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The Chronicles Of Narnia The Magician's Nephew


The story begins in London around 1900. Two children, Digory Kirke and Polly Plummer, meet while playing in the adjacent gardens of a row of terraced houses. They decide to explore the attic connecting the houses, but take the wrong door and surprise Digory's Uncle Andrew in his study. Uncle Andrew tricks Polly into touching a yellow magic ring, causing her to vanish. He then explains to Digory that he has been dabbling in magic, and that the rings allow travel between one world and another. He persuades Digory, effectively through blackmail, to take another yellow ring to follow wherever Polly has gone, and two green rings so that both can return.

Digory finds himself transported to a sleepy world with an almost narcotic effect, barely able to remember where he is. The world is filled with pools. Digory and Polly surmise that the world is not really a proper world at all but a "world between the worlds" and that each pool leads to a proper universe. They decide to explore a different world before returning to England, by jumping into one of the pools, and find themselves in a desolate abandoned city of the ancient world of Charn, with statuesque figures of old kings and queens. They find a bell with a hammer, with the words:

Make your choice, adventurous stranger
Strike the bell and bide the danger
Or wonder, till it drives you mad
What would have followed if you had

Despite protest from Polly, Digory rings the bell. This awakens a cruel witch named Jadis, who, to avoid defeat in battle, had deliberately killed all the population of that world by speaking a "Deplorable Word". As the only survivor left in her world, she placed herself in an enchanted sleep that would be broken by ringing the bell. She follows Digory and Polly against their will back to England by clinging to them as they clutch their rings. In England, she dismisses Uncle Andrew as a mere dabbler in magic; but also discovers that her magic does not work in England. She orders Uncle Andrew to fetch her a chariot, so she can set about ruling this world. They leave, and she returns standing atop a hansom with no driver, followed by a fire engine. There is a collision near the lamppost at the front door of the Kirke house, and a police hansom arrives. Although Jadis has no magic powers, she is still strong and easily breaks off a rod from the lamp-post and brandishes as a weapon, bringing it crashing down on a policeman's head. Polly and Digory grab her and put on their magic rings to take her out of their world. In the wood between the worlds they jump into a new pool. They find that Digory's uncle, the cab-driver, and the cabbie's horse have also followed them, since all were touching one another when Digory and Polly grabbed their rings. They all witness the creation of a new world by the lion Aslan, who brings various entities, stars, plants, and animals, into existence and life as he sings.

Aslan gives some animals the power of speech, commanding them to use it for justice and merriment. Digory's uncle is frozen with fear and unable to communicate with the talking animals, who mistake him for a kind of tree. Aslan confronts Digory with his responsibility for bringing Jadis into this young world and tells Digory he must help protect Narnia from her spells. Aslan transforms the cabbie's horse into a winged horse, and Digory and Polly fly on it to a garden high in the mountains where magic apples grow. Digory's task is to take an apple and plant its seed in Narnia. In the garden Digory finds a sign reading

Come in my gold gates or not at all
Take of my fruit for others or forbear
For those who steal or those who climb my wall
Shall find their heart's desire and find despair

Inside the garden is the witch Jadis, her face now "deadly white". She tempts Digory to take an apple for himself, since the apples offer eternal life and could be used to heal his sick mother. Digory resists temptation and returns to Narnia with an apple, which is planted in Narnian soil. A new tree springs up, which will repel the Witch for centuries to come. With Aslan's permission, Digory takes an apple from the new tree for his mother. Aslan returns Digory, Polly, and Uncle Andrew to England; the hansom driver and his wife stay to rule Narnia as King Frank and Queen Helen.

Digory's apple restores his dying mother to health. Digory plants the core in the great house in the countryside that he and his family move to, and years later the tree that grows from it blows down. Digory has it made into a wardrobe, thus linking the story to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, in which Digory has become the old professor in whose country houseLucy Pevensie finds the wardrobe and the way into Narnia.

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