If the title Planet Narnia makes you cringe, you’re not alone. And if the title The Narnia Code makes you think “Lewis would have hated this,” well, me too (although upon reflection, I realized it was Tolkien who would have hated it–and he didn’t much care for Narnia anyway).
Added to the list of things I don’t much care for is literary theory that imposes something on a book that I don’t believe the author meant to put there. But Michael Ward, author of Planet Narnia, insists that he is not imposing a theory on the Narnia books. The subject of his thesis is, he claims, a “discovery”–the uncovering of “a genuine secret”: a thematic unity in the Narnia books that Lewis himself constructed and deliberately hid.
Skeptical but willing to give the theory an ear–especially since it was mostly presented by British academics, and I can listen to those accents all day long–I settled in to watch the BBC documentary The Narnia Code with family the other night. And . . . it was fascinating. Quite possibly a genuine discovery.
You can watch the trailer here. It is not as intriguing as the actual documentary. And I am very much looking forward to reading the book, which you can learn more about here. Be prepared for a delightful mesh of literature, medieval cosmology, Christian worldview, and, as Michael Ward puts, a deeper understanding of Lewis’s view of a “meaning-drenched universe.”