In the midst of a quiet weekend, I’m already 2/3rds through The Horse and his Boy (bearing in mind that I’m reading it to Rose Red, as opposed to just reading it).
It’s one of the most exciting of the Narnia series, with the whole thing being set around an escape and a chase; from Calormen in the south, to Narnia and the north. This framework allows for the straightforward adding of tension to a scene without it feeling forced, though its interesting afterwards to appreciate how little danger Shasta and his friends are in most of the time. As I discovered in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, merely a character’s perception of being at risk can make for an exciting scene.
Unsurprisingly enough (given the series as a whole), who should be guiding their path but Aslan, even though the character’s generally don’t know him yet. The talking horses have at least heard of him, but I don’t think either of them have actually met the lion. I’m presuming this is an allegory of God being involved in people’s lives, whether He is acknowledged or not, which tends to raise the obvious question of “if God is in control, why do bad things happen to good people?”. A lot of attempts have been made to answer this question, but none (or at least, none of the ones that I recall) have been completely satisfactory, in that they all seem to over-simplify the situation.
So don’t expect an answer from me. 😉
It seems like sometimes bad things happen because it sets up the scenario for good things later (e.g. someone’s unpleasant past allowing them to help someone else going through a similar situation), or to teach us something (hence the prayer “Lord, let me only need to learn this once!”), but sometimes, pithy and crude though the saying is, s*** happens, and sitting around trying to figure out why isn’t going to solve the problem.
But of course, this is my perspective. Feel free to disagree.