Film Research Paper: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)

The movie The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005) is based on one of the seven books written by C. S. Lewis. The concept of the novel The Chronicles of Narnia is revealed in light of the author's Christian notion of moral values. The motif of spiritual formation is present in the entire narrative of The Chronicles of Narnia. It is paramount to understand the way of moral searches of heroes are expressed in a generalized scheme of temptation - repentance - the redemption of one's guilt - spiritual transformation. Particularly, such a scheme is depicted in the movie directed by Andrew Adamson. The main characters of the movie are four children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, who discover the fairy tale world of Narnia, where they become the representatives of humankind. Despite the obvious themes of the struggle between good and evil, self-acceptance, and human relationships, the presented film spectacularly portrays the events from the Christian Bible, laying a great emphasis on the spiritual values of sacrifice and redemption.

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It should be noted that the characters of the movie entail several Christian images which could be found in the Bible. Thus, for example, Edmund could be treated as Judas, who betrayed Christ, and as Adam, who fell into temptation and violated the order of God. In addition, one of the most significant characters of the movie is Aslan, the Great Lion, who serves the role of a moral compass for the children and citizens of Narnia and could be considered as a reflection of Jesus Christ. However, not only the characters and images are taken from the Christian Bible; the environment and certain scenes of the movie are literary reflections of the events from the life of Christ. Therefore, by making an allusion to Christianity, the presented movie portrays religious images of the Old Testament, human relationships, fallen human nature, spiritual Savior, redemption, and sacrifice and indicates their importance in the history of salvation through the prism of the magic world of Narnia.

Narnia as the Depiction of the Old Testament

Despite the fact that the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe depicts the events of the second book of the series written by Lewis, the viewer could easily observe how Narnia, governed by the malign White Witch, resembles the sinful and hopeless environment from the Old Testament. When Lucy enters Narnia through the magic wardrobe and encounters Faun Tumnus, she admires the beautiful nature and snow. She tells Tumnus that Christmas is coming. However, Tumnus responds that Narnia has not seen Christmas for hundreds of years. It is an important moment to understand the genuine situation in Narnia. It could be stated that Lewis, as an eager follower of Christianity, has chosen the Christmas period on purpose (Putranti and Putranti 95). According to the history of salvation, Christmas or the arrival of Christ to Earth in the human body is the starting point of Christian soteriology. In addition, the Old Testament is treated as the period of preparation for the arrival of Christ. It was a period when people, regardless of the quality of their mortal life, were forbidden to go to heaven because of the Original Sin committed by Adam and Eve. In other words, the world was absorbed by evil, depression, and hopelessness. If one takes a thoughtful look at the environment of Narnia, it becomes obvious that it is not a fairyland where friendly animals could talk and interact with people. The faun looks devastated since he believes in the prophecy that the son of Adam will defeat the White Witch; however, he completely lost hope and faith. Even the weather shows that everything is frozen by evil. Thus, the citizens of Narnia conduct their daily activities, expecting the arrival of salvation. However, considering the fact that The Chronicles of Narnia is designed for children, Lewis had to interpret the Biblical story of the Old Testament using means which could not only teach children but also comfort and entertain them (Putranti & Putranti 98). In addition, one of the most significant religious moments in the movie, which demonstrates the dusk of the Old Testament and the dawn of the New Testament is the arrival of Father Christmas. He is a prototype of the Old Testament’s religious prophets, who professed the arrival of the Son of God. By giving Christmas gifts to children, Father Christmas admits that the prophecy is genuine and that salvation will be brought by the sons and daughters of Adam. Thus, it could be stated that the presented movie demonstrates the most important events from the Old Testament which have led to the salvation of humankind.

Pevensie Children as the Image of Human Relationships

The image of human relationships, which is portrayed in the movie, is paramount to understanding why there was a need for the bloody and disgraceful sacrifice of Aslan. Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy depict maturity, thoughtfulness, arrogance, and childishness respectively. It could be stated that these features comprise a full set of qualities that define the essence of human relationships. Even though the children are connected by family bonds, they are disunited and reckless and lack respect and trust in one another. Such portrayal greatly resembles the reason which forced God to send His Son, who died for the sins of humanity. The director of the movie skillfully depicts how brothers and sisters interact with one another. Edmund despises Lucy, Susan judges the behavior of Peter, and Peter, who should be the protector of the family, is afraid to accept his role. Thus, there arises a question of whether the “sins” of these children required sacrifice. The answer will be definitely positive. In order to save Narnia, devotion, courage, and joint efforts were needed from the descendants of Adam. However, these attributes could not be achieved since the children, as the representatives of humanity, did not value one another. Only the greatest and most grievous sacrifice could bring unity to their relationships. Thus, it could be claimed that Aslan’s actions were aimed to repair the broken human relationships.

Edmund as the Image of Judas, Adam, and Fallen Human Nature

As stated in the introduction, Edmund, one of the Pevensie children, matches the Biblical image of Judas as well as portrays the temptation of Adam. Moreover, in terms of the Christian history of salvation, it could be stated that he is the central figure of the movie. As Adam was tempted by the devil, Edmund is tempted by the White Witch, who promised him the throne of the king of Narnia. Similarly to Judas, Edmund has a weak personality. The former sold his soul and his teacher for thirty silver coins, while the latter sold his human nature and relatives for Turkish delight (Callow 12). It could be stated that the movie significantly unites two Biblical characters in the personality of Edmund. The features of Adam signify the start of sin, while the nature of Judas demonstrates the most terrifying expression of the Original Sin. Thus, it appears that Edmund represents all the negativity and decay of human nature, or in other words, he is the image of the fallen humanity portrayed in the Bible.

When Edmunds agrees to bring his brothers and sisters to the White Witch, he shows a lack of attachment not only to the family but also to all moral values and the notion of unity. Even while observing the consequences of the action of the White Witch, he does not refuse his plan, being blinded by the desire for power. It could be stated that all negativity that is present in the relationships between Pevensie's children is embodied in the personality of Edmund (Callow 14). The movie makes a great emphasis on the character of Edmund in order to show the level of decay of humanity, which has totally lost morality. Thus, it could be stated that the personality of Edmund reflects all negative features of the fallen human nature, which is capable of the most inhuman and immoral deeds.

Aslan as the Moral Compass and Spiritual Leader

The character of Aslan serves as a moral compass to the children and a spiritual leader to the citizens of Narnia. Considering the discussion presented above, it is obvious that Pevensie children have lost their notion of family and justice. They do not know how to act and embrace their roles as the rulers of Narnia. Thus, Aslan teaches and guides them toward a noble purpose. Without Aslan’s teachings, Peter would have never become the fearless knight and Edmund would have never realized his sins. In addition, Aslan is a genuine spiritual father, who accepts Edmund with love and understanding. Such action resembles the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son. However, the most important role of Aslan is revealed in his spiritual leadership. The Great Lion is not a political or social leader and not even a military leader, even though he gathers the army to fight with the White Witch. Most likely, he is depicted by Lewis and the director of the movie as an inspiration (Wilson 181). Such the role of Aslan resembles the image of the resurrected Jesus Christ, who inspired his Apostles and followers to spread Christianity. Thus, the presented roles of Aslan became the driving force that changed and inspired the characters of the movie.

Aslan as the Portrayal of Jesus Christ

It could be stated that all features of Aslan’s personality resemble the life, deeds, and character of the Christian Savior Jesus Christ. The movie is not concentrated on the verbal description of Aslan. Instead, his prominent deeds and behavior are much more compelling and reflect the essence of the Savior. Similar to Jesus Christ, Aslan tends to guide his people and be an example for them. He is aware of the obstacles and challenges he has to face. In terms of spiritual resemblance, Aslan is portrayed as a priest who has the divine power to forgive human sins. The scene where Aslan talks with Edmund signifies the issue of Christian confession, where Aslan, similarly to Jesus Christ, claims that the sins of Edmund are forgiven. It could be stated that this scene is one of the best portrayals of the deeds of Jesus Christ.

Another moment that shows a significant resemblance between Aslan and Christ, including physical resemblance, is the scene of a conversation between the Great Lion and the White Witch. After Aslan and Judis reached an agreement, the citizens of Narnia, especially Edmund, were unbelievably happy. However, Lucy noted a look in Aslan’s eyes which was full of sadness and despair. It resembled the Biblical scene when Jesus was preparing to expose Himself to death. Another important moment that proves that Aslan resembles Jesus Christ is when the Great Lion is in the woods with Susan and Lucy. In that scene, Aslan is walking towards his death, saying to the girls that it is his endeavor to save Narnia (2015). It resembles the story of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46). It was the moment before the unfair trial and humiliating death of Christ. Both Christ and Aslan were aware of what the evil assembly prepared for them. Thus, it could be stated that the portrayal of Aslan in the movie significantly reflects the last days of Jesus Christ before His humiliating death.

Sacrifice as the Tool of Redemption

While watching the presented film, the viewer could wonder why Aslan sacrificed his life for the life of Edmund, who was the source of misunderstandings within the family and an example of the greediness of human nature. Perhaps, the problem of Edmund could have been resolved by killing the White Witch or simply giving the child to her. The answer to these questions explains why The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the picture that portrays Christian values (Russel 61). Taking into account that the problem of Edmund represented the fall of humanity, it becomes obvious that only death was able to defeat death and bring genuine redemption. Similarly, in the case of Jesus Christ, only the death of the innocent one was able to save sinners from eternal punishment. In both cases, the price of redemption was the most humiliating death of the noblest representatives (Bassham et al. 106). In the movie, Aslan is shaved before being stabbed by the White Witch. For the lion, the man was a symbol of his identity and pride. By shaving Aslan, the White Witch wanted to humiliate the lion and show that he is not a hero but a helpless victim. Similarly, before death, the clothes of Christ were torn apart by unbelievers. Those clothes were made by Virgin Mary and symbolized His humanity and relationships with his mother. By undressing Christ and exposing his nakedness, the murderers wanted to show that Jesus is not God but the son of a craftsman. Similarly to the case of Aslan, the death of Christ was shown as worthless. In addition, the purpose of the sacrifice was similar in both cases. Moreover, it could be stated that without the implementation of religious motives, one cannot understand why Aslan agreed to sacrifice himself. The sacrifice was done not to save Edmund but to bring unity and salvation to the citizens of Narnia. Moreover, the White Witch, who represented the most grievous evil, could only be defeated by so-called “divine deception.” Aslan knew that the death of the innocent one on the Stone Table will not be useless. However, even though he realized that he was going to resurrect, the acceptance of the fact of the voluntary death for the sake of Edmund, who did not even deserve to be rescued, was an unbearable burden for Aslan. Thus, if to compare the death of Alan with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, one could notice a remarkable analogy. Jesus has also conducted the “divine deception” of satan, who thought that the death of the Son of God would guarantee the victory of evil. What satan did not know was that the death of a righteous man and at the same time the Son of God will erase the line between death and life and bring salvation for those who suffered from the consequences of the Original Sin. The death of flesh brought spiritual redemption. Thus, it could be firmly stated that both in the case of the voluntary death of Aslan, which has no logical explanation and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the sacrifice was an inevitable measure to deceive the evil and save humanity.

Spiritual Transformation as an Outcome of Sacrifice

An important outcome that would not be possible without sacrifice was the spiritual transformation of people for the sake of those whom Jesus and Aslan died. Naturally, in the movie, the outcome of Aslan’s death is portrayed in a glorious and breathtaking manner since it inspired Peter and the army to face the evil forces of the White Witch. However, apart from the glorious battle, each of Pevensie's children experienced a significant and important spiritual transformation. Peter finally realized that the purpose of the battle is not to brutally murder the White Witch but to bring freedom to Narnia. Lucy and Susan realized the importance of love and relationships. Edmund understood what he was doing wrong and changed his attitude toward the family. In general, the significant change in children showed that each of them has followed the path of temptation - repentance - the redemption of one's guilt - spiritual transformation. It is literary and reflects the outcomes of Jesus’s death. Each of the Apostles, through the notion of loss, experienced spiritual enlightenment even before they discovered that Christ had been resurrected. The Resurrection became the cornerstone of the spiritual establishment of the Christian Church. Thus, it could be stated that without sacrifice, spiritual transformation would have been impossible.

The connection between the Stone Table and Cross

The last aspect of the movie which portrays a deep religious resemblance between Aslan and Jesus Christ is the connection between the Stone Table and the Cross. Lewis was convinced that pagan religions were the predecessors of Christianity (Bassham et al. 167). Thus, the Stone Table, as a pagan tool for bloody sacrifice, is highly emphasized in the movie. Aslan is tied and violently stabbed on the Table Stone. Hence, at first glance, this pagan altar becomes the symbol of the failure of good and the triumph of evil. However, with the development of the plot, the viewer could see that the Table Stone did not bear the innocent sacrifice and cracked, becoming the symbol of the victory of good forces. On the other hand, in Christianity, the Cross is the symbol of salvation and faith. However, at the time of Jesus Christ, crucifixion symbolized the death of the most disgraceful and violent criminals. However, the crucifixion of the Son of God transformed it from the symbol of weakness and humiliation into the most precious power for Christians. Therefore, the Stone Table and Cross became the means through which the most important and noblest spiritual goal was achieved.


The film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005) depicts the Old Testament, human relationships, fallen human nature, spiritual Savior, redemption, and sacrifice, which are the most important issues in Christian soteriology, using the environment of the fairy tale world. In Narnia, the citizens have not celebrated Christmas for many years. It signifies the world of the Old Testament, where people, being exposed to the consequences of the Original Sin, were expecting the arrival of Jesus Christ. In the presented movie, the personalities of certain characters reflect various Biblical characters. Thus, one of the children named Edmund portrays the betrayal of Judas and the temptation of Adam. He is an example of the decay of humankind. On the other hand, the Great Lion Aslan significantly embraces the roles of a moral compass, spiritual leader, and even Jesus Christ. He is a loving father who forgives the sins of the Prodigal Son Edmund, helps Peter to accept the role of a moral leader, and offers his life for the sake of Narnia. It could be stated that the presented movie makes a great emphasis on the resemblance between Aslan and Jesus Christ. Certain scenes of the movie portray the behavior of Christ, his sufferings in the Garden of Gethsemane, and his innocent sacrifice for the sake of humanity. The film conveys to the reader that sacrifice was an inevitable tool of redemption. Moreover, if Aslan and Jesus had refused to embrace humiliating death, humanity as well as the characters of the movie would not have experienced spiritual transformation. Finally, by emphasizing the significant connection between the Stone Table and the Cross as the means of death, the movie showed that the sacrifice of Aslan and Jesus transformed weakness into power and “deceived” evil forces.

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