Order or enquire by phone 01942 402510

Church Collection Envelopes, Gift Aid and Charity Envelopes


Spiritual themes in popular films

Spiritual themes in popular films 14th December 2017

Watch The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe this winter with a different understanding...

The Background

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a timeless story. It is the first book within The Chronicles of Narnia, the serialised novels of C.S Lewis. The film is quite popular at this time of year – given its frosty feel – and I recommend viewing it this winter if you get the chance. It has more to offer than first meets the eye.

To start with let’s look at the author. He was a prolific writer, poet, English literature scholar and above all a defender of Christianity. He was always ready to defend his faith, when others questioned it. Subsequently, it is no surprise that many of his novels have religious themes running through them.

The first book in the ever-present Chronicles of Narnia series was published in 1950 and the last in 1956 – there are a total of seven in all. Since then they have gone on to be published in over 40 languages and sell over 100 million copies worldwide – an impressive feat by anyone’s standards.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was successfully turned into a blockbuster movie in 2005. There have been further movie adaptations since then, but I find this story to be the most compelling. You may find it on television or online streaming platforms over the next few weeks, or could pick it up as a last minute gift – I would recommend viewing it some how.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

It’s likely that you are very familiar with this well known story. However, I will summarise it for the benefit of those who may not yet have had the pleasure…

We join a group of four siblings in World War 2 England, as they enter the magical land of Narnia. The entrance to this mysterious world is found hidden at the back of a wardrobe. Upon entering Narnia the children soon find themselves in the company of many creatures – both good and evil.

The malevolent White witch tries to pull the children one way, whilst Aslan – the ‘Great Lion’ – acts as a moral compass and a guiding light, as he tries to lead the children down the righteous path.

At its heart it’s the age old story of the light and dark. We see the powers of good pitted against evil, time and time again, in wonderful and shocking ways. However, knowing C.S Lewis’s religious resolve, you don’t need to look very hard to see that there are hidden depths to his fantasy tales…

Spiritual themes in popular films

The White Witch

The White witch is the antagonist of the story. She is a powerful force of disruption, temptation and evil throughout Narnia. It is her ultimate goal to rule the magical kingdom and build it in her own image. Whilst bringing an untimely end to Aslan and all that is good in Narnia.

She tempts one of the children, Edward, during her early encounter with him in the story. Ultimately, through her sinister persuasions and offer of enchanted Turkish delight she convinces Edward into betraying his siblings. Moreover, Edward is further tempted by the darkness and the desire to become a Prince and eventually the King of Narnia, at the White witches hand.

The temptation she offers him is a powerful theme throughout the early part of the story.  Fortunately, as the story develops Edward finds redemption, rediscovers his family loyalty and is welcomed back into the light of his siblings and protector Aslan.

It takes no great leap from this plot point to draw a connection with some of the religious themes that we are familiar with. We see an evil force, temptation, misplaced trust, redemption, forgiveness and unconditional love running through this part of the Narnia story.

The Great Aslan

It is best to quote C.S Lewis when looking at the symbolism of Aslan within The Chronicles of Narnia novels. He once posed the question ‘What might Christ become like if there really were a world like Narnia, and He chose to be incarnate and die and rise again in that world as He actually has done in ours?’.

Over the course of the novels Aslan is an unwavering force for good. He acts as a leader, a protector, a teacher and he does it all with bravery and without expecting thanks. He knows his role and that the path he has chosen will throw up problems and stumbling blocks along the way – but this does little to dissuade him.

He deals with the betrayal of allies, death, resurrection and proves to be an everlasting source of hope for those who know him. He also serves those who have never met him and even those who may have doubted him. He serves the greater good and is willing to sacrifice his life if needed.

Spiritual themes in popular films

Looking at things differently

So there you have it, a quick article which I hope helps you look at The Lion, the Witch and the wardrobe through a different lens. Although this is by no means an exhaustive list of all of the creative ways in which C.S Lewis was able to draw upon his religion as his source material. I hope that if you do get the chance to watch, or watch this film again, in the next few weeks that you will agree with some of the ideas above, or maybe add even more to the discussion.

I have watched this film several times and thoroughly enjoyed the compelling story and interesting characters. However, I never made the connection between the story and the themes discussed above until I discovered C.S Lewis’ religious beliefs.

I wonder what other popular films would take on a different meaning if we knew more about the author and /or director behind them?…


Subscribe to Newsletter Enter your email address to subscribe for news and updates