Saturday, June 04, 2016

Discussion Questions for "The Magician's Nephew"

The Challenge

“One day, you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” (C.S. Lewis)

Claire and I are organizing a summer reading project of C. S. Lewis’ classic series, The Chronicles of Narnia. We did this a few years ago when I was preaching at Faith Bible Church and things went very well, including a group discussion of the books at a barbecue dinner party we hosted for everyone involved. That party was a grand success: grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, a large cake beautifully decorated in a Narnia motif, and a scintillating discussion among readers from ages 14 to 82.

Well, we’ve decided to ride into Narnia again this summer. We’re inviting people from the church we now attend (Community Bible Church) but since the program is actually self-propelled, we figured a few of our Facebook friends might be interested too. Beginning with this post, we will make available discussion points and questions that might help you, especially if you’ll be reading them with your kids and/or grandkids.

What do you say? Are you ready for the adventure?

Reading order for the Summer Reading Adventure

1) The Magician’s Nephew
2) The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
3) The Horse and His Boy
4) Prince Caspian
5) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
6) The Silver Chair
7) The Last Battle

Discussion Possibilities for C.S. Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew

You may not need any conversation starters other than the general questions that work the best for any book discussion. Those questions, of course, include the following. Did you like the book? What did you learn from it? Were there any characters, incidents, passages, or even single lines that made an impact on you? Were there things in the book you had questions about or disagreements? What were some of the most memorable things about the book?

But if you think any of the questions below might add a bit to your discussion, please use what you like.

Questions for Kids (and adults)

1) Why was Digory so sad in the beginning of the book?
2) What kind of animal did Uncle Andrew use for his experiment to send something to another world?
3) What do you think of Digory’s Uncle Andrew?  What kind of person is he?
4) Who rang the bell that awakened Queen Jadis?
5) The queen was so selfish and mean that she was willing to destroy her own city and all its people to get her way.  Throwing a temper tantrum is an ugly thing right?
6) What is the name of the ruined city that the wicked Queen once ruled?
7) How did Queen Jadis come into London?
8) Polly is willing to forgive Digory and help him even though he got them into a big mess.  Shouldn’t we be quick to forgive too and not just blame?
9) What happened at the lamp post in front of the apartments where Digory & Polly lived?
10) How did Narnia come into existence?
  11) What did you think of the cabby?
12) What was the horse’s name?  What new name did Aslan give him?
13) What special gifts does Aslan give Fledge?
14) What would you do if you had a winged horse?
15) How did Digory’s mother get better?
16) How important was it for Digory to keep his promise to Aslan about the silver apples?

Questions for Adults (and kids)

1) Andrew Ketterley and Queen Jadis believe that rules and morals which apply to other people do not apply to superior types like them.  Ever see this in real life?
2) Andrew Ketterley wants to mess with magic and change the world, but he doesn’t want to risk his own comfort.  Isn’t this true of other social engineers?
3) Digory faces profound temptation twice in this adventure.  How does he fare?  Can you identify?
4) Evil often masquerades as beauty as it does in Queen Jadis.  What do you think about this? What do you think Lewis wants us to recognize?
5) The Queen is described as “terribly practical,” meaning that she has no regard for anything or anyone she can’t exploit for her own ends.  We must be careful to be servants of one another, not users of one another.
6) Digory’s mother’s condition “no help in the world.”  Isn’t that also true of us and some of our problems?  So aren’t you glad there is another world from which supernatural help can come?
7) Aslan’s song was exquisitely beautiful yet Andrew Ketterley hated it.  So did the Queen.  Can you think of any biblical parallels?
8) “Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.” This observation about Uncle Andrew has wide applications.
9) Aslan requires a confession of Digory yet when that confession is humbly made, Aslan’t grace abounded.  Sound familiar?
10) Aslan knows Digory’s sin has resulted in evil entering Narnia and that will mean real trouble.  But most of that trouble, Aslan says, will fall on him.  What do you think about this?
11) Consider this line: “Aslan isn’t one to make bargains with.”

Discussion questions for the other books in the series to be posted as we go. Look for those connected with The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe in just a few days.