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Which of these awesome books is just a bit more awesome than the rest? Poll was created on Jun 21, 2020

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
Poll results: Which of these awesome books is just a bit more awesome than the rest?
Voter(s): 36
Poll was created on Jun 21, 2020
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (LWW)  -  votes: 5 / 13.9%
5
13.9%
Prince Caspian (PC)  -  votes: 5 / 13.9%
5
13.9%
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (VDT)  -  votes: 9 / 25%
9
25%
The Silver Chair (SC)  -  votes: 11 / 30.6%
11
30.6%
The Horse and His Boy (HHB)  -  votes: 11 / 30.6%
11
30.6%
The Magician's Nephew (MN)  -  votes: 8 / 22.2%
8
22.2%
The Last Battle (LB)  -  votes: 6 / 16.7%
6
16.7%

[Sticky] Favorite Book (and book rankings)

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Kokoro Hane
(@kokoro-hane)
NarniaWeb Regular

Hmmm... I'm gonna have to think real hard before I can rank them, but as far as my favorite goes....

It's a pretty hard tie between "The Magician's Nephew" and "The Last Battle". A really weird tie, if you ask me... the beginning and the end... haha. I love the adventure and the discovery of MN but I also love the darker themes and hopeful ending of LB! 

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Posted : March 8, 2022 6:54 pm
Varnafinde
(@varna)
Princess of the Noldor and Royal Overseer of the Talk About Narnia forum Moderator
Posted by: @kokoro-hane

A really weird tie, if you ask me... the beginning and the end... haha. 

But not so weird after all, when you consider that those two were the last books Lewis wrote in the series.

He even finished The Last Battle before the other, but told his publisher to leave it as the last and to publish The Magician's Nephew before it.

Even though the books describe the beginning and the end of Narnia, they were both written at the end of Lewis' fairytale-writing era.


(avi artwork by Henning Janssen)

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Posted : April 10, 2022 11:18 am
Col Klink, Courtenay, Kokoro Hane and 1 people liked
The Bulldog
(@reshpeckabiggle)
NarniaWeb Regular

The Horse and His Boy gets my vote for the Most Brilliant of the Chronicles for these reasons:

1.  The mountaintop encounter between Shasta and Aslan is the crown jewel of all of C.S. Lewis’s literature. I must have read it fifty times and this passage still brings tears.  Aslan’s discourse of Shasta’s misfortunes and fears concluding with Shasta’s worship is magnificent.

2.  The development of the four main characters, how they were thrown together, changed and grew, leading to each one’s encounter with Aslan, is unmatched.  I think Lewis is particularly prescient in having Bree, Hwin, and Aravis considering on their own their encounters with Aslan.

3.  The account of the battle is tight and dramatic, as narrated by the Hermit from his pool.  The treacherous dialogue between Tisroc, Rabadash, and Ahoshta is chilling.  The climactic story of “Rabadash the Ridiculous” is a masterpiece of storytelling.

4.  There is probably more humor in this story than the others. The characters of Corin and Lasaraleen give comic contrast to the story’s heroes. It is a treat to see once again our old friend Mr. Tumnus, whose idea for escape from Tashbaan is nearly as noteworthy as his protection of Lucy in the previous adventure.

 

As for ranking the seven books (understanding that my seventh favorite compares with my favorite like 1,000,007 compares with 1,000,001):

1.  The Horse and His Boy

2.  The Magician’s Nephew

3.  The Silver Chair

4.  The Last Battle

5.  The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

6.  Prince Caspian

7.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe 

Much of my rankings can be explained simply by the fact that Dr. Lewis’s insight into Narnia, its characters and its history, seemed to grow richer with each story.

 

I object to that remark very strongly!

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Posted : May 22, 2022 11:24 am
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Fanatic Hospitality Committee

I'm going to have to start with a disclaimer: I don't actually have a "favourite" among the Chronicles, nor am I capable of ranking them!! Every single one of those seven books has woven itself into my life like no other books ever have and become part of me — there's no other way I can put it — and every single one of them has elements and themes and scenes that I find unforgettable and wouldn't want to be without. So it's useless me trying to put them in any kind of order.

However, I've decided to vote for The Magician's Nephew, not as my personal favourite, but as the one in which I think Lewis's creative powers reached their absolute peak. I think MN is just a touch more deep, dramatic, original and thought-provoking than any of the other Chronicles. It's one that contains one of Lewis's most striking imaginings, the Wood Between the Worlds, with its possibly limitless potential for adventures in other worlds that we don't know about. It's the only book in which we do travel to one of those other worlds apart from Narnia — or rather the dying remains of a world, described in a compelling and chilling fashion, especially at the point where we discover that this world was destroyed in one moment, with one word, by a Queen who would rather rule a dead world than lose her queenship (and as the last chapter confirms, yes, we are supposed to think of nuclear weapons and the potential for something similar to happen in our own world).

And then by contrast, a little later, we see the absolutely thrilling creation of a new world — Narnia itself — through the song of Aslan. Lewis isn't the only author to have imagined music as the means of creating a world; Tolkien uses a similar idea, in a different way, in The Ainulindalë, the first part of The Silmarillion. Whether they were both drawing on particular ancient myths that they both knew, or had a discussion on the topic and both liked the idea of music or song as the divine creative power, or whether it's just a happy coincidence, I don't know! But Lewis's description of the creation of Narnia, bit by bit, has got to be one of THE most jaw-droppingly awesome episodes in his works, or even in children's literature as a whole.

Also, I find Digory and Polly two of the most interesting child characters in the whole series. Digory is realistic and likeable, with his mixture of good and bad character traits — brave and loyal and tender-hearted and keen to do what's right, but also rash and impulsive with the need for quite a bit of learning from his own mistakes, including a self-centred act — striking the bell and waking Jadis — that has absolutely huge and terrible consequences. Polly is one of Lewis's strongest young female characters — about equally as brave and adventurous as Digory, but noticeably more sensible and level-headed at crucial times! I've often wished we got to know more about her beyond what we see of her story in this book and her relatively brief appearance as an adult in The Last Battle. We all at least know that Digory became a professor — THE Professor — but I wonder how Polly's earthly life continued between her adventures at the beginning of Narnia and her eventual entry into Aslan's country?

And finally, I would say The Magician's Nephew has the most emotionally wrenching crisis of any of the Chronicles, hands down: Digory's grief over his mother's impending death, his desperate wish to find some way of saving her, and of course, that culminating moment in which Jadis tempts him to take the apple for his mother instead of giving it to Aslan. Again, I can't think of anything else quite like it in all of children's literature. (It is, of course, all the more poignant when you realise that Lewis is writing from one of the most agonising experiences of his own life, but he chose to give Digory the happy ending that he himself didn't get.) Honestly, there is so much wrapped up in there about life and death and loyalty and sacrifice and giving up all for Christ that I really can't find the words to say any more, because Lewis just does it so brilliantly.

(Even if, thanks to that scene, we do have the one instance of Aslan flagrantly contradicting his own rules — yes, He who in Dawn Treader told Lucy "Do you think I wouldn't obey my own rules?" only minutes before reiterating what he also declared in Prince Caspian: that "no one is ever told what would have happened". And yet here at the end of The Magician's Nephew, what do we get, and in great detail?? "... That is what would have happened, child, with a stolen apple..." Grin Tongue ROFL   I know it's necessary to the plot, and it's a deeply moving explanation, but still... Wink )

So, after all that... no, I still can't actually call The Magician's Nephew my "favourite", as I could go on at just as great length about all the things I love in any one of the other six books! But when it comes to sheer originality and depth and quality of writing, I would have to rate it as Lewis's tour de force out of all the Chronicles. And I will leave it at that!!

"Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed."
(Prince Caspian)

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Posted : July 9, 2022 12:26 pm
White Wizard
(@white-wizard)
NarniaWeb Regular

I chose MN because Digory is relatable and there is a lot of wonderful world building. I also find that MN is equally light and dark and handles complex topics perfectly. 

It was rather ahead of its time. 

It’s the perfect introduction to Narnia because there are a lot of dark elements (an ill parent and Charn), but there is also a lot of humour,  light and hope. 

 

 

 

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Posted : October 28, 2022 10:49 am
KingNainofArchenland
(@king-nain)
NarniaWeb Regular

I like them all, of course. But with the passage of time I tend to feel the first one is a bit too simple of a story. The rest are more interesting to me now because they are more complex and nuanced. TLTWATWD was perfect to start with, but it does seem like it was aimed at slightly younger children, hence the simpler, less dimensional, story. So I rarely re-read it.

I like the 2nd one best because I like the idea of the world of Narnia being asleep for thousands of  years and then it is all  slowly woken up, and re-born. Enlightenment is reborn out of the "Dark Ages", essentially, little by little, for some reason that's always resonated with me particularly, though I know PC is not one of the most popular ones in general.

BTW, I don't sanction this re-ordering of them in "chronological" order, I think it's dumb, but that is how they're published these days. You can't really order them chronologically since THAHB would take place within the duration of TLTWATWD. To me it makes sense to number them in the order they were originally published, there's a logic to it, even if it's not chronological.

Rankings:

1. Prince Caspian

2. The Horse And His Boy

3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

4. The Magician's Nephew

5. The Last Battle

6. The Silver Chair

7. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

I honestly don't know why PC gets so little love. 🤷

 

This post was modified 1 year ago by KingNainofArchenland
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Posted : March 25, 2023 7:39 pm
Courtenay liked
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Guru

@kingnainofarchenland 

Welcome to the Forum! Those are good choices! My favorite used to be Prince Caspian then it changed to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Prince Caspian comes in close second now.

"And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me beloved."
(Emeth, The Last Battle)
https://escapetoreality.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/aslan-and-emeth2.jpg

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Posted : March 25, 2023 8:15 pm
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Fanatic Hospitality Committee

@kingnainofarchenland Hooray, someone else who's a big fan of Prince Caspian!! Grin Dancing Thumbs up   I've always loved it — the slightly awkward story-within-a-story structure has never bothered me, even when I first read it as a 7-year-old (and all things considered, I've never thought of or heard of a better way that Lewis could have structured it) — and the theme of a lost magical world being renewed and restored is actually far more pertinent to me now, as an adult who's experienced losing faith and finding it again, than it was when I was little.

I think probably most of us here, and probably most serious fans of Narnia overall, aren't in favour of the chronological re-ordering of the series; the publishers did that some time in the 1980s on the grounds that it was Lewis's "preferred" order, but that's based solely on one comment he made to one young reader who wrote to him and suggested the chronological order. It's not something he seems to have considered in detail, let alone officially decreed.

And yes, welcome to the forum! Star  

"Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed."
(Prince Caspian)

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Posted : March 26, 2023 6:12 am
KingNainofArchenland
(@king-nain)
NarniaWeb Regular

@courtenay Thanks! 🙏

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Posted : March 26, 2023 9:21 am
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Guru

@kingnainofarchenland 

On that note, I think each of us has a new appreciation of the Narnia series each time we read or re-read it. We even get a new perspective each time.

Prince Caspian is a story that help change the path of Narnia's history.

"And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me beloved."
(Emeth, The Last Battle)
https://escapetoreality.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/aslan-and-emeth2.jpg

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Posted : March 26, 2023 7:45 pm
KingNainofArchenland
(@king-nain)
NarniaWeb Regular

I recently decided to shell out for the hardcover box set, so I'm appreciating them anew with the Baynes drawings in full colour, the books are beautiful.

 

The Chronicles of Narnia box set

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Posted : March 27, 2023 7:33 pm
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Junkie
Posted by: @kingnainofarchenland

I like the idea of the world of Narnia being asleep for thousands of  years and then it is all  slowly woken up, and re-born. Enlightenment is reborn out of the "Dark Ages"

C. S. Lewis would probably be mad at you for saying that. I read somewhere he insisted the Renaissance "never happened" and that the virtues we attribute to it had already started in the Middle Ages. Giggle (Please don't be offended! I'm not saying C. S. Lewis was right or anything. The irony just made me chuckle. I've no wish to condescend to you, especially since it's a nice change of pace to have someone post who really appreciates the themes of Prince Caspian.)

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen check out my new blog!

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Posted : March 28, 2023 8:09 am
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Guru
Posted by: @kingnainofarchenland

I like the 2nd one best because I like the idea of the world of Narnia being asleep for thousands of  years and then it is all  slowly woken up, and re-born. Enlightenment is reborn out of the "Dark Ages", essentially, little by little, for some reason that's always resonated with me particularly, though I know PC is not one of the most popular ones in general.

Here is something that when the Pevensies are at Cair Paravel-

"And now we're coming back to Narnia just as if we were Crusaders or Anglo-Saxons or Ancient Britons or someone coming back to modern England?"

 

"And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me beloved."
(Emeth, The Last Battle)
https://escapetoreality.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/aslan-and-emeth2.jpg

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Posted : March 28, 2023 8:27 am
KingNainofArchenland
(@king-nain)
NarniaWeb Regular

@col-klink Well...I wasn't speaking literally, just using it metaphorically. But actually I realized afterwards that LWW starts in a similar way, although it is more like a thaw from a frozen state. Maybe a better metaphor is waking from a dormant state and seeing the dawn.

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Posted : March 28, 2023 11:36 am
Col Klink liked
starlit
(@starlit)
NarniaWeb Newbie

1. Voyage of the Dawn Treader - So much to like here. I like the relative lack of antagonists, especially once the slave trade has been shut down. Eustace's transformation is one of my favorite moments in the series, and everybody loves Reepicheep. Ramandu is one of my favorite minor characters in the series, and although the book's ending is strange, I've come to like it.

2. Silver Chair - Puddleglum is my favorite of all characters (other than Aslan, of course). This book also has one of the tidiest, neatest endings of the series. I do find it a bit sad knowing Narnia wouldn't last a whole lot longer after this, and there's not as much going on plot-wise here as in most of the books,  but this one still has a special place for me.

3. The Magician's Nephew - The first half feels a bit slow to me, but the second half is as good as anything in the series. This is also, far and away, the funniest book in the series (Uncle Andrew being planted, the London stuff, the First Joke).

4. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - It's so hard to analyze something that has so much more familiarity than the rest. I feel like the conclusion is a bit too sudden, but then the final battle isn't the real point here, is it?

5. The Horse and His Boy - I appreciate this one a lot more as an adult, recognizing it as an abject lesson on pride. I do think the parts set in Tashbaan in the middle are some of the least interesting chapters of the series, but the parts where Aslan speaks (especially alone with Shasta) are all the strongest.

6. Prince Caspian - The middle of the book, where Caspian meets all the talking beasts and other creatures of Narnia, is one of the most "comfortable" in the series. Dr. Cornelius is also a truly lovable character. I feel like the book ends relatively abruptly, and the Bacchus stuff is strange.

7. Last Battle - I find myself exasperated by how many times and ways the scheming of Shift and the success of the other antagonists could have been avoided. I'm uncomfortable with the theological implications of Emeth. I also believe any attempt to describe an eternity in paradise in humanly comprehensible terms will be a letdown. I do think Lewis does a good job at not getting too far into the weeds here.

This post was modified 5 months ago by starlit
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Posted : December 31, 2023 2:25 pm
Narnian78 liked
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