The Beloved Series:
The Narnia books -- C.S. Lewis' magical story of a mythical fairyland, that just so happens to trick children into loving Jesus. And why wouldn't they? If the New Testament was about a badass lion battling an evil witch, a lot more kids might show up to Sunday School. It's also notable as the only fantasy series in which Santa Claus shows up and distributes medieval weapons to children, which probably led to a lot of disappointing Christmas mornings for kids who asked for crossbows and morning stars.
"You'll shoot your eye out."
Where Things Went Wrong:
We're guessing that a lot of you probably didn't finish the series -- hell, even the movie franchise can't seem to make it all the way to the end. The final book, The Last Battle, is an appropriately wacky story that begins with a talking ape dressing a donkey up like Aslan the (Jesus) lion, in order to create a false god, which is either an allegorical critique of Darwin's theories or proof that these books were a shitshow of random craziness.
Either way, jackasses are involved.
The original kids from The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe return minus Susan because, as her brother puts it, she's "not a friend of Narnia" anymore -- which really makes Narnia sound like a fucking cult. So what happened? Well, she got into lipstick and nylons:
"Oh Susan!" said Jill. "She's interested in nothing nowadays except nylons and lipstick and invitations. She always was a jolly sight too keen on being grown-up."
A lot of people, including J.K. Rowling, interpret this as Susan abandoning Aslan (Jesus) because she's discovered sex, which is kind of a shitty lesson to impart to kids. Speaking of shitty, the book ends with a damn apocalypse ... just like another famous book. As everyone is migrating from Narnia to the true Narnia dimension (don't ask), Lucy asks Aslan if he's going to send her back to the real world, at which point, this creepy exchange happens:
"No fear of that," said Aslan. "Have you not guessed?"
Their hearts leaped and a wild hope rose within them.
"There was a real railway accident," said Aslan softly. "Your father and mother and all of you are -- as you used to call it in the Shadowlands -- dead. The term is over: The holidays have begun. The dream is ended: This is the morning."
"Well ... bye."
So, no need to worry, kids; you all died a violent death. Thanks, Aslan. How is it OK to end a children's book with the message that death is a "holiday" and things will only start to get good if you die in some kind of horrible vehicular wreck? That's not going to convert them to Christianity; it's going to convert them to wearing black nail polish and listening to The Cure.
J.M. McNab co-hosts the pop culture nostalgia podcast Rewatchability, which can also be found on iTunes. Follow him on Twitter @Rewatchability.
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