If they held Sunday school at Hogwarts, that's where you might find the Narnia kids. They are no strangers to magic and sorcery, but in contrast to the Rowling brood, they are small potatoes in a universal scrap between deities, and the stakes are more desperately felt. The terms of the fight are also dirtier. The creator of Narnia, C.S. Lewis, had no modernist qualms about exposing the very young to danger in his writings - the code of Narnia is a Crusader's code, and any son of Adam or daughter of Eve who is old enough to heft a blade can join the fight, and become fair game. On page five of the first book in the series of seven, the precocious toddler Lucy Pevensie opens the first doorway to danger - an imposing, monolithic wardrobe in an unexplored section of her new country home, where she and her siblings have been shuttled off after a Nazi air-raid. She leaps through the doors with a child's thoughtless courage and shuts them behind her. Pushing forward into the heavy coats, she is unexpectedly touched by the icy finger of a fir tree. The coats draping over her face are now, curiously, touched with powdered snow. She steps on through, into a clearing surrounded by lovely, thick woods, and for a minute it looks as though she might turn back into the wardrobe, but someone with secrets is already staring at her from just beyond the light of the lamppost.

categories Cinematical