Thursday, January 12, 2017

The order of the Narnia Chronicles

On this date in 2010, I wrote the following article for about the reading order of the Chronicles, and the order of the movies. Just over a year ago, Douglas Gresham made some comments about the movie order in a clip posted on the official Chronicles of Narnia Facebook page. You can view his comments here: The Chronicles of NarniaEmbedded at the bottom of the article below is a 2007 YouTube video by Brian Carnell, known better in online Narnia circles as Glumpuddle. More recently, Brian has published three new videos on the subject. I have included these below, also.  
The Chronicles of Narnia - HarperCollins box set

Why is it that The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is numbered as book 5, but the next Narnia movie is only the third one? Why did the moviemakers skip books 1 and 3?

Actually, the present numbering of the books began when HarperCollins became the publisher in 1994. MacMillan/Collier used the publication order to number the books. For those who read the series before the numbering was changed, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was the first to be read, and it became the best known and favorite book in the series.

It was only natural that Walden Media would choose the best known of the series to make a movie. And since the Pevensie children (as children) are key to Prince Caspian, it was only natural to use the four actors they already had before they got too much older.
Walden was also following the published order of the books. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was the first of the series to be written, and the first published, in 1950. An additional volume was added each year in the following order:

1.      The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
2.      Prince Caspian
3.      The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
4.      The Silver Chair
5.      The Horse and His Boy
6.      The Magician’s Nephew
7.      The Last Battle

The new numbering system is based on the chronological order of the books. (The Horse and His Boy actually takes place before the end of The Lion, etc, while the Pevensies are still in Narnia the first time.)

1.      The Magician’s Nephew
2.      The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
3.      The Horse and His Boy
4.      Prince Caspian
5.      The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
6.      The Sliver Chair
7.      The Last Battle

Many Narnia aficionados recommend that the Chronicles be read in the published order, at least for new readers. C S Lewis wrote each book with the previously published works in mind, although they are self-contained well enough to be read independently.

Months before Prince Caspian came out in theaters, there were a series of videos about the movies and the books uploaded to YouTube by “glumPuddle.” Episode #17 about “The order Debate” is embedded below. Here are some other great articles on the subject:

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