Monday, December 08, 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia - A Synopsis

In case you have not yet had the pleasure of reading through The Chronicles of Narnia for yourself, it might be helpful to read this synopsis of the seiies before proceeding on through the week of reviews. I found this synopsis on the C.S. Lewis Today website. The direct link can be viewed by clicking on this highlighted sentence.

The Magician's Nephew

“This is ... a very important story”, wrote C.S. Lewis, “because it shows how all the comings and goings between our world and the land of Narnia first began”. Digory and Polly are tricked by their Uncle Andrew into magically entering another reality, and they encounter Jadis, the White Witch. Following them back, she creates havoc in London, before the children, three grown-ups and a horse are accidentally drawn out of our world and find themselves witnesses to something extraordinary happening.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Almost 900 years after Aslan created the land, the banished White Witch returns to Narnia and establishes her evil rule. Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy arrive through the wardrobe to find a land of Endless Winter. They meet up with talking creatures who have remained faithful followers of Aslan and, apart from Edmund, journey to join up with Aslan to battle against the Witch and her army. As a result of Edmund's treachery, however, nothing less than the death of Aslan is required to set things aright.

The Horse and His Boy

14 years into the children's reign of Narnia, in the far-off land of Calormen, a boy named Shasta lives with an old fisherman whom he believes to be his father. Meeting up with an aristocratic horse, Bree, and then a high-spirited girl, Aravis, and her horse Hwin, the four set out on a perilous journey. On their way, they have to pass through a dangerous city, desert and mountains, periodically encountering a strange presence along the way, helping to ultimately protect Narnia from attack by its enemies.

Prince Caspian

Some 1600 years later, Miraz, the brother of Caspian IX, usurps the throne, suppresses all knowledge of Aslan and Narnia's history, and forces the faithful remnant in the land into hiding. The original four children are drawn back into Narnia and find the land in ruins. Meanwhile, through some humble Narnians, Prince Caspian, the rightful heir to the throne, discovers the true story of its beginnings and resolves to regain the kingdom. As he and the children are brought together by Aslan, they begin the fight to liberate the land.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Three years into Caspian's reign, the boy king decides to search for the seven lost lords who were sent to explore the Eastern Seas but never returned. Lucy, Edmund and their cousin Eustace are magically pulled on to the Dawn Treader, a Narnian ship, with Caspian and Reepicheep on board. As they travel to each of the islands, they are confronted by a series of tests and, in the process, they grow in their understanding of themselves, their character and the way Aslan is involved in their lives.

The Silver Chair

50 years pass before Eustace and school friend Jill are carried away into Narnia. They are commissioned by Aslan to find Prince Rilian, son of the ageing King Caspian, who has been spirited away by a deadly serpent who turns out to be the Green Queen. Aslan gives them four signs which, if followed, will help them in their quest. On the way, they are joined by a doleful companion, Puddleglum, and after many terrifying and life-threatening encounters, finally discover and free the Prince from the evil clutches of Green Queen.

The Last Battle

Two centuries later, a rebellion begins against Tirian, the last king of Narnia. All but one of the children, Susan, are drawn into fight against first Shift the Ape, who partly succeeds in passing off his dupe Puzzle the Donkey as Aslan, and then against the warrior Rishda Tarkaan and his forces. Everything builds to a gigantic climax in which Aslan brings the very land of Narnia to an end and opens a door into his own country for those who are truly faithful to him: “Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read; which goes on forever; in which every chapter is better than the one before”.

It is important to note that this list is not given in the order the books were written, rather this synopsis is given in the historical order which provides for clear understanding of the series. The books can be read as written (beginning with The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe) or in historical order (beginning with The Magician's Nephew). For this read through I have opted to read them in the order written. So stay tuned! The first review is coming right up.


Z-Kids said...

I heartily agree with keeping them in the order Lewis wrote them! That's how I always read them. I think renumbering them was a big mistake. On our bookshelf they sit in the original order, despite what numbers on the spines say...

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for this week, Carrie! It's going to be so cool! :D

And, providentially perhaps?, my face-to-face book club just decided to read through Narnia this month too! I'll definitely be sending them links to your reviews as we make our way through them. Perfect timing! :)

Sky said...

I have never read them in any but the original order, that is as they were written but I only have the mass B&N copy and it has the historically accurate order laid out.

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