Advice to an Intelligent Reader
from an Intelligent Reader or
Reading This Will Make You Smarter
This book has many spoilers! Please read the Chronicles of
Narnia first. Only then read this Pocket Companion. I can't be
your companion until you have "gone there" first.
C. S. Lewis wrote these books for you, and he meant
you to read them with your head and your heart and your
feelings. The books are so exciting that you will probably
race through them the first time. OK.
But when you reread them, pay attention to the color
words, the verbs, the adjectives, and the adverbs.
Try to avoid looking for hidden meanings, as if the
Chronicles were codebooks.
C. S. Lewis was very careful not to decode the Chronicles
for the children who wrote him about their meaning.
Typical of his responses is the answer he made to Hila
Newman when she wrote to him about the meaning of the
ending of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader:
As to Aslan's other name, well I want you to guess. Has
there never been anyone in this world who (1) Arrived
at the same time as Father Christmas (2) Said he was
the son of the Great Emperor (3) Gave himself up for
someone else's fault to be jeered at and killed by wicked people (4) Came to life again (5) Is sometimes
spoken of as a Lamb (see the end of The Dawn
Treader). Don't you really know His name in this
world? Think it over and let me know your answer!
(Letters to Children, 3 June 1953)
In Which Order Should the
Chronicles Be Read?
The Order by Year of First Publication --
the Canonical Order
Before 1994 there was only one reading order, what scholars
have come to call the canonical order, the order in which
the chronicles were first published, and they were numbered
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (published 1950)
Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia (published 1951)
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader the Caspian triad (published 1952)
The Silver Chair (published 1953)
The Horse and His Boy (published 1954)
The Magician's Nephew (published 1955)
The Last Battle (published 1956)
So, although C. S. Lewis completed The Horse and His
Boy before The Silver Chair, the latter was published first, in
order to keep together the triad of books in which Caspian
is a major character .Continues.