My Favorite Narnia Books
I’m trying to go through my drafts again, especially since I’m seemingly devoid of many opinions or post ideas that aren’t complaining at the moment. This should have been finished last fall closer to when I finished rereading the last Narnia book.
I left a comment on a post somewhere that I thought would make a decent blog post draft, and I finally finished my rereading of Narnia. I wanted to measure what I used to think about the books vs. this reread.
My Dad read these twice to us when I was a child and preteen. I “think” I read all of them on my own as an adult.. So my favorites have to do with nostalgia and how I felt as a child as well. Dad read them, I think, in the order they were published? Anyway, he started with The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I loved it, and the Horse and His Boy. I hated Prince Caspian at first because everything was changed, but love The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The Silver Chair, The Last Battle, and The Magician’s Nephew freaked me out.
When I wrote the comment I mentioned my favorites are still The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, The Horse and His Boy, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I said that I’d warmed up to Prince Caspian since the first shock, and that I loved aspects of The Silver Chair, The Last Battle, and possibly The Magician’s Nephew, but I felt that they are “colder” and “darker” and that I thought this was partially the overall atmosphere/tone of the books and plot and partially the emphasis on fewer people.
Since then, I’ve read all the books in story chronological order (I think I may have done that a years back, but I’m not certain) in 2019-2020, and I feel that what I’ve always said about my favorites and least favorites is generally true, but I feel like the differences between are more extreme. Also, I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster recently, so this is based on my moods when reading.
I do have an absolute favorite: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I just felt my spirits soar and my heart sing when I read this book in a way the other couldn’t do. I think that I didn’t enjoy The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe as much, I certainly dragged on that one, perhaps its too familiar; I felt like I enjoyed Prince Caspian more! I know that The Horse and His Boy fell from being equal with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
I think that perhaps The Magician’s Nephew is less dislike and more apathy while I feel like I actively disliked The Silver Chair while still liking the characters Jill and Eustace. The book is just so dull, dark, and dreary. The Last Battle is just . . . sad, it’s just a sad book (does Narnia really have to end?) . . . and boring at the same time. But again, I like some of the characters, King Tirian and Jill and Eustace and the old favorites who show up. I think I’d have to say The Last Battle is my least favorite because is just so sad.
I’m thinking that next time I don’t want to reread my least favorites, maybe only reread my favorite 4 or maybe just the (in Narnia chronological order) the first 5, ending on a high note with my favorite rather than a low note with my two least favorites.
So after my most recent rereads my favorites list is something like this:
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Prince Caspian and The Horse and His Boy
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
The Magician’s Nephew
The Silver Chair
The Last Battle
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. was my favourite Narnia book, too.
Yes, The Last Battle was sad. I always wished Narnia could have kept on going for much longer. The other books hinted at all sorts of wonders there that were never fully explored.
The Magician’s Nephew had some lovely scenes (especially the one where the characters planted a piece of candy in the soil), but I really didn’t appreciate the idea that a child could cure his or her ill mother by being good and following the rules. My mom has had chronic health problems (albeit not the terminal sort of illness) since she was a kid herself. It made me super sad when I was a child who read those scenes and realized there was nothing I could ever do that would magically make my mom healthy.
But learning why C.S. Lewis wrote that subplot that way did give me empathy for him. I’m sure he was writing that solely for his own inner child and didn’t realize how young readers might (mis)interpret it.
Oh, about the hinted at other wonders, that is a great way to express it, I didn’t even think about that. I know Archenland piqued my curiosity. I think Lewis mentioned other histories, and of course Narnia has loooong history which we only get bits of. I think somewhere it letters or something he had a chronology, I think I saved the link to look up somewhere.
The Magician’s Nephew is my favorite followed by The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. You’re right about The Magician’s Nephew, The Silver Chair and The Last Battle being ‘colder and darker.’ The Silver Chair dealt with spiritual warfare and the belief is what is unseen. While the Last Battle deals with the end times and the madness that the world be thrown into. A Narnia that turns it’s back on its own creator. Magician’s Nephew is about temptation and the strong hold it has on the vulnerable.
Yes, all the topics and themes in those books are depressing. But the Magician’s Nephew ends on a far more hopeful way with several happy books while the others don’t, which is important for me.
I’ve been meaning to re read them, to see if my favorites have changed too, it’s hard to beat Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but I always adored The Silver Chair even if it is more dreary.
Several of my siblings love the Silver Chair, I think Puddleglum is a favorite, he IS funny, and those siblings have more of a taste for darker stories.
Definitely agree that Magicians Nephew, Silver Chair and Last Battle have a colder feel – bits of Silver Chair are really exciting to me though (all the stuff with the giants and the Prince at the end.) My favourites are similar to yours – Voyage of the Dawn Treader is my favourite, Horse and His Boy and Lww feel like the most complete stories but then I really love the early chapters of Prince Caspian where they come back to Narnia too. I hate The Last Battle so much. For me it just has none of the things that made the early books love-able.
That pretty much sums up the Last Battle, missing all the good things. Except I do love Eustace, Jill, Trinian and their animal companions.
The giants part was ah, triggering to me as a child. The part where they stop the evil witch from drugging them and when they come back to Narnia and then when they beat the bullies is pretty fun too. Its just overall sadder.