What does a children’s book have to do with war? Most people who have read the installments of “The Chronicles of Narnia” read them as a child or read them to their children. Like “The Hobbit” or a boatload of modern Disney movies, they are highly entertaining to most adults too, but are generally geared toward kids. The language is easy to digest; the content is relatively lighthearted.

Charging directly into enemy fire on an open field. This was trench warfare.

Let me address this by saying that, out of all the books and authors I have addressed in this series and will address, if there is one author who you ought to pay attention to when it comes to the subject of war, it is most likely C.S. Lewis (I will hear arguments for J. R. R. Tolkien as well). Though they did not really meet each other until 1926, both men were soldiers in WWI and fought in the Battle of the Somme—nasty trench warfare that claimed 57,000 British casualties on the first day. Lewis turned 19 on the day he arrived to the battle with the Somerset Light Infantry. He was later wounded by the same shell that killed two of his fellow soldiers, which was apparently friendly fire. This would spur off his exit from the military as he was sent home.

He was 40 years old when WWII started, and after all of his terrifying experiences as an infantryman in WWI in the trenches, what did he do? He tried to volunteer again, but was denied—still, he helped where he could by providing inspirational broadcasts to the troops and evacuating children out of London in 1939. He was even eventually offered the Order of the British Empire, but declined as he didn’t want anything to do with politics.

This is the same author that wrote Narnia, and so when he describes anything combat, I pay attention.

Anyone who has spent some time in the military knows that it’s not battle after battle, firefight after firefight. If nothing else, it requires a whole lot of walking. “The Chronicles of Narnia” doesn’t skip all that just to get to the “good stuff,” as Lewis could not bring himself to skip that essential experience of walking until you feel like you can’t walk another step, and then walking some more, all just to get into a five-minute fight somewhere.

But as they went on walking and walking – and walking and as the sack she was carrying felt heavier and heavier, she began to wonder how she was going to keep up at all. And she stopped looking at the dazzling brightness of the frozen river with all its waterfalls of ice and at the white masses of the tree-tops and the great glaring moon and the countless stars and could only watch the little short legs of Mr Beaver going pad-pad-pad-pad through the snow in front of her as if they were never going to stop. Then the moon disappeared and the snow began to fall once more. And at last Lucy was so tired that she was almost asleep and walking at the same time when suddenly she found that Mr Beaver had turned away from the river-bank to the right and was leading them steeply uphill into the very thickest bushes.”

If there wasn’t a magical, talking beaver, I would think this could be a winter class in Ranger School.

He even once says that the children, after much walking through enemy territory, are “pretty tired by now of course; but not what I’d call bitterly tired – only slow and feeling very dreamy and quiet as one does when one is coming to the end of a long day in the open.” It makes you wonder what a man like C. S. Lewis would consider “bitterly tired.”