I have a newsletter! I sometimes even send it! An excerpt from one of my unserious but totally correct opinion sections:

C.S. Lewis’s the Chronicles of Narnia series isn’t allegory. “But, but-” No. Stop. It isn’t. Have I said this before? Have I written it? People are always on me about, Hey, the Lion is just Jesus in furry make-up. (Furry Jesus!) But that’s a point in my favor. That’s why I’m right, because Aslan isn’t a one-to-one symbol for Jesus; Aslan (for Lewis) is the person of Jesus simply visiting another world. What Lewis has created isn’t an allegory, but a multiverse. He actually has one of the more poetic multiverses in fantasy with the Woods Between the Worlds from Magician’s Nephew.

Where an allegory like The Pilgrim’s Progress or Everyman has types of characters and places standing in for real-world specifics, C.S. Lewis’s characters live in literal WWII England. In fact, Philip Pullman’s anti-Narnia trilogy is far more allegorical, offering a fake world in stead of, rather than next to, our own, and in which one-to-one arguments abound. To say Lewis’s adventures are an allegory misunderstands the dynamics of the work, or why it is more specific and weird than a masked retelling of the Gospel.

Honestly, it usually feels like someone’s dislike of Narnia is antecedent to their calling it an allegory. The latter is supposed to be a dead and deadening art form, and as such is more insult than description. That’s certainly how Tolkien used it, which is too bad, because it means he was also (technically) wrong.

So, that’s the hill I’m prepared to die on as a critic, I guess. Furry Jesus Forever.

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