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NarniaWeb Guru

Oh goodness, it seems like my sisters and I are attacking the Talk About Narnia Forum :D
I, as my sisters, perfer to read it in the original order. Why, because that's the way Lewis wrote it. Well, not only. To me it seems, that LWW gives a better introduction to Narnia than MN. In LWW the reader has no idea what Narnia is, and with the children the reader comes to know Narnia. In the MN the reader already knows about Narnia, and it's more like "ahhhhh, that's the way it was".
I always recomend everyone who asks me to read it the original way.

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Posted : July 9, 2012 7:30 am
NarniaWeb Nut

I've always read it in the publication order but that's mostly because my set is numbered according to that order. Nowadays, though, the book I pick up first is usually determined by which is my favorite. Hence I tend to read HHB much more than the other books and LB is the least read.

I think as others have said, LWW forms a better introduction to the series simply because the reader will be exploring alongside the characters and Lewis himself (because LWW was his introduction to Narnia). After LWW though I think a chronological order works well.


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Posted : July 9, 2012 11:28 am
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Random unrelated question: I really love that edition of the books -- they're so lovely! Do they have extra illustrations or something? :)

If I'm correct those are the first published editions (very first Narnia books printed). To my knowledge they don't have extra illustrations, but I love them too!

I used to take turns. I would read the Original Publication Order, and the next time I read them it would be in the Chronological Order.
The last few times though I really enjoy reading them in Original Publication Order.
I would recommend to someone who has never read them to read them in the Original Publication Order because one of the things I loved when I first read LWW, was when I read MN, the wonder of discovering how and where the Wardrobe came from, that Digory was the professor and how the lamppost had got there. It was really amazing the first time I read it! :D

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Posted : July 9, 2012 12:11 pm
NarniaWeb Nut

I picked other ;)) I had read them in publication order rather unintentionally when I first read the series. (Save, HHB, MN, or LB... one or the other wasn't necessarily read in that order...) And VDT. I read that one last.

I like reading LWW first, then PC, then VDT, because, well, I feel that I explore Narnia alot when I read them that way. Lewis and his readers at that time were also just stepping into Narnia with LWW, exploring some more with PC, etc. etc. Funny enough, when I read LWW, I find Lewis to explain a lot about Narnia and the characters and Aslan almost (well, it technically was and is) for first time readers. I'm not saying that everyone does or should read them that way; I enjoy reading them that way. After VDT, I like reading HHB, then moving on to SC.
(Personally, I like reading MN last. ;)) It's just.. a hint... kind of the book that I don't favor the most from the whole series...I like it, but I like the ones like LWW, or PC :P )

Funny thing with reading them is that when you're done with one, you want to jump to the next in your own order, and the next and the next.
It's alot of fun when you talk over with others and they say what order they like reading and why.

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Posted : July 9, 2012 8:10 pm
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I voted other, and here is why:

When I first read the books, I had either read LWW or seen the BBC production of it, therefore I went into MN as if it were a prequel. I believe that this is the best way to come to know Narnia, and so I recommend this order to anyone I am introducing to the series. Often, I will explain the two orders (Chronological and Publication) to new Narniacs and will give my pros and cons for each. The biggest PRO for Publication Order is the relationship between LWW and MN I mentioned. The biggest CON is that the series seems a bit scrambled toward the end. I also typically say that LWW, PC, VDT, SC, and LB should be read in that order, with MN and HHB coming somewhere in between LWW and LB. Since this is practically publication order, I usually recommend it, at least the first time through.

That said, I think that nearly every time I have read the Chronicles after my initial reading (which I can't remember the order of after LWW and MN), I have read them Chronologically. Mostly this is because of the studies and other books I have read in conjunction, which all have gone in this order.

Furthermore, I would like to point out Lewis' own words from the letter quoted in the first post: So perhaps it does not matter very much in which order anyone read them.

This leads me to think that Lewis probably preferred chronological as he said, but didn't think there was one specific order in which the books needed to be read. I have seen some members of NWeb in the past who read in an almost revers publication order, and really it would be fun to see what stands out if one mixes up the books a little. For instance, if SC, VDT, and PC were reversed, or scattered throughout the reading, instead of collected together as Lewis did when he published SC (HHB was already finished, but he wanted to keep the "Caspian Triad" together).

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Posted : July 10, 2012 7:14 am
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I just posted a video about this! Been working on it for a long time. More to come...

There's no doubt that publication order works best for the first-time reader. It just makes more sense. But for me, a fan who has read the series several times, any order works. I agree with FK: I like being able to pick up whichever book I'm in the mood for. |

Posted : July 10, 2012 11:04 am
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I prefer publication order. I find the books flow better that way. However, the first time I read them I read LWW first, stopped after the coronation, read HHB, finished LWW, and then continued on in publication order. I like having HHB and MN in between SC and LB because there is a larger time gap between those two then the ones with the Pevensies and Eustace.

There is one thing that has always bugged me about HarperCollins changing the order though. Didn't C.S.Lewis finish HHB before SC? Wouldn't that indicate there was a method to the order they were published in? He even drops a few HHB spoilers in SC and Rilian sings a song about Corin Thunder-fist.

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Posted : July 10, 2012 12:50 pm
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Didn't C.S.Lewis finish HHB before SC?

I believe this is true, however I still wonder which one he started first. He may have started SC first and that might be why he published them this way. That was just the order he had them in his head.

My problem with Chronological order is that in terms of writing style, LWW does make more sense first. My problem with publication is that it doesn't introduce Narnia as expansively early on... (ie it switches main characters half way through, where as the other one does so much earlier... the other also introduces more of the geography earlier._) This is why I think I'd like to blend them. You get LWW first which helps in terms of writing style, but you also get a better sense of how big Narnia is.

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Posted : July 10, 2012 2:25 pm
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I'm sure everyone is familiar with this little bit from the inside cover of their books... at least the HarperCollins publication. In fact it may have already been mentioned, but I'll post it anyway...

"Although The Magician's Nephew was written several years after C.S. Lewis fist began The Chronicles of Narnia, he wanted it to be read as the first book in the series. HarperCollins is happy to present these books in the order in which Professor Lewis preferred."

Wonder if that's true... did he really ever say that he would prefer them to be read in chronological order? If indeed he did, I'm all for reading them that way as well.

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Posted : July 10, 2012 2:53 pm
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Didn't C.S.Lewis finish HHB before SC?

I believe this is true, however I still wonder which one he started first. He may have started SC first and that might be why he published them this way. That was just the order he had them in his head.

Jonathan Gregory has an FAQ where he has a chart listing this (The Lefay Fragment) is an early, abandoned version of ideas that later became MN).

For more information on the development of the Chronicles below is a chronology charting when C.S.Lewis wrote each book:

Summer 1948 - C.S.Lewis begins writing The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
10 March 1949 - C.S.Lewis read Roger Lancelyn Green the first two chapters of The Lion
14 June 1949 - Lewis reads the first two chapters of The Lefay Fragment to Green
Dec 1949 - Green reads the completed manuscript of Prince Caspian
Feb 1950 - Green reads the completed manuscript of The Voyage of the 'Dawn Treader'
22 June 1950 - The Inklings given proofs of the Lion
26 July 1950 - Green reads the completed manuscript of The Horse and His Boy
13 Nov 1950 - Lewis completes the first few chapters of The Silver Chair
March 1951 - Roger Lancelyn Green reads the completed version of The Silver Chair
May-June 1951 - At least half of The Magicians Nephew completed
Oct-Nov 1951 - Three-quarters of The Magicians Nephew completed
Feb 1953 - Green reads the first half of The Last Battle
11 March 1953 - C.S.Lewis wrote to his publisher Geoffrey Bles to say 'You will hear with mixed feelings that I have just finished the seventh and really the last of the Narnian stories.'
Feb 1954 - Green reads the revised version of The Magicians Nephew

So it might look like he started HHB before SC.
Early on he had several books finished, ready to be published in chosen order.

I think it's particularly interesting that the very last thing to be finished, was the first story chronologically speaking. Even LB was finished before the revised version of MN, which had been started much earlier. It must have been a difficult book to write.

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Posted : July 11, 2012 1:12 pm
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First off, I'm a massive fan of the book sets that come without numbers--much less stressful for fans on either side of the isle (especially when such fans live in the same house...). :P But, if I have to get one with numbers, it's going to be publication, period. Chronological just... doesn't make sense to me, because of the writing styles Lewis used from book to book. Mind, when it's just me reading the books again, it's going to be which ever I happen to be in the mood for (or if its movie is coming out that day, like I did in a one and a half hour rush with VDT ;)) ). But if I'm recommending it to a first time reader, then I'll give them publication order. ;)


Posted : July 13, 2012 11:43 am
NarniaWeb Nut

I recommend that first time readers read in chronological order. But after that I agree with Narnian_Badger in that I am going to read in whatever order I want after that. and in the defense of chronological order C.S. Lewis did not Know that he was going to write more book after LWW so I think he would want people to read in order.

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Posted : July 20, 2012 12:22 pm
The Logical Ornithological Mod Moderator

I voted "Other" because my preferred order is a bit of a hybrid:

-The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe
-Magician's Nephew
-Prince Caspian
-Horse and His Boy
-Silver Chair
-Last Battle

I really love reading LWW first, because it provides such a magical backdrop to the story, has an interesting plot to suck readers into the story, and also is a really quick and interesting read. It's a generally good book to introduce people to the series.

After that, I like to recommend that people read MN, because I think it's great to read that book as soon as possible. Reading it towards the end of the series has never made a good deal of sense to me.

After MN, I like people to finish the Pevensie trilogy (PC and VDT) before reading HAHB (which really could be called the only "stand alone" book in the series, with the possible exception of MN).

I then like to advise the SC + LB finale, because those are the two books in which we see Jill and Eustace working together.

At any rate, it's weird, but it's nice in it's own way ;)

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Posted : July 20, 2012 1:26 pm
NarniaWeb Nut

I've said this before in another thread - but I prefer the original publication order. The spiritual messages that are in the books flow better in that order. If you are a Christian and you are witnessing to someone, you don't usually insist that the person read Genesis before they read the Gospels - in fact, you usually start them off with the Gospels. (And no, I'm not suggesting we rearrange the books of the bible - I'm just saying that we don't usually read it in "order" - but that's another topic.)

Several years ago on another board - I had someone argue with me that Lewis wrote the books in what is considered chronological order. They also said that I was illogical and stupid. Now, just because you don't want to read them in the same order that I do, doesn't mean that you are wrong to read them in whatever order you choose. But don't tell me I'm stupid to read them in my preferred order (even if I choose alphabetical - which I think I might try my next time through) :D

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Posted : July 20, 2012 5:33 pm
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NarniaWeb Guru

Uh... whatever I feel up to ;). Like fantasia_kitty and glumPuddle, now that I've ready the series several times, I'll pick up any of the seven books at any particular time.

For a first time reading of the series, however, I have to go with the publication order. It only makes sense to read the books as they were first released - to follow the stories as those who would have originally experienced the chronicles would have.

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Posted : July 20, 2012 6:35 pm
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