1059 words | 8 mintue read | Flesch–Kincaid readability score: Grade 8

The Magical Land of Narnia
The Magical Land of Narnia [Illustration by Shinod AP]

‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ series by C.S. Lewis
Review by Sujit Thomas; Illustration by Shinod AP

Most newspapers which carried articles about Harry Potter several months ago usually had only one thing to say, though in different words: “Harry Potter! The One and Only”, or “No Other Book in the World with Such Imagination”. But they are wrong. There HAS been a set of books just as magical as the Harry Potter series. It is ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ series, by C.S.Lewis.

All the stories revolve around a group of children who discover the magical land of Narnia, and the adventures that ensue.

The battle of good against evil is fought in each of the seven titles of the Narnia series, which are in this order:

The Magician’s Nephew
It is one of the wettest summers in years. Two children, Digory and Polly decide to explore the attic of an old, tall house. And that is how they stumble upon the secret workroom of Digory’s eccentric uncle who whisks them right out of the world.

They witness the creation of the enchanted land of Narnia where animals speak, trees walk and magical animals like centaurs, unicorns, dwarfs, satyrs and nymphs exist.

But Polly and Digory accidentally bring a witch from another ancient land who brings Evil into the land. If you want to know how Digory protects the land from the witch with the help of the great lion Aslan (who can talk), read the book.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Four children – Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy are holidaying in a country home belonging to one of their parents’ friends – Professor Digory — when they discover the land of Narnia.

They soon find out that the land is being ruled by the evil White Witch who must be defeated. Work is afoot to get rid of the witch. Aslan, it is rumoured, is once again on the move. The four children are necessary too, for they are to be the future rulers of Narnia, once the witch is defeated. Only with Aslan’s help can the White Witch be defeated – and she has captured Edmund. To find out how the story ends, read the book.

The Horse and his Boy
The four rulers – High King Peter, Queen Susan, King Edmund and Queen Lucy – protect the kingdom of Narnia. But trouble has arisen again. While travelling with a Prince from the land of Archenland, one of Narnia’s neighbouring countries, Edmund and Lucy lose the Prince.

To add trouble to trouble, another of Narnia’s neighbouring countries, Calormen, is preparing an attack on Archenland and Narnia. Will Narnia be destroyed? And will Narnia’s so-far good relations with Archenland come to a stormy end? To find the answer to these intriguing questions, read the book.

Prince Caspian
Troubled times have come again to Narnia. The Telmarines have conquered the country and are persecuting the true-born Narnians. Prince Caspian, seeing the evil done by his usurping uncle King Miraz, and with his army heavily outnumbered, blows the Great Horn of Narnia in desperation.

Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, heroes from the distant past, find themselves once more in the kingdom, but with an almost impossible task ahead of them – to save Narnia.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Lucy and Edmund journey on board the gallant ship “Dawn Treader”, to the Eastern Seas in search of the seven lost friends of King Caspian. On this extraordinary voyage of discovery, they encounter a dragon, a serpent, a band of invisible people and a magician.

Lucy and Edmund are also accompanied by their odious cousin Eustace. In the course of their adventure, they encounter the great Aslan himself, who makes them a very special promise…

The Silver Chair
Through an ordinary doorway, Eustace Scrubb and Jill Pole, fellow pupils at a miserable school, stumble upon the place they wish most to be in – Narnia. But it is not their own wishes that bring them to the enchanted land, it is the will of the mighty Aslan.

The noble lion sends the children on a mission to find the lost Prince Rilian, beloved son of King Caspian, who was lured away by a beautiful and mysterious woman ten years ago and has been missing ever since.

Together with Puddleglum, the gloomy but valiant marsh-wiggle, Eustace and Jill must brave many dangers before they rescue the Prince. And although they reach the end of their quest, their troubles are only beginning.

The Last Battle
Good King Tirian faces the fiercest challenge ever to any Narnian king’s rule. There is a false Aslan roaming the land, commanding all Narnians to work for the cruel Calormenes.

Narnia’s only hope is that Eustace and Jill, old friends of Narnia, will be able to find the true Aslan and restore peace to Narnia.

C.S.Lewis’s wit and wisdom, his blend of excitement and adventure with fantasy, have made this magnificent series the beloved of many generations of readers. The final book, ‘The Last Battle’, won the Carnegie Medal in 1956.

Each of the seven titles is a complete story in itself but all take place in the magical land of Narnia. Guided by the noble lion Aslan, the children learn that evil and treachery can only be overcome by courage, loyalty and great sacrifices.

Perhaps the only reason why the Narnia series has not caught on like the Harry Potter series is that it wasn’t as widely advertised. Another flaw is that it’s not as humourous. So the next time anyone tells you that J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter books are the first to create an imaginary world of adventure and magic, don’t forget to correct them.

About the author of the Narnia series

Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast in Ireland in 1898. He was Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Magdalene College, Oxford and later he was Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University where he remained until his death in 1963. The Narnia stories were his only works for children, and originated with an imaginary picture of a faun carrying an umbrella and parcels, in a snowy wood. ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’, was written in 1949.