Thursday, 9 June 2016

For Narnia

A lot of avid readers I have met have told me that their gateway fandom was the Harry Potter series.

And, for the past few years, I was nearly certain that it was mine too. It was what first got me into reading, right?

But there was one before that. One that stuck with me and defined a large part of my childhood, that shaped me as a young girl, that encouraged me to believe in magic and impossible things.

That was The Chronicles of Narnia. 

I never even finished the series. When I was nine or so, I read a spoiler about the fate of Susan in The Last Battle and couldn't bring myself to read anymore after The Voyage of the Dawn Treader- but it was mostly because I wasn't ready to say goodbye.

For a long time, I thought that my entire childhood had been modeled after the literary heroines of Hermione and Katniss. I had read those books young, but I had been younger when I first read Narnia. I fell in love with the simplistic writing style of C.S.Lewis, and I fell in love with the imaginative world. I fell in love with the magic of all the impossible things, and with the raw power of Aslan, and with the bravery of Peter and logic of Susan. And most importantly, Lucy was my first hero. She had the good qualities I wanted to find in myself. She was kind, brave, spirited, and bright. Her childhood curiosity led her to discover the magical world of Narnia. Her faith in the good made me believe.

I modeled my childhood after Lucy, and I'm so glad I did. I hoped so much to discover Narnia that I created it myself. I knocked at the back of my father's wardrobe, I believed that creatures hid behind the bushes in my backyard, and there was a funny looking flower in my school playground that I spent countless lunches looking at, trying to figure out how to squeeze some of the magic out of it that I was sure it contained. My childhood was full of potential means of magic, and it was all because of Narnia.


But that is not the only thing for which I have to thank Narnia. Narnia gave me brothers and sisters. There weren't a lot of friends that I could really count on until the age of eleven or so. I've never had any siblings, but the love between Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy showed me that special fraternal love, which gave me hope. 

look at how young they look

I remember watching The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for the first time. In my eight year old eyes, it was an absolutely perfect film and I craved for more of it. I watched the Special Features disc. The actors looked like they were having so much fun together, and there was such love onset. The bloopers were hilarious. I decided that day I was going to be an actress. From there, I branched on to musical theatre, and from there I've been a part of four different musicals and I've met the most amazing people. Some of my best friends are from acting. I created my own little Narnia. 

When I watched the three movies this past week, I was worried it would feel like I'd be trespassing on my childhood, but I was really just rediscovering it for the magical world it had given me. All the memories came rushing back. I remember being the first in the audience on the opening night of Dawn Treader, and I never went in first in a movie theatre again because it was my way of showing how special and influential it had been in my life for a long time. I call my cat by its name Lucy every day, without realizing why I had named her Lucy in the first place. 

Narnia made me believe I could do anything I set my mind to, which defines me even now in my teenage years. I am so grateful I discovered Narnia during such an influential time in my life, and rediscovered it now, just like the Pevensie children did in Prince Caspian. Will I discover it a few more times before I'm fully grown? 

I don't feel that I've learned all my lessons from Narnia yet. I think there are still a few more ways it can change me. I think it will come back again, at least one more time. I will call upon it again.

And it will come when I call.

There's no need to say goodbye.