The Chronicles of Narnia (#1-7)

ISBN: 0060847131
ISBN 13: 9780060847135
By: C.S. Lewis

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About this book

The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, is one of the very few sets of books that should be read three times: in childhood, early adulthood, and late in life. In brief, four children travel repeatedly to a world in which they are far more than mere children and everything is far more than it seems. Richly told, populated with fascinating characters, perfectly realized in detail of world and pacing of plot, and profoundly allegorical, the story is infused throughout with the timeless issues of good and evil, faith and hope. This boxed set edition includes all seven volumes.

Reader's Thoughts


I can't even begin to count how many times I've read "The Chronicles of Narnia." The truly amazing thing about these books is that each time you read them, they magically become more complex, more meaningful and more beautiful. I first read "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" when I was about seven or eight years old and I did not get it at all. Sure, I followed the story, but the deeper meaning was completely lost on me. Someone later told me that it was a Christian story and when I read the book again as a young teenager, I picked up on that element of it. In the many times I've read the books as an adult, I've come to find that the underlying meaning - not just of "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe," but of the other books as well - becomes gradually clearer until you can't believe you didn't see it all along. The books are like Narnia itself, unfolding like an onion, layer upon layer, Narnia upon Narnia, but each layer is bigger and better than the one above it. In order of the events that unfold in the story (but not in the order that the books were published), the Chronicles of Narnia include:"The Magician's Nephew" - the Narnian creation story. Two children living in London are magically transported to other worlds and witness the dawn of Narnia. The story incorporates such familiar elements as a Tree of Knowledge and the fall of man."The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" - Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, four children living in England during World War II, stumble through a magic wardrobe and discover the land of Narnia, which has been ruled for hundreds of years by an evil White Witch who has cast a spell over the land so that it is always winter but never Christmas. With the help of Aslan, the great Lion, they seek to free Narnia. This is the most obvious Christian parable, as Aslan represents Jesus and the story parallels the Resurrection story."The Horse and His Boy" - Takes place during the Golden Age of Narnia, although most of the events unfold elsewhere, in the southern lands of Calormen and Archenland. Shasta, a Calormene fisherman's son, runs away when he hears his father negotiating to sell him into slavery. Together with two talking horses and a noble Calormene girl running away from an arranged marriage, he tries to get to Narnia. The book is a meditation on faith and the concept that God helps those who help themselves. It's also my favorite of the seven books."Prince Caspian" - Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy return to Narnia to help young Prince Caspian recapture the throne of Narnia from his evil uncle Miraz. Not the most overtly religious of the stories."The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" - Edmund, Lucy, and their obnoxious cousin Eustace, join Caspian, now King of Narnia, on a quest to find seven banished lords who had served his father. It doesn't seem all that religious until the end of the book, which encourages people to seek God in their own lives."The Silver Chair" - Eustace, whose personality has dramatically improved thanks to his time in Narnia, returns with his school friend Jill to search for Prince Rilian, Caspian's son who went missing ten (Narnian) years earlier."The Last Battle" - Eustace and Jill return again to Narnia to assist King Tirian, the last King of Narnia, in his final stand. The book is a parable of the End of Days, with chaos, confusion, war, unbelief and the worship of false gods. Tirian, Eustace, Jill and their friends can only hope that Aslan returns to Narnia to deliver them.Read them, then read them again and again and again. You won't be sorry.


A mostly well-written, very imaginative, thoroughly enjoyable read. The narration is warm and witty, the protagonists are well developed and likable but not perfect (written perfectly, but with flaws that give the stories depth), and the settings are vivid and fantastic (remember those loony one-footed invisible things that hop around? and the ending, when the boat sails over that undersea city and then into the clouds at the edge of the world?).I'm always annoyed when people confound the quality of this series as literature with the quality of the worldview it allegedly expounds, as if the literary world is some kind of neo-Stalinist monolith where the only legitimate art is that which edifies us by propounding a correct ethical system. It's just a story, and a good one at that. Furthermore, as an atheist, I think 1) the religious content of the novels is overstated, and 2) even if it isn't, oh fucking well, that doesn't detract from the novels one whit. The books really don't have any more to do with Christianity in particular than does any other story with a character who gives up his life to save others. See Harry Potter 7; see also, religious archetypes in general. As for the Calormen, I think it's highly possible that the garb was just supposed to convey the exotic, and this particular nation just happens to be bad in the world of the book. Everything is not a political statement. The good faun from LW&W is not a statement about how pagan nature religions are good; likewise, I just don't see that the bad Calormen are necessarily a statement about how the people who once wore curly-toed shoes in the real world are bad.In sum, it's a good story, and even if all the criticisms of the book-- it's racist, it's Christian, etc.-- are true, it's still a good story, and if all I ever read were wholesome books explicitly conveying a wonderful worldview, I would be bored as hell.

Lindsay Stares

** spoiler alert ** Fair Warning:I am reading (in some cases, rereading) this as an adult, one who is most decidedly Not Christian, and somewhat against religious children's books. If that doesn't describe you, your mileage will obviously vary. The following is very very long, as I sum up each book. Spoilers aplenty.After seeing the new Prince Caspian movie this summer, I decided that, as a fan of both classic children’s literature and fantasy literature, I should really take another look at The Chronicles of Narnia. As a child, I read what I considered to be “the good ones” of this series (Lion/Wardrobe, Caspian, Dawn Treader, Silver Chair) although the little I remember is mostly from the BBC TV specials. Overall opinion: Any book with the default plot of “kids fall into fantasy world, proceed to defeat evil” is going to have at least some fans in the legions of kids who wish they could do just that. I enjoyed the ones I read as a child. Reading as an adult, the writing is weak, the characters thin, the plots thinner. The more of these I read, the more I couldn’t stand the writing style. Sometimes speaking directly to the reader works, but most of the time here, I just find it hugely patronizing and distracting. The first time Lewis reminds his readers that it is "foolish" to shut oneself into a wardrobe, it's cute. The 5th? Less so.Now, I’m going to sum up what I liked and didn’t like in each book. (Also note, these books are really short! Around 110 pgs each in this edition.)The Magician’s Nephew: Had some very pretty parts. The beginning was interesting, but this book seemed to do its level best to demystify the later adventures, and make all the magic more like science. This is not inherently a bad thing, but it felt out of tone with the books which were written earlier, but come chronologically later.Best: The descriptions of the wood between the worlds, and Aslan sings the world into being.Worst: Shoehorned in references to Lion/Witch/etc, making that book less cool.Most Annoying Jesus-the-Lion Moment: Actually not awful, despite the whole creating out of the void and all.Score: 2 starsThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe:Classic. When I read this as a child, I completely missed the whole “Jesus” thing. What surprised me on rereading was that they spend, pretty much, one single day in Narnia before they fix everything. That’s kinda silly in my book. Best: Lucy and Mr. Tumnus, Edmund and the White Queen. Santa brings them weapons.Worst: And then, we won the battle... Lewis starts a grand tradition for him of all major action taking place ‘offstage’.Most Annoying Jesus-the-Lion Moment: You know what? After reading some of the later ones, I’m behind Jesus-the-Lion on this one.Score: 3 starsThe Horse and His Boy:And now, suddenly, we’re in the Arabian Knights. But no one who lives in Arabian Nights world is nice and kind and good like the people of Narnia... Eesh. I’m also confused, at this point, why there are huge human countries just off the borders of Narnia. I never got that implication that they were there before...Even the Telmarines in Prince Caspian are given a special explanation for how there happen to be Humans in Narnia. Note that this one was written fifth, after Lion, Caspian, Dawn Treader, and Silver Chair.Best: Shasta and company sneaking into/around the big city is pretty well done. Worst: Not only is the person who doesn’t treat you well not your father, you’re a prince! Yay! Not a surprise, and not interesting.Most Annoying Jesus-the-Lion Moment: Throughout, Aslan "secretly" helps them escape to Narnia by scaring them, appearing as a friendly cat, etc. A pretty wussy power set, overall. This is the Son of the Emperor-etc-whatever? What, do your powers only work in Narnia, all of a sudden? Ironically, this is almost more annoying than his super mega powers in other books.Score: 1 starPrince Caspian:Okay, first off, all the cool scenes in the movie? Not here. Most of the lame scenes in the movie? Also not here. Clearly it was adapted in the loosest sense. Caspian spends his time joyously capering with the good folk of Narnia, and then they get in trouble, and call some kids. Kids bring Aslan, he fixes it. Huh.Best: Peter’s hysterically funny letter to Miraz. Seriously. And mice who kill soldiers. They’re cool.Worst (Sort of): Downright weirdest part is that when the Earth kids finally get to Caspian, where he’s fighting off armies and such, the boys get to go help fight. Not that it makes a huge difference, since Aslan sends the trees to scare the Telmarines away "almost before the Old Narnians had really warmed to their work". The girls, on the other hand, get to take a nap, and then dance with Aslan and Bacchus and his Maenads (Wha-Huh?!?) all over Narnia, freeing people to be happy, and turning nasty little boys into pigs and nasty men into trees and such. I kid you not. One little girl is brave enough not to run away and "The Maenads…whirled her around in a merry dance, and helped her take off some of the unnecessary and uncomfortable clothes that she was wearing." I could not make this up.Most Annoying Jesus-the-Lion Moment: Subtext of the Lucy/Aslan scene is basically the same as the movie: If you really trusted/believed, you wouldn’t care what your family thinks, you’d trust me... Creepy...Score: 3 starsThe Voyage of the Dawn Treader:I have fond memories of this one, but it was awful. Like Gulliver’s travels, but with Jesus. They go to an island and get into trouble due to a magical thingy. Aslan bails them out. Rinse. Repeat. Oh, and then they sail to the end of the world.Best: Lucy and the Magician’s book. A pretty decent scene, if somewhat overly moralizing.Worst: Whole thing deadly dull. No Plot.Most Annoying Jesus-the-Lion Moment: All of them.Score: 1 starThe Silver Chair:Lovely after the dreck that was the Dawn Treader. Aslan gives two kids a quest, they mess up some, but mostly get out of it on their own, overall a good solid adventure story.Best: Adventure in the Giant’s House. Predictable, but good. Scene with the ensorcelled Prince. Jill and Eustace terrorize their school bullies with swords.Worst: Almost anytime Aslan butts in. He’s out of tone in this one. Happily, he’s barely in it.Most Annoying Jesus-the-Lion Moment: See above.Score: 3 starsThe Last Battle: This was just... odd. I already had heard the plot, but it was just weird. An Ape sets up a false Idol Aslan to make himself rich and important, the Arabian folks we last saw in Horse and His Boy show up to conquer Narnia with the Ape’s help, the King totally fails to stop them, and then Aslan shows up to end the world. It was just... that. Also King Tirian has a very special relationship with a unicorn, and as a side note, all the characters are dead and in joint Earth/Narnia Heaven. Whatever.Best: King Tirian and Eustace and Jill sneaking around the countryside.Worst: The number of things in this book described as indescribable was pretty annoying. Also, Susan can’t go to joint Earth/Narnia Heaven because she grew up and likes boys. I can understand that with Neverland, but really, now.Most Annoying Jesus-the-Lion Moment: Aslan has a heart to heart with an Arabian, I mean Calormene, and is told that all the good stuff he (and anyone) ever did in the name of his Calormene god was actually done for Aslan, and all the bad stuff for his god. Oh dear. Score: 1 star (Not actively bad, just dull)Conclusion:Even trying to put aside the heavy handed preachifying, I probably wouldn’t read these again, or give them to my hypothetical future kids. Maybe Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. Only, however, along with books I prefer, like The Wind in the Willows (better talking animals), Peter Pan (better plot, characters, and themes) and The Just So Stories (better use of narration).


I read this entire series multiple times when I was younger, I think near the end of elementary school or during Jr Hi, and actually got sick of it after too many reads and had to wait to rediscover it later on-- several times, in fact. The books are nice and short, yet each is a quality fantasy story, loaded, of course, with Lewis' exploration-in-fiction of man's relationship to diety and the world. Tolkien was always my favorite, but Lewis has his own particular approach to the fantastic which is just a beautiful-- it's a shame that Tolkien didn't go for the Narnia books, though I can understand why he didn't. For two such close friends, and with such similar tastes in material, they ended up speaking very different fictional languages. Lewis, of course, was a big fan of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Silmarillion, but Tolkien was so much more militantly purist that it is no suprise that Lewis would find in Tolkien's work that "joy" which he found in the Norse myths. Lewis' Narnia, however, was more in the service of the fantastic as percieved by moderns, blending and borrowing to create a whole of the present moment, rather than pursuing the more reconstructionsist cohesion of Tolkien. Lewis, of course, remained more faithful to George MacDonald than Tolkien, and that shows: Narnia is a fantasy of the Victorians pulled into the Modern period. If I were to try to recover Tolkien's own perspective on the contrast, I would perhaps say that Narnia and MacDonald's creations were fantasies of a more effeminate, decadent age in which the "horns of Elfland" are a bit more shrill and prettified, in contrast to Middle Earth's masculine hardness and depth-- but typically my own perception of Narnia is much more positive, and I enjoyed these books very much. Maybe not really allegory, though I've heard them described as such (I think by Tolkien), but I can see how one would get that impression-- the world feels much more unabashedly fictional, in comparison to Middle Earth or most "gritty" fantasy that is out there today. This is not necessarily a bad thing, I think-- sometimes the more fictional the context, the brighter the human truths within that fiction. Out of the series, I would have to say that my favorites are The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (how can you not love such a straightforward title! It spoils nothing, and yet is as pertinent as you can get), the Magician's nephew, and the Last Battle-- the last two because I like beginnings and ends, I think. The structure of the series itself is nice-- first you are pulled in by the plight and plot of children and world in the first book, then this is developed into a love affair with that world in the next few books, with the world itself becoming a character, then, having fallen in love, you behold the birth of your beloved in the Magician's Nephew, and finally, experience her death and redemption in the final book.Okay, I had at least two or three other paragraphs, but apparently there is a 4000 character limit on these reviews-- which sucks! I'll try and spread out my CS Lewis comments over a few other reviews.

AJ Griffin

When the Lion/Witch/Wardrobe movie came out a while ago, some dude accosted me and said "Dude, the fucking right wing media is trying to say that the Narnia books are all about fucking Christianity!!!"No shit. I figured that out when I was 9.But who cares? If you can't enjoy these books at all, there is no child alive inside of you. And if you've got no child inside you, you're not very much fun at all, are you?

Kat Kennedy

I discovered The Chronicles of Narnia when I was six years old halfway through my first year of school. I had discovered the joys of our school library and I still remember the day and the exact shelf where I found The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. It was the lowest shelf, the one that rested on the ground and I had to crouch down to wiggle the book out from amongst its peers. By the time I'd finished first grade I'd read them all and searched high and low for any book series that could be as wonderful and magical as this one had been.Now I could dismiss my love of these books as some quaint, childhood memory that I was unwilling to let go of. Certainly that is a factor. However, the magic has never faded. I've read them all so many times that I've memorized them. I've memorized them so thoroughly that I've told them as bed time stories to children that I've done baby sitting for. Children who have loved the stories and begged to go to bed early so that they could hear MORE about Diggory and Polly or Lucy, Peter, Edmund and Susan or more about Shasta and Avaris and so on and so forth.It's not just children, either. My husband and I read a book, a proper book for half an hour for our son every night. For the past month that has been The Chronicles of Narnia. It's gotten to the point where he doesn't want to stop. Our son's bedtime comes and goes and my husband insists on reading just a little bit more. He says things like, "I wish I'd read these as a child! They're fantastic!"Are they perfect? No. The Last Battle is a hard and frustrating read. The Magician's Nephew is a little awkward. The Horse and His Boy is just a TAD controversial for some of its content. But they're so, so worth the read. To me, there's a magic to these books that time and life has never managed to dim.


I have loved these books my whole life. They are frequently misread, I think, by people who insist that everything in Narnia has to "equal" something in our world (Aslan=Jesus, Calormens=Muslims, Tash=Satan, etc.) While Lewis is clearly writing about God, as I read it, he is imagining how the Christian God might reveal himself in another world rather than allegorizing our own. Aslan is not "Jesus," but rather the earthly aspect of God as he reveals himself in Narnia. The Calormens are not Muslims, but rather another culture in the universe of Narnia that worships another god. Tash, I suppose should be read as Satan as he reveals himself in the universe of Narnia, but again, the point is how these forces function in this fictional universe, not what the characters "represent" from our own world. Anyway, these books are great, and I encourage adults as well as children to give them a shot. All due respect to the movies, but as usual the books are much better.


The Magician's Nephew is easily the best story of the Chronicles. First of all, it's the least overtly religious. There is a creation-of-the-world element, but it's not our world so it seems more fantastic than religious. Not only is there a veil over the religiosity, there's so much creativity in this story: the magical rings, the in-between place, the Deplorable Word, the founding of Narnia.Starting with The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, the religiosity becomes noticeable, with the Witch as Satan, Aslan as Jesus, and the Emperor as God. And because of the talking, fighting animals, the fantasy seems aimed at children. I might have enjoyed it more at age 12.The next story in the series, The Horse and His Boy, takes a dark, ethnocentric turn with its unfavorable depiction of the Arab-like "Calormen" (shoes turned up at the toe, scimitars, suffixed phrases of praise, "son of" lineage declarations). In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, we get a not-quite-positive summary of the Calormen:"...they are a wise, wealthy, courteous, cruel and ancient people. They bowed most politely to Caspian and paid him long compliments...but of course what they wanted was the money they had paid."Given that this book was published in 1954, it's possible to forgive the cultural insensitivity, but it's sad that children around the world still uncritically read such racist material.The Voyage of the Dawn Treader demonstrates the problem with using God (or Jesus) in a story: there are no real conflicts. When the Dawn Treader stops at Dragon Island, the boy passenger Eustace wanders off, encounters a magical spell, and is turned into a dragon. This raises all kinds of serious issues about how to keep Eustace the Dragon with them, but none of these problems matter because, within 24 hours, Aslan just changes Eustace back to a boy.There was a similar deus ex machina (the term being used most appropriately) in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. To save Edmund's soul, Aslan sacrifices his life. But it wasn't Aslan's only life, he had another one ready.One thing I found especially creative about The Chronicles is how a story involving talking animals justifies eating animals.

Brian S

I made it through all 7 books, which says something. They are enjoyable, extremely quick reads, definitely tailored to children or adolescents. The Christian typology is quite obvious to an adult reader, although I'm not sure it would be to a child. It makes for an interesting dilemma. Lewis has created a series of worlds where individuals and events are near exact replicas of individuals and events in Christian salvation history, yet his worlds don't quite match up with the real world in detail or breadth. The result is that events that occur both in the Chronicles of Narnia and in Christian salvation history (i.e., the death and resurrection of Christ/Aslan) are different theologically and in effect. I guess it’s not really a big deal, but I wonder how it would play out in the mind of a child who might understand the Chronicles of Narnia long before he understands the corresponding events in the real world. Probably that concern is baseless because children will read and love the Chronicles for the story and adventure and will come away with a sense of good doing battle with evil and individuals choosing which side they want to be on. I would guess that was C.S. Lewis' intention. My rating reflects what I thought as an adult reader, not how good I think these are as children's books.


** spoiler alert ** It's been over 10 years (at least, probably more) since the last time I read The Chronicles of Narnia. I've always felt a little bad about giving the entire series only 2 stars; I must have been in a particularly snarky mood the day I added it to my GR shelf. I think it definitely deserves at least 3 stars. They don't have the depth and complexity of his friend Tolkien's work but then Narnia was not quite the focus of Lewis' life as Middle Earth was Tolkien's. And, even if one can't accept the religious/philosophical basis of Lewis' world, one can hardly argue with the moral lessons his heroes learn. I just finished The Magician's Nephew, and am on Chapter 2 of the classic The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe as I write this first installment of my review(s). The Magician's Nephew, read 6/3 - 3 stars: I recall especially liking this installment in the series because it went back and explained who the White Witch was and where she came from. The story's simple enough: Digory and Polly become friends one summer in London. In exploring the rowhouses where they live, they inadvertently stumble upon Digory's uncle's study, where his uncle tricks Polly into touching a magic ring that transports her to another world. In order to bring her back, Digory must use a second ring to follow Polly. They wind up on the dying world of Charn and, there, Digory's unwise curiosity awakens Jadis, the future White Witch. When her sister's rebel armies threatened to depose her from the throne, Jadis uttered the "Deplorable Word" and destroyed all life on the planet (which, if you think about it, is pretty "heavy" stuff for a book geared toward the 8-12 crowd). Well, Jadis follows the children back to London. Trying to escape from her, Digory, Polly, the uncle, and a hapless cabbie and his horse wind up in Narnia on the morning when Aslan sings the world into being. This is another favorite part of the book for me because it pays homage to the importance of language in defining the world. Digory must embark on a short quest (aided by Polly and the cabbie's horse, transformed by Aslan into a pegasus) to retrieve a silver apple from the Western Wilds to atone for bringing evil (Jadis) into the world, and doesn't succumb to using the apple for his own, selfish purposes. Meanwhile, Aslan has made the cabbie (Frank) and his wife (Helen, who the Lion's brought over from our Earth) the first king and queen of Narnia. Digory and Polly (and his chastised uncle) are returned to Earth, where Digory plants a seed from the fruit that he retrieved for Aslan, which subsequently grows into the tree that provides the wood for the wardrobe that Lucy Pevensie stumbles into 50 years later. Overall, a good if slight read. You can certainly read a lot into it if you're aware of Lewis' more serious works but you don't need to to enjoy the basic tale of human decency. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, read 6/7 - 3 stars: I won't go into any remarks about the story as anyone who's conceivably interested in this review is probably already familiar with it via their own reading or seeing the movie, which remained pretty faithful to the novel.It's unfortunate but these books (for me, at any rate) don't hold up well after 30 years. I like the Pevensie kids but Lewis doesn't really develop them as characters (we only understand that Edmund's been a creep only since he's been away to boarding school in a throw-away line toward the end) and there's never a great feeling of menace. I'm not a huge fan of the movie but I think it was better in this sense than Lewis.Shortly, I'll be hitting the library for books 3 and 4 (The Horse and His Boy and Prince Caspian), which I only vaguely remember. I do so not with a sense of dread - I'm actually enjoying these rereads, though the tone of these updates may not convey that very well. The Horse and His Boy, read 6/11 - 2.5 stars: The tale for every kid who's gone through that phase when they really dislike their parents: They're not really your parents; and you're really the son of a king! Throw in a couple of talking horses trying to get back to Narnia, another child escaping a planned marriage and the malicious plotting of a foreign prince with his eyes on Queen Susan and you have the ingredients for a pleasant adventure tale.As I've discovered with the previous books, there's not much meat on these bones in terms of character or suspense. And the "folksy" writing style may charm an 8-year old but it falls flat in this adult's reading.And then there's the issue of just how racist and politically incorrect can the portrayal of the Calormenes get. I can see why the issue comes up but I've never understood why people expect anything different from an Irishman born and raised in the late Victorian Era. Now, if the Pevensies had been 2nd-generation Indian immigrants and Fabian socialists that would have been unexpected. Note, too, that Aravis, a full-blooded Calormene, is not only accepted into Narnian-Archenland society but becomes queen of Archenland and mother to that nation's greatest king, Ram.If there's any bigotry present in the story, it's religious - anything that doesn't agree with Lewis' interpretation of "The Truth" must be wrong and can only lead to evil. Here Lewis just hasn't taken the time to develop a nuanced view of the subject. And, considering his audience, I don't blame him. What 8-year old want to hear the debate about the relative merits of Aslan (Jesus) vs. Tash (Allah?, OT Yahweh?, any pagan idol?)? Prince Caspian, read 6/12 - 2.5 stars: I just watched the 2008 movie, "Prince Caspian." It's rare but I must say the film improved upon the book, particularly in evoking a greater sense of menace from the Telmarines. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, read 6/14 - 2.5 stars: I first noticed this in Prince Caspian: Lewis never refers to his nonhumans characters as "he" or "she." It's always as "it," even the Dwarfs are nongendered objects - "Trumpkin was named regent in Prince Caspian's absence. It ruled as his viceroy." Decidedly odd.I've always linked Dawn Treader to the The Odyssey. I think because of the sailing aspect of the tale since there's not much Homeric about the story. The Silver Chair, read 6/15, 3.2 stars: Outside of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, this is the most enjoyable of the novels I've reread so far. The story introduces two new children - Eustace Scrubb and Jill Pole. Actually, we met Eustace in Dawn Treader but The Silver Chair is Eustace's story; he isn't tagging along with the Pevensies.Also, Aslan is not relied upon as a deus ex machina except at the end when his back terrifies the bullies at Eustace's and Jill's "progressive" school.There's no overly or overtly Christian symbology. I'm sure you could find it if you looked but it doesn't hit you over the head as some episodes elsewhere in the series do. (Meeting the Lamb in Dawn Treader, for example.)I also liked Puddleglum the Marshwiggle very much. He worked well for me. The Last Battle, read 6/16, 2 stars: Easily the worst of the series unless you're a Christian and/or a Platonist. The tale begins promisingly enough: The ape Shift convinces his not-very-bright-but-essentially-good friend, the donkey Puzzle, to put on a lion's skin that has washed up in their pond and pretend to be Aslan. Hiding Puzzle in a stable and only letting people see him at night, Shift terrorizes the Talking Animals into obeying him. He also makes the mistake of inviting the Calormenes in. In short order, Shift is a drunken mess and the Calormenes are chopping down the dryads' trees and enslaving the Narnians. I think I got the wrong lesson from this: Never blindly follow authority figures. The Talking Animals (and the humans) are so afraid that the creature in the stable might be Aslan that they hardly question Shift's insane demands. At this point any pretense to story ends and the remainder of the book is a retelling of the Last Days of Revelation. The world comes to an end; the righteous move on to Heaven, the damned to oblivion. (I will say there's no hint of hellfire. Those not worthy simply cease to exist - punishment enough, I suupose.)And the tone of the story is "off" compared to the rest of the books. It's grim and savage in a way that similar scenes in the earlier novels were not. The events I have in mind are the Giants of Harfang in The Silver Chair and the Dwarfs here. You knew the Giants planned to eat Eustace and Jill (and Puddleglum, though they probably wouldn't have enjoyed that much) but you also knew that the children would get out of it. You could laugh at the fat Giant queen, and the only suspense was wondering how they would escape. Compare that to the Dwarfs massacring the Talking Horses or the complete destruction of the entire Pevensie clan (except Susan), Eustace, Jill, Digory & Polly in a catastrophic train wreck.Overall: Like Tolkien's The Hobbit, though to a lesser degree there, The Chronicles don't wear well past childhood but I'm glad I took the time to revisit them.

Pippi Bluestocking

Narnia could have been so great. I'm sad I'm giving her only one star, but she "is NOT ok". It's a blatant, poorly done catholic propaganda. The occasional genius C.S. Lewis displays is overriden by his sexism and preaching. I'm sorry, but they're not good books; not for children and not for adults either. Read His Dark Materials Instead.

B u n n y

*In realtà sarebbero 3 stelle e mezzo* Ho valutato singolarmente i sette libri contenuti e fatto una specie di media. Tra questi sette i miei preferiti sono, sicuramente, "Un Cavallo e il SUo Ragazzo" e "Il Viaggio del Veliero". La figura del principe Caspian che viene introdotta dopo un po' non mi ha fatta impazzire, non a caso il libro che porta il suo nome ha ricevuto due stelline. Ho preferito l'ordine cronologico a quello di pubblicazione, non sono convinta che avrei apprezzato le storie allo stesso modo. Essendo un libro indirizzato a un pubblico più giovane di me -ho quasi vent'anni, non é che sia da ospizio- avevo paura di non ritrovarmi coinvolta ma nella maggior parte dei casi non é stato così. Lo considero un classico del fantasy e ora che sto ricominciando a leggere questo genere mi sembrava doveroso leggerlo, inoltre i libri giganteschi hanno un certo fascino su di me.


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis is one of the books in his series, the Chronicles of Narnia in which Christianity is portrayed through various fantasy creatures. God, for instance is portrayed as a talking Lion. What a wonderful series! What child hasn’t climbed into a closet and explored the back cracks in hope of finding an entrance to a new and exciting world after reading this book? I used to sit in a closet with the door closed and a flashlight reading my favorite books after reading this series, in hopes that someday a door would open and take me to another realm. Of course, the white witch is my favorite character. I’m always attracted to the bad ones. The Lion, Aslan, is a wonderful character as well, but I have to admit, knowing that he was an analogy for God, changed my view of the story a bit and left me a bit disappointed. He was a bit cheesy. Or maybe typical is a better word. Which is why I almost wish I wouldn’t have known the true meaning of the books until after I read them. In any case, the stories were great, the first one being the best. (You always lose a little of the naiveté of the children as they get older) But the movies did them justice as well. Reading them again as an adult, found me a little bored, but still enchanted overall with the series. The next movie is due out soon and I can only hope they will continue to make the movies which were incredible. I highly recommend this series and consider it a classic as well.

Sean Walton

My Mom got me these books for Christmas 1986. Until that point, I hadn't gotten books as a gift. Well, I certainly never remembered getting books, even though my parents gave us books every year at Christmas. They got ignored until the decorations came down in January - "Oh, we got books too?" Well, I remember this particular Christmas, my Mom said "open this... and start reading them tonight." Glad she did, because I love these books. I just started reading them again. I'm about to start book 6 The Magician's Nephew, which incidently I read first, before I even knew it was a series, and is, in terms of chronological order, the first book. But I think it's more rewarding to read it in its place - just before the last book. That way you get to learn so much about this world of Narnia, then with book 6 see how it all began, then with book 7 the Last Battle see how it all concludes...

Mer the above link to read professor Carol Zaleski's interesting take of the seething religious/political furor surrounding these classics.)I pined for Narnia in the most broken, sad way when I was a little girl. Obviously, I had no knowledge of any Christian subtext when I first read "Da Chroni *WHUT* cles". I remember devouring them in much the same way that children are now tearing through the Harry Potter series. Lewis's lavish descriptions of fauns and dragons and giants have burned themselves permanently into my memory.Ten year old Mer's desire to live in that world and shoot arrows and eat Turkish Delight and befriend those magical talking beasts was all-consuming. Most of all, I wanted to know Aslan. To be cuddled and loved by that big, fierce, lovable lion. But in the end, I had to let go of him and his realm. (I remember being so disconsolate, in fact, that my parents let me stay home from school for a day! And they NEVER let me play hookey! So weird, remembering that.)There were just so many aspects of that world that made me feel, well, BAD, somehow. Guilty, or ashamed, or just plain uncomfortable. Remember when Susan didn't come back, basically because she discovered her sexuality?Remember the Calormenes? Those dark-skinned people with really intense garlic breath who wore turbans and worshiped a Satanic "false god" who demanded blood sacrifices from his followers?There was SO much blame being laid out in that world. A lot of finger-pointing and shaming going on, a lot of damning and excluding. It was all very black and white, us or them, good or evil.In the end, I rejected the Narnia books for that reason. Later, finding out Lewis was a devout Christian and Aslan was basically supposed to be Jebus in a lion suit, I wasn't at all surprised.Nowadays, I recommend Miyazaki movies (especially Kiki) to every tween girl I meet to cleanse their palate of some of the more despicable Disney depictions of femininity, and I happily gift kids (and adults!) with the Dark Materials trilogy to counteract their exposure to the Narnia dogma.All that being said, these books are a memorable part of my childhood, and I still recall parts of them with fondness and longing.

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