I wanted to start the year by rereading C.S. Lewis’ famous fictional series The Chronicles of Narnia. I had read them as a kid, so most of the big plot lines I remembered. Despite this, I was surprised how much I didn’t remember and how much I enjoyed the suspense of finding out how each story turned out.
Here are a collection of my favorite quotes from the entire series. I won’t spend the time or space here to give the context to each one. I have only commented on a few of the quotes that stand out as far as the entire series goes. You can click on each individual title if you are interested in that book only, or click here to get the entire series of books together.
And the longer and more beautiful the Lion sang, the harder Uncle Andrew tried to make himself believe that he could hear nothing but roaring. Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed. Uncle Andrew did. He soon did hear nothing but roaring in Aslanâ€™s song. Soon he couldnâ€™t have heard anything else even if he had wanted to. And when at last the Lion spoke and said, â€œNarnia awake,â€ he didnâ€™t hear any words: he heard only a snarl. And when the Beasts spoke in answer, he heard only barkings, growlings, bayings, and howlings. And when they laughedâ€”well, you can imagine. That was worse for Uncle Andrew than anything that had happened yet. Such a horrid, bloodthirsty din of hungry and angry brutes he had never heard in his life.
â€œHe thinks great folly, child,â€ said Aslan. â€œThis world is bursting with life for these few days because the song with which I called it into life still hangs in the air and rumbles in the ground. It will not be so for long. But I cannot tell that to this old sinner, and I cannot comfort him either; he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh Adamâ€™s sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good!
â€œChild,â€ he replied, â€œthat is why all the rest are now a horror to her. That is what happens to those who pluck and eat fruits at the wrong time and in the wrong way. The fruit is good, but they loathe it ever after.â€ â€œOh I see,â€ said Polly. â€œAnd I suppose because she took it in the wrong way it wonâ€™t work for her. I mean it wonâ€™t make her always young and all that?â€ â€œAlas,â€ said Aslan, shaking his head. â€œIt will. Things always work according to their nature. She has won her heartâ€™s desire; she has unwearying strength and endless days like a goddess. But length of days with an evil heart is only length of misery and already she begins to know it. All get what they want; they do not always like it.â€
â€œOoh!â€ said Susan, â€œIâ€™d thought he was a man. Is heâ€”quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.â€ â€œThat you will, dearie, and no mistake,â€ said Mrs. Beaver; â€œif thereâ€™s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, theyâ€™re either braver than most or else just silly.â€ â€œThen he isnâ€™t safe?â€ said Lucy. â€œSafe?â€ said Mr. Beaver; â€œdonâ€™t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? â€˜Course he isnâ€™t safe. But heâ€™s good. Heâ€™s the King, I tell you.â€
He had not yet learned that if you do one good deed your reward usually is to be set to do another and harder and better one.
Aravis also had many quarrels (and, Iâ€™m afraid, even fights) with Cor, but they always made it up again: so that years later, when they were grown up, they were so used to quarreling and making up again that they got married so as to go on doing it more conveniently. [Hilarious commentary on marriage]
“Itâ€™s not Menâ€™s country (who should know that better than me?) but itâ€™s a country for a man to be King of.
â€œWelcome, child,â€ he said. â€œAslan,â€ said Lucy, â€œyouâ€™re bigger.â€ â€œThat is because you are older, little one,â€ answered he. â€œNot because you are?â€ â€œI am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.â€ [This is an experience that I have had with God many times in my life, especially whenever I discover something new about God]
â€œYou come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,â€ said Aslan. â€œAnd that is both honor enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.â€
â€œMy own plans are made. While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslanâ€™s country, or shot over the edge of the world in some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise and Peepiceek will be head of the talking mice in Narnia.â€ [This quote exemplifies my favorite character of the entire series, a talking mouse named Reepicheep]
â€œOh, Aslan,â€ said Lucy. â€œWill you tell us how to get into your country from our world?â€ â€œI shall be telling you all the time,â€ said Aslan. â€œBut I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river. But do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder.
â€œIt isnâ€™t Narnia, you know,â€ sobbed Lucy. â€œItâ€™s you. We shanâ€™t meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?â€ â€œBut you shall meet me, dear one,â€ said Aslan. â€œAreâ€”are you there too, Sir?â€ said Edmund. â€œI am,â€ said Aslan. â€œBut there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.â€ [This is the pivotal quote of the entire series in my opinion. It is a conversation between two of the kids and Aslan when they are told that they won’t be coming back to Narnia anymore and must return home to their own world.]
The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic. â€œWill you promise not toâ€”do anything to me, if I do come?â€ said Jill. â€œI make no promise,â€ said the Lion. Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer. â€œDo you eat girls?â€ she said. â€œI have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,â€ said the Lion. It didnâ€™t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it. â€œI darenâ€™t come and drink,â€ said Jill. â€œThen you will die of thirst,â€ said the Lion. â€œOh dear!â€ said Jill, coming another step nearer. â€œI suppose I must go and look for another stream then.â€ â€œThere is no other stream,â€ said the Lion.
â€œI donâ€™t know about that,â€ said Puddleglum. â€œYou see, Aslan didnâ€™t tell Pole what would happen. He only told her what to do. That fellow will be the death of us once heâ€™s up, I shouldnâ€™t wonder. But that doesnâ€™t let us off following the sign.â€
Iâ€™m on Aslanâ€™s side even if there isnâ€™t any Aslan to lead it. Iâ€™m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isnâ€™t any Narnia.
â€œYou cannot want wrong things any more, now that you have died, my son,â€ said Aslan.
And then she understood the devilish cunning of the enemiesâ€™ plan. By mixing a little truth with it they had made their lie far stronger.
â€œYou see,â€ said Aslan. â€œThey will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.
But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me… I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oathâ€™s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted.
Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek.
I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now.
And there was greeting and kissing and hand-shaking and old jokes revived, (youâ€™ve no idea how good an old joke sounds when you take it out again after a rest of five or six hundred years). [This is such a great line]
All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.