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Literature / The Chronicles of Narnia

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"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."
Doctor Cornelius, Prince Caspian

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 live, 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 are:

  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) (written 1953, before the previous book)
  6. The Magician's Nephew (1955)
  7. The Last Battle (1956)

The first four books are in chronological order, but the fifth takes place inside the last chapter of the first (as it takes place during the Pevensies' reign of Narnia which was originally only touched upon), 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. As for Lewis himself, he said in a letter to a young reader that he had a slight preference for the chronological order, but he pointed out that the series was not planned out beforehand; he ultimately did not think that the reading order mattered too much anyway.

C.S. Lewis converted to Christianity from atheism 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 (namely, marshwiggles) — a profusion of fantasy highly unorthodox in the prosaic, "realistic" Machine Age, post-war '40s and '50s — 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 The 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's 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). Lion was also the subject of an earlier TV adaptation on ITV in 1967 (now largely lostnote ) 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 . A radio adaptation by The BBC also successfully adapted all seven books, originally broadcast between 1988 and 1997.

More recently, the first three (by publication order) have been filmed as the start of a series intended to adapt all seven books; First by Disney, later 20th Century Foxnote , 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. Netflix bought the rights to all seven books in 2018 intending to make their own set of shows, to be helmed by Coco co-writer Matthew Aldrich. In July 2023, it was revealed that Greta Gerwig was hired by Netflix to write and direct at least two Narnia films. The reboot is currently in pre-production.

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.

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The series as a whole provides examples of: note 

  • A Dog Named "Perro": "Aslan" and "Tash" mean "lion" and "stone" respectively in Turkish. "Jadis" means "witch" in Persian.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: When Caspian quests to rally the Narnian fae against The Usurper, his Evil Uncle Miraz, ogres and hags are dismissed as potential allies on this principle; and indeed, neither race produces so much as a Token Heroic Orc. Averted with the dwarfs, a significant number of whom make a turn for the better after Jadis's downfall, although many still incline to villainy.
  • Anachronic Order: The books are each linear stories (oh, except for Prince Caspian), but as described above, they are written in non-chronological order.
  • 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. It is explained by Aslan himself that he and Tash are such opposites that anyone who does good in the name of Tash is actually serving Aslan, and anyone who does evil in Aslan's name is actually serving Tash.
  • "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." However, none of the magical elements of Arabian Nights appear in Calormen (except that the god Tash turns out to be real), meaning we don't get to see any djinni, magic lamps, flying carpets, rocs, and the like.
  • Arc Words: The phrase: "he's not a tame lion" (referring to Aslan) is spoken in each of the seven books.
  • Ascended Extra: If you read the books in the order they were written, Digory Kirke/the Professor becomes this, as he has only a minor role in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe but is the protagonist and title character of The Magician's Nephew. (If you read the books chronologically, it becomes a case of Demoted to Extra for the same reason.)
  • Ass in a Lion Skin: Done literally. In The Last Battle, Puzzle, a donkey, is, as a Shout-Out to the Trope Namer, put into a lion skin by Shift the Ape to disguise him as Aslan so that Shift can force the Narnians to do his bidding under the guise that he's speaking for Aslan. The costume is so bad that the only reasons why it works are that the Narnians haven't seen a lion for ages and because Puzzle is forbidden from braying and brought out only at night.
  • 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).
  • Author Usurpation: Fans of Christian literature might know about Lewis's other works, but they're not nearly as prominent in pop culture as Narnia.
  • Authority Equals Ass Kicking: The kings of Narnia and Archenland consider it their duty to be the first in every charge and the last in every desperate retreat, so this would more specifically be "Authority Requires The Ability To Kick Ass". Aslan has demonstrated the ability to crush any opponent, as well, and more than one queen has demonstrated skill in combat.
  • Badass Normal: The air of Narnia is stated to be different from terrestrial air, and it has a way of turning ordinary children from Earth into these.
  • Barefoot Sage: Coriakin, Ramandu, and the Hermit of the Southern March are all wise old men with magical powers who never wear shoes.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: In the book, the climactic battle between Peter and the White Witch is not shown; it is told second hand. The film actually shows the battle, with the result being a iconic battle scene and what is generally agreed to be the most epic and memorable scene of the movie.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Aslan" and "Tash" mean "lion" and "stone" respectively in Turkish. "Jadis" means "witch" in Persian, and incidentally is also a French adverb meaning “long ago”.
  • Bittersweet Ending: It manages to be both happy and depressing. Narnia is destroyed and characters we know and love end up dying, however the afterlife is a wonderful paradise where they can eternally be happy.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Aslan stands for good, those who would oppose him are evil, and it's generally made quickly obvious to the reader who's on which side. Recurring characters not clearly committed to either cause when introduced will end up joining one side or the other (human protagonists always ending up on Team Good, of course) before the end of the book.
  • Blasphemous Praise: Averted. C. S. Lewis once received a letter from the mother of a young Christian boy who was concerned that he felt he loved Aslan more than Jesus. Lewis wrote back to reassure him that this did not count as blasphemy since Aslan is a Messianic Archetype, so loving what Aslan did amounts to the same thing as loving what Jesus did.
  • Carnivore Confusion: In Narnia there are both talking animals and regular non-sapient animals. Eating a non-talking animal is no bigger deal than it would be anywhere else, but eating a talking animal is considered tantamount to cannibalism. This first is raised as an issue in Prince Caspian, where Susan hesitates to shoot an attacking bear because she is concerned it might be a talking bear (it wasn't, and they cook and eat it). It becomes a serious plot point in The Silver Chair, where the "gentle giants" of Harfang are discovered to have killed a talking deer, which our heroes unknowingly ate for dinner. Jill (who is on her first adventure in Narnia) is sad as she would be when she thinks about any animal suffering; Eustace who has been friends with talking animals is horrified as though hearing of a murder; but Puddleglum who is a native Narnian is appalled almost to the point of suicide and compares it to a human discovering they had eaten a baby.
  • Clever Crows: Corvids are for the most part benevolent or jokers at worst. The wise raven Sallowpad served as a royal advisor for the Pevensies, as shown in The Horse and His Boy, while a pair of jackdaws are comic relief in The Magician's Nephew.
  • Crossover Cosmology: Aslan may be Jesus, but that doesn't stop river-gods existing, and Bacchus popping up in the second book.
  • 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-Over-the-Sea," mentioned as Aslan's father, is God the Father.
  • De-aged in Death: When King Caspian, who died of old age, is resurrected in Aslan's country, his hair and beard rapidly regain their colour, his wrinkles fade, and his overall appearance quickly shifts younger and younger, until he's in his prime, much like Eustace remembers him from the previous visit to Narnia. Eustace wonders if he's a ghost, but Caspian indicates that that would only be the case if he were to return to Narnia.
  • Demoted to Extra: Susan, Edmund, and Lucy all appear in The Horse and His Boy, but play only a peripheral role, and even Aslan plays a more minor role than he does in any other book in the series. In the chronological order of the series, Digory Kirke ("the Professor") is this as well in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
  • Destroyer Deity: The dragons and salamanders, as well as the giant Father Time, who were all introduced in earlier books, are awakened to destroy Narnia at the end of The Last Battle.
  • Deus ex Machina: Aslan, who is a Jesus/God Captain Ersatz so it's not that surprising, spends the entire series behind the scenes, spinning the adventure and coming before them only when they need him most.
  • Distant Sequel:
    • The Magician's Nephew is set 1,000 years before The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, 1,300 years pass between The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, a generation or so between Prince Caspian and The Silver Chair, and seven generations between The Silver Chair and The Last Battle, which in turn takes place at the end of the world. This allows the world to change, often significantly, between novels, such as Narnia being overrun and conquered by the Telmarine people between the first novel and Prince Caspian.
    • Due to time flowing differently in Narnia than in our world, far less time passes between sequels for the human protagonists than for the land of Narnia. The Pevensie siblings are children in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and they're only teenagers or young adults by The Last Battle, even though millennia have passed in Narnia. The Magician's Nephew is the only one that's a distant sequel (or rather, prequel) in Earth time as well as in Narnia time — it's set in The Edwardian Era and focuses on Digory Kirke as a child, while the next book (chronologically) happens during the blitz and shows Digory as an old man.
  • Dragons Are Demonic: Dragons appear to be representative of vice, such as in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader where Eustace is turned into one after indulging his greed.
  • Eat Dirt, Cheap: The Walking Trees. Prince Caspian even describes a tree feast made of different kinds of dirt.
  • Ethnic God: Aslan is considered the ultimate king of all Narnians, whereas Tash is the god worshipped by all Calormenes. However this is subverted in The Last Battle, which explains that these two are the gods of good and evil respectively, and anyone who adopts these aspects worships their respective being, regardless of the name they use.
  • Evil Chancellor: The Space Arabs of Calormen have an Evil Vizier, although the Tisroc himself isn't all that pleasant to begin with.
  • Expansion Pack World: The first book published was focused only on the kingdom of Narnia. The next four books cover cardinal directions — west in Prince Caspian, east in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (as well as some asides about the inhabitants of Narnia's skies), north in The Silver Chair as well as two levels of 'underworld', and south in The Horse and His Boy. The last two books cover chronal directions, with the extreme past detailed in The Magician's Nephew and the end of time featuring in The Last Battle.
  • Extremophile Lifeforms: There's a deep subterranean land called Bism, which is very hot and features such wonders as fire salamanders and fresh gems full of delicious juice. When the characters encounter some of Bism's natives in a shallower layer of the underworld, these find it far too cold, its rocks too dead, and the endless abyss of the sky far too close for comfort.
  • Faeries Don't Believe in Humans, Either:
    • Mr. Tumnus has some books on his shelf including Is Man A Myth?
    • In Prince Caspian, thanks to Narnia Time elapsing, the Pevensies themselves are considered rather like King Arthur: rulers from the legendary past golden age, possibly mythical.
    • In Dawn Treader it's revealed that Narnia is a flat world where one can sail over the edge, and they have fairy tales about round worlds like ours. Caspian asks, "Have you ever been to the parts where people walk upside down?" and is a bit disappointed to learn that we consider our round world very commonplace and uninteresting.
  • Fairy Tale Motifs: Pervasively in every book. Narnia is a world of kings and queens and castles and magicians and evil witches and dwarfs and gnomes and satyrs and talking animals and giants and magic rings and magical doors to other worlds.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Calormene Empire is often compared to the Persians or the Turks.
  • Fantastic Religious Weirdness:
    • Narnia has a rule that when they are present, humans rule over the talking animals as kings and queens. Lewis probably added this because of the Bible verse giving humanity dominion over animals.
    • There are references to other gods existing, though they appear to be all far lesser than Aslan.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: One of the first examples in literature. Narnia contains a generous mixture of every fantasy trope C.S. Lewis enjoyed: talking animals, underground gnomes, mer-folk, magicians, creatures from Fairy Tales (dwarfs, witches, kings and queens in castles, unicorns), Classical Mythology (centaurs, dryads, naiads, fauns, even Bacchus and Silenus show up at one point), "Arabian Nights" Days (the Calormene empire), even Father Christmas!
  • Fauns and Satyrs: 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 colour. 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.
  • Flat World: The world which contains Narnia is flat, with waterfalls on at least one edge (though they fall up). This is eventually Lampshaded in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Caspian is surprised to hear that there's such a thing as a round world, and thinks Eustace and Edmund are kidding.
  • Foreign Ruling Class: In between The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, Narnia is conquered by pirate-descended Telmarines from a mysterious land in the West, who force the local Talking Animals and supernatural entities into hiding. Prince Caspian himself is a Telmarine Defector from Decadence who sides with the native Narnians, but his descendants remain Narnian kings for the rest of the world's lifespan.
  • Giant Flyer: Lots of giant flying animals, including winged horses, dragons, and owls big enough for humans to ride on.
  • Going Cosmic: The series has Christian analogy from the get-go, but it becomes more and more heavy-handed with each sequel.
  • Greater-Scope Paragon: Aslan the lion plays the most prominent role in supernaturally aiding the heroes, while only brief influence is felt from his father, the Emperor-Over-the-Sea. As the books are Christian allegory, it is generally assumed that Aslan represents Jesus Christ (aka God the Son) while the Emperor is God the Father.
  • 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 (see Mis-blamed, in YMMV). 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 favour 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," which falls in line with opinions Lewis is known to have expressed about adults who think being "grown up" means looking down on childhood and "childish" enjoyments.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Several cases, even with at least one star, of all things. 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 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.
  • Hard Truth Aesop: The books contain the lesson that the real world is a harsh and violent place that sometimes takes a fair amount of violence to survive in. C. S. Lewis was even quoted once as saying that pretending otherwise would do a great disservice to children.
  • An Ice Person: The White Witch, who has brought eternal winter in Narnia, and whose face is not merely pale, but white, like snow, or paper, or icing sugar.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: In some of the books, the chapter titles are linked to each other:
    • The first two chapters of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe are "Lucy looks into a wardrobe", and "What Lucy found there".
    • In the same book, a later chapter is "Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time", followed two chapters later by "Deeper Magic from before the Dawn of Time".
    • In Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third chapter is "The Lone Islands", followed by "What Caspian did there".
  • In It for Life: "Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen in Narnia." Important because it is not unknown for children from Earth to be taken to Narnia, installed as king or queen, returned to Earth, and then be returned to Narnia years, decades, or centuries later at which time a new ruler may be in place.
  • Left-Justified Fantasy Map: Inverted and combined with the fact that making East the cardinal direction is a characteristic of mediæval 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.)
  • Legendary in the Sequel: Thanks to Narnia Time, occurs to the main characters in nearly every book; they may return to Narnia to find that thousands of years have passed and their adventures from the last time are treated as history or even legend. In Prince Caspian when the Pevensies return to Narnia it's treated as more or less equivalent to King Arthur returning to present-day Britain (many people even believe they are a myth). Taken even further in The Last Battle: Tirian is dumbfounded that Digory and Polly are still alive in our world, because they are part of Narnia's creation myth, so it's almost like meeting Adam and Eve.
    • And lest we think Tirian is just a naive native, the awe goes both ways: '"I saw [this world] begin," said the Lord Digory. "I did not think I would live to see it die."'
  • Light Is Good: Played with. Most of the villains are not "dark", and while Aslan arguably fills the "light Big Good" niche the only truly light-oriented creatures, the stars, don't play a big role - nor do they seem any more morally conventional than any other race. The inhabitants of Narnia's underworld are mostly good, and 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.
  • Magic Antidote: Lucy's cordial, made from flowers that grow only on the surface of the sun, no less. One drop has the ability to heal any wound or injury.
  • Meaningful Name: Pevensey is the village in East Sussex where William the Conqueror landed in 1066, beginning the Norman Conquest. Like William, the Pevensies enter a foreign land and claim the throne, and change the course of the land's (and the world's) history.
  • Medieval Stasis: Very strongly. Dwarfish smiths create crowns for the first royalty of Narnia on the first day of its existence, and almost four thousand years later, the last day of that world still involves people fighting with sword and bow.
  • Mighty Roar: Aslan has one of these. He uses it twice in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: once in anger when the witch asks him how she will know if a promise will be kept, and later after he has returned from his sacrifice, and he tells Susan and Lucy to put their fingers in their ears.
  • Mirror Reveal: Eustace first discovers his transformation into a dragon upon seeing his reflection in a pool of water.
  • The Multiverse: The books mainly feature travel to and from the titular Narnia, but in The Magician's Nephew it's explained that our world and Narnia are only two of a Multiverse of worlds. We only ever see three, though. Four, if you count Heaven, although this it is portrayed as being as clearly and obviously different from the rest as a cube is from a square.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted with Queen Helen and Helen Pevensie, although Helen Pevensie is not named in the books.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: These are actually good guys, and quite heroic, too.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: They don't show up all that often compared to other species, but they're among the creatures present in the world of Narnia, generally being found in its more remote corners. Physically they're the giant, fire-breathing, bat-winged reptiles of Western myth, although their elbows are noted to rise above their backs like a spider's. They're immensely greedy, and often amass immense hoards of treasure. Sleeping on a dragon's hoard risks transforming the sleeper into a dragon themselves, and dragons live alongside Fiery Salamanders in the land of Bism Beneath the Earth, sleeping until the end times when they will rise to the surface and burn away the world.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Grumpy and aggressive metalworkers and miners. Subverted in one detail: the weapon of choice for Narnian dwarfs is not the axe or hammer, but the bow.
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Instead of dwarfish sprites, they look like bizarre human-animal mixtures, but mostly humanoid, and no two are alike.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Narnia has two varieties of merfolk. The ones that live in the coast 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...
  • Our Nymphs Are Different: Dryads are among the numerous fantastical creatures native to Narnia, and Lewis describes them in some detail. Birch dryads look like slender girls with showery hair, dressed in silver and fond of dancing, beech dryads look like gracious, queenly goddesses dressed in fresh transparent green, and oak dryads look like wizened old men with warts, gnarled fingers, and hair growing out of the warts.
  • Pals with Jesus: Quite literally, our heroes are pals with Aslan who basically is Jesus in a lion form.
  • Recursive Reality: All universes are connected to the Wood Between The Worlds, a forest dotted by puddles. Each puddle is a portal to a universe.
  • Red Is Heroic: All good dwarfs have red hair and all evil dwarfs have black hair.
  • Reformation Acknowledgement: Edmund Pevensie betrayed his siblings to Jadis, the White Witch. When he reunites with his siblings, it is clear that he's repented, and had a long conversation in private with Aslan. Aslan tells the others that Edmund's transgressions need not be brought up, demonstrating that he considers the matter closed. Then Aslan offers to be sacrificed in Edmund's place, showing he considers Edmund to be redeemed.
  • Royal Cruiser: During the Golden Age of the Narnian kingdom, under High King Peter, the rulers would travel aboard a galleon carved to resemble a giant swan, named the Splendor Hyaline. When the monarchy is restored under Caspian, he makes a ship carved to resemble a dragon, named the Dawn Treader, which he uses for exploration.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • The rulers of Narnia and Archenland are expected to be "first in every charge and last in every retreat" as well as have lean tables during famines. One gets the impression that descent is an unimportant part of being royalty: Aslan appoints a random cab driver from London the first King of Narnia. When the cabbie objects, Aslan asks him if he would remember that the Talking Animals of Narnia are free subjects, avoid holding favourites, bring up his children to do the same, et cetera. His answers are between "yes" and "A chap can't know that, but I hope I'd try," and Aslan tells him "You will have done all that a King should do."
    • The Calormene royalty as well; whatever other faults you can lay at their door, they are also directly involved in politics and battles. When the Jerkass prince (unable to leave his city because of a curse) becomes Tisroc (king), he makes peace with his neighbors, because he knows better than to let his lords win glory in battle while he's stuck in the palace — "for that is the way Tisrocs get overthrown".
  • Royal "We": Given that several of the main characters are or become royalty, this shows up occasionally. It's fairly low-key and easy to miss when it does, though, and someone unfamiliar with the trope (as many children might be expected to be) could easily take it as nothing more than a leader speaking for his immediate associates, and the story loses nothing with this interpretation.
    • "We are the Empress Jadis," though, spells it out pretty clearly.
    • In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the White Witch says to Edmund "Not know the Queen of Narnia? You shall know us better hereafter."
    • In his challenge to Miraz, King Peter uses both the royal 'we' and the possessive 'our' ("our trusty brother").
  • Sapient Steed: Inevitable when you have sentient and Talking Animals, and particularly important in The Horse and His Boy, where two of the protagonists are horses. However, it's noted that in Narnia, riding a Talking Horse is something not done except in times of need.
  • Sequel Number Snarl: The series started in chronological order, but the fifth and sixth books were, respectively, a interquel and a prequel. Later editions of the series number the books in chronological order, but many fans maintain that reading them in publication order is more rewarding because the prequel contains references that only make sense if you've read the other books first. Lewis himself had a slight preference for the chronological order, but even so, he never really cared too much about the order in which people read his books.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Fallen right off the Idealistic end.
  • Sneaky Departure: This happens in several of the stories.
    • In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Edmund sneaks out of the Beavers' home, to find the Witch's House.
    • In the same book, Aslan makes a sneaky departure, to his own sacrifice, about which he has told nobody. When Susan and Lucy discover he is missing, they go to find him, and he allows them to befriend him on his sad journey.
    • In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: On one of the islands, Eustace sneaks away from the group to avoid doing any work, leading to his adventure of becoming a dragon.
    • In The Silver Chair, the heroes decide that the best way to escape from Harfang is to sneak away by daylight, appearing to be taking a casual stroll. It is even lampshaded in the text that this can be much more successful than trying to escape by night.
  • Talking Animal: Narnia is full of them and some like the Beavers act like Civilized Animals. It's important to note, however, that there are ordinary "dumb" animals which can be used for labour and be butchered for meat; but killing and eat a talking beast is a grave offence, and so is mistreating them — King Tirian kills a Calormene soldier who dared to whip a talking horse. Aslan was the one who created the Talking Beasts; they were originally ordinary animals that he granted the gifts of speech and intelligence and he still does so centuries after Narnia's creation — Reepicheep and his followers are descended from the mice that freed Aslan from the White Witch's ropes, and were given the gift of speech in gratitude. However, Aslan can also take the gift of speech away; In "The Last Battle" those talking animals that reject him or betrayed Narnia to Calormen become dumb beasts.
  • Trapped in Another World: With the slight twist that characters who stay in Narnia age normally — quite considerably in the Pevensies' case — but Snap Back to their original ages when they return to Earth. Also, finding a way back home is never a goal of anyone's quest in Narnia, with the possible exception of Uncle Andrew in The Magician's Nephew, who tries to steal Digory's "homeward" ring.
  • Unanthropomorphic Transformation: At the creation of Narnia, shown in The Magician's Nephew, Aslan grants the gift of speech and intelligence to some of the animals, but he warns them they may lose this gift and become ordinary animals again if they indulge their baser instincts too much. This threat actually happens in The Last Battle. Ginger the cat joins a group of tyrants as The Quisling, which ultimately results in him seeing the God of Evil Tash face-to-face. The sight is so terrifying, Ginger reverts to a dumb animal and never speaks again.
  • Waterfall into the Abyss: The world has this feature described in some detail in Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Continually sailing to the east doesn't bring you around to the west again, but to The End of the World. If you go over the edge, you end up in Aslan's Country - one of the few ways to get there without dying first.
  • Wish Fulfilment: 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.
    • Moreover, the entire series (or at least its earlier instalments) may count as Wish Fulfilment: in his essay "On Three Ways of Writing for Children", Lewis says that he never set out to write a children's book on the principle of writing what one supposes children like, but that he simply wrote the sort of book he himself would have liked to read.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Averted in discussing how high Aslan's country is. If you take Lewis' clues as to its height literally, in both The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair, they add up to the same figure: approximately 1,500,000 feet above sea level.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Narnia's time moves far more quickly than our universe's. Characters spend years in Narnia but then return to find it is the same day as when they entered. They revisit Narnia a year later, and find that centuries have since passed. That said, it's somewhat inconsistent, as Prince Caspian, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and The Silver Chair, all happen within Prince Caspian's lifetime, despite taking place months apart in the real world, with The Last Battle happening after those books, yet 200 years have passed.

Older adaptations provide examples of:

  • Cut Short: Neither the BBC adaptation nor the Walden Media films were able to adapt all the books. The Walden media films only managed to adapt three books, stopping at The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third published book, whereas the BBC version was at least able to go up to The Silver Chair before stopping. Even so, neither version managed to adapt all seven novels. Time will tell if the upcoming Netflix shows will avert this or not.
  • Double Vision: This happens in the BBC TV adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. When Edmund is making his way to the Witch's house, a slightly transparent double of himself appears, and has a conversation with him about the his forthcoming terrible deed. Edmund ends this conversation with "So, disappear!", and his double merges with his real self.
  • Evil Is Hammy: The White Witch in both the animated and BBC adaptations. Both have No Indoor Voice, with their lines rarely dropping below a deafening screech, and both are prone to Chewing the Scenery. Barbara Kellerman's acting in the BBC version is such that even the most innoculous lines are hammed up to the extreme, such as the White Witch screaming "NEXT TIIIIIME!" as her sleigh slowly pulls away. Probably an example of Ham and Cheese. Averted in the film version, where Tilda Swinton gives a much more restrained performance.
    • Brainwashed Prince Rillian qualifies too.
      "WHAT?! Is our little maiden A DEEP POLITICIAN?!?"
  • 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.
    • Episode 5 of the BBC series plays the rather uplifting theme music at the end seconds after Aslan's horrific murder.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: In the earlier instalments of the BBC series, a lot of the magical creatures that couldn't be played by people in costumes are animated.

Alternative Title(s): Narnia