Mar 20, 2008

Chronicles of Narnia

I know that many of you have never wondered what order to read the Chronicles of Narnia in because there are deceptive little numbers on the spine of most copies now that would lead you to read them in a particular order. Do not be swayed!!!

I asked my best friend, Nikki to write on guest post on the correct order of Lewis' beloved children's series because she could do it so much more eloquently than I. Her post follows...

In honor of the upcoming release of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, I have the honor of typing a guest blurb on "A Day in the Life." I was asked because I love the Chronicles. I was also asked because the order in which they should be read is one of my favorite soapboxes. I have what can only be call "strong" feelings about it. The original order in which the Chronicles were written is as follows:The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (L,W,&W)Prince Caspian (PC)Voyage of the Dawn Treader (V of the DT)The Silver Chair (SC)The Horse and His Boy (H & HB)The Magician's Nephew (MN)The Last Battle (LB)When you buy the books now, be it in a boxed set or as one large volume, the Magician's Nephew is the first book, followed by L,W,&W, then H & HB, PC, V of the DT, the SC, and the LB. This is not the best way to read these books, and there are a bunch of other bibliophiles with too much time on their hands who agree with me! C.S. Lewis did indeed at one point consider that a more "chronological" order (the new order) might be a better way to go. He however, never made any move to change them and finally decided that they should remain as they were. He wrote them in the original order, and the narrative was built on those lines. So much of the wonder of Narnia comes from the way in which the reader is slowly introduced to it in L,W,&W. The wardrobe and where it leads create a strong sense of mystery; you are intrigued and mystified by what lies inside. In MN, the word Narnia is stated almost immediately. There is no enigma, and there is an assumption of information. As a late sequel to L,W,&W, this is appropriate. As your very first introduction to Narnia itself, this is less than engaging. TThe texts themselves show that L,W,&W comes first with quotes such as "None of the children knew who Aslan was, any more than you do." If you're reading L,W,&W second, well of course you know who Aslan is. There are so many ideas, themes, and moments of character development that occur naturally in the original order of the Chronicles. Some of that is lost in the new order, and much of the magic is diminished.I strongly encourage you to read the books that have been a delight to me since I was in 7th grade. I have perused their pages many times and have always come away more enthralled and with an even greater sense of wonder. Go forth, read, and enjoy them yourself! Just do so in the best possible order!

So there you have it. Drop by your local bookstore or library today, and dive into the adventure. I assure you, you will not regret it!

1 comments that bring me joy:

Jenny said...

Good 'ol Nik. I agree 100%!