The Chronicles of Narnia
The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels for children by C. S. Lewis. It is considered a classic of children's literature and is the author's best-known work, having sold over 100 million copies in 47 languages. Written by Lewis between 1949 and 1954, illustrated by Pauline Baynes and originally published in London between October 1950 and March 1956, The Chronicles of Narnia has been adapted several times, complete or in part, for radio, television, the stage, and film.
The seven books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia are presented here in order of original publication date:
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
Main article: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, completed by the end of March 1949 and published by Geoffrey Bles in London on 16 October 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. The Pevensie children help Aslan, a talking lion, save Narnia from the evil White Witch, who has reigned over the land of Narnia for a century of perpetual winter. The children become kings and queens of this new-found land and establish the Golden Age of Narnia, leaving a legacy to be rediscovered in later books.
Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia (1951)
Main article: Prince Caspian
Completed after Christmas, 1949 and published on 15 October 1951, Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia tells the story of the Pevensie children's second trip to Narnia. They are drawn back by the power of Susan's horn, blown by Prince Caspian to summon help in his hour of need. Narnia as they knew it is no more. Their castle is in ruins and all the dryads have retreated so far within themselves that only Aslan's magic can wake them. Caspian has fled into the woods to escape his uncle, Miraz, who has usurped the throne. The children set out once again to save Narnia.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
Main article: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Written between January and February 1950 and published on 15 September 1952, The Voyage of the ‘Dawn Treader’ sees Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, along with their priggish cousin, Eustace Scrubb, return to Narnia. Once there, they join Caspian's voyage on the ship Dawn Treader 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.
The Silver Chair (1953)
Main article: The Silver Chair
Completed at the beginning of March 1951 and published 7 September 1953, The Silver Chair is the first Narnia book without the Pevensie children. Instead, Aslan calls Eustace back to Narnia together with his classmate Jill Pole. There they are given four signs to aid in the search for Prince Rilian, Caspian's son, who disappeared after setting out ten years earlier to avenge his mother's death. Eustace and Jill, with the help of Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle, face danger and betrayal on their quest to find Rilian.
The Horse and His Boy (1954)
Main article: The Horse and His Boy
Begun in March and completed at the end of July 1950, The Horse and His Boy was published on 6 September 1954. The story 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. A talking horse called Bree and a young boy named Shasta, both of whom are in bondage in the country of Calormen, are the protagonists. By chance, they meet and plan their return to Narnia and freedom. Along the way they meet Aravis and her talking horse Hwin who are also fleeing to Narnia.
The Magician's Nephew (1955)
Main article: The Magician's Nephew
Completed in February 1954 and published by Bodley Head in London on 2 May 1955, the prequel The Magician's Nephew brings the reader back to the origins of Narnia where we learn how Aslan created the world and how evil first entered it. Digory Kirke and his friend Polly Plummer stumble into different worlds by experimenting with magic rings made by Digory's uncle. They encounter Jadis (The White Witch) in the dying world of Charn, and witness the creation of Narnia. Many long-standing questions about the world are answered as a result.
The Last Battle (1956)
Main article: The Last Battle
Completed in March 1953 and published 4 September 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, precipitating a showdown between the Calormenes and King Tirian.
Fans of the series often have strong opinions over the order in which the books should be read. The issue revolves around the placement of The Magician's Nephew and The Horse and His Boy in the series. Both are set significantly earlier in the story of Narnia than their publication order and fall somewhat outside the main story arc connecting the others. The reading order of the other five books is not disputed.