I first read the Chronicles of Narnia nearly thirty years ago, when they were suggested to me by an older cousin who was very interested in fantasy and science fiction (That same cousin could read and speak Elvish and is listed in the credits as an advisor on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies). They were a great read, and served as the springboard for me to other terrific fantasy novels, such as The Lord of the Rings. Recently, my ten year old finished reading Harry Potter and asked if there were any other books he could read that were like that. I remembered the Chronicles of Narnia and got him a set. He loved them.
So at his insistence, I created this site to tell other kids (and teachers and parents, for I am both) about this terrific series of books.
For parents who were uneasy about some of the themes of sorcery and other non-Christian values that permeate the Harry Potter series, The Chronicles of Narnia offer their children a fantasy well-grounded in Christian values. Author C.S. Lewis is a noted Christian writer, whose book “Mere Christianity” is considered a classic work. That said, most people read and enjoy the Chronicles of Narnia without ever noticing the Christian aspects.
(listed by internal chronological order, with date of publication noted)
1. The Magician’s Nephew (1955)
2. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
3. The Horse and His Boy (1954)
4. Prince Caspian (1951)
5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
6. The Silver Chair (1953)
7. The Last Battle (1956)
When I was growing up—in the days before the Gameboy and the XBox—“choose your own adventure” books were all the rage. The books are essentially a large collection of numbered paragraphs. You start by reading the introduction to the story in the first paragraph. At the end, you are presented with a couple of choices. If you choose “A”, then the book instructs you to go to paragraph xxx to see what happens next. If you choose “B”, the book tells you to go to paragraph yyy. You then read the paragraph there to find out what happened. At the end of that paragraph you are presented with a couple more choices and so on.
The best of the books also allowed you to customize the “character” that you played in the story. You might choose to better at talking than you are at fighting, for example, and that would also have a bearing on how the story unfolded.
One game publisher—Iron Crown Enterprises—published a series of choose your own adventure books based on the Chronicles of Narnia. The books offered original adventures which took the reader to the world of Narnia. They are very much in the spirit of Lewis’ work, for the characters are rewarded for making moral choices. They are, however, never preachy. My kids love them.
The bad news is that the books have been out of print for twenty years. The good news is that you can download them from The Underdogs site.
Character List For The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe
Cast of Characters.
Aslan: The creator / ruler of Narnia, who appears as a Lion. Also known as the Singer, the High King above All High Kings, Lord of the Whole Wood. If The Chronicles of Narnia are a Christian Allegory, then Aslan is the Christ figure.
Mr. and Mrs. Beaver: Talking creatures of the forest who shelter the Pevensie children and take them to Aslan.
Boggles: Demon servants of the White Witch.
Cruels: Demon servants of the White Witch.
Daughters of Eve: The term used in the prophecy for human females.
Dryads: Wood spirits / nymphs
Efreets: Demon servants of the White Witch.
The Emperor Over The Sea: He doesn’t make an appearance in the books, but he is Aslan’s father and the ultimate ruler of Narnia. In a Christian context, he is God The Father.
Ettins: Evil Giant servants of the White Witch
Father Christmas: Santa Claus figure who gives gifts to the Pevensie children to aid them in their struggle against the witch.
Ghouls: Flesh eating servants of the White Witch.
Hags: Ancient witch servants of the White Witch. They tie Aslan to the Stone Table.
Horrors: Demon servants of the White Witch.
Incubuses: Demon servants of the White Witch
Jadis: The White Witch. She makes her first appearance in The Magician’s Nephew. Jadis is immortal because she she at a magic apple. Jadis tempts Edmund and corrupts him.
Digory Kirke: Digory makes his first appearance in the Magician’s Nephew. The Pevensie children are sent to live with him to escape the London Blitz, and it is in his home that they discover the Wardrobe.
Mrs. Macready: Professor Digory’s housekeeper.
Edmund Pevensie: Younger of the two Pevensie boys. He is the second to travel to Narnia and later betrays his siblings to the White Witch. He is claimed by the Witch, but is redeemed by Aslan’s sacrifice.
Lucy Pevensie: Youngest of the Pevensie children. She is the first to discover Narnia and the most consistently faithful to Aslan.
Peter Pevensie: Oldest of the Pevensie children. He is named High King by Aslan.
Susan Pevensie: Oldest of the two Pevensie girls. Susan is witness to Aslan’s death and resurrection.
Maugrim: The wolf who serves as the Captain of the White Witch’s secret police. Slain by Peter.
Minotaur: A man with the head of a bull. Servants of the White Witch.
Orknies: Servants of the White Witch
People of the Toadstools: Toadies of the White Witch
Rhindon: Peter’s sword. In true fantasy tradition, all swords have names.
Spectres: Ghostly servants of the White Witch.
Sprites: Servants of the White Witch
Mr. Tumnus: A faun who befriends Lucy. He is punished for doing so by The White Witch.
Christian Themes In The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
Christian Themes In The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Although it is possible to read the Chronicles of Narnia as pure adventures, they also are very much grounded in Christian themes. Lewis seems to have intended The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe as a more accessible (for children) version of the Easter story.
Aslan, the Lion who sang Narnia into being in The Magician’s Nephew, clearly is a Christ-like figure. In The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, he returns to the world he created to redeem it from the eternal winter of the White Witch.
The witch is an evil figure, who tempts Edmund, one of the prophesied “Sons of Adam,” and turns him against the other “Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve” and against Aslan himself. Here, we have a parallel to to mankind turning from the Word of God.
Aslan defeats the Witch’s winter, but she has one last trick up her sleeve. She claims Edmund, saying that Deep Magic From The Dawn of Time has given her dominion over such traitors. Only blood will save the boy, so Aslan secretly agrees to be sacrificed by the Witch. His death, however, is only temporary, because Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time guarantees that the wrongly sacrified will be brought back to life. The morning after his sacrifice, Aslan returns to his final victory over the evil witch.
If you remove the fantasy elements, the basic outline is familiar as the Easter story. Other elements of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe further echo the Easter story of Jesus’ death and resurrection:
Just as Jesus held vigil at Gesthemane with a few trusted disciples, Aslan spends a lonely night before his sacrfice with Lucy and Susan.
Bound and condemned, Aslan is mocked by the White Witch’s followers; Jesus is mocked by Pilate’s soldiers.
When Mary Magdalene and the other women go to the tomb, it is empty, and Jesus’ body is gone. Later, the women are the first to see him after the resurrection. Similarly, in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, when Lucy and Susan go back to the table to find Aslan’s body, it is gone; they, too, are the first to see Aslan after his resurrection.
Below you will find a number of resources for teachers interested in teaching the Chronicles of Narnia. I’m a teacher myself, so I know how useful it is to have ready made materials. I hope you find them useful. I’ll add more as I create them. All of the puzzles are in pdf format.
Over the years, the Chronicles of Narnia—and especially The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe have been adapted for stage, screen and radio.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, four of the Chronicles of Narnia were adapted by the BBC into a television series. Although the budget clearly is short of the most recent Hollywood spectaculars, the films are very faithful to the books. The The Chronicles of Narnia (3 disc set) is available from Amazon and is well worth owning.
The latest incarnation—The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe—has been produced by the Walt Disney Company.