Friday, May 23, 2008

The Horse and His Boy

Subjectively speaking, this is the best of the Chronicles. It begins as just a feeling. The story is compelling in spite of the fact that it hardly involves children from our world. In fact it involves no children from our world because the Kings and Queens from earth are grown more or less. Shasta is a compelling character in his own right, perhaps one of the best of the series. Bree is one of the best certainly. His “prodigal son” story and the Sehnsucht or deep longing he has for his true home is a good secondary symbol within the book.

The main plot is also particularly straightforward for a Narnia book. The travel/chase across Calormen, and the relationship that develops between the slave boy and the Tarkheena is well told. The suspense is gripping and the imagery is vivid, especially in the city of the Tashbaan.

The real treasure of this book is the theme it develops. Missions. In Lewis’ own description it is about the conversion of a Pagan. In this sense, while it is not a direct Biblical symbol like in The Lion, The Magician’s Nephew, or The Last Battle, it does directly treat an important aspect of the Christian faith. It is not enough to believe in God and to trust Him in our position of creature. It is required of us that we declare His glory to those around us and around the world.

A final wonderful picture is also expounded through the book—that of divine guidance. The characters repeatedly are directed and impacted by Aslan and never realize it was him until Aslan reveals the truth to Shasta, as the walk alone in the fog of a mountain pass. He was there all along.

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