The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Book vs. Movie Review

MODG Student Reporter Johannes Carrillo shares his thoughts on The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe!

*Spoiler alert* This article is an in-depth analysis of the book and movie and spoilers are inevitable.

Book Cover 1950
Movie Poster 2005


The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is arguably the best children’s fantasy story of all time. It was first written in 1950 by Clive Staples Lewis. There were many TV shows and movies made, but the most recent, and best, would be the 2005 version done by Disney and Walden Media.

It is the story of four children who travel through a magic wardrobe into the land of Narnia. In Narnia, they learn that the White Witch has cursed the land into eternal winter and has made herself its tyrant. The children also learn they are part of a prophecy stating that they, with the help of Aslan, the Lion and King, will defeat the White Witch and restore peace and order.

This review will explore the differences and similarities between the book and movie and why they do or do not matter.

Right off the bat, we find a notable difference in the children themselves. Their names are Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. In the book, we are given the impression that they are all very young, 8-12 possibly. But in the movie, Peter and Susan are well into their teens, with Edmund and Lucy not far behind.

Peter, as the oldest, is seen as the leader of the four in both the book and movie. However, the movie strengthens that role in a scene where his mother asks him to take care of his siblings.

Susan is the second oldest and takes a mother role to Lucy. The movie adds depth to that when Susan asks Lucy’s forgiveness for being so bossy and says that she wishes they could be more like sisters and less like mother and daughter.

Edmund is definitely the problem child. The book is very clear that Edmund wishes Peter could be put down and stop treating him like a child. The movie hints at the rivalry between the brothers, but also makes Susan slightly aggressive towards Edmund.

Lucy is the youngest and most outgoing of the four. In the book, she is curious while in the movie, she is seen as adventurous; not a large difference, but noticeable. In both movie and book, Lucy is seen as an over-imaginative child who shouldn’t be taken seriously.

The whole adventure begins on a rainy day when Lucy walks through a wardrobe in a spare room. In the book, Lucy is exploring the house with her siblings when they enter this unimportant spare room with an unremarkable wardrobe in it. This contrasts greatly with the movie, where the children are playing hide-and-seek and Lucy is dashing in and out of rooms trying to find a hiding spot, but stops dead still when she enters the spare room and finds it dominated with this majestic wardrobe.

The differences in the perspective of the wardrobe are not important though. From the start, the movie showed it was going to be action-packed and adventurous, while the book is a lot calmer and slower, so it makes sense to add the extra suspense in the movie.

Probably the greatest difference is the action in the book versus the movie.

The graphic violence and the CGI-generated monsters in the movie are intense and realistic, especially in the battle of Beruna, while in the book, the battle is kept to a mere page and a half. Another thing to note is the fact that the illustrations that Pauline Baynes drew for the battle scene shows Peter in regular clothes which is, frankly, very un-intelligent. Who sends a kid into battle without any armor?

To conclude, the movie seems to be more realistic and shows more character depth and change. It has more action and adventure, more is at stake and there is a sense of realism which the book just doesn’t have.

Some other opinions…..

I prefer the book to the movie. In the book, C. S. Lewis’ commentary is hard to replace. Lewis feels like a great-uncle, or grandfather, reading you his story.

One of my favorite parts in the book is when Lucy and Susan are on Aslan’s back when He is sprinting to free the Narnians who are “statues” in the White Witch’s castle. I love how the forest is described. Narnia is lovely on His Triumph.

One of my favorite parts in the movie is the Battle of Beruna. It is really awesome to get the chance to see the battle (the book is from Lucy’s point of view during it). I love how Edmund nods to Peter. Edmund’s character arc is strengthened, and the High King completes his duty.

I definitely recommend the book and movie. However, read the book before you watch it! -Susannah Cope