Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Monday, February 28, 2011

In which I have more to discuss about Narnia

Since we're on the subject, there are Things You Must Know about Narnia and the Chronicles thereof.

In what order should the books be read? 

I grew up reading the books in order of publication (making The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe the first book of the series rather than The Magician's Nephew, even though Nephew is first chronologically). Setting aside habit and precedent and all that sort of thing, there's something so wonderful in reading about the very beginning of Narnia (in Nephewafter it has already become a familiar place. I will always want to read Lion first, but I won't harp on anyone reading the books in chronological order. The important thing is to JUST READ THEM!

Which of the seven books is my favorite?

I love each one of the Narnia books, but I don't love them all equally. I have four favorites and three not-so-favorites. The best: Lion, The Horse and His Boy, The Silver Chair, and Nephew. But don't tell the other three I said so.

Would I enjoy the books as much if I hadn't read and loved them as a child? 

My (grown-up) friend BR borrowed the series from me a few years back. She enjoyed them, but I don't think she loved them. She very tactfully said she wished she'd read them as a child. I think that means the books didn't hold the same magic for her as they do for me. But I know there are a few of you who have imminent plans to read these books for the first time, and I'm eager to hear what you think! Only . . . if you don't love them, maybe you shouldn't tell me.

What about The Movies?

After reading the books so many times, I have very vivid pictures in my mind of exactly how everything looks. With each re-read, I go back to the exact same place in my imagination. I was worried that watching the movie adaptations would ruin that for me . . . but I couldn't help but do it anyway. Oh, the BBC editions are a little bit horrible, but the Hollywood versions are so beautiful that I don't mind very much when the movie scenery rousts the familiar old images from my brain. Hollywood has made a *lot* of changes to the stories, but most of them have actually been good and exciting changes that have added to the experience. I HEART THEM AND I HOPE THEY MAKE ALL SEVEN BOOKS INTO MOVIES. I will die a little bit inside if they don't.

Guess what? I just finished writing my 200th blog post.

Illustrations by Pauline Baynes. She's my hero.


Bex said...

There's talk that they're finally making the film of The Magicians Nephew! I found this out last night and am soooooo excited! I have to admit a secret love for the BBC versions, but it has more to do with the theme tune than the actual films...

Eclectic Indulgence said...

Mark me down as one who never read the books as a child, but wish I had. I think some of the magic is lost as an adult - I would much rather read the Susan Cooper 'Dark is Rising' series, another one where the SECOND book is the mainstay and you have to determine what order you read them in.

Kathy said...

Bex--that IS exciting news!! I'd heard The Silver Chair was coming out later this year, but didn't know anything beyond that. Are they doing Nephew before Horse?

E.I.--is it awful that I've never heard of that series? I may have to check it out.

Becky (Page Turners) said...

Thanks for the run down. I only ever read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe as a child and im not sure I want to read the rest because i enjoyed that one so much I dont want that feeling changed in any way

Avid Reader said...

Love, love, love these. I read them as a child, then re-read them as an adult and love them even more. Lion, Horse and Nephew were always my favorites too. I desperately hope they make all 7 movies too!

I had never heard of the Susan Cooper series until last year. There are 5 books and I've read the first three so far. They have a similar feel, but I do wish I'd read them when I was younger.

Congrats on your 200th post!

Kathy said...

Becky--I can understand that feeling (it's kind of like my worry about watching the movies because I didn't want to ruin the books) but I think it can be compared to having kids. When you just have one, you love him or her more than you could have imagined. When you're about to have the second one, you worry about dividing your love between two kids. But then you find out you don't have to divide your love--it multiplies . . .

AR--hearing that the Cooper series has a similar feel to the Narnia books makes me even more interested in them! Although it's always kind of sad to just now be hearing about a book I would have enjoyed more as a child.

Amy said...

I was also a huge Naria fan as a child and was sad my boys never really got into them - even though I tried, as you did, to read them at bedtime. They did enjoy the Hollywood movies, though.

Kathy said...

I feel your pain, Amy! Maybe the Narnia books are just too old-fashioned for these newfangled kids. ;)

ChristopherTK said...

I loved this series, having first read it in forth-grade for the first, of many times.

Sadly, I must admit that I was disappointed by the books when I re-read them as an adult, after the birth of my son.

The "magic" no longer captivated me.

Kathy said...

Good thing there are so many other books out there, eh? But I must say I'm glad this didn't happen to me. :)