Summary: A sermon about Aslan from CS Lewis’ The Lion,The Witch and the Wardrobe
A Lion’s Tale
He was the most unlikely person to write a children’s novel.
He was a 50 year old professor who had not married and had no children. He determined he would write a kind of fairy tale. Yet he had never even read a fairy tale until he was an adult. It was really unlikely he knew how to communicate to children; after all he was accustom to teaching college students about philosophy, medieval literature and high thinking theological concepts.
He did not even have much contact with children or the kind of personality that would attract them. But what he did have seemed to be enough, a childlike imagination, memories of his own childhood and a desire to write a child’s fairy tale. He knew this had to be a story of interest to more than just children.
He once said, “A children’s story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children’s story. The good ones last.”
His first book did not start off with a plot or any intense character portrayals. Instead he began with some visual thoughts from when he was a kid and had drawn some “part human, part animal” characters. One was a half goat, half man creature walking through the snow with an umbrella and some packages. He also had the thought of a queen riding in a sleigh. So his story began.
After his writing had started, he began having dreams of lions. Then a lion seemed to charge into his story. Being a student of languages and cultures, he came up with the Turkish word for lion and that word became a name and a wonderful character; you might say the main character of his fairy tale- the name was Aslan. Aslan was a lion with all the same virtues as another hero in the authors mind. The author was C.S. Lewis and his hero was Jesus of Nazareth.
Lewis had some friends he wanted to try his story out on. One was a professor who had also written some fairy tale adventures with the encouragement of Lewis. The professor was JRR Tolkien and he had written a story called Lord of the Rings. These stories would have probably never been published if not for the continued support of Lewis. Yet when Lewis shared his 1st children’s book with Tolkien, the support was NOT there. Lewis’ book was called, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and his friend Tolkien thought it stunk.
According to Tolkien the story lacked consistency. It was just a mingled collection of ancient myths thrown together in haphazard fashion with a lack of proper details. Of course Tolkien was a perfectionist, who had even invented his own language for his fairy tale characters and he had not the likings for Lewis’ sloppiness.
Lewis was discouraged by Tolkien’s views and was about to stop the project until he received encouragement from a kid. So kids never think your opinions do not matter, one of the most endearing children’s series in the last part of the 20th century was saved by the supportive words of a little girl.
Lewis had also read his book to a Doctor friend and his daughter. The girl’s name was Mary Clare. So thanks to friends like the good Doctor and his daughter Mary Clare, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe went to press.