On 21st January 2013 I set myself the mini-challenge of re-reading my way through The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis by the end of 2013. As a couple of years a go my mother bought me a beautiful set of these books (as pictured) and yet as an adult the only one I had re-read was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe the most famous of the set of course. Now a year and a bit later I have completed my re-read of the series.
1) The Magician’s Nephew
Digory and his friend Polly discover whilst exploring the attic that Uncle Andrew is in fact a magician working on some magic rings. After playing a cruel trick of them Digory and Polly discover Uncle Andrew’s magic rings have transported them to another world. I remembered fondly the children crawling through the attic tunnel but on re-reading The Magician’s Nephew I realised just how detailed and intricate this tale is.
2) The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
The Pevensie siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy during a game of hide-and-seek discover a magical wardrobe which is an entrance to the wonderful land of Narnia. The most well known and beloved of the series. It was interesting to re-read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe as the second book not the first, this way round loses some of the surprise elements but non of the magic.
3) The Horse and His Boy
Shasta a young boy living in a small fishing village in Calormen befriend a magical talking horse called Bree together they set out on adventure across desert and mountains to find Bree’s homeland of Narnia. This is the only story completely set in Narnia and its neighbouring lands our world is not visited at all. The Horse and His Boy is the instalment of the series I remembered the least, with everything I rediscovered this was almost like a new read for me.
4) Prince Caspian
The Pevensie siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy return to Narnia to discover the capital Cair Paravel has been destroyed and that the land is now ruled by the aggressive Telmarines. With the help of Prince Caspian they set out to save the magical creatures and speaking beasts of Narnia. Prince Caspian due to the modern film adaptation is a pretty well known instalment in the series. I remembered it all and found it all just as charming as the first time I read it.
5) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The two youngest Pevensie siblings Edmund and Lucy return to Narnia with their rotten cousin Eustace Scrubb. King Caspian has set out on an adventure into unknown seas in search of the seven lost lords of his father. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader due to the modern film adaptation is a pretty well known instalment in the series. As a child this was my favourite instalment and I found that it had lost known of its charm for me.
6) The Silver Chair
Eustace Scrubb returns to Narnia with his school friend Jill Pole through a magical gate. With their companion Puddleglum they set off on a perilous journey into Giant country to seek Narnia’s lost prince and heir to the throne Rilian. The Silver Chair is another instalment in the series I remembered little of, with everything I rediscovered this was almost like a new read for me.
7) The Last Battle
King Tirian and his best friend Jewel the Unicorn face the last days of Narnia which see the return of the previous Kings and Queens of Narnia including the Pevensie siblings, Eustace Scrubb, Jill Pole and the magical creatures and talking beasts which joined them on their adventures. It was really lovely to work my way up through all the other books to The Last Battle. I felt like I had truly got to know Narnia and its inhabitants which made the end even more poignant.
When I first read The Chronicles of Narnia I read the books in publication order because I think for your first time nothing beats encountering ‘Narnia’ first through the most famous book The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. For this re-read I purposefully decided to read the series in chronological order. I believe reading the series in chronological order meant I got a full idea of the detail and history Lewis put into ‘Narnia’ and the characters that inhabit it.
Have you read The Chronicles of Narnia? Have a favourite book?