The wardrobe in my first-year bedroom was so spacious, and I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t think it were capable of housing an entry point into Narnia. Instead, it was the main door of my room that led me to an unfamiliar and exciting world: my experience as a first-year student at Warwick. Just like Lucy when she first finds the lamppost and meets Mr. Tumnus, I felt both nervous and eager to explore the university campus and meet new people. I really felt that my first year at university was a journey, both enchanting and unknown, mirroring the journey of the four Pevensie children as they travel across Narnia and gain new experiences. Looking back, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe would have been the perfect book to reread during my first week of university – one I now wish I had brought along with me.
Even just having one of these books at university with me would have made my first-year bookshelf feel a little more like my one at home.
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is one of my all-time favourite books. I so vividly remember hearing my dad read it to me when I was younger, so the novel strongly reminds me of home, and I can still hear his voice when I reread Aslan’s speech. My personal copy is filled with beautiful, full-colour illustrations and is part of my own collection of Narnia books, which I remember needing to import from America to get the specific editions I liked. As a ten-year-old girl, I would spend ages rearranging my other books to ensure that my Narnia series sat in pride of place on my bookshelf. Even just having one of these books at university with me would have made my first-year bookshelf feel a little more like my one at home.
C.S. Lewis’ writing style is charming and cosy, which makes the book a comforting, light read. A timeless classic, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is a book that can be loved by all generations, and one I am sure will continue to stand the test of time. The fantastical world-building is unparalleled, and the escapism that C.S. Lewis offers in his writing would have been ideal to help settle my nerves when I was leaving home and moving in with new people. Curling up to read this book and being greeted by the caring Mrs Beaver and the jolly Father Christmas in the magical land of Narnia is like embracing old friends once more. Knowing the plot and the characters inside out would have made it easy for me to pick the book up as and when I was free during Welcome Week.
Having a familiar and nostalgic book on hand would have made the whole experience a lot less daunting.
The first few days of university are very chaotic, full of society events, socialising, and seminar preparation, but there are also lots of pockets of free time while you are waiting for your next activity. Having a familiar and nostalgic book on hand would have made the whole experience a lot less daunting. I thoroughly enjoy rereading books; I always get something different out of a book when I come back to it later in life. I wholeheartedly know that rereading a book that really shaped my childhood, during the new experience of university, would have been wonderful.
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe will always be a special book to me, and I really regret not bringing my copy with me to Warwick. Next year, I am planning to take this delightful story with me into my second-year house, which I am hoping has a slightly more magical wardrobe than my on-campus accommodation did. In the words of C.S. Lewis, “someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again,” and if university isn’t the right time in life to return to the magic and comfort of fairy stories, I’m not sure when is.