Bewitched by Narnia

What was originally planned as just another night out while on vacation in Manila became a theatrical moment of spiritual catharsis when my two brothers and I went to see a theatrical production of ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe’.

Who would have thought that before J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter there exists a classic children’s story by C.S. Lewis which would equally thug at the heartstrings, drawing out not just tears from one’s jaded eyes but illuminating the heart with hope for spiritual revival.

The story is deceptively brilliant and the theatrical rendition—a proudly original Filipino musical at that, hey this is Trumpets!—has more than given justice to every creative pulse that runs along the veins of such a magnificent story.

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Winters of Our Lives

Narnia, the mystical land of perpetual winter ruled by The Witch-turned-Queen (called The White Witch), becomes any war-torn country or any place losing its grip of what really matters in life. The snow had come to represent the void in any Narnian, the inhabitants who themselves are now hapless victims of the “no Christmas, no spring” Narnia.

I had not prepared myself to feel, smell and see how much of Narnia’s soulless ground reflects much of most of our preoccupations—be it political, personal or financial greed. The scent and the vision grip you like a constant reminder that as time ticks by we are but concerned only with what’s urgent for survival’s sake, but out of touch with the more important aspects of our lives.

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All For That Tempting Turkish Delight

Ahh, yes, one’s Turkish Delight can be about that job promotion you’d be willing to step on other people’s toes for, or cheating on exams just to get the grade. For young Edmund, it meant betraying her siblings to The White Witch in exchange for sweets and an empty promise to be king (Remember, this is a children’s story).

And so on a Faust-inspired contract with the devil or Judas’ thirty pieces of silver, the situation has turned from bad to worse as the two other siblings Peter and Susan discover the land beyond the wardrobe. As the reality of the threat to their existence and a traitor among them weigh down on the siblings, the plot promises an abysmal journey of cold snow and dark nights ahead.

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But Not Without Hope

Narnia, you see, wasn’t exactly pure grief and snow in the past. A great king named Aslan used to rule the land, but disappeared mysteriously. With a hopeful revelation from Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, the three siblings minus Edmund sought out to find Aslan.

Enroute to meet Aslan, the Beavers tell the children of a great prophecy — that when two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve sit on the four thrones of Cair Paravel, the evil reign of The White Witch would end. They realize that the prophecy is about them, which is why The White Witch is determined to capture them at all costs.

Heralding Aslan’s comeback, the scene magically transforms from chilling snow into vibrant hues and energy of the spring season—the color of new life. Redemption is at hand—but not without a cost. And this is where The Lion’s story derives its brilliance. You don’t just get something for nothing.

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Deeper Magic

Sacrifice in this case meant for Aslan to give up his own life just so Edmund’s life can be spared. The Savior’s life in exchange for a Traitor’s soul? The White Witch can’t be any happier, you bet. Just imagine: who would be willing to hedge a bet so pure and so selfless, you might ask? The Bible offers an answer.

But you don’t have to look too far—you can find it in those simple gestures of love given unconditionally by a parent to a child. In our own small ways too, it can be about giving up a part of ourselves for someone else who may need it more—be it material or simple acts of kindness. Even a time to listen to a hurting friend or a stranger in need can make a huge magical difference.

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Love Beyond All Borders

It is these very simple yet sincere acts that redeem us in more ways than we can imagine, a tour de force for this classic children’s tale. Forgiveness. Courage. Gentleness. Pureness of Heart. They don’t have to cost us an arm and a leg, yet they uplift our souls beyond earth’s boundaries.

narnia4Now compare that to selling one’s soul and our little deaths each day dedicated to the temporary glory and fading star that superficially rule our lives.

If you haven’t read the book yet or seen this excellent Trumpet’s stage production at the Meralco Theater, go out there and find out how you too can grow up to be Peter the Magnificent and The High King over all of Narnia, Queen Susan the Gentle, King Edmund the Just, and Queen Lucy the Valiant. And still remain a child at heart.

All you have to do is open the doors.

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