I now have the final proof why it's wrong to reorder the Chronicles of Narnia

Well, maybe not proof but strong anecdotal evidence. In a previous thread, there was a discussion about the fact that the current publishers of The Chronicles of Narnia have made the dubious decision to order the books in chronological order rather than the order in which they were written. Arguements were made both ways although I believe that most posters agreed that the written order was best. But one thing was not considered and that’s this: has there ever been anyone who read “The Magician’s Nephew” before any of the others and said “Boy, I gotta read the rest of those!”

This point was driven home to me a few days ago. While visiting a friend with a young daughter, I spotted the set on the bookshelf. I commented on it and asked how they enjoyed them (she and her daughter read together a lot). My friend responded that they had tried to start reading it but that they just couldn’t get into it. They found it boring (and a little confusing). And that’s the problem. “The Magician’s Nephew”, while moderatly interesting as a piece of the backstory, doesn’t stand well on its own whereas “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” is almost immediately engaging. It grabs and interests you and will draw you into the series.

So here’s the question? How many new readers (especially kids) do you think have been lost because of this decision? And why was it made? Was it an editor with some twisted idea that he was “fixing” things? Or did they have so little regard for kids’ reasoning abilities that they decided that children just couldn’t understand the idea of a prequel?

By the way, when I found out why they weren’t enjoying the series, I suggested a minor change. When last I spoke to my friend, they were halfway through “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” and were enjoying the heck out of it.

Stupid publishers.

I’m not really sure what to say about this. I read the entire series for the first time last year, after previously having only read “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardobe”.

I started by re-reading that, and then going back to “The Magicians Nephew” and working in chronological order from there(though I didn’t re-read “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardobe”). I felt I understood and enjoyed the series pretty well for what it was. Granted, after reading LOTR and the Silmerillian a couple years back, it was a little simplistic, but I rather enjoyed it.

I know that doesn’t really answer your question, but I felt that, as a first time reader of the series, my input might be something along the lines of what you are looking for.

I didn’t know such a plan was happening. I loved “The Magician’s Nephew”, but it’s nonsense to put it first. I agree with you that it isn’t as strong as “The Lion…”. I mean, what more perfect an introduction than Lucy’s discovery of the, you know… in that book? On Amazon, there are a bunch of reviews in which people tell the order the books should be read in.

I don’t understand the thinking of the publishers. Maybe they think that they have to be put in chronological order, because, well, that’s the way the “Harry Potter” books are! Yeah, uh, really bad decision. Why not put “The Last Battle” first, because that way it’s foreshadowing, and everybody loves foreshadowing!

I agree, the reordering of the books was obviously a decision made by an agent of the devil, if not by Satan himself. I like to give that set as a gift, and when I do, I buy stick-on numbers and relabel them properly.

As a kid I was given “The Magicians Nephew” and “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” for some random holiday. I read “Magicians” first, (didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to…my version has always indicated it was the first book) and it didn’t prevent me from scouring the library looking for the rest of them. It never occurred to me until this thread to not read them in chronological order.

Linus Van Pelt writes:

> And why was it made?

The change was made because there’s one letter from a young boy to Lewis (in the 1950’s) in which the boy suggests that the books should be rearranged in chronological order. Lewis says that sounds O.K. to him. (What was Lewis supposed to say - that it was an incredibly stupid idea?) And then in the mid-1990’s Douglas Gresham, Lewis’s stepson, suddenly decided that it would be a good idea to reorder the books in chronological order.

It’s not clear what control Gresham has over the Lewis Estate. In the early 1990’s, it was discovered that Douglas and David Gresham had sold their half-shares in the Lewis Estate in the mid-1970’s to a holding company with a Dutch name based in Singapore. Douglas Gresham though remained an employee of the Lewis Estate as a literary advisor. More recently, evidence has surfaced that through a chain of holding companies, the Gresham brothers actually still own the estate. Who knows for what purposes the chain of ownership is so convoluted?

I think I was about 7 or 8 when I read the Magicians Nephew (first), I loved it.

TLTWATW was a let down. Didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much.
Still read the whole series though.

When I read the series as a kid, it was in their original order. I can’t believe how stupid it is to rearrange the books chronologically unless it’s to do it for fun AFTER reading them in the original order. I remember being a little kid, plowing through to the sixth book and then getting the origin story of the world I’d been enjoying so much for all that time. Then it actually MEANT something to me when the lantern post grew and (most importantly) when the young hero not only caused the creation of the wardrobe but grew up to be the old professor. Reading them with *Nephew * first, you lose the entire value of that book.

Having said that, I advocate leaving out The Last Battle entirely. What a bunch of tripe.

A good alternative might have been:

So how are they going to handle The Silver Chair, which takes place DURING The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe? Will they make TLTWATW into two movies??

What? The Silver Chair doesn’t take place during any of the other books. It takes place a couple of years after TLTWATW in our world, and several hundred years after it in Narnia. Or am I being whooshed?

It’s A Horse and His Boy that occurs during LW&W.

KGSI think you’re thinking of The Horse and His Boy. As CrazyCatLady said, The Silver Chair takes place hundreds of years (Narnia time) after TLTWATW.

At first I was surprised to read about Arch Trout’s disappointment but when I think about it a bit it actually makes sense. If The Magician’s Nephew, which I believe is darker in tone than the rest of the series, is the book that would appeal to you when read first, I can see how you could find TLTWATW to be a let down.

But I still believe that TLTWATW is much more likely to draw the average reader into the series, especially when that reader is a child.

Whoops…my bad. :smack: