"Listen," said the Doctor. "All you have heard about Old Narnia is true. It is not the land of men. It is the country of Aslan, the country of the Waking Trees and Visible Naiads, of Fauns and Satyrs, of Dwarfs and Giants, of the gods and the Centaurs, of Talking Beasts."
The Chronicles of Narnia are a series of seven books by C. S. Lewis, telling the history from its creation to its ending of a land where animals talk, where a varied collection of creatures from European folklore lives, and where a number of children have heroic adventures under the guidance of the great Lion, Aslan. Though "Narnia" is sometimes used to describe the whole world, it is strictly speaking a northern mediaeval European-style kingdom of that world; it is bordered by Archenland on the south (beyond which lies the quasi-Arabian empire of Calormen), by Ettinsmoor on the North, by Lantern Waste on the West, and by the Great Eastern Sea on the East, beyond which is Aslan's Country.In publishing order, the seven books of The Chronicles of Narnia are:
The first four books are in chronological order, but the fifth takes place between the last two chapters of the first, and the sixth is a prequel to the series. The Chronicles of Narnia were actually not originally intended to be a seven volume series. After the success of the first book, Lewis wrote two more, to complete a trilogy. Thus Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader form a natural pair, telling a single more or less connected story within the larger series. When demand continued, Lewis wrote another two books, then a "prequel" describing Narnia's beginning, and finally The Last Battle, in which the land of Narnia is brought to its own close, giving the series a definite ending.Many recent printings number the books in chronological order. For many, however, reading in publication order is more satisfying, as The Magician's Nephew has many references that make sense only if you've read the earlier published books, and reading in chronological order can spoil certain elements of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.Lewis writes the novels with a rather casual, conversational tone. In a letter to a young reader, Lewis stated that a chronological reading seemed to make more logical sense but affirmed that he had no particular reading order in mind when he wrote. Furthermore, if he'd really intended for people to read the books in chronological order, he could have easily arranged for that in his lifetime.C.S. Lewis (re-)converted from atheism to Christianity and wrote many works of apologetics and theology; the Narnia series, his only work directly targeted at children, is at once a work of creative fiction and applied apologetics, even dealing with atheism. Narnia borrows creatures and myths from many different cultures and ages, from the Edwardian adventure stories of Lewis's youth to the Arabian Nights, from Shakespearean tragedies to the Grimms' fairy-tales, from the Classical and Germanic mythologies that were Lewis's avocation to the mediaeval literature that was his professional study, interwoven with creatures of Lewis's own imagination (as found also in Lewis's so-called Space Trilogy) — a profusion of fantasy highly unorthodox in the prosaic, "realistic" Machine Age, post-war '40's and '50's — all undergirded with a solid structure of Christian doctrine. By the third (published) book, it is clear that Aslan is a fictional version of Jesus — yet, as Lewis insisted, the works do not form an allegory of Christian life, as some have assumed, but rather an adventure-tale in which God is a fellow-adventurer. He also said that he didn't set out to include any religious elements in the story, it just ended up that way.The books display the influence of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, not surprisingly since the authors were friends at the time — indeed, Lewis's Space Trilogy was written as a result of a friendly wager with Tolkien. While The Chronicles of Narnia has not had the colossal cultural impact of Tolkien's epic, the series has remained the best-known and most beloved of all of Lewis' works.Television Serial adaptations of the first four books have all been televised by the BBC and released on DVD (in some places as Compilation Movies), and the first three (by publication order) have been filmed as the start of a series intended to adapt all seven books. Lion was also the subject of an earlier TV adaptation on ITV in 1967 (now largely lost) and an Animated Adaptation in 1979. Unfortunately, the BBC master of Lion was apparently lost to unknown causes several years ago, so the best quality copies of that series left are the DVDsnote there were also VHS tapes. More recently adapted into movies by Disney (later 20th Century Fox) and Walden Media through the work of Perry Moore spending several years acquiring the rights for Walden. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe came out in late 2005, Prince Caspian in 2008, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in late 2010.The books are the Trope Namer for Narnia Time, in which the relative flow of time between two separate worlds changes according to the needs of the plot.Has a TV Tropes Tumblr.
The series as a whole provides examples of: note See individual books' pages for tropes that appear in specific books.
All Myths Are True: Aslan may be Jesus, but that doesn't stop river-gods existing, and Bacchus popping up in the second book.
The Anti-God: Tash, as he is literally the antithesis of Aslan. All that is vile and evil is Tash's domain, all that is noble and good is Aslan's.
Arabian Nights Days: The culture of Calormen is clearly inspired by the Arabian Nights version of the Middle East; notably, C. S. Lewis is on record as being a fan of the English translation and even borrowed the name "Aslan" from the footnotes to one edition. It's Turkish for "Lion."
Archer Archetype: Susan is the graceful, ladylike, slightly haughty Queen famous for her archery, though she hates to use it in actual combat. Queen Lucy is the tomboy who goes to war with the men and fights alongside the other archers in Narnia's army.
Author Avatar: Professor Kirke, admitted by Lewis himself, although Kirke is also an avatar of Lewis's own old tutor, W. T. Kirkpatrick, (as is MacPhee in That Hideous Strength).
Bilingual Bonus: "Aslan" and "Tash" mean "lion" and "stone" respectively in Turkish. "Jadis" means "witch" in Persian.
Bittersweet Ending: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader all have these. It doesn't matter how many enemies the children defeat; they always have to leave Narnia in the end.
Brainwashed: The Lady of the Green Kirtle does this in The Silver Chair, to the gnomes and Prince Rilian. She also tries to do it to Rilian's rescuers.
Character Development: For example, in The Silver Chair, it's explicitly mentioned that Jill lacks a sense of direction, to the point that she travels through the air towards a setting sun for hours without the concept of "west" ever occurring to her. In The Last Battle, she's more "wood-wise" than Eustace and even Tirian and is repeatedly shown to have a knack for navigating by the stars. It's stated that she's been practicing those skills ever since she returned to England.
Don't forget Eustace himself, who starts out as a spoiled, whiny child but grew out of it due to his experience of being a dragon.
Or, for that matter, Edmund, who begins the first book as a selfish, mean-spirited traitor and ends it as a Big Damn Hero in the desperate battle against the White Witch and her forces.
It's not a stretch to say that every character who appears in more than one book develops, and not always positively as with Susan.
The Chooser of The One: Aslan chooses who enters Narnia (and would be the kings and queens), and picked the children.
Common Knowledge: Despite the fact that it would be impossible for anyone who has read the books to miss the fact that Narnia is one country out of many in the other world, many people think that Narnia is the other world itself.
Crystal Dragon Jesus: Averted. Aslan literally is Jesus according to C.S. Lewis' answer to a fan letter regarding a conversation near the end of Dawn Treader. This in turn means that the so-called "Emperor Beyond the Sea," mentioned as Aslan's father, is the Abrahamic God.
Cuckoo Nest: The Lady of the Green Kirtle attempts to brainwash the heroes into believing that Narnia was a dream and that her kingdom is the only real world.
Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: "Make your choice, adventurous stranger; Strike the bell and bide the danger! Or wonder till it drives you mad, what would have followed if you had..."
Deadpan Snarker: Puddleglum, Reepicheep, Edmund and Eustace do this. Even Lucy gets to snark at one point.
Peter: (While the group is lost) That's the problem with girls: they never keep a map in their heads!
Lucy: That's because our heads actually have something in them.
In The Silver Chair, Rilian is under the enchantment of the evil Lady of the Green Kirtle. Jill, Eustace, and Puddleglum rescue him.
In The Last Battle, when Tirian accuses Shift of lying, the Calormenes tie him to a tree.
Does Not Like Shoes: Actually lots of characters, including The Hermit of the Southern March, Coriakin, Ramandu, possibly Ramandu's Daughter , Shasta, Queen Jadis and, at some point, Pevensies themselves (especially Lucy).
It's a bit subverted with Shasta several times when the burning desert sand or the freezing dew-covered grass makes him wish he had shoes like Aravis.
The Empire: Calormen. Charn was an even worse one.
Evil Chancellor: Lords Glozelle and Sopespian for Miraz in Prince Caspian; the Space Arabs of Calormen, moreover, have an Evil Vizier, although the Tisroc himself isn't all that pleasant to begin with.
Evil Overlord: Jadis as the White Witch; King Miraz; the Tisroc of Calormen; the Lady of the Green Kirtle
Evil Sorcerer: Jadis and the Lady of the Green Kirtle are female, but they fit this one better than Wicked Witch. Uncle Andrew tries to be one, but fortunately he's largely inept.
The Ghost: The Emperor Beyond The Sea, father of Aslan. Justified, as he is the YHWH to Aslan's Christ.
Going Cosmic: The series has Christian analogy from the get-go, but it becomes more and more heavy-handed with each sequel.
Good Is Not Nice: "Not a tame lion" is a frequent and accurate description of Aslan, who ranges from a warm, welcoming protector to an aloof, condescending figure to one that is outright threatening to protagonist and antagonist alike — sometimes all within the same book. As a Biblical allegory, he's spot on in this regard.
Growing Up Sucks: A lot of people accuse Lewis of promoting this, partially because the kids can't go back to Narnia when they're older, and partly because of Susan's fate (seeMis-blamed, below). But we see other characters grow up without it being a bad thing, most notably Caspian, Cor, and Digory. The Pevensies, in fact, do all grow up for some time, and Aslan makes it clear that outgrowing the need to visit Narnia in favor of living in their own world is a good thing. It seems to be more "Growing up sucks if you forget your childhood in the process."
Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Lucy's supposed to be blonde, although you wouldn't know it from the movies, or the Pauline Baynes illustrations. Lucy is also the youngest and most innocent of the Pevensie children. She has a special relationship with Aslan, which can be seen for example in Prince Caspian when initially nobody but her can see him. She is also the first Pevensie to find Narnia in the first place.
Half-Human Hybrid: Several cases. A couple decades after Narnia's beginning, the children of King Frank and Queen Helen wedded non-human Narnians. The sons married wood nymphs and river nymphs, and the daughters married wood gods and river gods. The peoples of Archenland and Calormen could count, being that they are descendants of these unions, despite the fact that they physically look completely human. After the Telmarine Conquest in Narnia, some of the dwarfs disguised themselves as humans and married humans and spawned a few half-dwarfs, Dr. Cornelius being one of them. It is debated whether Ramandu's daughter (Named "Lilliandil" in the film) is a full star or only half-star, though her son Rilian and his descendants, like Tirian, at least count as part-star. If you put the beavers' account of the White Witch's origins to her story of being queen of Charn and being brought into Narnia, it can be assumed that the race of Charn are descended from Jinn (demons) Giants.
Heel-Face Turn: Multiple characters throughout the series; most notably Edmund Pevensie, Eustace Clarence Scrubb, Prince Rilian, and Mr. Tumnus.
Informed Attractiveness: In at least two books, Susan is said to be beautiful, and her looks drive a couple of subplots. There's one very easy to miss reference to Susan's hair being black, and nothing else about her appearance is described anywhere.
It Only Works Once: Professor Kirke explains to the Pevensie kids after they return from Narnia for the first time that the wardrobe passage will never work again.
The White Witch tells Edmund that he can't have any more magical Turkish Delight (until they get to her castle) because her magic is made of this.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: Because the books, for most their entire published history, were ordered in publishing order and only recently re-ordered by a different publisher, older volumes of the series that maintain the classic numbering go for a lot more money today than they used to.
Kids Are Cruel: Edmund to Lucy in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Eustace to almost everyone, in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Left-Justified Fantasy Map: Inverted and combined with the fact that making East the cardinal direction is a characteristic of mediŠval Christian maps (because that's the direction Jerusalem is from Europe). Aslan's Country is in the distant East (contrast Tolkien's Valinor being "West of West") and he is said to be the "son of the Emperor over the sea." It is likely in this case that Lewis was particularly influenced by the first book of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, in which Una's father is King of the East and the evil Duessa (who has some affinities with the White Witch) is associated with the West. (Note that the two are allegorical representations of Protestantism and Catholicism, respectively.)
Actually, one thing the series does right is not to dwell much on this; most of the villains, for one thing, are not "dark", and while Aslan arguably fills the "light Big Good" niche the only true light related...things, the stars, don't play a big role nor do they seem any more morally conventional than any other race. As Silver Chair shows, the closest thing to demons on Narnia are good, while the very first villain is a witch dressed in white (although not explicitly light related).
Loads and Loads of Races: Besides numerous species of talking birds and beasts, the world of Narnia is full of mythological creatures, monsters, and magical beasts. LWW Introduces fauns, dwarfs, dryads, naiads, centaurs, minotaurs, ghouls, werewolves, boggles, hags, ogres, spectres, wooses, cruels, sprites, people of the toadstools, orknies, ettins, efreets, jinn, giants, horrors, incubuses, unicorns, winged horses, and merpeople. PC introduces maenads, male tree and river spirits, half-dwarfs, and telmarines. VDT introduces people of the islands, star people, monopods/duffers/dufflepuds, sea people, dragons, sea serpents, and birds of the morning. SC introduces marshwiggles, gnomes/earthmen, and (sleeping) giant lizards.
Loophole Abuse: How the Pevensies justify taking fur coats that don't belong to them into Narnia, on the grounds that they're not actually removing them from the wardrobe.
Magic Antidote: Lucy's cordial, made from flowers that grow only on the surface of the sun, no less.
Magical Land: Narnia itself, of course. Compared even to the rest of Narnia, the islands and the ocean the further East you go. And the underground realm of Bism. And possibly the vast unexplored Western lands.
Narnia Is The Center Of The Universe: Aside from Dawn Treader, all the books' antagonists' plans involve Narnia in one form or another. Justified, in that Narnia was the first country made in the other world, and therefore the one most special to Aslan.
Nature Spirit: Narnia is full of these. Wood-Nymphs/Dryads/Hamadryads/Silvans, Naiads, Wood Gods(male versions of wood nymphs since wood gods have been mentioned as being husbands and brothers to them), River Gods (same species as naiads, since one river god is mentioned rising out of a river with a group of naiads who are described as being his daughters.), Bacchus, Maenads, and Silenus. The stars and sea people may possibly count also.
Nice Mice: Mice are the only race of Talking Animals that gets a racial storyline of their own.
Offstage Villainy: Tash, who doesn't harm anyone "on screen" except for the villain who summoned him. Justified, as he's not "on screen" much besides in that scene, and it's implied that if King Peter hadn't stopped him, he would have gone after the heroes. Even "off screen", it's mentioned that he requires Human Sacrifice.
One-Gender Race: Although Narnia has races from Classical Mythology that are depicted as one gender only (male centaurs, male fauns, male satyrs, male dwarfs, female dryads, female naiads, etc.), Lewis is rather ambiguous about these races as being either one-gendered or not. Lewis mentions male tree and river gods that are implied to be the male versions of the tree and water nymphs of Narnia. And Lewis never states that female fauns, centaurs, satyrs, and dwarfs do not exist, yet some centaurs have centaur sons. Why, when the children of King Frank and Queen Helen go out and marry, the sons marry dryads and naiads, and daughter marry male tree and river spirits instead of any of the dwarfs, centaurs, satyrs, or fauns. Lewis does however mention races with both males and females such as giants and giantesses, and mermen and mermaids. In the films, they do depict female dwarfs and centaurs along with the males, the large river god is depicted, but without naiad daughters, and in a deleted scene, when the Pevensies and Trumpkin see a dryad die because its tree was cut down, when it screams, it has a man's voice. All the on-page Dufflepuds are male but one mentions his daughter.
Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Instead of dwarfish sprites, they look like bizarre human-animal mixtures, but mostly humanoid, and no two are alike.
Our Goat People Are Different: Lewis describes both Fauns and Satyrs as inhabitants of Narnia. Although he describes fauns as having the hindlegs of goats, long tails, curly hair, and small horns, the only description for the satyrs is that they are red as foxes or reddish-brown in color. The book illustrations depict fauns and satyrs as basically identical, with the exception of Mr. Tumnus, who is drawn with a long tail. The movies expand the difference by making fauns goat-legged and human bodied, with regular goat tails instead of long tails, and satyrs as basically human sized goats that walk on their hindlegs.
Our Mermaids Are Different: Narnia has two varieties of merfolk. The ones that live in the cost of Narnia are the traditional merfolk with the heads, arms, and torsos of human men and women and long fish tails below the waist. They are friendly, can breathe the air of the surface, can leave the water, and have beautiful, sireneqsue/angelic singing voices. The other kind that dwell in the oceans at the world's end are completely humanoid in appearance with regular human legs, have ivory white skin, dark purple hair, wear no clothing except for royalty, who wear cloaks and coronets, and ride of the backs of spiny sea horses (that's gotta be painful if you are riding butt naked.). They are apparently unable to leave the water (either they are unable to breathe air, or they don't know what might happen to them if they do), and are very fierce and hostile to the Dawn Treader crew, except for one fish shepherdess girl who waved to Lucy when she saw her. In the film version of VDT, the Sea People are replaced by Naiads, who weren't featured in the first two films (Unless you count the River God), and they are depicted as basically mermaids made out of liquid.....
Royal Blood: Jadis believes this is a requirement for magic (as indeed it apparently was on Charn) in order to use Rule Magic. Device Magic is usable by anyone, but according to Jadis, non-royal magicians on Charn were "made away with."
Royals Who Actually Do Something: Kings of Narnia and Archenland are to be "first in every charge and last in every retreat." Both Caspian and Rilian are strongly taken to task when tempted to "pursue private adventures" to the detriment of their duty as royalty.
Title Drop: One of the long-recounted legends from the Golden Age of Narnia is known as the tale of 'The Horse and His Boy' (Eustace and Jill hears it in The Silver Chair, before that book was published but Lewis had already written it).
To Serve Man: The Lady of the Green Kirtle sends Scrubb and Pole to Harfang with instructions to greet their hosts from her and say she is sending them two Southern children for the Autumn Feast. "It's a cookbook," indeed - they literally find one.
Tomboy and Girly Girl: Aravis is the tomboy to Lasaraleen's girly-girl. When they meet after some years apart, each finds the other boring — Lasaraleen doesn't understand why Aravis wants to dress like a boy and do rough things, whilst Aravis can't stand Lasaraleen's whirl of parties and dresses.
Underdressed for the Occasion: Inverted. When Aslan magically summons soon-to-be-Queen Helen to Narnia, she is described as looking beautiful in her simple attire. The narrator informs us that if she had known this was going to happen and had put on her best outfit, she would have looked tacky.
Unfortunate Names: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader memorably begins, "There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it." Later in ''The Silver Chair," he's introduced with, "His name unfortunately was Eustace Scrubb, but he wasn't a bad sort." This is explicitly a reference to Lewis' own given name, "Clive Staples", which he intensely disliked, and from childhood preferred to be referred to as "Jack".
Mocked when a hard-of-hearing dwarf thinks his name is Useless.
Vanity Is Feminine: The otherwise completely down to earth Polly immediately starts to trust Digory's Obviously Evil uncle after he calls her pretty. Lucy, generally shown as more virtuous than her older and vainer sister Susan (who was disgraced from the heroes after she grew up and took too much of an interest in lipstick and nylons), is so tempted by the idea of being more beautiful and desirable than her that only the appearance of Aslan stops her from casting a spell allowing her to do so.
Was Once a Man: The dragon Eustace encounters a dragon that might once have been Lord Octesian. Also the dragon Eustace becomes.
Well, it was never determined if the dragon was actually Lord Octesian. The group theroized that it was possible that Lord Octesian was just killed by the dragon (the movie seemed to support this, given that his sword was found with a skeleton) or that he never was involved with the dragon at all (the only evidence they had of his presence on the island was his bracelet, and it was possible the dragon found that elsewhere). Still, Eustace definitely still counts.
Wish Fulfillment: Arguably, the two instances in the entire series when Narnian magic intervenes directly in the real world: In The Magician's Nephew, when Aslan gives Digory the means to save his mother, and in The Silver Chair, when Aslan, Caspian, and the children teach the bullies at the boarding school a lesson. This becomes clear when one reads Lewis' autobiography, Surprised by Joy, and sees that he lost his own mother at a young age, similarly to Digory, and that he had attended a realistic Boarding School of Horrors, where he experienced bullying.
Actor Allusion: In the BBC TV adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Professor Kirke is played by Michael Aldridge, who essentially plays a softer version of his character Seymour Utterthwaite from Last of the Summer Wine, a former headmaster. This is particularly noticeable with his use of Kirke's Catch Phrase:
Kirke: What DO they teach them in schools these days?
Loads And Loads Of Sidequests: The first Nintendo DS entry has around 70 sidequests. The creatures of Narnia will ask the player to do things for them in exchange for new skills. Most are fairly simple, and can be ignored without a hassle... At least until the very end of the game, where it turns out that to face to White Witch one has to complete ALL of them.
Mood Whiplash: In the animated film, after Aslan's murder and subsequent resurrection, he spends about half a minute just jumping around playing with Susan and Lucy. Granted, it happened in the book too (over the course of a sentence or two), but the way it's presented here is just startling.
Roger Rabbit Effect: In the earlier installments of the BBC series, a lot of the magical creatures that couldn't be played by people in costumes are animated.