The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels by C. S. Lewis. It is considered a classic of children’s literature and is the author’s best-known work. It is Set in the fictional realm of Narnia, a fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals, and narrates the adventures of various children who visit the realm of Narnia. Except in The Horse and His Boy, the protagonists are all children from the real world, magically transported to Narnia, where they are called upon by the lion Aslan to protect Narnia from evil and restore the throne to its rightful line. The books span the entire history of Narnia, from its creation in The Magician’s Nephew to its eventual destruction in The Last Battle.
The first book in the Chronicles of Narnia, The Magician’s Nephew, is a prequel which explains the origins of Narnia, how Aslan created the world and how evil first entered it. Digory Kirke and his friend Polly Plummer stumble into different worlds by experimenting with magic rings made by Digory’s uncle. They encounter Jadis (The White Witch) in the dying world of Charn, and witness the creation of Narnia. Many long-standing questions about the world are answered as a result. The story is set in 1900, when Digory was a 12-year-old boy. He is a middle-aged professor and host to the Pevensie children by the time of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 40 years later.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe takes place In 1940, and features four siblings – Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie – who are among many children evacuated from London during World War II to escape the Blitz. They are sent to the countryside to live with professor Digory Kirke. Exploring the professor’s house, Lucy finds a wardrobe which doubles as a magic portal to a forest in a land called Narnia. At a lamppost oddly located in the forest, she meets Tumnus, a faun, who invites her to tea in his home. There the faun confesses that he invited her not out of hospitality, but with the intention of betraying her to the White Witch. The witch has ruled Narnia for years, using magic to keep it frozen in a perpetual winter. She has ordered all Narnians to turn in any humans (“Sons of Adam” or “Daughters of Eve”) they come across. But now that he has come to know and like a human, Tumnus repents his original intention and escorts Lucy back to the lamppost.
Lucy returns through the wardrobe and finds that only a few seconds have passed in normal time during her absence. Her siblings do not believe her story about another world inside the wardrobe, which is now found to have a solid back panel. Later During a game of hide-and-seek , Lucy again passes into Narnia. This time her brother Edmund follows her. He meets Jadis, who calls herself Queen of Narnia. When she learns that he is human and has two sisters and a brother, she places an enchantment on him. She urges him to bring his siblings to her castle, promising in return to make him her heir. When Lucy and Edmund return together through the wardrobe, Edmund realizes that the queen he met and the witch Lucy describes are one and the same. He denies to the others that he has been in Narnia at all. Peter and Susan are puzzled by Lucy’s insistence, and consult the Professor, who surprises them by taking Lucy’s side in the debate of Narnia’s existence.
Soon afterward, all four children enter Narnia together after hiding in the wardrobe to avoid the professor’s dour housekeeper, Mrs. Macready. Remembering the winter cold ahead, they take coats from the wardrobe before exploring. Lucy guides them to Tumnus’s cave, but they find it ransacked, with a notice from Jadis (the White Witch) proclaiming his arrest for harbouring humans A talking beaver intercepts them, and hides the children in his den. There, he and Mrs. Beaver tell them of a prophecy that Jadis’s power will fail when two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve fill the four thrones at Cair Paravel. Aslan, the great lion and the rightful King, has been absent for many years but is now “on the move again” in Narnia. Meanwhile Edmund steals away to Jadis’s castle, which is filled with statues of Narnian victims she has turned to stone. Jadis is furious when Edmund appears alone and angrier still to learn that Aslan may have returned. She takes him on her sledge to catch the others or to reach Aslan’s court before them.
Meanwhile, Mr Beaver realizes that Edmund has betrayed them, and they set off at once to seek Aslan at the Stone Table. As they travel, the Witch’s spell over Narnia begins to break: Father Christmas (who has not been seen in Narnia for a hundred years) arrives with magical presents: a sword for Peter, a horn and a bow with arrows for Susan, a knife and a bottle of healing cordial for Lucy. The snow melts, and winter ends. Aslan welcomes the children and the Beavers to his camp near the Stone Table. Upon hearing Edmund’s situation, he orders a rescue party of loyal Narnians. Edmund is eventually rescued from their camp and reunited with his siblings. Jadis approaches in truce to parley with Aslan. She insists that, according to “deep magic from the dawn of time”, she holds the right to kill Edmund following his treason. Aslan bargains with her privately and she renounces her claim.
That evening, Aslan secretly returns to the Stone Table, shadowed by Susan and Lucy. Upon noticing them, Aslan welcomes their company but warns them not to interfere with what is about to happen. He has traded his own life to the witch for Edmund’s, and the girls watch as Jadis oversees his shaming before her underlings. She orders Aslan tied to the Stone Table, shaved and muzzled; and she administers the killing blow herself.
Confident now of victory, the Witch leads her army away to battle. Susan and Lucy remain weeping over Aslan’s abandoned body. They un-muzzle him and see mice gnaw away his bonds. The Stone Table breaks and Aslan is restored to life. He tells Lucy and Susan that Jadis was unaware of the “deeper magic from before the dawn of time” that will resurrect an innocent killed in place of a traitor. Aslan carries Lucy and Susan on his back as he hurries to Jadis’s castle. He breathes upon the stone statues in the courtyard, restoring them to life.
Meanwhile, Peter and Edmund lead the Narnians against Jadis, and Edmund is seriously wounded. Aslan arrives with the former statues as reinforcements. The Narnians rout Jadis’s supporters, and Aslan kills Jadis. Aslan breathes life into those Jadis has turned to stone on the battlefield, and Lucy uses her magic cordial to revive the wounded, starting with Edmund. The Pevensie children are crowned kings and queens of Narnia at Cair Paravel. Soon afterward, Aslan slips away and disappears. Fifteen years later, the four rulers chase a wish-granting white stag through the forest whereupon they rediscover the lamppost. They soon find their way not through branches but coats. They come back through the wardrobe in the Professor’s house and are suddenly children again, dressed in their old clothes. Almost no time has passed in the real world, despite their many years in Narnia.
The next novel, Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia tells the story of the Pevensie children’s second trip to Narnia. They are drawn back by the power of Susan’s horn, blown by Prince Caspian to summon help in his hour of need. Narnia, as they knew it, is no more, as 1,300 years have passed and their castle is in ruins, while all Narnians have retreated so far within themselves that only Aslan’s magic can wake them. Caspian has fled into the woods to escape his uncle, Miraz, who has usurped the throne. The children set out once again to save Narnia. The children intervene to rescue Trumpkin the dwarf from soldiers who have brought him to the ruins to drown him. Trumpkin tells the children that since their disappearance, a race of men called Telmarines have invaded Narnia, driving the Talking Beasts into the wilderness and pushing even their memory underground. Narnia is ruled by King Miraz and his wife Queen Prunaprismia, but the rightful king is Miraz’s nephew, Prince Caspian, who has gained the support of the Old Narnians.
Miraz usurped the throne by killing his brother, Caspian’s father King Caspian IX. Miraz tolerated Caspian as heir until his own son was born. Prince Caspian, until that point ignorant of his uncle’s deeds, escaped from Miraz’s Castle with the aid of his tutor Doctor Cornelius, who schooled him in the lore of Old Narnia, and gave him Queen Susan’s horn. Caspian fled into the forest but was knocked unconscious when his horse bolted. He awoke in the den of a talking badger, Trufflehunter, and two dwarfs, Nikabrik and Trumpkin, who accepted Caspian as their king.
The badger and dwarves took Caspian to meet many creatures of Old Narnia. During a midnight council on Dancing Lawn, Doctor Cornelius arrived to warn them of the approach of King Miraz and his army; he urged them to flee to Aslan’s How in the great woods near Cair Paravel. The Telmarines followed the Narnians to the How, and after several skirmishes the Narnians appeared close to defeat. At a second war council, they discussed whether to use Queen Susan’s horn, and whether it would bring Aslan or the Kings and Queens of the golden age. Not knowing where help would arrive, they dispatched a squirrel to Lantern Waste and Trumpkin to Cair Paravel; it is then that Trumpkin was captured by the Telmarines and rescued by the Pevensies.
Trumpkin and the Pevensies make their way to Caspian. They try to save time by travelling up Glasswater Creek, but lose their way. Lucy sees Aslan and wants to follow where he leads, but the others do not believe her and follow their original course, which becomes increasingly difficult. In the night, Aslan calls Lucy and tells her she must awaken the others and insist they follow her on Aslan’s path. When the others obey, they begin to see Aslan’s shadow, then Aslan himself. Aslan sends Peter, Edmund, and Trumpkin ahead to Aslan’s How to deal with treachery brewing there, and follows with Susan and Lucy. Peter, Edmund, and Trumpkin enter Aslan’s How; where they overhear Nikabrik and his confederates, a Hag and a Wer-Wolf, trying to persuade Caspian, Cornelius, and Trufflehunter to help them resurrect the White Witch in hopes of using her power to defeat Miraz. A fight ensues, and Nikabrik and his comrades are slain.
Peter challenges Miraz to single combat; the army of the victor in this duel will be considered the victor in the war. Miraz accepts the challenge, goaded by Lords Glozelle and Sopespian. Miraz loses the combat, but Glozelle and Sopespian declare that the Narnians have cheated and stabbed the King in the back while he was down. They command the Telmarine army to attack, and in the commotion that follows, Glozelle stabs Miraz in the back. Aslan, accompanied by Lucy and Susan, summons the gods Bacchus and Silenus, and with their help brings the woods to life. The gods and awakened trees turn the tide of battle and send the Telmarines fleeing. Discovering themselves trapped at the Great River, where their bridge has been destroyed by Bacchus, the Telmarines surrender. Aslan gives the Telmarines a choice of staying in Narnia under Caspian or returning to Earth, their original home. After one volunteer disappears through the magic door created by Aslan, the Pevensies go through to reassure the other Telmarines,
The next novel The Voyage of the Dawn Treader sees Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, along with their priggish cousin, Eustace Scrubb, return to Narnia. Once there, they join Caspian’s voyage on the ship Dawn Treader to find the seven lords who were banished when Miraz took over the throne. This perilous journey brings them face to face with many wonders and dangers as they sail toward Aslan’s country at the edge of the world. The two youngest Pevensie children, Lucy and Edmund, are staying with their odious cousin Eustace Scrubb while their older brother, Peter, is studying for an exam with Professor Kirke, and their older sister, Susan, is travelling through America with their parents. Edmund, Lucy, and Eustace are drawn into the Narnian world through a picture of a ship at sea. (The painting, hanging neglected in the guest bedroom in which Lucy was staying, had been an unwanted present to Eustace’s parents.) The three children land in the ocean near the pictured vessel, the titular Dawn Treader, and are taken aboard.
The Dawn Treader is the ship of Caspian X, King of Narnia, who was the key character in the previous book (Prince Caspian). Edmund and Lucy (along with Peter and Susan) helped him gain the throne from his evil uncle Miraz. Also present on board are the Lord Drinian (the captain of the Dawn Treader) and the first mate Rhince. Three years have passed since the vents of Prince Caspian and Caspian has undertaken a quest in fulfilment of his coronation oath to find the seven lost Lords of Narnia. Lucy and Edmund are delighted to be back in the Narnian world, but Eustace is less enthusiastic, as he has never been there before and had taunted his cousins with his belief that this alternate universe had never existed. The Talking Mouse Reepicheep is also on board, as he hopes to find Aslan’s Country beyond the seas of the “utter East”.
They first arrive at the Lone Islands, where slave trade flourishes despite Narnian law stating that it is forbidden. Caspian, Lucy, Edmund, Eustace and Reepicheep are captured as merchandise by a slave trader, and a man “buys” Caspian before they even reach the slave market. He turns out to be the first lost lord, Lord Bern, who moved to the islands and married a woman there after being banished from Narnia by Miraz. When Caspian reveals his identity, Bern acknowledges him as King. Caspian reclaims the islands for Narnia, and replaces Gumpas, the greedy governor, with Lord Bern, whom he names Duke of the Lone Islands.
At the second island they visit, Eustace leaves the group and hides in a dead dragon’s cave to escape a sudden downpour. The dragon’s treasure arouses his greed: he fills his pockets with gold and jewels and puts on a large golden bracelet; but as he sleeps, he is transformed into a dragon. As a dragon, he becomes aware of how bad his previous behaviour was. He attempts to shed his dragon skin without success. It is only with the help of Aslan that he is able to become human again, though the process is very painful. Caspian recognises the bracelet: it belonged to Lord Octesian, another of the lost lords. They speculate that the dragon killed Octesian — or even that the dragon was Octesian. Aslan turns Eustace back into a boy, and as a result of his experiences he is now a much nicer person.
They then stop at Burnt Island, where a coracle is discovered among human artefacts on the now uninhabited isle and given to Reepicheep. Next is Deathwater Island, so named for a pool of water which turns everything immersed in it into gold, including one of the missing lords who turns out to have been Lord Restimar. Then they stop at the Duffers’ Island, where Lucy herself encounters Aslan, and at the Island Where Dreams Come True – called the Dark Island since it is permanently hidden in darkness. They rescue a desperate Lord Rhoop from this last. Eventually they reach the Island of the Star, where they find the three remaining lost lords in enchanted sleep. Ramandu, the fallen star who lives on the island, tells them that the only way to awaken them is to sail to the edge of the world and there to leave one member of the crew behind.
The Dawn Treader continues sailing into an area where merpeople dwell and the water turns sweet rather than salty. Eventually the water becomes so shallow that the ship can go no farther. Caspian orders a boat lowered and announces that he will go to the world’s end with Reepicheep. The crew object, saying that as King of Narnia he has no right to abandon them. Then Aslan appear in Caspian’s cabin and tells him that only Lucy, Edmund, Eustace, and Reepicheep will go on.
The next novel The Silver Chair is the first Narnia book without any of the Pevensie children. Instead, Aslan calls Eustace back to Narnia together with his classmate Jill Pole. There they are given four signs to aid them in the search for Prince Rilian, Caspian’s son, who disappeared after setting out ten years earlier to avenge his mother’s death. Eustace and Jill, with the help of Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle, face danger and betrayal on their quest to find Rilian. Fifty years have passed in Narnia and Caspian, who was barely an adult in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, is now an old man, while Eustace is still a child.
The Horse and His Boy takes place during the reign of the Pevensies in Narnia, an era which begins and ends in the last chapter of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. A young boy named Shasta and a talking horse named Bree, both of whom are in bondage in the country of Calormen, are the protagonists. By “chance”, they meet and plan their return to Narnia and freedom. Along the way they meet Aravis and her talking horse Hwin who are also fleeing to Narnia.
The final novel The Last Battle chronicles the end of the world of Narnia. Jill and Eustace return to save Narnia from Shift, an ape, who tricks Puzzle, a donkey, into impersonating the lion Aslan, precipitating a showdown between the Calormenes and King Tirian. This leads to the end of Narnia, revealing the true Narnia to which Aslan brings them.