a Christian you may still enjoy this book as it does help understand some of the many layers within the books whether you hold the same beliefs as Lewis or not. I also loved the chapter Williams wrote about some of the arguments that have arisen from the series such as sexism, glorified violence, and the use of archaic language.
The Lion’s World is the first novel by Rowan Williams I have read. If I’m honest it is the first book I knew of him having written. This is more to do with my ignorance though because in fact Williams is a pretty prolific writer which is not that surprising really. I thought The Lion’s World was very well written and researched. With an excellent balance of for and against arguments which were backed up with a wide range of quotes and sources. I also felt that Williams didn’t just get the facts across but also got across his own feelings successfully. He clearly has a lot of love for this series and it’s author; however he has balanced it well. His own opinion isn’t strong enough to wipe out all other opinions. All information was very well organised into chapters and separate sections within these chapters which meant this was an easy flowing read with plenty of chances for breaks. Not that I took many breaks. I think I finished reading this within two or three sittings! After reading The Lion’s World I am intrigued to discover what else Williams has written.
The Lion’s World was a fascinating and informative read, which was a perfect companion to go along with my re-read of The Chronicles of Narnia this year. I highly recommend to Christians and fans of The Chronicles of Narnia. I am looking forward to my re-read of the next instalment in the series Prince Caspian even more now.
Have you read The Lion’s World? Could you recommend another work by Rowan Williams?