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The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels for children written by C. S. Lewis. They present the adventures of children who play crucial roles in the unfolding history of the realm of Narnia where some animals talk, magic is rampant, and good is fighting evil.

The books can be read as allegory (though Lewis intended them more as a case study running off from a supposal; a strict allegorical reading could be quite confusing, and a "character A is character 1" reading would stink of particularly misleading reductionism), and contain many allusions to Christian ideas (Aslan, the lion, is the equivalent of Christ). Lewis, a devout Christian, had stated his intention to make the Narnia chronicles serve as a means to introduce Christian theological concepts to children, while remaining entertaining enough to hold young audiences.

In this Lewis succeeded, the Chronicles of Narnia have become favourites with both children and adults. The extra theological load is well incorporated; the books are not weighty in the least, unlike Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and can be read for their adventure, colour, and fun without concern for the larger issues. Lewis himself claimed the books were not allegorical but "suppositional", more like what we would now call alternate history -- supposing such a world as that described therein, and assuming the need for certain religious situations (e.g., a divine Creation, a trinitarian element comparable to Jesus coming to the world, and others), what would happen?

The books of the series, in the order of their publication, are:

  1. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950)
  2. Prince Caspian (1951)
  3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
  4. The Silver Chair (1953)
  5. The Horse and his Boy (1954)
  6. The Magician's Nephew (1955)
  7. The Last Battle (1956)

In recent years, publishers have begun to publish the series in a different order, presenting the novels in the the chronological order of the stories themselves (as opposed to the original order of publication). Many recent editions of are series are ordered:

  1. The Magician's Nephew (1955)
  2. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950)
  3. The Horse and his Boy (1954)
  4. Prince Caspian (1951)
  5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
  6. The Silver Chair (1953)
  7. The Last Battle (1956)

The books are also known for their illustrations by Pauline Baynes.

The Chronicles of Narnia were turned into a successful BBC television series in 1989-1991. Only the The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and The Silver Chair were filmed. The Magician's Nephew, The Horse and His Boy, and The Last Battle were not filmed. Especially the final book, The Last Battle, is necessarily darker than the rest of the series, as it deals with the ending of Narnia, and by extension alludes to the end of ours.

There have also been BBC Radio dramatizations of the novels.

There are plans to make The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe into a film directed by Andrew Adamson and with a screenplay written by Ann Peacock[1]. Like The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the film is to be made in New Zealand. reported in December 2003 that "Work on the film begins [in January] in Auckland."[1]