books, discussion

The Chronicles of Narnia: Where to Begin?

The Magician’s Nephew and The Horse and His Boy are set earlier in the story of Narnia, but published after, making them some sort of prequel. When first published, the books were not numbered.

C.S. Lewis’s reply to a letter from an American reading who was having an argument with his mother on the subject:

I think I agree with your [chronological] order 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 end, like Lewis wrote : “perhaps it does not matter very much in which order anyone read them.”

  1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – Four adventurous siblings—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie—step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.
  2. Prince Caspian – The Pevensie siblings travel back to Narnia to help a prince denied his rightful throne as he gathers an army in a desperate attempt to rid his land of a false king.
  3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – A king and some unexpected companions embark on a voyage that will take them beyond all known lands. As they sail farther and farther from charted waters, they discover that their quest is more than they imagined and that the world’s end is only the beginning.
  4. The Silver Chair – It takes place during the Golden Age of Narnia.Through dangers untold and caverns deep and dark, a noble band of friends is sent to rescue a prince held captive. But their mission to Underland brings them face-to-face with an evil more beautiful and more deadly than they ever expected.
  5. The Horse and His Boy – On a desperate journey, two runaways meet and join forces. Though they are only looking to escape their harsh and narrow lives, they soon find themselves at the center of a terrible battle. It is a battle that will decide their fate and the fate of Narnia itself.
  6. The Magician’s Nephew – This prequel brings the reader back to the origins of Narnia where we learn how Aslan created the world and how evil first entered it
  7. The Last Battle – 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, precipitating a showdown between the Calormenes and King Tirian.

 

The Chronicles of Narnia: 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

2 thoughts on “The Chronicles of Narnia: Where to Begin?”

  1. I personally find the only way to read The Chronicles of Narnia is in chronological order. I used to read them randomly as a kid but when I re-read most of them last year, I did so chronologically and I much preferred it. It made more sense to me and I could see the world expanding with every book.

    Liked by 2 people

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