The Books

The Chronicles of Narnia is a seven book set written by C.S. Lewis. They all take place in the fictional world of Narnia where magic, beasts, and all things weird and wonderful inhabit the land. Originally, Lewis wrote the books for his niece, but they evolved into much more than just a fairy tale for children.

The books are, at heart, fantasy stories. The children who explore Narnia are much like we once were, at such an age. Their innocence and inability to judge don't come across as naive, but as strengths of character. Lewis managed to create believable people who, although young, are noble and brave. It is this ideal bond between age and wisdom that makes one fall in love with the Pevensie children, their relatives, and those they meet. They are flawed, but not tragically. They are realistic and yet, not quite us. They are the children we believe that we would be, if put into their situations.

When C.S. Lewis started Narnia, he had little intention of continuing the series beyond The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. He did leave it open enough to go on without leaving the reader unsatisfied, as any good author does. But, he kept on writing in the world of Narnia, as he was inspired to. And so the books were published as he finished them. The only exception to this is The Magician's Nephew. His intentions were to have it second, but didn't complete it until after The Horse and His Boy.

Original Publication Sequence
  1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  2. Prince Caspian
  3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  4. The Silver Chair
  5. The Horse and His Boy
  6. The Magician's Nephew
  7. The Last Battle

Now, since HarperCollins acquired the rights to Narnia, they've been publishing them in a slightly different order. This new order follows the Narnia timeline. Thus, prequels like The Magician's Nephew are labeled as the first in the series, instead of Lion. While Lewis himself said he agreed to such a change, many readers find it inferior to the original because some mysteries were best solved as he had them written. Regardless, they continue to be published in this order.
Revised Sequence
  1. The Magician's Nephew
  2. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  3. The Horse and His Boy
  4. Prince Caspian
  5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  6. The Silver Chair
  7. The Last Battle

The Miniseries

As soon as I discovered that there were video versions to go along with my own visions of Narnia, I went on a quest to find them. And, much to my surprise, they seem to be readily available.

Created in the late eighties, they aren't terribly impressive for special effects. Nor did they inspire me, as the books had. But they were well done. Unfortunately, the miniseries only covered four of the books. And they only did it in three installments.

The first, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, follows the story closely. From what I recall, although not amazing, it definitely brought me to Narnia again, regardless of the poorly done talking beasts. In the second installment, they combined the second and third books to create Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. This was my favourite. Not for any particular reason, I just found the acting was spot on and it allowed me to glimpse into the visions of Narnia that lay in my head. The miniseries concluded with The Silver Chair, a fair place to stop, as the rest of Narnia involved a world outside of our Pevensie heroes.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Released: 1988
Produced: BBC
Director: Marilyn Fox
Actors: Sophie Wilcox, Jonathan R. Scott, Richard Dempsey, Sophie Cook, Barbara Kellerman, Jeffrey S. Perry, Kerry Shale, Lesley Nicol, Jeffrey S. Perry, Michael Aldridge, Ronald Pickup.

Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Released: 1989
Produced: BBC
Director: Alex Kirby
Actors: Sophie Wilcox, Jonathan R. Scott, Richard Dempsey, Sophie Cook, David Thwaites, Samuel West, Warwick Davis, Jean Marc Perret, John Hallam, Robert Lang, Ronald Pickup.

The Silver Chair

Released: 1990
Produced: BBC
Director: Alex Kirby
Actors: David Thwaites, Camilla Power, Tom Baker, Richard Henders, Barbara Kellerman, Ronald Pickup.

Sources:
CNN.com
http://www.decentfilms.com/reviews/bbcnarnia.html

An E2 Quest: Writeup Redemption submission.

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