An excerpt from Alan Jacobs’s article on the Narnia books in the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to C. S. Lewis:

Lewis once suggested that literary critics are, and have always been, neglectful of ‘Story considered in itself’. They have been so focused on themes and images and ideological commitments that they have failed to notice the thing that decisively differentiates stories from articles or treatises. If we then try to consider the seven Narnia stories as a single story, what is that story about? I contend that the best answer is disputed sovereignty. More than any other single thing, the story of Narnia concerns an unacknowledged but true King and the efforts of his loyalists to reclaim or protect his throne from would-be usurpers.

He goes on to give some more details, but here’s the upshot:

There is a King of Kings and Lord of Lords whose Son is the rightful ruler of this world. Indeed, through that Son all things were made, and the world will end when he ‘comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead’, though ‘his kingdom will have no end’, in the words of the Nicene Creed. Meanwhile, in these in-between times, the rulership of Earth is claimed by an Adversary, the Prince of this world. And what is asked of all Lewis’s characters is simply, as the biblical Joshua put it, to ‘choose this day’ whom they will serve.

HT: Trevin Wax