Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thinking About The Horse and His Boy

This month for What's on Your Nightstand, I want to post my thoughts on The Horse and His Boy, which I finished rereading last week.

As a kid, this was my least favorite in the series.  We hardly spend any time in Narnia, and we don't get there magically.  It's set during the many years that Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy ruled, but we hardly see them (and never see my favorite, Peter).  Much of this was intensional since C. S. Lewis said he wanted it to feel different.

Yet as an adult, I've really come to appreciate the book.

In many ways, this story reminds me of Esther from the Bible.  In that story, God is definitely ever present in how things play out, even an episode of insomnia for the king, but He is never mentioned.  While Aslan does show up here, there are many times he is active in the story without our characters knowing about it.  And everything plays out perfectly, meaning that his hand was involved in every small detail of the story.

And that's one thing I appreciate now.  All the small details come together perfectly for a great climax.  Plus the villain gets the perfect come uppance.

Then there are the lessons of pride.  Bree the Horse spends much of the book worried about how he will be perceived once he returns to Narnia.  When they have to cut his tail, he considers staying away for months.  He is ready to give up the simple pleasure of rolling in the grass if the others don't do it.  Now it is quite obvious to those who know me that I don't worry too much about how others will perceive me.  But I do let that affect me some.  It's human nature.  Here pride isn't a fatal flaw, but it is a reminder that it can rob us of simple pleasures.

Finally, there's the repeated line from Aslan about only telling someone their own story.  It's simple and direct, and a great reminder that all we truly need to worry about is us and doing what God has called us to do.  It's like in John 21 when Jesus tells Peter not to worry about John's future; Peter just needs to follow Him.


bekahcubed said...

Nice thoughts. I enjoy how I find new things to think about with every re-reading of the Chronicles--it looks like your experience is similar.

Mark Baker said...

Some of this stuff I had noticed on my last read through, but the comparison with Esther really hit me this time.

Unknown said...

I've never read through the whole series, but this review really makes me want to :)

morninglight mama said...

I love to return to a book that I read during an earlier life stage and find that I react completely differently. Enjoy!
-Dawn, 5minutesforbooks.com

Upstatemamma said...

I am in the middle of reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe with my son. I have not read The Horse and His Boy in a long time but it was my least favorite as a kid too. I wonder if I will feel differently when my son and I get to it. Thanks for sharing your opinion I am really looking forward to it now.

Mark Baker said...

Jennifer - Stop what you are doing right now and read the whole series. It's great!

Dawn - This series is probably the one I've reread the most. I should go back to some other childhood favorites I haven't read in years.

Upstatemom - Hope you find this book better when you reread it.

Carrie said...

Yeah! You tell 'em! (To Jennifer and Dawn that is. Ah hem. I've been beating this drum for awhile...)

I really, really enjoyed hearing your thoughts on The Horse and His Boy. This has always been one of my lesser favorites in the series but I'm intrigued by your comparison to Esther. I'll be thinking about that now.

Thanks for sharing!