Lewis’s book The Horse and His Boy uncovers a variety of themes and issues, such as the fight between good and evil, the relationship between friends, the expression of loyalty, and the discussion of gender roles. However, the most insightful topic raised in the book is that of the function of spirituality and the divine. Through the character of Aslan, the lion, the author explains the Christian ideas and teaches the readers that humility and sincerity are better than all the wealth of the world.
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Aslan represents the Lord throughout the story’s various situations and characters’ difficulties. He is thoughtful, supportive, cautious, and always ready to help his friends. Aslan teaches animals and people how to behave decently and comforts them in times of trouble. At the same time, other characters remind of those who were close to Christ and communicated with Him. When Bree says that Aslan is not a real lion, he replies, “Touch me. Smell me. Here are my paws, here is my tail, these are my whiskers. I am a true Beast” (Lewis 109). These words are a reference to Thomas the Apostle, or the Doubting Thomas, who was the only of the disciples that did not believe in Christ’s resurrection at once and demanded proofs.
Just like Christ is kind and sympathetic to his apostles, Aslan treats Bree with kindness despite his doubts and slight mockery. Aslan calls Bree a “poor, proud, frightened horse,” and by doing so, he makes it evident that he is not angry or upset with the horse’s behavior. Rather, Aslan wants to explain what is right and what is wrong and teach Bree to differentiate between the two. The role of the divine is further exemplified through changes in Bree’s character since the horse admits that he is “rather a fool” (Lewis 109). This situation is one of the examples of how the theme of faith is represented in the book.
Another indication of the religious topic in the book is the allusion to the famous saying of Babylonian origin, ‘an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ When Aslan explains to Aravis why she got her wounds, he says, “tear for tear, throb for throb, blood for blood” (Lewis 110). Hence, this is another indication of the divine’s role in the book.
Aslan not only preaches on dignity and kindness but also protects his people even when they do not know about it or when they lose faith in his support. Before the fight of Anvard, Shasta recollects how dangerous the path he took the day before was. Suddenly, he realizes that he did not feel the danger last evening. Like God protects His people in all their endeavors, so did Aslan help Shasta overcome the difficult track. Shasta realizes that he was “quite safe” because Aslan was between him and the edge “all the time” (Lewis 100). This invisible but constant support and guidance are what draws connections between Lewis’s book and the theme of the divine.
The association to God is reflected in the book through the presence of the Voice, which is indicated as the Thing or Person. This Voice communicates with Shasta in the moment of despair and returns faith in himself (Lewis 88). Even when tears “roll[ed] down his cheeks,” the boy is comforted by the Voice (Lewis 88). He can rely on the invisible Thing or Person and is not afraid. The use of this character bolsters the link between the book and the topic of faith. By describing the relationship between Shasta and the Voice, Lewis draws a parallel to people’s resorting to the invisible but omnipresent and omnipotent God.
While Aslan’s character is the most powerful concerning faith and religion, there are other heroes in the book who perform similar functions. For instance, at the moment when Bree feels extremely shameful and says he disgraced himself, Hermit comforts him by saying that he has lost “nothing but <…> self-conceit” (Lewis 82). Such a conversation is evidence of how Lewis cared to inculcate feelings of kindness and humility in his readers.
The Horse and His Boy are much more than an excellent fiction book with fantastic characters whose adventures make children and adults all over the world follow them attentively. Lewis’s book is one of the rare examples of how several crucial topics are intertwined and given equal attention in the text. The theme of faith and the role of the divine is probably the most intriguing and attractive in the story. The lion Aslan represents the Lord who is almighty and always ready to save His people. Aslan communicates with other characters not only in the lion’s body but also through the invisible Voice. This character, as well as others, conveys the ideas of sympathy, kindness, friendly support, humility, and other Christian concepts in various situations. The book disapproves of immoral behavior and teaches the reader to be honest and helpful.
Lewis, Clive Staples. The Horse and His Boy. Samizdat, 2017.