Definitions

inter world

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels for children written by C. S. Lewis. It is considered a classic of children's literature and is the author's best-known work, having sold over 120 million copies in 41 languages. Written by Lewis between 1949 and 1954 and illustrated by Pauline Baynes, The Chronicles of Narnia have been adapted several times, complete or in part, for radio, television, stage, and cinema. In addition to numerous traditional Christian themes, the series borrows characters and ideas from Greek and Roman mythology, as well as from traditional British and Irish fairy tales.

The Chronicles of Narnia present the adventures of children who play central roles in the unfolding history of the fictional realm of Narnia, a place where animals talk, magic is common, and good battles evil. Each of the books (with the exception of The Horse and His Boy) features as its protagonists children from our world who are magically transported to Narnia, where they are called upon to help the Lion Aslan handle a crisis in the world of Narnia.

The seven books

The Chronicles of Narnia have been in continuous publication since 1954 and have sold over 100 million copies in 41 languages. Lewis was awarded the 1956 Carnegie Medal for The Last Battle, the final book in the Narnia series. The books were written by Lewis between 1949 and 1954 but were written in neither the order they were originally published nor in the chronological order in which they are currently presented. The original illustrator was Pauline Baynes and her pen and ink drawings are still used in publication today. The seven books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia are presented here in the order in which they were originally published (see reading order below). Completion dates for the novels are English (Northern Hemisphere) seasons.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, completed in the winter of 1949 and published in 1950, tells the story of four ordinary children: Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie. They discover a wardrobe in Professor Digory Kirke's house that leads to the magical land of Narnia, which is currently under the spell of a witch. The four children fulfill an ancient, mysterious prophecy while in Narnia. The Pevensie children help Aslan (Aslan is the Turkish word for lion) and his army save Narnia from the evil White Witch, who has reigned over the kingdom of Narnia in winter for 100 years.

Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia (1951)

Completed in the autumn of 1949 and published in 1951, Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia tells the story of the Pevensie children's second trip to Narnia, during which they discover that Miraz, uncle of Prince Caspian, had forced him to flee into the woods and usurped the throne, declaring himself a king. Once again, the children set out to save Narnia, aided by the Narnians and ultimately by Aslan to return the throne to the rightful ruler, Prince Caspian. This is also the last time Susan and Peter are featured until The Last Battle.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)

Completed in the winter of 1950 and published in 1952, The Voyage of the ‘Dawn Treader’ returns Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, along with their prig cousin, Eustace Scrubb, to Narnia. Once there, they join Caspian's voyage to find the seven lords who were banished when Miraz took over the throne. This perilous journey brings them face to face with many wonders and dangers as they sail toward Aslan's country at the end of the world. This is also the last time Lucy and Edmund are featured until The Last Battle.

The Silver Chair (1953)

Completed in the spring of 1951 and published in 1953, The Silver Chair is the second book (chronologically) without the Pevensie children. In their place, Aslan calls Eustace back to Narnia together with his classmate Jill Pole. There they are given four signs to find Prince Rilian, Caspian's son, who had been kidnapped ten years earlier. Eustace and Jill, with the help of Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle and many others, face great danger before finding Rilian.

The Horse and His Boy (1954)

Completed in the spring of 1950 and published in 1954, The Horse and His Boy is the first of the books that does not follow the previous one sequentially. The novel takes place during the reign of the Pevensies in Narnia, an era which begins and ends in the last chapter of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The story is about Bree, a talking horse, and a young boy named Shasta. Both of the main characters have been held in bondage in Calormen, a country to the south of Narnia. By chance, they meet each other and plan their return to Narnia and freedom. On their journey they discover that the Calormenes are about to invade Archenland, and they plan to arrive there first to alert the King.

The Magician's Nephew (1955)

Completed in the winter of 1954 and published in 1955, the prequel The Magician's Nephew brings the reader back to the very beginning of Narnia where we learn how Aslan created the world and how evil first entered it. Young Digory Kirke (the professor in "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe") and his friend Polly Plummer stumble into Narnia via an entirely different route. Many long-standing questions about Narnia are answered, such as how inter-world travel was made possible, how a lamppost came to be in a woodland and where the wardrobe came from.

The Last Battle (1956)

Completed in the spring of 1953 and published in 1956, The Last Battle chronicles the end of the world of Narnia. Jill and Eustace return to save Narnia from Shift, an ape, who tricks Puzzle, a donkey, into impersonating the lion Aslan.

Reading order

Fans of the series often have strong opinions over the correct ordering of the books. When the books were originally published, they were not numbered. The first American publisher, Macmillan, put numbers on the books in the order in which they were published. When HarperCollins took over the series in 1994, the books were renumbered using the internal chronological order, as suggested by Lewis' stepson, Douglas Gresham. Because of this edition some readers think that the chronological order is the order in which C. S. Lewis wrote them.

Publication order Chronological order
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe The Magician's Nephew
Prince Caspian The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader The Horse and His Boy
The Silver Chair Prince Caspian
The Horse and His Boy The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Magician's Nephew The Silver Chair
The Last Battle The Last Battle

To make the case for his suggested order, Gresham quoted Lewis' reply to a letter from an American fan in 1957 who was having an argument with his mother about the order:

I think I agree with your order [i.e. chronological] for reading the books more than with your mother's. The series was not planned beforehand as she thinks. When I wrote The Lion I did not know I was going to write any more. Then I wrote P. Caspian as a sequel and still didn't think there would be any more, and when I had done The Voyage I felt quite sure it would be the last, but I found I was wrong. So perhaps it does not matter very much in which order anyone read them. I’m not even sure that all the others were written in the same order in which they were published.

In the Harper Collins adult editions of the books (2005), the publisher asserts Lewis' preference for the numbering they adopted in a notice on the copyright page:

Some fans of the series who appreciate the original order believe that Lewis was only being polite to a child, and that he could have changed the order in his lifetime had he so desired. They maintain that much of the magic of Narnia comes from the way in which the world is gradually presented in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. They believe that the mystery of the wardrobe is narratively a much better introduction than in The Magician's Nephew — where the word "Narnia" is the fortieth word in the book. Moreover, they say that it is clear from the texts themselves that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was intended to be the first book read, and that The Magician's Nephew was not. For instance, in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, when Aslan is first mentioned, the narrator states, "None of the children knew who Aslan was, any more than you do". Fans of the original order say that that statement is nonsensical if one has already read The Magician's Nephew, which assumes, on the contrary, that readers do have prior knowledge of him. Other similar textual examples are also cited. This argument hinges partly on the claim that Chronology is not equivalent to Narrative.

Christian parallels

Specific Christian parallels may be found in the entries for individual The Chronicles of Narnia books and The Chronicles of Narnia characters.

Although he did not set out to do so, in the process of writing his fantasy works, Lewis (an adult convert to Christianity) found himself incorporating Christian theological concepts into his stories. As he wrote in Of Other Worlds:

Lewis, an expert on the subject of allegory and the author of The Allegory of Love, maintained that the books were not allegory, and preferred to call the Christian aspects of them "suppositional". This indicates Lewis' view of Narnia as a fictional parallel universe. As Lewis wrote in a letter to a Mrs Hook in December 1958:

If Aslan represented the immaterial Deity in the same way in which Giant Despair [a character in The Pilgrim's Progress] represents despair, he would be an allegorical figure. In reality, however, he is an invention giving an imaginary answer to the question, 'What might Christ become like if there really were a world like Narnia, and He chose to be incarnate and die and rise again in that world as He actually has done in ours?' This is not allegory at all.

With the release of the 2005 Disney film there has been renewed interest in the Christian parallels found in the books. Some find them distasteful, while noting that they are easy to miss if you are not familiar with Christianity. Alan Jacobs, author of The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis, implies that through these Christian aspects, Lewis becomes "a pawn in America's culture wars". Some Christians see the Chronicles as excellent tools for Christian evangelism. The subject of Christianity in the novels has become the focal point of many books. (See Further Reading below.)

Influences on Narnia

Lewis' life

Lewis's early life has echoes within the Chronicles of Narnia. Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1898, Lewis moved with his family to a large house on the edge of the city when he was seven. The house contained long hallways and empty rooms, and Lewis and his brother invented make-believe worlds while exploring their home. Like Caspian and Rilian, Lewis lost his mother at an early age. Lewis also spent much of his youth in English boarding schools which also correlates with the education of the Pevensies. During World War II, many children were evacuated from London because of air raids. During this time, some of these children, including one named Lucy, stayed with Lewis at his home in Oxford, just as the Pevensies stayed with the professor.

Inklings

Lewis was the chief member of the Inklings, an informal literary discussion group in Oxford which at various times included the writers J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, Lewis's brother W. H. Lewis, and Roger Lancelyn Green. Readings and discussions of the members' unfinished works were one of the main activities of the group when they met, usually on Thursday evenings, in C. S. Lewis's college rooms at Magdalen College. Some of the Narnia stories are thought to have been read to the Inklings for their appreciation and comment.

Influences from mythology

The fauna of the series borrows from both Greek mythology and Norse mythology. For example, centaurs originated in Greek myth, and dwarves have origins in Norse myth.

Drew Trotter, president of the Center for Christian Study, noted that the producers of the film version of The Chronicles of Narnia felt that The Chronicles of Narnia closely follows the archetypal pattern of the monomyth as detailed in Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces.

Name

The origin of the name Narnia is uncertain. According to Paul Ford's Companion to Narnia, there is no indication that Lewis was alluding to the ancient Italian Umbrian city Nequinium, which the conquering Romans renamed Narnia in 299 BC after the river Nar. However, since Lewis studied classics at Oxford, it is possible that he came across at least some of the seven or so references to Narnia in Latin literature. There is also the possibility (but no solid evidence) that Lewis, who studied medieval and Renaissance literature, was aware of a reference to Lucia von Narnia ("Lucy of Narnia") in a 1501 German text, Wunderliche Geschichten von geistlichen Weybbildern ("Wondrous stories of monastic women") by Ercole d'Este. There is no evidence of a link with Tolkien's Elvish (Sindarin) word narn, meaning a lay or poetic narrative, as in his posthumously published Narn i Chîn Húrin, though Lewis may have read or heard parts of this at meetings of the Inklings.

Narnia's influence on others

Influence on authors

A more recent British series of novels, Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, has been seen as a response to the Narnian books. The self-described atheist Pullman's series favours materialism over religion, wholly rejecting the spiritual themes which permeate the Narnian series, but has many of the same issues, subject matter, and types of characters (including talking animals) as the Chronicles of Narnia.

Fantasy author Neil Gaiman wrote the 2004 short story The Problem of Susan, in which an elderly woman, Professor Hastings, is depicted dealing with the grief and trauma of her entire family dying in a train crash. The woman's first name is not revealed, but she mentions her brother "Ed", and it is strongly implied that this is Susan Pevensie as an elderly woman. In the story Gaiman presents, in fictional form, a critique of Lewis' treatment of Susan. The Problem of Susan is written for an adult audience and deals with sexuality and violence. Additionally, Gaiman's Sandman graphic novel series features a Narnia-like "dream island" in its story arc entitled A Game of You.

In Katherine Paterson's book Bridge to Terabithia, one of the main characters, Leslie, tells the other main character, Jesse, of her love of C. S. Lewis' books, and mentions Narnia. Some people have accused Paterson of plagiarism, claiming that her book has taken the name of a Narnian island named "Terebinthia"; but Paterson has said that the reference was not deliberate.

Science-fiction author Greg Egan's short story Oracle depicts a parallel universe with an author nicknamed "Jack" who has written novels about the fictional Kingdom of Nesica, and whose wife is dying of cancer. The story uses several Narnian allegories to explore issues of religion and faith versus science and knowledge.

Influence on popular culture

As one would expect with any popular, long-lived work, references to The Chronicles of Narnia are relatively common in pop culture. References to the lion Aslan, travelling via wardrobe, and direct references to The Chronicles of Narnia occur in books, television, songs, games, and graphic novels. For example:

  • The American rock band Phish's song Prince Caspian from the album Billy Breathes features what may be "the sound of horse's hooves galloping under water" and the repeated lyric, "Oh to be Prince Caspian, afloat upon the waves... with nothing to return to but the demons in their caves".
  • In Roald Dahl's book Matilda, the title character Matilda says that she loves the book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
  • The computer adventure game Simon the Sorcerer contains a scene in which the main character finds a stone table and calls it "perfect for troll meals and shaved lions".
  • In the graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (vol. 2, num. 1), reference is made in a text fragment to the apple tree from The Magician's Nephew. In the next comic in the series, a text piece refers to the possibility of making a wardrobe from the apple tree.
  • The television show "South Park" has featured Aslan in several episodes (esp. "Imagination Land").
  • The television show "Lost" features a character of the name Charlotte Staples Lewis, as one of many references to famous authors and scientists throughout the series.

Controversies

Sexuality

C. S. Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia have received various criticisms over the years, much of it by fellow authors. Allegations of sexism centre around the description of Susan Pevensie in The Last Battle where Lewis characterizes Susan as being "no longer a friend of Narnia" and interested "in nothing nowadays except lipstick, nylons and invitations".

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, has said:

There comes a point where Susan, who was the older girl, is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She's become irreligious basically because she found sex, I have a big problem with that.

Philip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials trilogy and so fierce a critic of Lewis' work as to be dubbed "the anti-Lewis", calls the Narnia stories "monumentally disparaging of women", interpreting the Susan passages this way:

Susan, like Cinderella, is undergoing a transition from one phase of her life to another. Lewis didn't approve of that. He didn't like women in general, or sexuality at all, at least at the stage in his life when he wrote the Narnia books. He was frightened and appalled at the notion of wanting to grow up.

Among others, fan-magazine editor Andrew Rilstone opposes this view, arguing that the "lipsticks, nylons and invitations" quote is taken out of context. They maintain that in The Last Battle, Susan is excluded from Narnia explicitly because she no longer believes in it. At the end of the story Susan is still alive and may end up rejoining her family. Moreover, Susan's adulthood and sexual maturity are portrayed in a positive light in The Horse and His Boy, and therefore are argued to be unlikely reasons for her exclusion from Narnia. Additionally, Lewis supporters cite the positive roles of women in the series, including Jill Pole in The Silver Chair, Aravis Tarkheena in The Horse and His Boy, Polly Plummer in The Magician's Nephew, and particularly Lucy Pevensie in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Jacobs asserts that Lucy is the most admirable of the human characters, and that in general the girls come off better than the boys through the stories.

Race

In addition to the sexism accusation, Pullman has also implicated The Chronicles of Narnia series in fostering racism, alleging that for Lewis

Death is better than life; boys are better than girls; light-coloured people are better than dark-coloured people; and so on. There is no shortage of such nauseating drivel in Narnia, if you can face it.

About racism in The Horse and His Boy specifically, newspaper editor Kyrie O'Connor writes:

It's just too dreadful. While the book's storytelling virtues are enormous, you don't have to be a bluestocking of political correctness to find some of this fantasy anti-Arab, or anti-Eastern, or anti-Ottoman. With all its stereotypes, mostly played for belly laughs, there are moments you'd like to stuff this story back into its closet.

The racism critique is based on a negative representation of other races, particularly the Calormenes. Novelist Philip Hensher and other critics regard the portrayal of Calormene culture as an attack on Islam. The Calormenes are described as oily and dark-skinned people who wear turbans and pointy slippers and are armed with scimitars. This depiction has been cited as a blatant allegorical comparison to the traditional attire of Islam and Sikhism: turbans are worn by Muslim clerics and by most adult Sikh males; scimitars originated in the Middle East, and are highly symbolic of Islam; and the Calormenes worship the "false god" Tash, who is portrayed as a stereotypical Satanic being requiring evil deeds and sacrifices from his followers.

However, Calormene religion has no resemblance to Islam, as it is polytheistic and worships a plethora of gods. The religion of the Calormenes seems more likely to have been based on early Canaanite and Carthaginian religion, which also required human sacrifice, and was portrayed as the ultimate in diabolism in G. K. Chesterton's The Everlasting Man, a book which Lewis admired.

Lewis' supporters point to the fact that Lewis writings have a particularly British Victorian era flavour that was much in fashion during his lifetime, but that may be seen as politically incorrect nowadays. O'Connor advised that parents tell their children before reading the books:

In his time, people thought it was amusing to make fun of other cultures. We don't. Read the stories, ask questions, and remember that the person who wrote this story was altogether too human.

Paganism

Lewis has also received criticism from some Christians and Christian organizations who feel that The Chronicles of Narnia promotes "soft-sell paganism and occultism", because of the recurring pagan themes and the supposedly heretical depictions of Christ as an anthropomorphic lion. The Greek god Bacchus and the Maenads are depicted in a positive light, although they are generally considered distinctly pagan motifs. Even an animistic "River god" is portrayed in a positive light. According to Josh Hurst of Christianity Today, "not only was Lewis hesitant to call his books Christian allegory, but the stories borrow just as much from pagan mythology as they do the Bible".

Lewis himself believed that pagan mythology could act as a preparation for Christianity, both in history and in the imaginative life of an individual, and even suggested that modern man was in such a lamentable state that perhaps it was necessary "first to make people good pagans, and after that to make them Christians". He also argued that imaginative enjoyment of (as opposed to belief in) classical mythology has been a feature of Christian culture through much of its history, and that European literature has always had three themes: the natural, the supernatural believed to be true (practiced religion), and the supernatural believed to be imaginary (mythology).

Internet domain

In 2006, Richard and Gillian Saville-Smith purchased the Internet domain, narnia.mobi. The Lewis estate asked the couple to transfer the domain to them, first offering to reimburse the couple for the registration charge and later asking them to name a price for transferring it. The couple refused to transfer the domain, claiming that it was intended to be 11th birthday present for their son so that he could use the email address comrie@narnia.mobi. The Lewis estate filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization in May 2008 as part of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.

The Lewis estate won the complaint and the Saville-Smiths were ordered to transfer the domain in July 2008. The couple have said that WIPO ignored their evidence and that they were perfectly entitled to the domain. WIPO's decision, however, found that no use had been made of the domain or any associated email address in the two years between it being registered and the complaint being filed. Instead the domain had been directed to a Sedo website providing sponsored links to commercial websites. The WIPO panel decided that they could not envision any plausible, good faith basis upon which the Saville-Smiths could have concluded that they were free to appropriate the C.S. Lewis company's distinctive and widely known Narnia mark for use as a personal email address. Additionally, the couple's actions in registering many other domain names in 2006, including drwho.mobi, tardis.mobi and middleearth.mobi, as well as registering freenarnia.com and freenarnia.mobi after the complaint was filed were seen to be evidence of bad faith.

The Narnian universe

Most of The Chronicles of Narnia take place in Lewis' constructed world of Narnia. The Narnian world itself is posited as one world in a multiverse of countless worlds including our own. Passage between these worlds is possible, though rare, and may be accomplished in various fashions. How visitors to Narnia observe the passage of time while they are away is unpredictable. For example, if one year had passed since one left Narnia, a thousand years or perhaps only a week might have gone by in Narnia. Narnia itself is described as populated by a wide variety of creatures, most of whom would be recognizable to those familiar with European mythologies and British fairy tales.

Inhabitants

See also: Narnia creatures and Narnian characters

Lewis largely populates his stories with two distinct classes of inhabitants: people originating from the reader's own world and creatures created by the character Aslan and the descendants of these creatures. This is typical of works that involve parallel universes. The majority of characters from the reader's world serve as the protagonists of the various books, although some are only mentioned in passing. Those inhabitants that Lewis creates through the character Aslan are viewed, either positively or negatively, as diverse. Lewis does not limit himself to a single source; instead he borrows from many sources and adds a few more of his own to the mix.

Geography

See also: Narnian places

The Chronicles of Narnia describes the world in which Narnia exists as one major landmass faced by "the Great Eastern Ocean". This ocean contains the Seven Isles, Galma, Terebinthia, and the Lone Islands which are visited in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. On the main landmass are the countries of Narnia, Archenland, Calormen, and Telmar, as well as a variety of other areas that play a part in the narrative but are not described as countries: The Western Wild, a mountainous place to the west of Narnia, and Wildlands of the North. Lewis also provides glimpses of more fantastic locations that exist in and around the main world of Narnia, including an edge and an underworld.

Notably, Narnian geography is subject to the ravages of geological processes. In Prince Caspian, the children return after an unknown period of time to discover that a river which they had known during The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe had changed course, creating an island at its mouth and deep gorges in its upper reaches.

There are several maps of the Narnian universe available, including what many consider the "official" one, a full-colour version published in 1972 by the books' illustrator, Pauline Baynes. This is currently out of print, although smaller copies can be found in the most recent HarperCollins 2006 hardcover edition of The Chronicles of Narnia. Two other maps have recently been produced following the popularity of the 2005 film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. One, called the "Rose Map of Narnia", is based loosely on Baynes' map and has Narnian trivia printed on the reverse. Another map, made in a monochromatic, archaic style reminiscent of Tolkien's Middle-earth maps, is available in print and in an interactive version on the movie DVD. However, this last depicts only Narnia and does not include the other countries in the Narnian universe.

Cosmology

A recurring plot device in The Chronicles is the interaction between the various worlds that make up the Narnian multiverse. A variety of devices are used to initiate these cross-overs which generally serve to introduce characters to the land of Narnia. The Cosmology of Narnia is not as internally consistent as that of Lewis' contemporary Tolkien's Middle-earth, but suffices given the more fairy tale atmosphere of the work. During the course of the series we learn, generally in passing, that the world of Narnia is flat, geocentric, has stars with a different makeup than our own, and that the passage of time does not correspond directly to the passage of time in our world.

History

See also: Narnian timeline

Lewis takes us through the entire life of the world of Narnia, showing us the process by which it was created, snapshots of life in Narnia as the history of the world unfolds, and how Narnia is ultimately destroyed. Not surprisingly in a children's series, children, usually from our world, play a prominent role as all of these events unfold. The history of Narnia is generally broken up into the following periods: creation and the period shortly afterwards, the rule of the White Witch, the Golden Age, the invasion and rule of the Telmarines, their subsequent defeat by Caspian X, the rule of King Caspian and his descendants, and the destruction of Narnia. Like many stories, the narrative is not necessarily always presented in chronological order.

Narnia in other media

Television

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was first adapted for television in 1967. The ten episodes, each thirty minutes long, were directed by Helen Standage. The screenplay was written by Trevor Preston and unlike subsequent adaptations, it is currently unavailable to purchase for home viewing.

In 1979 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was again adapted for television, this time as an animated special co-produced by Bill Meléndez (known for A Charlie Brown Christmas and other Peanuts specials) and the Children's Television Workshop (known for programs such as Sesame Street and The Electric Company). The screenplay was by David D. Connell. It won the Emmy award for Outstanding Animated Program that year. It was the first feature-length animated film ever made for television. For its release on British television, many of the characters' voices were re-recorded by British actors and actresses (including Leo McKern, Arthur Lowe and Sheila Hancock), but Stephen Thorne was the voice of "Aslan" in both the U.S. and British versions.

From 1988–1990, parts of The Chronicles of Narnia were turned into four successful BBC television serials, The Chronicles of Narnia. They were nominated for a total of 14 awards, including an Emmy in the category of "Outstanding Children's Program". Only The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and The Silver Chair were filmed. The four serials were later edited into three feature-length films (combining Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) and released on VHS and DVD.

Radio

The critically acclaimed BBC Radio 4 dramatisation was produced in the 1980s. Collectively titled Tales of Narnia it covers the entire series and is approximately 15 hours long.

In 1991, Sir Michael Hordern read abridged versions of the classic tales set to haunting music from Marisa Robles, playing the harp, and Christopher Hyde-Smith, playing the flute. These were re-released in 1997 from Collins Audio. They have also been re-released in 2005 (ISBN 978-0-00-721153-1). http://www.harpercollinschildrensbooks.co.uk/books/default.aspx?id=33175

Between 1999 and 2002 Focus on the Family produced radio dramatisations of all 7 books through its Radio Theatre program. The production included a cast of over a hundred actors (including Paul Scofield as "The Storyteller" and David Suchet as "Aslan"), an original orchestral score and cinema-quality digital sound design. The total running time is slightly over 22 hours. Douglas Gresham, the stepson of C. S. Lewis, hosts the series. From the Focus on the Family website:

The series was released in Great Britain on both audio cassette and CD by BBC Audiobooks.

Stage

In 1984, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was presented at London's Westminster Theatre, produced by Vanessa Ford Productions. The play, adapted by Glyn Robbins, was directed by Richard Williams and designed by Marty Flood; and was revived at Westminster and The Royalty Theatre and on tour until 1997. Productions of other Narnian tales were also presented, including The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1986), The Magician's Nephew (1988) and The Horse and His Boy (1990). Robbins's adaptations of the Narnian chronicles are available for production in the UK through Samuel French London.

In 1998 the Royal Shakespeare Company premiered The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The novel was adapted for the stage by Adrian Mitchell, with music by Shaun Davey. The musical was originally directed by Adrian Noble and designed by Anthony Ward, with the revival directed by Lucy Pitman-Wallace. The production was well received and ran during the holiday season from 1998 to 2002, at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford. The production also subsequently transferred to play limited engagements in London at the Barbican Theatre, and at Sadler's Wells. The London Evening Standard wrote:

Adrian Mitchell's adaptation later premiered in the US with the Tony award-winning Minneapolis Children's Theatre Company in 2000, and had its west-coast premiere with Seattle Children's Theatre playing the Christmas slot in its 2002–3 season (and was revived for the 2003–4 season). This adaptation is licensed for performance in the UK by Samuel French.

Other notable stage productions of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe have included commercial productions by Malcolm C. Cooke Productions in Australia (directed by Nadia Tass, and described by Douglas Gresham as the best production of the novel he had seen) and by Trumpets Theatre, one of the largest commercial theatres in the Philippines.

A streamlined version of the full-scale musical Narnia (adapted by Jules Tasca, with music by Thomas Tierney and lyrics by Ted Drachman) is currently touring the US with TheatreworksUSA. The full-scale and touring versions of the musical are licensed through Dramatic Publishing; which has also licensed adaptations of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by Joseph Robinette and The Magician's Nephew by Aurand Harris.

A licensed musical stage adaptation of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader made its world premiere in 1983 by Northwestern College (Minnesota) at the Totino Fine Arts Center. Script adaptation by Wayne Olson, with original music score by Kevin Norberg.

Theatrical productions of "The Chronicles of Narnia" have become popular with professional, community and youth theatres in recent years. A musical version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe written specifically for performance by youth is available through Josef Weinberger.

Film

A film version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, entitled The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, produced by Walden Media and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures was released in December 2005. It was directed by Andrew Adamson. The screenplay was written by Ann Peacock. Principal photography for the film took place in Poland, the Czech Republic and New Zealand. Major Visual Effects Studios like Rhythm and Hues Studios, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and many more worked on the VFX for the movie. The movie achieved critical and box-office success, reaching the Top 25 of all films released to that time (by revenue). Disney produced a sequel, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, released May 16, 2008. At the time of Caspian's release, Disney was already in pre-production on the next chapter, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. All 7 films are planned to be made, though the order of them is not certain. Some think the films will be released in the same order as the books were, others not.

Music

A musical retelling of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was released in 1980 by the classic vocal-harmonies pop/rock group 2nd Chapter of Acts entitled, The Roar of Love.

The official soundtrack for the 2005 film was released in December 2005 on Walt Disney Records featuring Harry Gregson-Williams's inspired score. The recording also includes original songs performed by Alanis Morissette, Imogen Heap, and Tim Finn.

Sparrow Records also released a companion CD to the 2005 film called "Music Inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia" and contains songs from Jars of Clay, Steven Curtis Chapman, Tobymac, Kutless, and other popular Contemporary Christian artists.

A song was sung by Shaan(India) in his album 'Yahi anth ki shuruat hai' for the movie 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe' when it was released in India.

In the movie 'The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian', Regina Spektor's The Call was played in the end of the movie.

Audio books

The Chronicles of Narnia are all available on audiobook, read by Andrew Sachs. These were published by Chivers Children's' Audio Books.

In 1979, Caedmon Records released abridged versions of all seven books on records and cassettes, read by Ian Richardson (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Silver Chair), Claire Bloom (Prince Caspian and The Magician's Nephew), Anthony Quayle {The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Horse and his Boy) and Michael York {The Last Battle).

HarperAudio published the series on audiobook, read by British and Irish actors Michael York (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), Lynn Redgrave (Prince Caspian), Derek Jacobi (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader), Jeremy Northam (The Silver Chair), Alex Jennings (The Horse and his Boy), Kenneth Branagh (The Magician's Nephew) and Patrick Stewart {The Last Battle}.

Collins Audio also released the series on audiobook read by Sir Michael Hordern with original music composed and performed by Marisa Robles, as well as releasing a version read by the actor Tom Baker.

From 1998-2003 Focus on the Family Radio Theatre released all seven Chronicles of Narnia on CD. Each book had three CD's apart from The Magician's Nephew and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe which both had two CD's. They were released in association with The C.S. Lewis Company, with an introduction by Douglas Gresham. They used a cast of over one hundred actors, an original orchestral score, and digital sound design. The stars of the cast were Paul Scofield as the storyteller, David Suchet as Aslan, Elizabeth Counsell as the White Witch and Richard Suchet as Caspian X.

Games

In November 2005, Buena Vista Interactive, a publishing label of Disney released videogame adaptations of the Walden Media/Walt Disney Pictures film. Versions were developed for most videogame platforms available at the time including Windows PC, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox, and PlayStation 2 (developed by the UK-based developer Traveller's Tales). A handheld version of the game was also developed by Griptonite Games for the Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance.

References

St. Augustine's Press, 1009. ISBN 1890318345.

Notes

Further reading

  • Bruner, Kurt & Ware, Jim. Finding God in the Land of Narnia. Tyndale House Publishers, 2005.
  • Bustard, Ned. The Chronicles of Narnia Comprehension Guide. Veritas Press, 2004.
  • Duriez, Colin. A Field Guide to Narnia. InterVarsity Press, 2004.
  • Downing, David. Into the Wardrobe: C. S. Lewis and the Narnia Chronicles. Jossey-Bass, 2005.
  • Hein, Rolland. Christian Mythmakers: C. S. Lewis, Madeleine L'Engle, J.R.R. Tolkien, George MacDonald, G.K. Chesterton, & Others Second Edition. Cornerstone Press Chicago, 2002. ISBN 094089548X
  • Jacobs, Alan. The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis. HarperSanFrancisco, 2005.
  • McIntosh, Kenneth. Following Aslan: A Book of Devotions for Children. Anamchara Books, 2006.
  • Wagner, Richard. C. S. Lewis & Narnia For Dummies. For Dummies, 2005.
  • A Guide for Using The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in the Classroom. Teacher Created Resources, 2000.
  • The Lion, Witch & Wardrobe Study Guide. Progeny Press, 1993.
  • The Magician's Nephew Study Guide. Progeny Press, 1997.
  • Prince Caspian Study Guide. Progeny Press, 2003.

External links

Search another word or see inter worldon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature