“TO ANNE JENKINS (QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY, BELFAST):
5 March 1961
What Aslan meant when he said he had died is, in one sense, plain enough. Read the earlier book in the series called The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and you will find the full story of how he was killed by the White Witch and came to life again. When you have read that, I think you will probably see that there is deeper meaning behind it.
The whole Narnian story is about Christ.
That is to say, I asked myself ‘Supposing there really were a world like Narnia, and supposing it had (like our world) gone wrong, and supposing Christ wanted to go into that world and save it (as He did ours) what might have happened?’
The stories are my answer. Since Narnia is a world of Talking Beasts, I thought He would become a Talking Beast there, as he became a Man here.
I pictured Him becoming a lion there because (a) The lion is supposed to be the King of beasts: (b) Christ is called ‘The Lion of Judah’ in the Bible (Genesis 49:9-10): (c) I’d been having strange dreams about lions when I began writing the books.
The whole series works out like this:
The Magician’s Nephew tells the creation and how evil entered Narnia.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe… the Crucifixion and Resurrection
Prince Caspian… restoration of the true religion after a corruption
The Horse and his Boy… the calling and conversion of a heathen.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader… the spiritual life (especially in Reepicheep)
The Silver Chair… the continued war against the powers of darkness
The Last Battle… the coming of Antichrist (the Ape). The end of the world, and the Last Judgement
–C.S. Lewis, The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge and Joy 1950–1963, ed. Walter Hooper, vol. 3 (New York: HarperCollins; HarperSanFrancisco, 2004–2007), 3: 1244–1245.