Fantasy and poetry fit together perfectly, both used to express the inexpressible and describe the indescribable. Many fantasy authors have chosen to communicate abstract concepts through poetry, or even just to enhance the world-building and create a story that is rich and full of life.
C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia is no different, littered with poetry told through different characters, ancient prophecies or inscribed into rock and metal, each poem adds an extra dimension to the story and deepens the lore of the land. Here are some of our favourites.
Soon after the children arrive in Narnia, they meet Mr Beaver, a talking beaver who explains what is happening in Narnia, and here they learn about Aslan the lion for the first time. In the comfort of the dam, ancient knowledge is discussed and the beavers relay The Golden Age Prophecy, told in three parts. The first part of the old rhyme details the story of Aslan, and foretells the coming of Spring once again when The Age of Winter is over.
In the second part of The Golden Age Prophecy, My Beaver describes the impact the children will have on the events that unfold in Narnia, predicting the end of The White Witch's reign. The final part is not a poem, but simply spoken, "...when two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve sit in those four thrones, then it will be the end not only of the White Witch's reign but of her life."
Reepicheep was a great mouse knight, one of Prince Caspian's most loyal and brave soldiers. Descended from one of the mice that chewed away Aslan's binds at The Stone Table, Aslan gave the mice the ability to speak as a reward for their kindness.
Reepicheep's knowledge of Aslan comes from a lullaby he heard as a young mouse living in the forest. A dryad (forest-spirit) sang these words over him, prophesying that one day he would indeed sail to the East to Aslan's country.
The Ruined City of the Giants was a ruined city located in the far North of Narnia, were giants once lived. Although the city's original name is unknown, it was once a vast empire, according to this eulogy written by one of its Kings. Eventually the city was reduced to ruins, and the giants built their castle to the north of it. Finally, all that remained of the inscription was the final two words, 'UNDER ME'.
The Charn Bell was a small golden bell found in the Hall of Images in the now dead world of Charn. It was a magical bell which hung from a golden arch on a stone pillar, with a small golden hammer laying beside it, for people to strike the bell with. When Jadis, The White Witch originally destroyed the world of Charn, she used magic to place herself into a deep sleep. She cast a spell on the bell, and left the following inscription, aiming to tempt visitors into striking the bell and awakening her from her sleep.
The Garden of Youth was an isolated orchard that lay in the west of Narnia on the crest of a hill. The garden was enclosed by high walls of green turf, broken only by a single pair of solid golden gates that faced due east. The garden was a beautiful, happy place where the leaves showed green, blue and silver in the wind, and bore the sweetest fruit in the world. In the centre of the garden stood an enormous silver apple tree, the Tree of Youth, where a lone phoenix roosted, the Guardian of the Garden. On the gates the following poem was inscribed in silver.
There is more to The Chronicles of Narnia than just The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. All seven of C.S. Lewis' books are filled with a rich and vibrant lore, detailing everything from the origins of The White Witch, to ancient kings, talking horses and the Pevensies in The Age of Winter. The poetry serves to enhance and deepen the magical world, which one is your favourite?
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