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Dimitris
(@dimitris)
NarniaWeb Regular

I find that I don't mind reading MN before The Last Battle, though — reading about the beginning of Narnia and the end of Narnia back-to-back can be rather epic, I think.

I can understand you. But I didn't like the fact I learned so late the reason of talking animals. I would like to know it earlier.

(I notice that in your preferred order, there is a Caspian trilogy and a Eustace trilogy — PC, VDT, and SC for Caspian, and VDT, SC, and LB for Eustace!)

Actually is the same order with Ηar.Collin's order. The only difference is the first two books. I just switch them :Ρ

(Glad I didn't read MN before The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe!)

Το be honest I think this It's not as bad as it sounds. I feel that if I had read the magician first, that would be okay for me. I know all the arguments they support that Lion must be the first book.
I've seen several times the Glumpuddle's youtube videos (several times because there are not eng subtitles and Glumpuddle speaks too fast for my perceptive ability :p )

I really can't understand the argument "None of the children knew who Aslan was, any more than you do". If we look at it in a strictly grammatically sight then:

any more than you do = children knew ≤ than us. But "any more than you do" does not imply that we do not know anything (about Aslan)!

Perhaps there is a meaning beyond it's grammatical sight. I would like it a lot explain it to me about that.

Also I can't understand why some people use as an argument the last sentence of the "Lion".

"..it was only the beggining of the adventures of the Narnia."

It is clear that the text talking about the Pevensie children and not to us!

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Posted : March 27, 2020 4:08 am
Wanderer Between Worlds
(@wanderer)
NarniaWeb Nut

Hello Dimitris!

I personally prefer publication order, but I do like your order very much. I didn't like HHB that much on my first time reading it because of the huge disconnect between its events and those of SC. I think that your reading order fixes that issue quite nicely. :)

However, I do think that MN needs to be read after the LWW. For me, the revelation at the end that Digory the professor from LWW and the story of the history behind the wardrobe completely changed my perspective on the Chronicles. It was a missing piece that I didn't know had been missing, and the circle finally felt completed (or as complete as it could be before LB). Even though MN is at first feels awkward and out of place, I still like it directly before LB. There's something poignant about reading about the creation of Narnia before the destruction of it.

For me personally, Aslan is the central character of the Chronicles (he is only constant character throughout all seven books). I think that publication is the best order that characterizes Aslan, so that you as the reader slowly get more and more information about him, yet he still remains somewhat of a mystery. By the time of MN (in publication order), the reader already knows a lot about Aslan, but the knowledge that he created all of Narnia only serves to deepen his character based upon what has already been established (he is the Bridge Builder to all the worlds, he has knowledge of deep and deeper magic, etc.). This may or may or may not be a huge factor for a lot of people's reading of the Chronicles, but these are just my thoughts. :D

--Wanderer

"I am,” said Aslan. "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”

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Posted : March 27, 2020 5:01 am
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Nut

If I may ask, Dimitris, why did you feel like you needed to know the reason for the talking animals earlier? 😊 Talking animals are a fairly common idea. I think the number of cultures that tell stories with talking animals is larger than the number of cultures that don't. And there are plenty of other fantastical creatures in Narnia like fauns, dryads, gods, etc.

I really can't understand the argument "None of the children knew who Aslan was, any more than you do". If we look at it in a strictly grammatically sight then:any more than you do = children knew ≤ than us. But "any more than you do" does not imply that we do not know anything (about Aslan)!

Well, the children really don't know anything about Aslan at all. They hadn't spent much time in Narnia. But if the reader is expected to have read The Magician's Nephew, they do know something about Aslan. (They don't everything but they do know a good bit more than the Pevensies.)

I agree though that this disconnect by itself isn't an unanswerable argument in favor of LWW going before MN. However it is part of the larger argument which is that LWW is written and like the first book in a series and MN is written like a prequel. C.S. Lewis introduces the story by saying that it explains "how all the comings and goings between our own world and the land of Narnia first began." This clearly implies that the reader knows-or has had the opportunity to know what Narnia is. (Note that for the Radio Theatre adaptations, which were released in chronological order, this line was changed to "a land called Narnia.") It also says that Digory "became the famous Professor Kirke who comes into other books." It doesn't say the adult Digory may come into other stories, the way Lewis says he may write how the Lone Islands became part of Narnia in VDT. It's clearly implying that those other stories have already been told. (OK, I'll admit that last bit is a little pedantic. 😉 )

The ending of MN also leads into the ending of the next chronological story in a way none of the other endings do. "(Digory) had part of the timber made into a wardrobe, which he put in his big house in the country. And though he himself did not discover the magical properties of that wardrobe, someone else did. That was the beginning of all the comings and goings between Narnia and our world, which you can read of in other books." The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, for example, doesn't end with "Everyone kept saying how Eustace had changed for the better. One of those people was a schoolmate of his called Jill Pole. And that was how she ended up returning to Narnia with Eustace one day." This ending sticks out like a sore thumb unless we assume the book's supposed to be a prequel.

I'm sorry if I seem intolerant of anyone who likes chronological order. It just takes a lot of words to explain this opinion so I risk coming across as fanatical. 😉 I've never seen the books as being little connected stories, not one big story, so it never really bugged me if they jump around in a timeline or if characters show up in one who don't show up in others. And I don't see any reason to believe Lewis had a problem with that either.

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

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Posted : March 27, 2020 7:25 am
Dimitris
(@dimitris)
NarniaWeb Regular

Hello Dimitris!
I didn't like HHB that much on my first time reading it because of the huge disconnect between its events and those of SC.

I have to say something more about the HB's place. About the MN's place I support to read it after Lion. But I have to admit that I had doubts about the HB. Paul Ford supports HB can be read before SC and after VDT. Also I have an argument about this:

Reading HB after VDT, a "contrast" is created. You are moving on from deep seas to the vast deserts. From the coolness of the liquid element to the unbearable heat of the sand.
Μaybe it sounds to you silly. It's just a directorial perspective. :Ρ

If I may ask, Dimitris, why did you feel like you needed to know the reason for the talking animals earlier? :ymblushing: Talking animals are a fairly common idea. I think the number of cultures that tell stories with talking animals is larger...

Ιn Narnia there is selectivity in speech. Some animals speaks, some don't. It was a little "strange" for me (even for a fairy tale). I think it would be better to be known from the beginning.

.."how all the comings and goings between our own world and the land of Narnia first began." This clearly implies..

I felt the same when I started read the MN.

As I said, I suggest that Lion should be read first. I can see clearly that the MN is a prequel. I have already the books. :)
If I "support" the MN can be read first, I only claim this because I generally prefer a chronological reading. (Ι chose to read Silmarillion first than LotR :Ρ)

Ι like chronological order. I wish there was a chronological order without inconsistencies.
Lion is the first book and the Magician is a prequel. No doubt about that :)

ps: I hope all this makes sense to you!

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Posted : March 27, 2020 1:27 pm
Justin of Archenland
(@justin-of-archenland)
NarniaWeb Regular

So IMHO the best reading order is:

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Magician's Nephew
The Horse and His Boy
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair
The Last Battle

In this way the “flagship” of the book series the LWW stays first, and follows a real chronological order without any confusion in the series. Αfter we read the main Narnia story the LWW, we starting from MN (the creation), then we move on to HB (LWW times), and then the order Prince Caspian-The Last Battle, describes without baskstories, the rest Narnia stories.

I think this makes perfect sense and satisfies both c.o and p.o fans!

I'm really glad I joined this forum. You guys are opening so many new doors for me!

I think this order does make complete sense. I've always liked for MN and HHB to be earlier in the series then the publication order, but I totally agree with LWW being the first read. This fixes those problems for me.

I'm getting really excited about reading it in this order!

Apart from that I voted 'Other', because in my experience you decide your own order after a few complete reads of the series. Yet, for new readers, I would definitely advise Dimitri's order or the publication order. :)

“Child," said the Voice, "I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

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Posted : April 10, 2020 10:58 pm
Dimitris
(@dimitris)
NarniaWeb Regular

My friend Justin, it grieves me to tell you that I think I am wrong, and I have to revise my order :(

In the days of quarantine Ι have plenty of time so I am reading books much of the day. So I had the opportunity to read selectively the "Chronicles" again and I find out that the "Prince Caspian" is a key-book about the shifting position of the MN and the HHB.

Let's start with the MN first. ΜΝ can't be read before PC because of the end of PC. Specifically in PC, we read:

"You came into Narnia out of Telmar," said Aslan. "But you came into Telmar from another place. You do not belong to this world at all. You came hither, certain generations ago, out of that same world to which the High King Peter belongs."

Αs you read these lines, you think: "So there are also other earthlings who get into Narnia before children...". A mystery begins...Pevensies are not the only humans..

But if you have read MN first, then you have already seen many human who visited Narnia first. You already know Digory, Polly, Uncle Andrew, King Frank, Queen Helen...there is no mystery any more. It ruins the mystery at the end of PC.

Now as about the MN's position Ι am not sure but I insist that it don't need to be read so late (6th position). Backstories should not be read too late. Αnd I will explain my thinking:

Today I saw (for the tenth time) the movie :Prince of Persia: The Sand of Time" with my brother. In the middle of the movie, in the desert, Tamina starts narrate the history of the sands of time, of the hourglass, of the whole history about sacret guardians etc. She actually narrate a backstory. Can you imagine this story to be said at the end of the movie?

I feel the same thing about MN. I have questions. What is Narnia? Ηow Narnia was created? Who is Aslan? Why some animals talking and some other not? What is this place? I need answers like the prince in the movie! And a backstory is the perfect way to answer to the questions. And a backstory should read kind of early and not at the end. This is not a "mystery novel" with Sherlock Holmes or Hercules Poirot where everything is revealed only at the end!

A backstory is like cooked food. It is not ready either early or late. :p

I suggest MN should be read after PC. Remember that PC is the only book whose the end talking about earthling who came to Narnia. So maybe It is the best "introduction" for the ΜΝ.

Αbout HHB technically speaking, the only right position is after SC. There is no doubt about that. But as I have already said, Ι think it should be reading before SC for the following reasons:

1) Βy reading the bard's song, a powerfull nostalgia is created.
2) Reading the VDT after the HHB, you feel like you have been cooled in the sea by the heat of the vast desert. A nice "contrast" is created.
3) I don't think that "ruins" the "Caspian trilogy" because in SC Caspian has a cameo playing and not an active role.

PC shows that HHB shouldn't be read earlier than PC. At the beginning of the book we read:

"Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, and it has been told in another book called The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe how they had a remarkable adventure".

What do you mean dear author? Kids had remarkable adventures in Calormen and Archenland too! Did you forget that? The author seems that ignore HHB! (of course he hadn't "discovered" it yet ). :)

It makes more sense to me that HHB should be read after MN because HHB actually is a "LWW number 2". I think reading HHB-MN It's a bit of a mess.

So: LWW / PC / MN / HHB / VDT / SC / LB

Actually the only change, is the shifting of PC.

If anyone thinks I am wrong or right, I d' like to tell me!

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Posted : April 12, 2020 9:06 am
The Rose-Tree Dryad
(@rose)
Secret Garden Agent Moderator

What about positioning MN (and perhaps HHB) after LWW/PC/VDT and before SC/LB, Dimitris? The line "There I have another name" in VDT would be an interesting set-up for learning so much more about Aslan's character in The Magician's Nephew, and I think readers would be excited to meet Eustace again when returning to 1940s England with The Silver Chair. SC is rather disjointed from the stories published prior to it, so I think sticking MN or HHB before it wouldn't be out of the question.

Twitter: Rose_the_Dryad

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Posted : April 13, 2020 4:23 pm
Dimitris
(@dimitris)
NarniaWeb Regular

What about positioning MN (and perhaps HHB) after LWW/PC/VDT and before SC/LB,? The line "There I have another name" in VDT would be an interesting set-up for learning so much more about Aslan's character in The Magician's Nephew

I am not sure if the "other name" could be a set-up because this sentence isn't something "Narnianish" but is the God's name on earth. After that, He continues:

"You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."

Lewis in "Mere Christianity" said that the book is an "antechamber" to christianity. I think "Narnia" has the same role; it's a "anterchamber" to know better Christ. Of course Ι don't believe read MN after VDT it's a bad idea; Just I would rather read HHB. :)

SC is rather disjointed from the stories published prior to it, so I think sticking MN or HHB before it wouldn't be out of the question.

Totally agree.
I strongly support ΗΗΒ must read before or after VDT. Here also the P. Ford's order.

p.s I know I split hairs with these thoughts but I really like reading about other people's opinions. :)

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Posted : April 14, 2020 2:49 am
Justin of Archenland
(@justin-of-archenland)
NarniaWeb Regular

Nooo, Dimitris, why has it come to this! Hahah, I'm really glad you brought this up. I have been staring at a row of post-its with the titles on them.

Right now, I do still feel like the old order is a good one to have.

"You came into Narnia out of Telmar," said Aslan. "But you came into Telmar from another place. You do not belong to this world at all. You came hither, certain generations ago, out of that same world to which the High King Peter belongs."

Αs you read these lines, you think: "So there are also other earthlings who get into Narnia before children...". A mystery begins...Pevensies are not the only humans..

I understand what you are saying here. However, the excerpt you used is inside a detailed explanation by Aslan of the island from which the pirates came that took over Telmar.
In my opinion, we can't assume the Telmarines came before the kids, just that they came from the same world. And we know how and what.

Also, when you read MN and HHB before PC, a different mystery is brought forward that PC solves in this explanation. One that I think is evenly exciting as the 'why are there other humans'. I came across it the first time I read the Chronicles because I read them in CO, since it's the HarperCollins edition.

In MN, Frank and Helen are made first King and Queen of Narnia, father and mother of many kings that shall be in Narnia... 'and the Isles and Archenland' (MN, page 204, HarperCollins ed.)

Going on into HHB shows that the Pevensies have made contact with both Archenland and Calormen. You understand the presence of Archenland, whilst Calormen is still a bit of a mystery at first.

Then when you come to PC, all of a sudden the Telmarines appear. The mystery of 'where did they come from all of a sudden and why have they taken Narnia' is bigger when you have read MN and HHB first, because you know humans have been there but for some reason these weirdos completely went against the natural order of the countries there and became this 'Calormen-like' wannabe-empire.

In the end you discover where they came from and why they did what they did. A grand - yet known to most in a lesser gradation - mystery solved.

1) Βy reading the bard's song, a powerfull nostalgia is created.
2) Reading the VDT after the HHB, you feel like you have been cooled in the sea by the heat of the vast desert. A nice "contrast" is created.
3) I don't think that "ruins" the "Caspian trilogy" because in SC Caspian has a cameo playing and not an active role.

I definitely agree!

PC shows that HHB shouldn't be read earlier than PC. At the beginning of the book we read:

"Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, and it has been told in another book called The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe how they had a remarkable adventure".

What do you mean dear author? Kids had remarkable adventures in Calormen and Archenland too! Did you forget that? The author seems that ignore HHB!

This also is not that big of a problem to me. We know that the Pevensies are quite an important part of Narnian History. If you read MN before PC you actually have a deeper meaning of the history of Jadis and why it was such a remarkable adventure that they were able to help Aslan defeat her.

Since the text specifically calls out the book of LWW, I see no reason in having to include other stories that weren't in LWW itself.

Although the adventure was great, even for the Pevensies, I believe they had many more great adventures during their reign.
I believe, therefore, that we can assume HHB was a great tale in the Narnian world, but shouldn't have to deserve being named in an introduction of a story that is specifically focused on the Pevensies and the newly-introduced Caspian.

The line "There I have another name" in VDT would be an interesting set-up for learning so much more about Aslan's character in The Magician's Nephew, and I think readers would be excited to meet Eustace again when returning to 1940s England with The Silver Chair.

I agree with Dimitris in not being too sure about using that sentence as a set-up for SC. To me, MN doesn't add that much more of Aslan's info when put after both LWW and VDT.

p.s Sorry for the long post. I just spent the last ninety minutes working on this. Thank you for keeping me sharp ;)

“Child," said the Voice, "I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

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Posted : April 14, 2020 8:02 am
Eustace
(@eustace)
NarniaWeb Junkie

Although, I would say publication order, I am not going to stop those already reading Narnia in chronological order because, they are still reading Narnia and the important thing is read Narnia.

I can argue about the publication order being the best order all day, but, if you aren't getting people to read the books who really cares. I have no real clue which I saw or heard first.

But, I remember the book I read first...like actually sit down and read was The Horse and His Boy. This is because I was listening to an abridged audio book version of the book, and I did not understand how Shasta and Aravis got from one place to the next because they kept skipping parts of the story.

So, I would ask my older sister to explain to me the parts I was missing and thus made the story confusing to me, and she told me to go read the book myself and I did. My mom also distinically remembers The Horse and His Boy being her first book as well.

Personally, I believe the order you read some of the books in truly does not matter, for instance, you could read The Horse and His Boy after or before Magician's Nephew and it would not matter. But, something that has been interesting to me is the order Lewis finished writing the books. I have decided to go back and read them in this order the interesting thing to me is that in this order you read MN after the LB.

LWW

March 1949

PC

December 1949

VODT

February 1950

HHB

March-July 1950

SC

March 1951

LB

Completed in March 1953

MN

Completed in Feb 1954

After talking to a lot of my family members about the reading order I have come to the conclusion that it may be the age that you start reading the Chronicles in the first place. The books are very different and some books like The Last Battle are for a more mature audience then say the LWW. If I read The MN first as a kid I would not have been as interested as I was reading the HHB and I know people where their jam was MN and HHB did not interest them at all. Because I had a lack of interest in MN it took me months to read, and the LB took me years to read because it was so dark. That doesn't mean I don't like those books now, but, when I was younger it was quite hard to get me to read books and so I had to be really invested. 


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Posted : June 7, 2020 2:51 pm
Dimitris
(@dimitris)
NarniaWeb Regular

I recently read this article. Although I liked it, I would like to point out some mistakes.

- "...the only right way to discover the Narnian world is the way Lewis “discovered” it, which is basically the original publishing order...that help you appreciate how they actually grew in Lewis’ mind — i.e., basically, in the publication order."

Τhis is a charming point (the way that Lewis "discovered" the Land of Narnia), but if we like to put it that way, the "right" order is Lion/Prince/Voyage/Horse/Silver/Last. Once again, Lewis discovered/created first the Horse and then the SC. Actually when he was done with the Horse, he had not even started the SC!

spring 1950: begun HHB
summer 1950: finished HHB
autumn 1950: begun SC
winter 1951: finished SC

 

Although the Horse completed before SC, SC published first to keep the Caspian triad. This is something I can't understand because Caspian in SC has a cameo playing. So it is certain that as Lewis wrote SC, he added purposely the sentence of the 3rd chapter "I haven’t time to tell it now, though it is well worth hearing", to keep -as we said-the "Caspian Trilogy". The HB is not a "shot out of order" book and it can be read very well before SC. I've already said my points. Additionally I want to say this: reading the four -in p.o- books (Lion/Prince/Voyage/Silver) maybe some people found this order a king of monotonously and tedious. Remember also that the Voyage and the Silver, are the biggest books in the series. So reading the Horse between them, it can be something like a "break" from the main story.

 

- "Observe how Lewis methodically explores the Narnian world from one book to the next in various dimensions of time and space: .."

I liked this point. I really liked it. If I understand it well, the author speaks of a progressive local discovery of the continent of Narnia. But it makes more sense to discover first a culture (even if this culture " further removed from the Narnian milieu than anything else we see in that world") than traveling first to the bowels of the earth right?

In that way, the right order is clearly as follows: (here is the map)

1) The very start in the little "village" of Narnia (LWW)
2) then we go south in Archeland (PC)
3) then we go further south in Calormen (HHB). At this point we have already explored the continental Νarnia.
4) Now we are going to explore the seas of Narnia (VDT). At this point we have already explored the surface of the land of Narnia.
5) Time to go underground of the land of Narnia (SC).
6) It is time for a "giant leap backward in time" (MN). 7) Then, the end of all.

- "Note that there is a natural break between the first four stories and the last three stories."

So are there...8 stories (having in mind that natural break= a story)? Which story is a break between 7 stories when the whole series consists of..7 stories?
(Νote that the article talks about the need for a break between stories).

- "Lewis switches gears and gives us three different stories. .."

The last story (Last Battle), isn't a "different" story. If we like to put it that way, even the Lion and the Caspian etc are "different" stories. The Last Battle is clearly related to the first (in p.o ) 4 books. The only different stories are the HHB and the MN.

 

Ηοwever, I enjoyed the article : - )

 

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Posted : August 7, 2020 9:56 am
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