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C.S. Lewis & Narnia: Stories Behind the Seven Chronicles

by BusinessLife (writer), The Carolinas, December 05, 2010

Credit: projectbyirfan
The history behind the author, the chronicles and much more.
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The words of C.S. Lewis set sail in, "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" Fri. Dec. 10th

One challenging topic to explain to your children can often be faith. But an extraordinary man decided he would tackle such an intangible subject, his belief in Christ, and bring it to life in a series of children's stories. The man was C.S. Lewis. The book is, "The Chronicles of Narnia." This Friday, December 10th, the fifth chronicle in the series of seven stories, "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" sets sail on the big screen nationwide.

In truth, The Chronicles of Narnia has 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. What you may or may not know is that Lewis' story, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardbrobe," is actually the second chronicle. The first is, "The Magician's Nephew." But the order you find the chronicles in the collection of Narnia stories is not based the order Lewis wrote the stories. Rather, the order is based on a little boy's advice to Lewis in a letter.

In 1957 an American boy wrote C. S. Lewis to ask about the best order for reading The Chronicles of Narnia. The boy's mother believed the books should be read in order of their publication, beginning with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. But the boy thought it would be better to read them in order of Narnian history, beginning with the creation of the enchanted world in The Magician's Nephew.

C. S. Lewis wrote back to the boy, saying, "I think I agree with your order for reading the books more than with your mother's," and soon afterward the publishers began to number them in this way. But Lewis, who had written bits and pieces of the books at different times, also noted that the order probably didn't much matter: "I'm not even sure that all the [books] were written in the same order in which they were published."

Below is the order the chronicles are found in the series along with the corresponding publishing dates:

  • The Magician's Nephew (1955)
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
  • The Horse and His Boy (1954)
  • Prince Caspian (1951)
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
  • The Silver Chair (1953)
  • The Last Battle (1956)

A fun or royal fact, as it were to note; Queen Elizabeth II braved the snow in London to attend the world premiere of "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," where she met Liam Neeson and the rest of the film's cast. (Dec. 1)

Speaking of trivia,, a website that is a part of Family Education Network offers a great deal of background, history, quizzes, features and a crossword puzzle on C.S. Lewis and "The Chronicles of Narnia." If you can't make it to the movie theatre this weekend but want to give your kids (or the kid in you) something to enjoy and learn at the same time, here are some links offers.

Narnia: A Look Back

It's been 55 (Earth) years since our first visit

C. S. Lewis

The man who created Narnia

The Chronicles

Which should you read first?

A Narnia Time Line

C. S. Lewis's own chronology of Narnian history

Feasts in Narnia

From toffee trees to Turkish delight

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Crossword

1 Across: The children kept warm in coats made of this

Here's a few other extras to keep your brain fed:

The international movie trailer of 'The Voyage of the Dawn Treader." (in English)

Famous quotes from C.S. Lewis: goodreads

Did you know: The main character in the fictious land of Narnia is a lion named, Aslan. C.S. Lewis used Aslan to represent Christ. If you haven't read the stories or seen the connection in the lastest films, the second chronicle, "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" features a stone table where the evil queen takes Aslan to kill him.

She has her minions shave the lion's fur and beat Aslan viciously. Following Aslan's death, the stone table breaks in half. Aslan has vanished from the table. Two young girls who were crying are now scared and don't know what happened to Aslan's body. But soon enough, Aslan is alive, with the sun rising brilliantly in the sky behind him. The girls are scared and think Aslan is a ghost. But running their hands into his thick, soft fur, covering him just as brilliantly as before, they know he is not dead at all.

"But what does this mean," asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer.

"It means," said Aslan, "that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still, which she did not know...when a willing victim who ha(s) committed no treachery (i)s killed in a traitor's stead, the Table w(ill) crack and Death itself w(ill) start working backward..."

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1 comments on C.S. Lewis & Narnia: Stories Behind the Seven Chronicles

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By BusinessLife on December 06, 2010 at 07:35 am

Melody, thank you for your kind words. The Narnia Chronicles are incredibly brilliant. My mother gave me the books when I was young. At 9 or 10 I could read them. But I really didn't appreciate them until I was reading them to my children and to their classmates a few years ago. I read the first two chronicles, "The Magicina's Nephew," and "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," to both my boys' classrooms. As my boys are three years apart, it was great fun bringing the book back to class to share the adventures with a new group of listeners, ready to find out what happened next! For me, this recent series of movies has been the best I have seen to date. This weekend, you are sure to find me and my young men in a theatre ready to set sail on, "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader!" Woo Hoo!!

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