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The Chronicles of Narnia – C. S. Lewis

04 Jan

The-Chronicles-of-NarniaHaving spent a ridiculous amount of time watching Moondial (the last post explains that, if you are a bit lost),  I restumbled upon a another classic from the archives,  The Chronicles of Narnia.

This is from way back when the BBC made great kids stuff all the time with seemingly no effort.  Part of the charm of the series is how extremely dated it now looks.   I’m amazed how enthralled I was at the time but it’s still a lovely romp through hilarious special effects and some wonderfully overdramatic acting.

Of the four books they made (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Prince Caspian,The Voyage of the Dawntreader and The Silver Chair), it was Dawntreader that had the most effect on me and still does.  Those silent windswept islands with their secrets and mournful solitude.  They are still endlessly fascinating to this day, like a ghostly Polynesia if you will.

when rereading the books years later, I found that they are so much more wonderfully effective.  Imagine everyone who has ever picked up The Magician’s Nephew seeing in their mind Narnia being created from the same words but with millions of different versions floating around the cosmos of collective imagination.  Great stuff, not only that but each of these hundreds of thousands of Narnia’s grows ever more complex and old throughout the books, giving you the pleasure of your own ages old world to explore.

The main pleasure I derived was this aging.  As each story establishes itself,  the time that Narnia has lived through without the children from our world immediately changes your perspective on your own created world.   It becomes more lived in, less bright and shiny, dog-eared like a favourite book that has been read so many times. It’s this clever and simple device which draws you in and makes you care about the world and characters and keeps the stories fresh.

The Chronicles are some of my favourite carefree escapism, that seem to transcend any certain genre, although I have chosen to put it into the genre of Children’s Literature for the purposes of classification on here.  Interestingly I find that the recreations stretching from the old cartoon and BBC productions, right through to the modern film versions are each compelling enough for a few rewatches from time to time and have at there forefront the maturing of Narnia as well as the main protagonists.

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14 Comments

Posted by on 04/01/2013 in Children's Literature

 

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14 responses to “The Chronicles of Narnia – C. S. Lewis

  1. readingwithrhythm

    04/01/2013 at 19:49

    We love the Narnia stories in this family. And you have done a very nice review. I don’t know anything about the BBC shows but they sound interesting. Thanks for your thoughts!

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    • StetotheJ

      04/01/2013 at 19:55

      I think everyone loves Narnia, I have tried to pick an aspect of the Chronicles that interests me rather than just doing a straight up review that everyone would be familiar with. So I am pleased you like it. YouTube should have some episodes, although I’m not sure how available they are outside the UK as YouTube doesn’t allow access to some programmes due to Uk licence fee rules. Or so I believe but it’s worth checking out all the same.

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  2. Anonymous

    05/01/2013 at 07:28

    My favourite is the Magician’s Nephew…although for years I read the chapter title “The Deplorable Word” as the deplorable “World”. On realising my mistake, I had to re-assess my entire reading of the chapter….I also was quite fond of the overuse of the word “blubbling” in the first chapter. Such a British word….or so I thought….because our ex-Prime-Minister used it on national television when he got shafted by his deputy….

    Hmm. I feel this comment has got away from me a little bit. Sorry about that. I’ll stop now.

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    • StetotheJ

      05/01/2013 at 18:40

      No, no please carry on, I was enjoying that. Politics imitates art, I have always said that and have not just made it up now. Words on an oddity, unless they are Irish, then they are just unpronouncable in some cases.

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  3. Alastair Savage

    13/01/2013 at 10:00

    Like Arthur Conon Doyle, C.S.Lewis’ stories do lend themselves to adaptation. They always seem to bring out the best in whoever is reworking them. I still think the best version of his work is the pictures that appeared in the old paperbacks that I read back in the 1980s. They had a scratchy sort of line drawing that really caught the atmosphere of the books, especially in The Silver Chair. In fact, I probably remember the artist more than the story. I can’t remember his/her name though.

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    • StetotheJ

      14/01/2013 at 16:27

      I sought out the illustrations but got lost in a whirlwind of different artists but you are spot on with the semtiment that the illustrations in a book can influence the whole feel of a book.

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  4. Bumba

    15/01/2013 at 00:12

    the Voyage of the Dawntreader is the volume I have yet to read. Yes they are charming. The BBC series was quite good – better than the recent movies. What ever happened to the BBC? They used to produce wonderful stuff.

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    • StetotheJ

      18/01/2013 at 12:01

      That is exactly the question I have asked myself, the license fee goes up, the number of needless staff goes up and quality drops, but they don’t seem to see the link. Even Dr Who which is pretty much the flagship entertainment programme of the whole corporation suffered from problems at the top and had to rewrite a bunch of scripts to make them cheaper. Still on a lighter note, the documentaries are still top class.

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      • Bumba

        18/01/2013 at 15:46

        I recently saw an interview with Dennis Potter, taped just before he died. It was an amazing interview, as he was very sick already and discussed his impending death objectively and with admirable courage and insight. Anyway, he was quite upset about the turn of political events within the BBC and lamented the loss of programming freesom and creativity he had enjoyed.

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        • StetotheJ

          19/01/2013 at 14:26

          it is shambolic, Private Eye, Britain’s best satire magazine always manages to have a column on the inner machinations and sheer wastefulness of the whole operation. Everything is so strictly regulated that there isn’t much room for originality or innovativeness anymore. There does seem to be a lot more room for repeats of old comedies and such like, which is bad enough but to not draw on the documentaries previously made that might actually educate people is a bit much.

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  5. aidandarrall

    18/01/2013 at 18:00

    I’m totally gonna lower the intelligence of the post and comments but I love Narnia. 🙂

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    • StetotheJ

      19/01/2013 at 14:28

      You can’t lower the intelligence anymore than I can when I wear a box on my head at work. Narnia is cracking, always appreciate your input, especially from a fan of narnia.

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      • aidandarrall

        20/01/2013 at 18:05

        Haha! I’ve never seen you wear a box on your head before! Now I know what you do with all that spare time. Ste to the J… I love Narnia… I lived in the wardrobe for 18 years!

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        • StetotheJ

          20/01/2013 at 19:54

          I don’t get out much, when you say you lived in a wardrobe, was this real time or Narnia time (although I realise that time is relative etc)?

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