Book reviews by
Shalini

In Which Order Should The Chronicles of Narnia Books By C. S. Lewis Be Read?

Even though C.S. Lewis’s popular Chronicles of Narnia book series has existed for a while, readers young and old continue to discover and enter his fascinating world. Yet, there is a lot of debate on which order you should read these books. 

In Which Order Should The Chronicles of Narnia Books By C. S. Lewis Be Read

There are in fact two ways to read these books. This includes chronological order or the order in which the books were published in. In addition to this, a couple of these books have been turned into film adaptations.

This also asks whether you should read the books before you see the films.  

In this article, we will give you all the ways in which you can read these books. Thus, you can make an informed decision on how you would like to read this classic fantasy (If you like Fantasy themed books, check out The Legend of Drizzt Books and how to read them) world. 

Overview On The Chronicles Of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia books series was first published in 1950. Yet it didn’t become more well-known until the early 2000s.

When the first movie came out in 2005, rumors of fauns and Turkish delicacies quickly spread. Children all throughout the world leaned up against the backs of their wardrobes and imagined excitement waiting for them there.

The wise lion, magical wardrobe, and lamppost are all well-known features of this legendary British series. 

The Chronicles of Narnia are promoted for readers between the ages of eight and twelve. Yet it is enjoyed by people of all ages.

A variety of children are followed in this high fantasy series (If you like Fantasy themed books, check out Throne Of Glass Books and how to read them). As they go on fate-driven adventures to break curses, save the monarchy, and uncover the background of the mythical kingdom of Narnia.

As mentioned above, there are two ways in which you could read this book series. In the next section, we will discuss these two ways from which you can choose. 

Reading The Chronicles Of Narnia In Publication Order

Below is the list of The Chronicles of Narnia books in chronological sequence. For those who are just starting the series, this is the suggested reading order. We’ll explain why later.

  1. The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe (1950)
  2. Prince Caspian (1951)
  3. The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader (1952)
  4. The Silver Chair (1953)
  5. The Horse And His Boy (1954)
  6. The Magician’s Nephew (1955)
  7. The Last Battle (1956)

Why Should You Read Narnia In Publication Order?

You don’t have to read these books in publication order, and a lot of fans of the series may digress with this reading order. However, the following are reasons as to why you may want to consider reading the series in this order. 

It’s fascinating to read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This is considered the best book to welcome you to the world outside your wardrobe. It’s a strong book with great characters and an attention-grabbing plot.

It is a book that introduces you to this enchanted realm and provides just enough world-building to place new readers in comfortably.

In this order, we follow well-known characters as well. The four Pevensie kids are followed in the first three books as they fulfill their missions and follow their destinies. For some people, it can be challenging to read this book series in chronological order.

This is because it introduces a lot of new characters and splits the Pevensie’s journeys, which then makes some characters’ stories a bit more confusing. 

The familiarity and Easter eggs have a particular quality. Many people find that reading The Magician’s Nephew in its sixth installment makes them nostalgic for the first book. We discover the background of our favorite tales, as well-known characters also return.

As we get to go back to the magical world we’ve already fallen in love with and discover its origins. Thus, The Magician’s Nephew is a prequel that you’ll adore even more.

Man standing next to King aslan Statue. The Lion from Chronicles of Narnia.

Reading The Chronicles Of Narnia Books In Chronological Order

With that being said, you could read the Narnia books in chronological order. Even C. S. Lewis, the writer of these novels, was known for saying that it did not matter in which order you read these books. Therefore, there is no right or wrong way. 

Yet, this second way sees you reading the books in the following order.

1. The Magician’s Nephew

The Magician’s Nephew marks the beginning of the series, as it details the creation of Narnia and introduces many of the characters. In this book, Digory and Polly are challenged by the lion Aslan to find a powerful magical relic deep within Narnia. They must do so in order to save their friend from falling ill due to a magical spell. Along the way, they face numerous creatures and dangers as they make their way through an enchanted forest, confront an evil ice queen, and learn more about the origins of Narnia itself.

2. Prince Caspian

The four children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy travel to Narnia once again and join forces with a young prince as they battle an evil witch and her minions who seek to take control of the Kingdom of Narnia. Along the way, they meet many creatures such as fauns, dwarfs, centaurs, giants, minotaurs, and merpeople who live in the magical land of Narnia. With the lion Aslan’s (Aslan means lion in Turkish) help, they are able to save Narnia from evil and restore order in their quest for justice.

3. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

“The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” follows the four Pevensies children once again. In this book, they join forces with Aslan on an epic fight against Jadis, the eternal Ice White Witch who has cast a dark spell over Narnia for hundreds of years, freezing it in an eternal winter. The four children must face a variety of challenges along their quest – from battling wolves and fauns to encountering Father Christmas himself! – as they attempt to reclaim their rightful place as kings and queens of Narnia.

4. The Horse and His Boy

The Horse and His Boy follows the adventures of Shasta, a young boy from Calormen, who escapes with Bree, a talking horse. On their journey, they discover that they were actually soulmates in a previous life and are now reunited in Narnia. The lion Aslan aids them as they attempt to defeat an evil Witch-Queen, and fight dangerous enemies like giants, lions, and Calormene soldiers. They aim to aid the northern countries of Archenland and Narnia and unite them against an enemy invasion.

5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Edmund, Lucy, and their cousin Eustace are magically transported on board a sailing ship called the Dawn Treader, captained by King Caspian. They travel to strange lands battling sea serpents, dragons, and witches as they bravely seek to save Narnia from destruction. Along the way, they make many unusual friends such as a talking mouse, an island-dwelling magician, and a friendly mermaid.

6. The Silver Chair

This story follows Prince Caspian’s son and Princess Eustace as they embark on a quest to save Narnia once more from the clutches of an evil witch. Along their journey, they meet a friendly marsh wiggle named Puddleglum and are aided of course by the magnificent lion Aslan.

7. The Last Battle

The Last Battle is the seventh and final book in the Chronicles of Narnia series, and it completes a full circle from The Magician’s Nephew. In this story, evil forces join together to try and destroy Narnia this time from within. It falls to the valiant and brave creatures of Narnia to unite against them and do whatever they can to save their home. All Narnian creatures from fauns to giants come together for a final epic battle during the annual celebrations on Stable Hill.

Why Is Reading The Narnia Books Chronologically So Popular?

C. S. Lewis previously stated that he thought reading his series in chronological order was the simplest way to do so in a letter to an American reader. 

He supported reading the books in chronological order in this letter. There was no prior planning for the series. He was therefore unaware of his future writing plans when he penned The Lion.

He continued to believe there wouldn’t be any more sequels as he completed P. Caspian. Then, when he finished The Voyage, he was very certain it would be the last. 

Black and White picture of writer of Chronicles of Narnia C.S. Lewis

However, he later discovered he was mistaken. Therefore, it may not really matter in what order they are read. Even then, he wasn’t certain that they were all written in the same order as they were published. 

Yet, there is no denying that this way is very popular, as you start with the beginning of the world, and then the Pensive’s journeys. Which leads to their cousin’s journey in Narnia and to the end of the world. 

The books were numbered chronologically in the UK and European versions in relation to the letter mentioned above. The American and Canadian editions used to number the books according to the sequence in which they were published, however, that has now changed.

These days, the Chronicles novels are almost always ordered chronologically. Regardless of where you purchase them from. The boxed set is also included in this.

Door to Narnia with Rabbit

Can You Skip Any Of The Books?

The Horse and His Boy book is unquestionably the most distinctive in the series. In contrast to the earlier books, the principal characters in this installment are new. The Horse and His Boy’s events actually take place simultaneously with those in the other books.

On first reading, the location also seems strikingly different, which helps to distinguish it from the previous books. That’s because it occurs in Calormen, a nation that borders Narnia.

Lewis based Calormen on the Ottoman Turkish and Persian empires, which carries with it some outdated and terrible racial stereotypes. Lewis provides a fresh viewpoint on Narnia by framing this book through the perspectives of nearby countrymen and women. 

Whether you read the books chronologically or in order of release, by the time you get to The Horse and His Boy, Narnia will be comfortable and familiar. Thus, this fresh perspective is welcome.

The novel offers world-building that is not found in the previous books. Maybe because it doesn’t take place in Narnia. Reading this book will provide you with more background information about the Calormenes well before the events in The Last Battle.

As previously established, The Horse and His Boy occurs parallel with the timelines of the other books. Actually, this book occurs under Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy’s rule.

Thus, you get an insight into their Golden Age, which fans have always wanted to know more about. Due to this, the book can also include some fun Easter eggs for the other novels in the series as well.

With this being said, if you aren’t enjoying this book, you could easily skip it. This won’t affect your reading experience of the whole series. Yet, if you want to gain a full picture of the other areas in this world, then you should consider giving it a read. 

Books From The Chronicles Of Narnia

The following are the books in the Chronicles of Narnia series.

In Which Order Should The Chronicles of Narnia Books By C. S. Lewis Be Read (1)

The Magician’s Nephew

One chilly, rainy summer in London, Digory and Polly cross paths and become friends. Digory’s Uncle Andrew, who believes he is a magician, propels them flying to somewhere else, bursting their lives into excitement.

Before making it back home, they make their way to Narnia, a land created by the Lion’s song. Where they run across the terrible witch Jadis.

The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe

Lucy becomes the first person to find the wardrobe’s hidden world in the professor’s old home. When Lucy first tells her siblings about her journey to Narnia, they don’t believe her.

Yet soon Peter, Edmund, and Susan enter the wardrobe and learn its secrets.

They find a nation in Narnia that has been destroyed due to White Witch and her horrid spell. They then become part of an epic adventure (If you like Adventure/Fantasy themed books, check out The Percy Jackson Books and how to read them) when they meet Aslan the lion. Not only that, but they then heroically join the battle to save Narnia from the Witch’s evil spell.

The Horse And His Boy

A young boy called Shasta and his talking horse Breed are running away from their home.

The rush is on to warn the locals of the approaching threat and save them all from imminent death. As the two discover a terrible scheme by the Calormen people seeking to conquer the realm of Narnia.

Prince Caspian

While on their way back to boarding school, the Pevensie siblings are called from the gloomy railway station to travel to the country of Narnia. Where they formerly reigned as Kings and Queens, and where their assistance is once more urgently required.

The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader

The first ship in Narnia in centuries is the Dawn Treader. It was constructed by King Caspian in preparation for his quest to locate the seven lords, who his wicked Uncle Miraz, exiled when he took the throne.

Edmund, Lucy, with their cousin Eustace travel to the Eastern Islands, and in the direction of Aslan’s homeland to the End of the World to locate these lords. 

The Silver Chair

Through a weird wall entrance that is open for once, Eustace and Jill are able to flee the bullies at school. It leads to a seemingly empty moor.  

Narnia needs the kids again because Aslan has a job for them to complete. They continue their adventure, which will eventually bring them into contact with the evil Witch. If Prince Rillian is to be saved, this Witch must be stopped.

The Last Battle

The greatest threat to Narnia in its final days is not an outside invasion, but rather an invading force from inside. Only its king and a tiny group of devoted subjects can stop the ruin of all they value due to lies and treachery that have already taken hold.

All of Narnia is being ordered to serve the evil Calormenes by a fake Aslan who roams the land. Will Eustace and Jill locate the real Aslan and put an end to the conflict? The final conflict between good and evil is the biggest of them all.

In Which Order Should You Watch The Chronicles Of Narnia Films?

There are three film adaptations that you can view. When it comes to what order to watch these films, it is much easier. As they are usually watched in release order, which also happens to be in chronological order as well. 

The films that you can view are as follows:

  1. The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe (2005)
  2. The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008)
  3. The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader (2010)

These three movies brought in more than $1.5 billion in total worldwide box office revenue. Albeit, the financial performance decreased marginally with each additional movie.

The Pevensie siblings are played by Peter (William Moseley), Susan (Anna Popplewell),   Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley). The film series also stars Tilda Swinton, Will Poulter and Ben Barnes. In addition to this, Liam Neeson is the voice of Aslan as well.

Are There Going To Be Any More Films?

The final Chronicles of Narnia movie came out more than ten years ago.

The fourth film, The Silver Chair, was anticipated to come next. Sadly, it appears that this ambition has fallen apart in front of our eyes when Netflix acquired the series’ rights in 2018.

Netflix has not yet made any public announcements, despite rumors of a Netflix TV series and hints of other films. Additionally, a recast will probably be required because the original cast has grown out of their characters since the 2005 premiere of the first movie. 

Therefore, most fans believe that a new Chronicles movie is unlikely at the moment.

Conclusion 

The Chronicles of Narnia is a beloved British book series, which has been created into film adaptations. When it comes to reading the Chronicle of Narnia books, there are two ways that you choose from.

You can either read them chronologically or by publication date. Most fans will read them chronologically, but the choice is yours. 

We hope this article has helped you to decide in what order you wish to read the Chronicles of Narnia books.

Shalini (1)
My name is Shalini and I love reading a lot. On this blog I review most of the books I have read. Hope you enjoy.
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