The chronicles of Narnia

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The Chronicles of Narnia (orig. The Chronicles of Narnia ) is a seven-book series of fantasy novels that were written between 1939 and 1954 by the Irish writer Clive Staples Lewis and published 1950-1956 and are by far his best-known work. To date, more than 100 million copies have been sold and the books have been translated into 47 languages. There are also numerous adaptations for radio, television, theater and cinema.

To the world of Narnia

The Chronicles describe a multiverse of different worlds, including Narnia and our own universe; the fate of the world of Narnia has been closely linked to ours since its creation. The novels tell of how children from our world repeatedly visit the parallel world of Narnia and experience adventures there. In Narnia, time passes faster, which is why there is a long story from creation to the apocalypse, while in our world barely three generations pass.

The chronicles borrow very clearly from Christian motifs, but also from Greek and Roman mythology as well as traditional English and Irish fairy tales. The books are also known for their illustrations by Pauline Baynes and illustrate various aspects of (very traditional) British social values ​​of the time in a way that also makes them accessible to children. The illustrations are also included in the complete edition published by Ueberreuter in 2005, but not in some of the older German editions illustrated by Rolf Rettich .

CS Lewis, who held a Chair in Medieval and Renaissance English Literature at Oxford , was a long-time close friend of JRR Tolkien , who was a professor of English. The two authors influenced each other significantly. The staunch Catholic Tolkien also contributed to Lewis converting to Christianity; before that he had been an atheist . His newly discovered religiosity had a strong influence on the Narnia novels, which can often be read as Christian allegories . Later, however, the friendship with Tolkien cooled noticeably, among other things, because he made negative comments about Lewis' Narnia chronicles. Tolkien essentially cited two points of criticism: On the one hand, Narnia was too little detailed and insufficiently worked out for him, and on the other hand, he did not believe in the numerous and, in his opinion, all too crude popular Christian allusions. In Tolkien's own works, Christian motifs appear in a heavily veiled and generalized form.

The Narnia Universe

The chronicles tell the adventures of various children and a few adults who play a central role in the development of the magical world of Narnia . The specific contents of the individual books are summarized in the respective articles.

Narnia is one of an infinite number of worlds that exist in parallel in a multiverse in which our own world is also embedded. A change from one world to another is possible, but it happens very rarely and can then take place in different ways. The passage of time in the different worlds is independent of one another. While a day goes by on our earth, a week or even a thousand years may have passed on another world. Overall, time in Narnia goes by much faster. As soon as the children return from there, only a few moments have passed in their own world.

The inhabitants of Narnia consist, among other things, of a large number of characters known from European mythology and British fairy tales. The central deity of Narnia, the lion Aslan , bears clear features of the Christian god. In the history of Narnia there are parallels to central elements of Christian teaching, including in particular

  • a creation of the world by Aslan;
  • a garden of Eden with a tree of life;
  • a death of the god (Aslan), who takes on the sins of others and then celebrates resurrection;
  • the appearance of a false prophet (or an antichrist ), a subsequent final battle and an apocalypse ;
  • Salvation and eternal life for those who have remained loyal to Aslan.

Books orders

According to a recommendation Lewis wrote to a reader in 1957, the individual titles of the books are in the narrative sequence:

This order corresponds to the inner chronology of the novels from the creation of the world of Narnia to its fall, with the book "The Ride to Narnia" playing within the plot of the book "The King of Narnia".

The books were published in the following order:

  • 1950 - The King of Narnia ( The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe )
  • 1951 - Prince Caspian of Narnia (English Prince Caspian )
  • 1952 - The Voyage of the Dawn (engl. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader )
  • 1953 - The Silver Chair (English. The Silver Chair )
  • 1954 - The Ride to Narnia ( The Horse and His Boy )
  • 1955 - The Miracle (Engl. Of Narnia The Magician's Nephew )
  • 1956 - The Last Battle (Engl. The Last Battle )

All previous film series are also based on the order of their appearance.


At the beginning the story tells of the creation of Narnia by the divine lion Aslan and of Digory Kirke and Polly Plummer's first trip to Narnia. These can travel between the worlds with the help of magic rings. Here you learn how the witch Jadis came to Narnia from her original homeworld Charn and thus brought evil into the world and how Aslan prevented her from gaining control over the land for a long time. Digory is finally allowed to take an apple from the tree of life back into his world. Years later, he had a closet made from the wood of the apple tree that grew from it.

Many years later, the siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie from the London borough of Finchley , who were staying with the aged Professor Digory Kirke (Old English for "church") during the Second World War , accidentally get into the closet and find their way to Narnia. There has been winter there for a hundred years, caused by the tyrannical "White Witch" Jadis, who ruled Narnia at the time. You meet the divine lion Aslan and fight the witch. Aslan sacrifices himself for Edmund, who has become a traitor through Jadis, and then returns from the dead. Jadis is defeated by the children and Aslan, whereupon the four children become queens and kings of Narnia and remain for many years.

During this time, the story of Bree, a speaking horse, and the boy Shasta is told: Coming from the pagan Kalormen in the south, they try to escape to freedom in Narnia. During the escape they meet Aravis, daughter of a Tarkaan (that's how the rich and sovereigns are called), with her horse, Hwin, who is also speaking. They too want to flee to the north. On their way they can warn of an attack on Anvard Castle in Archenland, the friendly neighboring kingdom of Narnia, and thus prevent the conquest. In the end, Shasta learns that he is Prince of Archenland, was once kidnapped and has a twin brother: Prince Corin. Shasta's real name is Prince Cor, and since he is the firstborn, he (with Aravis as queen) becomes King of Arkland. Edmund and Susan appear when they visit the Charlemagne court, Edmund and Lucy fight in the Battle of Anvard. Peter is mentioned several times but does not appear as he is currently in the north, where he is fighting the giants.

By chance the Pevensies find their way back into their world, where they reappear as children and at the time of their departure.

A year later, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy get back to Narnia. 1300 years have now passed there. On the way to school - they are standing at a train station - they suddenly find themselves in the ruins of their old Cair Paravel castle (in earlier translations "Feeneden"), where they meet a dwarf named Trumpkin. He says that the Telmarians, a people from the west, conquered Narnia a long time ago and drove out the ancient inhabitants of Narnia. The current rule is Miraz, who has come to power illegally, from whom the rightful heir Caspian fled because otherwise he would have been killed by Miraz.

When Caspian gets into a hopeless situation on his escape, he uses Susan's old magic horn to bring the four children back to Narnia to help. Together with the remaining Narnians, the children set off on the dangerous route to the Telmar castle, but without Aslan's assistance. Therefore they cannot conquer the castle.

Aslan reappears. At first the children (except Lucy) cannot see him. Little by little, however, they slip into their old roles and see him with them, Susan last. With the help of the Old Narnians, the children, Prince Caspian and Aslan fight against Miraz. Caspian becomes the new king of Narnia and reconciles the Telmarians with the old Narnians. In the end, Peter and Susan find out that they are no longer allowed to come to Narnia because they are too old.

A long time later, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie and their cousin Eustachius Knilch (in the original and in the new translation: Eustace Scrubb ) return to Narnia through a picture. You land in the great eastern ocean, in the immediate vicinity of the dawn , the ship of King Caspian. You will be taken aboard and travel with King Caspian on the Dawn ship across the great eastern ocean to find the seven lords exiled under his evil uncle Miraz and to reach the eastern end of the ocean. They experience the greatest adventures and finally reach the end of the world of Narnia. Here Edmund, Lucy and Eustachius return to the real world with the help of the lion Aslan. And from now on Edmund and Lucy Pevensie are not allowed to come back to Narnia either, because they are too old now.

Eustachius is actually brought back to Narnia by Aslan and his classmate Jill Pole, where decades have now passed. You get four clues to find the missing Prince Rilian (son of the now ancient King Caspian) who was seduced, enchanted and kidnapped by the green witch who ruled underground.

Your journey runs north of Narnia, to the Wild Lands of the North, home of the giants and finally to a huge cave system. They are accompanied by the depressed, doubtful Moorwackler Trauerpfützler. Eustachius, Jill and the Funeral Puddle find the prince, break the spell and end the subterranean rule of the witch who had set out to rule Narnia from her subterranean base. After defeating the witch, Eustachius and Jill return to their world.

Jill and Eustachius come back to Narnia again to help the last king of Narnia after many years have passed in Narnia. The devious monkey Cunningly deceives the residents with a fake lion Aslan, who is actually the disguised donkey Wirrkopf .

He subjugates the inhabitants and, out of greed, begins the destruction of the Narnian forests. He brings the enemy calorms into the country, which occupy and conquer it. King Tirian and his helpers can no longer turn things around. The true Aslan then destroys Narnia, but saves those who have remained loyal to him in a new world beyond, the true Narnia (the Narnia that has been mentioned so far was only the shadow world of the true Narnia). Digory, Polly, Edmund, Lucy and Peter are also taken to the paradise of Narnia by him after they died in a train accident in their world. There, in the real Narnia, Jill, Eustachius, Digory, Polly, Edmund, Lucy and Peter meet acquaintances whom they helped or who accompanied in Narnia.

Translations into German

The Narnia Chronicles were written by Lena Lademann-Wildhagen (The Miracle of Narnia; The Ride to Narnia; Prince Caspian of Narnia), Lisa Tetzner (The King of Narnia), Hans Eich (The Last Fight) and Ulla Neckenauer (The journey on Der Morgenröte; Der silberne Stuhl) translated into German and published for the first time between 1957 and 1981. By Christian Rendel was - along with Wolfgang Hohlbein  another transfer hook, which appeared from 2005 to 2008 -. The latter follows the English sentence structure a little more closely and appears a little less linguistically antiquated. In a FAZ review, however , Lorenz Jäger recommends Tetzner's version: The new translation is without “stamping power”, it lacks the “characterfulness of the German language”, it shows “worn out, unidiomatic German”.

Audio books

All of the books in the Chronicles of Narnia are now available as audio books . The English editions are read by well-known British and Irish actors Michael York , Lynn Redgrave , Derek Jacobi , Kenneth Branagh , Patrick Stewart and Jeremy Northam .

Another English edition was read by Andrew Sachs .

The German-language editions are read by Philipp Schepmann throughout .

Radio play adaptations

  • The miracle of Narnia. Radio play in six parts. Part 1: The magic rings , Part 2: The lion in the closet , Part 3: Prince Caspian , Part 4: The journey with the dawn , Part 5: Prince Rilian , Part 6: Homecoming and rescue . With Hans Madin (Aslan), Joachim Nottke (narrator), Dieter Kursawe (Uncle Andrew) a. a. Radio play adaptation : Brita Nasarski , director: Robert Matejka , running time: 260 minutes, production: RIAS Berlin 1986

Film adaptations

The Narnia stories have already been implemented on film several times, both as real and animated films.

Television series

The British television company BBC produced three mini-series of six parts each:

For budget reasons, the filming of the last three books had to be avoided. The BBC series have been available in Germany as a special edition with four DVDs since December 19, 2005 .

Theatrical adaptations

So far, three feature films have been produced by Walden Media . The fourth part is the film adaptation of The Silver Chair in planning.

Narnia as a franchise on Netflix

At the beginning of October 2018, it was announced that the streaming service Netflix had acquired the rights to all seven books in the Chronicles of Narnia series. The production of films and series around the well-known characters from the franchise is planned.

Stage versions

Among numerous frequently played in England stage versions of the Narnia material is mainly the musical by Irita Kutchmy The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe from the 1980s to mention that also in German under the title The Winter Forest in the closet for the first time in October 2008 on a professional, German stage in the Westphalian State Theater Castrop-Rauxel .


The Swedish metal band Narnia named themselves after the books. This also applied to the American band Psychotic Waltz of the same genre, which was originally founded under the name Aslan , but later had to rename itself because of another band of the same name. The German metal band Charn also found their name in Narnia. Harris Johns , the band's founder, wrote and produced the music for the six-part radio play series Das Wunder von Narnia, broadcast by RIAS Berlin for the first time in 1986 . The radio play adaptation was done by Brita Nasarski, the direction by Robert Matejka.


Web links

Individual evidence

  3. ^ ARD audio play database of the German Broadcasting Archive
  4. ^ ARD audio play database of the German Broadcasting Archive
  5. Narnia 4. In: Retrieved September 5, 2014 .
  6. Mega Deal: Netflix is ​​entering new dimensions with the Narnia world . In: . October 4, 2018 ( [accessed October 4, 2018]).
  7. Westfälisches Landestheater shows “The winter forest in the wardrobe”. In: October 14, 2008, accessed February 3, 2009 .