Michele's post, Still Searching for the Magic, is totally the inspiration for this post. Narnia holds many memories for me.
I first read The Chronicles of Narnia in second grade. I was enchanted. I loved Aslan. My second grade teacher gently suggested the word, allegory. I can't tell you how pissed I was. The betrayal! I wanted Narnia to be real, not a freaking allegory.
I read them again in fourth grade. I remember sitting on my bed and bawling because I could not go to Narnia, and because Narnia was not real. I hoped and hoped and wished, but there I was, stuck in this old world.
Some time in high school, I believe, my best friend and I began a tradition of reading the series together. We would often spend the night or the weekend at each other's houses, mostly reading. At least, that's what I recall.
I also recall she would track and compare our reading speeds. ;-)
The tradition continued in college. When we'd visit for the weekend, we'd reread the seven books again. I remember her sitting in a pizza shop window, curled up with Prince Caspian.
I still love the Narnia series. I still refuse to entertain any notion of the series being an allegory. I don't care if C.S. Lewis said as much. I don't care if C.S. Lewis even pointed it out in the series. I. Don't. Care.
I love Narnia, definitely more than I love this old world.
The lesson? If you give a reader a magical world, if you make your reader fall in love with that world, if you make that world so real that she longs to live there ... for goodness sake, don't take away the magic by saying, "Just kidding. It's not real. It's just an allegory."
Down with allegories!