Lately, I’ve been feeling like it’s about time to revisit C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia (because it’s just one of those stories I get a hankering for every year or so), and since I’ve been seeking something to write about for the blog, too, I figured, ¿por que no las dos?

There are many reasons why I want to blog about Narnia, not the least of which is that they’re not thousands of pages long.  Seriously, this is really one of the reasons I prefer The Chronicles of Narnia to most modern children’s fantasy books or series.  All seven books can be (and frequently are) fit into a single 1000-ish page book, so it doesn’t take up a whole bookshelf.  The individual chapters are relatively short and fairly uniform in length, too, which I can tell you from experience is a blessing when you’re reading them aloud.  Also I love them to death.

I shall endeavor to restrain my gushing, but I’ll be honest, I just have so many fond memories of these books.  Every time I read through them again, I still manage to learn something new or see some new beauty I never noticed before.  Lewis simply refuses to talk down to children, and in so doing he manages to speak to the child in all of us.

Just to change things up a little, I’m going to read them in the publication order rather than chronological order.  For those of you who haven’t read the series before (or maybe just never got that into the series/fandom), it boils down to this:

Publication Order:

  1. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  2. Prince Caspian
  3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  4. The Silver Chair
  5. The Horse and His Boy
  6. The Magician’s Nephew
  7. The Last Battle

Chronological Order:

  1. The Magician’s Nephew
  2. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  3. The Horse and His Boy
  4. Prince Caspian
  5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  6. The Silver Chair
  7. The Last Battle

The “chronological” order is how they’re always numbered and placed in single-volume editions and box sets and such, and I honestly don’t have a problem with it (aside from the difficulty of explaining how The Horse and His Boy is technically set during the last chapter of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, not afterward), but I personally found it interesting to analyze the gradual shift in Lewis’s writing that becomes apparent in the publication order, and the two books which are “out of order” are pretty standalone to begin with.  Every attempt at film adaptations have done them in publication order, and whether this has made The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe the best-known of them all or the publication order is just popular because it starts with it or both, it seems like a good place to start.

For the record, I subscribe to the “Planet Narnia” theory, because 1) The motif of the medieval planets is very prominent in quite a few of Lewis’s other works and 2) Using it as a framework to interpret the series helped me to more fully appreciate each of the books.  I’ll explain this in more detail once we actually start into the books, so don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it before (it is a relatively new interpretation; if you want a more thorough explanation, check out Michael Ward’s book Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis).

Concerning spoilers…well , I’ll be honest here, I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t care that much about spoilers one way or another.  I feel like if a story is totally ruined just by knowing what happens beforehand, it’s not a very good story to begin with.  That said, I shall endeavor to only discuss the chapter/book at hand, and if you want to comment on anything, I would kindly request that you do the same.

So come along and join me as I read through The Chronicles of Narnia, starting with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe!   Whether you’ve read it a dozen times (like me) or haven’t read them before at all (you know who you are), it’s a wonderful children’s series that only improves as you grow older.  I’ll be posting one blog for each chapter, which I’ll publish on my blog on T/R (twice a week), and I would encourage you to read along with me (especially if you haven’t before, or haven’t in a long time).  Even if you feel like you don’t have time to read it, there are great audiobooks for all seven books (I distinctly recall The Magician’s Nephew read by Kenneth Brannagh), so you officially have no excuse.

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