Curiously, apropos of nothing, this came up at work today, in what order should C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books be read? I said, “Publication order–The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe comes first.” My coworker took a different view–in her boxed set The Magician’s Nephew comes first.

Oh, the pain!

Some may find it curious that, staunch atheist as I am, I have an opinion on approaching the Narnia books. Call it nostalgia. I read them when I was very young–six, if memory serves–when an animated adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was shown on a Chicago television station prompting my mother to buy me a set of the books. The order of the books then had Lion first, Magician’s Nephew sixth. It was in the mid-90s that the publishers renumbered the books, moving the chronologically-first Magician’s Nephew to the number one spot. But just as I would never recommend that anyone take The Silmarillion as the entry point into Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, nor would I recommend Magician’s Nephew as the introduction to Narnia for it removes some of the mystery to be discovered along the way.

I’ve not read any Lewis in a while, not since I read the Space Trilogy in the mid-90s (and Lewis’ abandoned fourth novel in the sequence). Perhaps I should give Narnia another try, before the film of Lion comes to theaters next fall.

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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