“Once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia.”
Ok, ok. This is actually seven books, so might be classed as cheating. But they really do all need to go together to form a complete package of the story that I love.
These books were some of the first I read on my own, and the first series of books I read where each one left me wanting more. I loved the way the Pevensie children changed over the different stories, and the way Narnia time was different to our time, leading to new characters and new adventures. At a time when I would have loved nothing more to disappear into another world, I simply couldn’t get enough of the concept that there might be one hiding at the back of the wardrobe, one that needed the help of some ordinary children.
“Most of us, I suppose, have a secret country but for most of us it is only an imaginary country. Edmund and Lucy were luckier than other people in that respect.”
I read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe first, before getting the complete collection, and I remembered how excited I was to read The Magician’s Nephew, which goes back to the very beginning of Narnia and explains how it all began. The one title in the series which is a little different – The Horse and His Boy – was one I particularly liked. The focus here shifts away from our world and the Pevensie children and onto the inhabitants of the other realms around Narnia.
“If there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most, or else just silly.”
There are so many more layers and themes within these books than meets the eye, with Lewis taking inspiration from mythology, fairy tales, astronomy, and most controversially, Christianity. I can just imagine Lewis, Tolkien and the other “Inklings” sitting in a pub, discussing these influences and the changing face of fantasy writing. The depth of the Chronicles is both praised and criticised, and I couldn’t have had a better introduction to reading on an independent scale.
If you’re a stickler for the rules and would force me to pick only one of these books, it would probably have to be The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, though to be honest, I would struggle to leave the rest behind and I don’t think I will ever tire of reading any of them.
“Sleeping on a dragon’s hoard with greedy, dragonish thoughts in his heart, he had become a dragon himself.”