The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

Revisiting the Magic of Narnia: Why C.S. Lewis’s Beloved Fantasy Series Still Captivates Readers


As a child, I’m sure many of us remembers eagerly turning the pages of C.S. Lewis’s cherished The Chronicles of Narnia series, impatient to see where the adventures would lead. I recently decided to revisit the series as an adult to see if that old magic was still there. Suffice it to say, I was not disappointed. While written ostensibly for children, Lewis’s masterful blend of fantasy, adventure, life lessons, and Christian allegory contains depth that continues to reward readers young and old.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

You can find the whole saga of The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis on your favorite bookstore, including and Amazon UK.

About author C. S. Lewis

Author C. S. Lewis

Clive Staples Lewis, known as C.S. Lewis, was one of the most influential British authors of the 20th century. Born in Belfast, Ireland in 1898, Lewis served in the British army during World War I before going on to study at Oxford University. He taught at Oxford for nearly 30 years, lecturing on English literature.

Lewis is best known as the author of the beloved children’s fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia, which has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. First published in the 1950s, The Chronicles of Narnia traces the adventures of children who discover a magical land filled with talking animals and mythical creatures. Through the lens of fantasy, the series explores themes of courage, sacrifice, redemption and faith.

In addition to children’s literature, Lewis was a prolific writer of science fiction and fantasy for adults, essays on Christianity, and academic books on medieval literature. Some of his most popular works include The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, The Four Loves, and Till We Have Faces.

Known for his powerful imagination and clarity of thought, Lewis had the rare ability to speak to both children and adults through his writing. He challenged readers to expand their moral reasoning and think more deeply about human nature, good and evil, love, suffering and spirituality. His works continue to be widely read by successive generations.

Later in life, Lewis struck up a famous friendship and rivalry with fellow Oxford don J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. They were both central figures in the informal Oxford literary circle known as The Inklings, who met to share their works-in-progress. Lewis’s friendship with Tolkien helped to reinvigorate his love of mythopoeic fiction, leading him to write the acclaimed fantasy books set in the magical realms of Narnia and Perelandra.

C.S. Lewis died on November 22, 1963 – the same day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. But the shy, retiring Lewis continues to exert a huge influence on modern readers through his magical works of fiction. He challenges our imaginations to discover the transcendent power of myth, courage and love in all their forms. More than 50 years after his death, C.S. Lewis remains one of the most treasured British authors of all time. His stories have become true classics of children’s literature.

An Overview of the Series

For those unfamiliar, The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels first published between 1950 and 1956. The books center around a magical land called Narnia, an alternative world inhabited by talking animals and mythical creatures which is accessed from our own world through magical portals.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

In the inaugural book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, four children – Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie – discover the entrance to Narnia via an old wardrobe while staying at a professor’s countryside home during World War II air raids. The Pevensies soon learn Narnia is ruled by the evil White Witch, who has condemned the land to eternal winter. Aided by Mr. Tumnus the faun and the mighty lion Aslan, the children band together to join the fight against the Witch and fulfill an ancient prophecy to restore peace and order to Narnia.

This sets up the premise for the rest of the series – over the next six books, the Pevensie children (as well as another child, Eustace Scrubb) periodically travel between our world and Narnia, where they reign as Kings and Queens and help defend Narnia against enemies both within and without.

Expanding the Mythos

After The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Lewis broadens the Narnian universe by exploring lands beyond its borders. In Prince Caspian the Pevensies return to a Narnia that has passed hundreds of years and is now ruled by the titular Prince, rightful heir to the throne. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader sees Edmund and Lucy sailing East with Caspian on a quest to find the seven missing Lords of Narnia.

We journey even further in The Silver Chair, which sends Eustace and newcomer Jill Pole in search of Prince Rilian, Caspian’s kidnapped son. The Horse and His Boy shifts focus to the southern lands of Archenland and Calormen, viewed primarily through the perspective of two children and talking horses fleeing north to freedom in Narnia. The Magician’s Nephew goes back to Narnia’s origins, exploring how evil first came to the land, while The Last Battle brings a conclusive (if controversial) end to the series.

While very much self-contained, disparate stories, common threads and laws run through all seven books which bind them together into an epic, interconnected saga.

Why We Love Narnia

Creative Worldbuilding

As with any great fantasy series, much of the joy stems from exploring the rich imaginary world the author has created. Lewis excels in this regard – Narnia overflows with sumptuous landscapes, intriguing cultures, eventful histories spanning thousands of years and a unique bestiary of creatures. From centaurs to werewolves, minotaurs to people made of flowers, the Narnian cosmos captivates through the diversity of its inhabitants and settings.

There is also a dreamlike quality to the world; places have thelogic of dreams. In Narnia, a group of children can wander from a lamp-post in a snowy wood into a faun’s cozy underground home. They can sail to the end of the world or fly on Aslan’s back by the mane. While this illogic jars those craving hard realism, it amplifies the sense of wonder and fantasy.

Engaging Characters

In addition to worldbuilding, the series also boasts a memorable cast of heroes and villains. The Pevensie children are relatable protagonists, ordinary British kids thrust into extraordinary circumstances. They occasionally succumb to very human faults – Edmund’s deception in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, for example – but ultimately rise to every challenge in front of them.

Compelling Villains

Equally strong are the villains, particularly the White Witch and Shift the cunning ape from The Last Battle. Such antagonists generate real dramatic stakes and peril, providing excellent foils to our heroes. Charismatic supporting characters like Reepicheep, the brave mouse knight of Dawn Treader, further enrich the tapestry.


But Lewis’s crowning creation is Aslan. The noble lion serves as the living embodiment of “the force of good” within the Narnia universe. Though a Christ-figure, Aslan succeeds whether readers view him religiously or not. He evokes awe through his commanding presence, righteous wisdom and beneficent guidance of the heroes.

Storytelling Mastery

Lewis excels not just at worldbuilding and characterization, but at storytelling itself. Each adventure brims with jeopardy, showcasing the author’s knack for plotting events in an engaging sequence with rising tension. He also employs humor skillfully to punctuate dramatic moments. From comical mishaps to witty banter between characters, lighthearted passages prevent the stories becoming too heavy.

Growing Up Alongside the Reader

Another strength is how the series matures thematically with its audience. The early entries adopt a more childish tone, but become increasingly nuanced exploring concepts like duty, faith, betrayal and even religious allegory by the later books. Like its protagonists, the series grows up.

This allows children to uncover new layers of meaning upon successive readings. As an adult reader, I discovered political commentary The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe that I’d never appreciated as a child.

Criticisms of the Series

The Narnia series is rightly beloved, but not beyond reproach. One common complaint is the simplistic way it handles ideas around good versus evil. The villains often lack nuance, presented as wholly wicked in contrast to the wholesome heroes.

C.S. Lewis’s strong Christian viewpoint also penetrates much of the symbolism and allegory. While some appreciate this, more secular readers may find it obtrusive or heavy-handed at times.

The ending of The Last Battle also proves controversial. Without giving spoilers, some felt Lewis’s chosen climax and resolution a disappointment after growing attached to characters over seven books. Personally I found the ending appropriate, but others are understandably less satisfied.


While flawed, C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series still represents fantasy writing of the highest caliber that holds up remarkably well for both children and adults. Through seven books Lewis sustains the spell, creating a rich world of almost mythic resonance. The books touch on universal themes and powerful ideas like courage, belief and redemption that resonate profoundly with readers. 65 years since The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe first published, that magical land behind the wardrobe still captivates our imaginations.

So if you’ve yet to enter C.S Lewis’s wondrous creation – or simply wish to revisit its delights – grab a copy and escape back to Narnia today! It remains a place of danger and enchantment for dreamers of all ages.

6 Similar Book Recommendations

If you enjoyed exploring the world of Narnia, here are six more fantasy book series I recommend to recapture that sense of magic and imagination:

1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

2. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

3. The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

4. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien

5. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

6. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman


What literary genre are The Chronicles of Narnia books?

The Chronicles of Narnia series is considered children’s literature and fantasy fiction. More specifically, the series incorporates aspects of the high fantasy and portal fantasy genres due to its magical creatures and elements, fantastical lands like Narnia, the heroic coming-of-age storyline, and portals that transport children from the real world into the imaginary realm of Narnia.

How many books are there in the Narnia book series?

There are 7 books total in The Chronicles of Narnia main book series written by C.S. Lewis and published between 1950 and 1956. The books in chronological order are – The Magician’s Nephew; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; The Horse and His Boy; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Silver Chair; and The Last Battle.

In what order should you read the Chronicles of Narnia books?

The Chronicles of Narnia books should be read in the original publication order starting with The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. The later prequel The Magician’s Nephew details Narnia’s origins that act as plot revelations if you read it first. Following Narnia chronology ruins surprises that C.S. Lewis deliberately structured into his writings.

What reading level are the Narnia books appropriate for?

The Chronicles of Narnia books are generally considered children and young adult literature appropriate for grades 3 through 7. However, people of any age can enjoy the series. The books increase in complexity regarding vocabulary, concepts and themes as the child protagonists mature throughout their adventures.

What Christian themes and symbols are in The Chronicles of Narnia?

The lion Aslan is considered by many scholars and critics to be a Jesus Christ-like figure. Biblical themes in the series include imagery like the Garden of Eden, Apocalypse, salvation, resurrection, and morality tales of right versus wrong choices. Other experts argue the series promotes Christian values vs overt religious allegories.

What life lessons are taught in the Narnia series?

Key virtues and life lessons taught across The Chronicles of Narnia book series include bravery in overcoming fear, the importance of selfless sacrifice, redemption from past sins, forgiveness of enemies, sticking firmly to moral integrity, and enduring hope no matter how desperate situations seem.

Who is the main antagonist in The Chronicles of Narnia?

The white witch Jadis, who freeze Narnia in a hundred year winter, is the main antagonist throughout the series. Other recurring villains that challenge the Pevensie children and Prince Caspian include Miraz the usurper, Shift the cunning ape, the Lady of the Green Kirtle, and Tash the bird-headed demon god.

Who are the Pevensie children main characters?

The four Pevensie siblings who discover and rule Narnia while guiding it through hardships and war are Peter the High King, Susan the gentle queen and skilled archer, Edmund the redeemed just king, and Lucy the valiant queen and youngest of the children.

How did C.S. Lewis come up with the idea for The Chronicles of Narnia?

Lewis was inspired by a mental picture of a faun carrying parcels under a streetlamp in snow that became the famous lamppost landmark in Narnia. He also incorporated mythological creatures he loved as a boy and scenery inspired by vacations to the Irish countryside into shaping the world of Narnia.

Have the Chronicles of Narnia books been adapted for film or stage?

There have been various film, TV, radio dramatizations, and stage adaptations of The Chronicles of Narnia books and its iconic characters. This includes live-action movies, BBC radio plays, a cartoon movie series, as well as several musicals and plays based on the books.

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