The Magician’s Nephew

C.S. Lewis


Welcome to the magical world of “The Magician’s Nephew” 🌟, a spellbinding novel by C.S. Lewis, the acclaimed author known for his remarkable contribution to English literature, especially in the genre of fantasy. “The Magician’s Nephew” serves not only as a prequel to the famous “Chronicles of Narnia” series but also as a fantastic standalone adventure that takes readers through time and space to lands filled with wonder, talking animals, and enchanting mysteries.

Written in the mid-1950s, this book is the sixth in publication order but often recommended as the first to be read in the Narnia chronology. It sets the stage for the entire series, explaining the origins of many elements that Narnia fans have come to love. The genre, a mix of fantasy, adventure, and Christian allegory, showcases Lewis’s talent for weaving complex themes into engaging narratives that captivate both young and adult readers alike.

C.S. Lewis, a British writer and lay theologian, was a prolific author of fiction and non-fiction, who skillfully combined elements of his deep Christian faith with rich, imaginative storytelling. “The Magician’s Nephew” is a testament to his ability to create worlds that offer not only escapism but also deep moral and spiritual reflections, making it a beloved classic in children’s literature. So, let’s dive into the magical wardrobe and explore the wonders that await in “The Magician’s Nephew”! 🚪✨

Plot Summary

“The Magician’s Nephew” tells the enchanting tale of how Narnia came to be, through the adventures of two children, Digory Kirke and Polly Plummer. Here’s a detailed look at the main events, structured around the classic narrative arc:

Exposition — Digory and Polly, two children living in London, become friends during their summer holiday. They discover a way to travel to different worlds using magical rings created by Digory’s uncle, Andrew.

Rising Action — Their first adventure takes them to the Wood between the Worlds, a tranquil forest filled with pools that lead to different worlds. Their curiosity leads them to Charn, a dying world, where they awaken Jadis, a powerful and malevolent witch.

Climax — Jadis follows the children back to London, causing chaos. To escape her, the children, along with Uncle Andrew, a cabby named Frank, and his horse, use the rings again, inadvertently bringing Jadis with them into a completely dark, unformed world.

Falling Action — Aslan, the majestic lion, sings this new world into existence, creating Narnia and all its creatures. Jadis flees, setting the stage for her return as the White Witch in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Aslan gives the animals the gift of speech and appoints the cabby and his wife as the first King and Queen of Narnia.

Resolution — To heal Digory’s sick mother, Aslan sends him on a quest to retrieve a magical apple from a garden beyond the western mountains. Digory resists the temptation to use the apple for selfish purposes and returns it to Aslan, who plants it to protect Narnia. As a reward, Aslan gives Digory an apple from the same tree to cure his mother. The children return to their world, where Digory’s mother is healed, and they bury the rings, marking the end of their adventures but the beginning of Narnia’s story.

This story, while presenting an exhilarating adventure, also sets the foundational lore for the Chronicles of Narnia, explaining the origin of many key elements, such as the wardrobe, the lamp-post, and the evil that later threatens Narnia.

Character Analysis

“The Magician’s Nephew” is rich with characters whose journeys are pivotal to the story’s development and the broader Narnia chronicles. Here’s a closer look at the main characters:

  • Digory Kirke — A curious and brave boy, Digory is initially driven by a desire to cure his sick mother. His character is tested when he faces the temptation of power but ultimately chooses to do what is right. His actions not only have a profound impact on Narnia’s creation but also demonstrate his growth from a boy to someone capable of making difficult moral choices.
  • Polly Plummer — Polly is Digory’s friend and the voice of caution in their adventures. She is sensible, kind, and courageous, often helping Digory make the right decisions. Her friendship and loyalty are crucial in helping Digory navigate the challenges they face in Narnia and beyond.
  • Uncle Andrew — A magician of questionable ethics, Uncle Andrew is responsible for creating the travel rings. His character represents the dangers of unchecked ambition and meddling with forces beyond one’s understanding. Unlike Digory and Polly, Uncle Andrew does not learn from his experiences, remaining arrogant and self-centered.
  • Jadis, the White Witch — Originating from the world of Charn, Jadis is the embodiment of evil and tyranny in the story. Her arrival in Narnia marks the introduction of evil into the newly created world. She is power-hungry, manipulative, and a significant figure in the later conflicts within the Narnia series.
  • Aslan — The majestic lion represents the good and creationary force in Narnia. Aslan’s wisdom, power, and sacrificial love are central themes throughout the series. He guides the characters, directly and indirectly, to fulfill their destinies and ensure the safety of Narnia.

Here’s a summary of their character analysis in a table format:

CharacterPersonality TraitsMotivationsCharacter Development
Digory KirkeCurious, brave, morally challengedTo cure his mother, exploreGrows from naive to morally strong
Polly PlummerSensible, cautious, loyalAdventure, help DigoryDemonstrates bravery and wisdom
Uncle AndrewAmbitious, selfish, arrogantPower, knowledgeRemains largely unchanged, a cautionary figure
JadisPower-hungry, tyrannical, manipulativeDomination, escape from CharnIntroduction as primary antagonist, unchanging evil
AslanWise, powerful, lovingCreation, protection of NarniaEternal, guiding presence throughout

This analysis showcases the diverse cast of characters in “The Magician’s Nephew,” each contributing to the story’s depth and the moral lessons it imparts.

Themes and Symbols

“The Magician’s Nephew” is rich with themes and symbols that add layers of meaning to the narrative and invite readers to reflect on deeper philosophical and ethical questions. Here’s an exploration of the major themes and symbols in the book:


  • Good vs. Evil — The stark contrast between Aslan’s benevolence and Jadis’s malevolence frames the eternal struggle between light and darkness, shaping the moral landscape of Narnia. This theme is central to understanding the choices characters make and their consequences.
  • Creation and Origin — The creation of Narnia by Aslan speaks to themes of beginning and the beauty of creation. It also parallels biblical creation narratives, offering a reflection on the nature of good and the introduction of evil into a pristine world.
  • Temptation and Sacrifice — Digory’s temptation in the garden and his ultimate choice to follow Aslan’s instructions mirrors the biblical story of Adam and Eve. It highlights the virtues of obedience, sacrifice, and the consequences of succumbing to temptation.
  • Growth and Redemption — The characters’ journeys, particularly Digory’s, embody the theme of personal growth and redemption. Through trials, the characters learn important lessons about themselves and the nature of good versus evil.


  • The Wardrobe — Created from the apple tree that grew from the magical apple, the wardrobe becomes a symbol of passage between worlds, representing the thin veil between reality and fantasy, and the possibility of return and redemption.
  • The Rings — The magical rings used by the children to travel between worlds symbolize curiosity and the human desire to explore the unknown. They also represent the consequences of tampering with forces beyond human understanding.
  • The Apple — The magical apple given to Digory by Aslan symbolizes temptation and the choice between selfish desires and doing what is morally right. It also becomes a symbol of healing and protection when Aslan uses it to plant a protective tree around Narnia.
  • The Lamp-post — Emerging from Jadis’s thrown iron bar, the lamp-post in Narnia symbolizes the unexpected outcomes of actions and the bringing of light (or civilization) into a newly created world. It serves as a landmark and a symbol of hope and guidance.

These themes and symbols weave throughout “The Magician’s Nephew,” enriching the narrative with profound moral and spiritual questions and making the story a timeless exploration of human nature and the cosmic battle between good and evil.

Writing Style and Tone

C.S. Lewis’s “The Magician’s Nephew” is celebrated not only for its imaginative storytelling but also for its distinctive writing style and tone, which play crucial roles in bringing the magical world of Narnia to life. Here’s a breakdown of these aspects:

  • Narrative Voice — Lewis employs a third-person omniscient narrative, allowing readers insight into the thoughts and feelings of various characters. This perspective is particularly effective in a story that spans multiple worlds and involves a wide range of characters, from innocent children to malevolent witches and majestic lions. The narrator occasionally addresses the reader directly, creating an intimate and engaging reading experience.
  • Language and Imagery — Lewis’s language is richly descriptive, painting vivid pictures of the settings and characters. The imagery used to describe the creation of Narnia, for instance, is both majestic and evocative, making readers feel as if they are witnessing the dawn of a new world alongside the characters. This use of language not only enhances the fantasy elements but also deepens the emotional impact of the narrative.
  • Tone — The tone of “The Magician’s Nephew” varies, reflecting the shifts in the narrative. It ranges from light-hearted and whimsical when depicting the adventures of Polly and Digory, to solemn and awe-inspiring during the creation of Narnia and Aslan’s appearances. Despite these shifts, the overall tone remains accessible and inviting, suitable for both young readers and adults.
  • Themes and Morality — Lewis weaves complex themes and moral lessons throughout the narrative in a manner that is thought-provoking yet not preachy. The exploration of good vs. evil, temptation, and redemption is done in a way that encourages readers to reflect on their own values and choices.
  • Allegory and Symbolism — The author’s use of allegory and symbolism adds layers of meaning to the story, inviting deeper exploration beyond the surface narrative. Lewis’s background as a Christian apologist is evident in the allegorical elements related to biblical stories and themes, though these are presented in a way that they enrich the story rather than dominate it.

Overall, C.S. Lewis’s writing style and tone in “The Magician’s Nephew” are integral to its charm and enduring appeal. Through his masterful storytelling, Lewis invites readers into a richly imagined world that is not only a place of magical adventures but also a space for exploring deep and meaningful themes.

Literary Devices Used in The Magician’s Nephew

C.S. Lewis employs a range of literary devices in “The Magician’s Nephew” to enrich his storytelling, create deep thematic connections, and engage readers on multiple levels. Here are the top 10 literary devices used in the book, each highlighting a different aspect of Lewis’s writing prowess:

  1. Allegory — The entire narrative can be seen as an allegory for biblical creation and the fall of man, with Aslan as a Christ figure and the garden with the forbidden fruit mirroring the Garden of Eden. This device allows Lewis to explore complex themes of temptation, sin, and redemption.
  2. Symbolism — Objects, characters, and events often carry symbolic meaning. For example, the lamppost symbolizes the light of reason in the midst of the unknown, while the wardrobe later becomes a symbol of passage between worlds.
  3. Foreshadowing — Lewis uses foreshadowing to hint at future events in the Narnia series, such as the creation of the wardrobe from the apple tree wood, which sets the stage for “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”
  4. Imagery — Vivid descriptions bring the worlds of Charn, Narnia, and the Wood between the Worlds to life. The imagery of Aslan singing Narnia into existence is particularly powerful, evoking a sense of awe and wonder.
  5. Irony — There are instances of irony, such as Uncle Andrew’s belief in his own superiority and control over magic, only to be utterly powerless and at the mercy of forces beyond his understanding.
  6. Metaphor — The novel is replete with metaphors, such as the description of Jadis as a “cold, proud queen” metaphorically representing her heartless and tyrannical nature.
  7. Personification — Aslan, the lion, is a personification of good and divine creation, imbued with human-like qualities and emotions that allow him to serve as a mediator between the divine and the earthly.
  8. Simile — Lewis uses similes to enhance his descriptions, such as comparing the silence in the Wood between the Worlds to “the silence of an empty house.”
  9. Allusion — The story contains allusions to biblical narratives and classical mythology, enriching the text with deeper historical and cultural layers.
  10. Parallelism — The story parallels the biblical creation story and the concept of original sin, with Narnia’s creation echoing the beauty and innocence of Eden and Jadis’s introduction of evil into the world mirroring the serpent’s temptation.

These literary devices are integral to “The Magician’s Nephew,” allowing C.S. Lewis to weave a rich tapestry that is both a delightful fantasy adventure and a profound moral and theological exploration.

Literary Devices Examples

To further illustrate how C.S. Lewis utilizes literary devices in “The Magician’s Nephew,” here are tables providing examples and explanations for each of the top 10 devices identified.


The creation of Narnia by Aslan and the garden with the magical fruitRepresents the biblical creation story and the Garden of Eden, drawing parallels between Aslan’s actions and divine creation, and the garden’s fruit and the forbidden fruit leading to knowledge and temptation.


The lamppost in NarniaSymbolizes the intrusion of Jadis (evil) into the newly created world and becomes a beacon of hope and guidance, as well as a landmark for the Pevensie children in later books.


Digory’s decision to plant the apple seedsForeshadows the creation of the wardrobe from the tree that grows from these seeds, which becomes the gateway to Narnia for the Pevensie siblings.


Aslan singing Narnia into existenceEvokes a powerful visual and auditory image of creation, highlighting the beauty, majesty, and harmony of the new world being born.


Uncle Andrew’s belief in his control over magicIronically leads to his complete loss of control and subjugation to Jadis, underscoring his misguided arrogance and the unpredictability of magic.


Jadis as a “cold, proud queen”Serves as a metaphor for her heartless, tyrannical nature and her chilling effect on those around her, both literally and figuratively.


Aslan’s depictionPersonifies the lion with qualities of leadership, wisdom, and compassion, bridging the divine and the natural world and embodying the moral authority in the narrative.


The silence in the Wood between the Worlds compared to “the silence of an empty house”Enhances the sense of tranquility and otherworldliness of the Wood, making it feel both familiar and eerily deserted.


References to biblical and mythological elementsEnrich the narrative with a deeper layer of meaning, connecting the story to well-known narratives of creation, temptation, and redemption.


The creation of Narnia paralleled with the biblical creationHighlights the themes of innocence, temptation, and the introduction of evil into a perfect world, reinforcing the moral underpinnings of the story.

These examples demonstrate Lewis’s skillful use of literary devices to deepen the narrative, enrich the thematic content, and engage readers on multiple levels throughout “The Magician’s Nephew.”

The Magician’s Nephew – FAQs

What is the significance of “The Magician’s Nephew” in the Chronicles of Narnia series?
“The Magician’s Nephew” serves as a prequel to the rest of the Chronicles of Narnia series. It explains the origins of Narnia, how evil first entered the world, the creation of the wardrobe, and other elements that are central to the series, providing a deeper understanding of the Narnian universe.

Who are the main characters in “The Magician’s Nephew”?
The main characters include Digory Kirke and Polly Plummer, two children who play pivotal roles in the creation of Narnia; Aslan, the majestic lion who creates Narnia; Jadis, the White Witch who brings evil into the world; and Uncle Andrew, Digory’s uncle, who dabbles in magic and inadvertently sets the adventure in motion.

How does “The Magician’s Nephew” explore the theme of good vs. evil?
The novel juxtaposes the pure and benevolent creation of Aslan against the destructive and selfish intentions of Jadis, the White Witch. Through the characters’ interactions and the consequences of their actions, Lewis explores the nature of good and evil, as well as the choices that lead individuals towards one or the other.

Can “The Magician’s Nephew” be read as a standalone book?
Yes, while it is part of the Chronicles of Narnia series, “The Magician’s Nephew” can be read and enjoyed as a standalone novel. Its story is self-contained, providing the backstory to the Narnia universe, making it an accessible entry point for new readers or a deeper exploration for those familiar with the series.

What are the magical rings, and what role do they play in the story?
The magical rings, created by Uncle Andrew, have the power to transport individuals to other worlds. They play a crucial role in the story by enabling Digory and Polly to travel to the Wood between the Worlds, and subsequently to Narnia and Charn. The rings are central to the plot’s development and the exploration of themes such as curiosity, consequence, and the interconnectivity of different worlds.

How does “The Magician’s Nephew” address themes of creation and origin?
The novel directly addresses these themes through the depiction of Aslan singing Narnia into existence, showcasing the beauty and harmony of creation. It also delves into the origins of key elements within the Narnia universe, such as how the wardrobe was made, the lamp-post’s arrival in Narnia, and the beginning of the deep magic that governs the land, offering a cosmogonic perspective on the series’ universe.


QuestionABCDCorrect Answer
What is the Wood between the Worlds?A magical forest where time stands stillThe dark forest surrounding NarniaA place where magical creatures liveThe garden where the apple growsA
Who creates Narnia?Polly PlummerUncle AndrewAslanJadisC
What tempts Digory in the story?Gold and richesPower over NarniaA magical appleReturning to LondonC
How does Jadis come to Narnia?She is summoned by AslanThrough the magic ringsShe follows Digory and PollyShe creates Narnia herselfB
What role does Uncle Andrew play in the story?He is a benevolent wizardHe helps Aslan create NarniaHe provides comic relief and serves as a cautionary figureHe defeats JadisC
What does the magical apple Digory takes from the garden represent?Eternal lifeKnowledge and powerTemptation and obedienceThe creation of NarniaC
Who are the first king and queen of Narnia?Digory and PollyAslan and JadisThe Cabby and his wifeUncle Andrew and Aunt LettyC
How is the lamp-post created in Narnia?It grows from a seedJadis throws an iron bar into the groundIt is magically summoned by AslanIt was always thereB
What ultimately happens to the magical rings?They are lost in NarniaDigory uses them to create the wardrobeThey are buried in the backyardJadis steals themC
What lesson does Digory learn by the end of the story?The importance of courageThe power of friendshipThe value of obedience and sacrificeHow to become a great magicianC

This quiz tests comprehension of “The Magician’s Nephew,” covering key plot points, character roles, and themes, offering a fun and engaging way to review the story.


In this exercise, spot the literary devices used in the following paragraph from “The Magician’s Nephew”:

“In the darkness, something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing. It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful sound he had ever heard.”


  1. Imagery — The description of the voice singing in the darkness creates a vivid mental picture of the scene, engaging the reader’s senses to imagine the beginning of Narnia’s creation.
  2. Personification — The voice is given the quality of being able to come from all directions, even “out of the earth,” attributing human characteristics to non-human sources.
  3. Simile — The comparison of the voice’s lower notes to “the voice of the earth herself” uses a simile to liken the deep, resonant sounds to the earth’s own voice, enhancing the mystical quality of the scene.
  4. Allusion — This passage alludes to the biblical act of creation, where a voice (in Christian theology, God’s voice) brings the world into existence, paralleling Aslan’s creation of Narnia through song.

This exercise encourages students to explore and identify literary devices, deepening their understanding of how C.S. Lewis crafts his narrative in “The Magician’s Nephew.”