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Sjuttiosju
Sjuttiosju
Level Seven
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Rank The Chronicles Of Narnia Books Empty Rank The Chronicles Of Narnia Books

on July 3rd 2020, 9:23 am
Recently finished a re-read and am interested to know everyone's thoughts. My ranking:

7. Prince Caspian - There's no way to describe this other than to say it's a solid read, but one with plenty of flaws (more than any of the other books). The plot is a repeat of TLTWATW in a broad sense (it focuses around the defeat of an evil ruler and the installing of good king) but has none of the stakes that made that book appealing. The antagonists themselves are boring and have no dimension to speak of, on top of lacking the power of the White Witch (ironically the film actually fixes these problems, and is probably the only adaptation of a Narnia book to surpass the source material upon which it is based). These issues aside, Prince Caspian himself is a well done enough character, the sense of longing for more that he feels is done beautifully in the earlier chapters, and the feeling of time passed and loss experienced by the Pevensie children upon entering Cair Paravel remains one of the best parts of the series. Moreover, Aslan is used extremely well, with his test for the children highlighting the flaws which they must overcome or have already overcome extremely effectively. Peter and Susan must find belief once more (Susan's near inability to do so foreshadowing her fate in TLB), Edmund has matured to a point where he believes Lucy without hesitation, a stark contrast with the torment he caused her throughout TLTWATW, and Lucy must face up to the possibility that she may have to go on alone. It's great stuff that almost makes you forget the issues the book has. Almost.

6. The Silver Chair - There's plenty of praise you can give to TSC as a novel, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it far more than most books I've read. The tension and excitement are there, with the children no longer able to rely on Aslan to bail them out last minute they have to correctly interpret the signs he has given them or suffer the consequences. Every failure that draws them closer to a total loss is a gut punch, and adds weight not found in most of the books in the series. Moreover, Lewis' themes are executed brilliantly, the idea that you are better to stand behind what is good (even if it's not real) over what is evil works effectively within the novel, both as a parallel to Christianity and as a narrative concept independant of it. All this being said, the main characters themselves lack the charm and complexity of others in the series (most notably the Pevensie children), which makes the book dull at points and lowers my investment in Lewis' ideas.

5. The Horse And His Boy - And here we hit a drastic increase in overall quality. This is a book that fundamentally works. Lewis' decision to ditch the convention of children from our world travelling to Narnia by magic, and instead focus on the efforts of a hard working boy in Shasta, as he journeys through countless difficulties and struggles to reach it is wonderful, and allows for a deeper connection with the novel from the onset, one that's not there in the other books. The world building is excellent, the imagery is beautiful, and the characters are well rounded. Both Avaris and Bree's need to accept their own limitations before entering Narnia is brilliantly executed, and marks a stark contrast with Shasta, who's never been anything for his whole life but actually turns out to be Royalty. Aslan's appearance as both a comforting presence and a terrifying lion is also extremely effective, adding both stakes and joy to the story. The only real issue with the book is that while its disconnect from the rest of the series creates a deeper connection with the narrative independantly, when you examine it in the wider context it ultimately feels as though it lacks any real relevance.

4. The Magician's Nephew - Here we are, right at the chronological beginning. To get the negative out of the way quickly, the scenes with the White Witch entering our world are utterly ridiculous, and feel unbelievably cartoonish to a point where it takes you out of the story completely, albeit for a short period of time. That aside, the narrative and ideas are some of Lewis strongest, with the book giving off the feeling that Lewis had planned it all before he wrote TLTWATW, due to his ability to perfectly explain how everything came to be the way it is as of that novel. Digory works fairly well as a deliberate parallel to Adam, with his mistakes bringing evil into Narnia at the time of its conception, for which he is reprimanded and tasked with fixing the mess he made. These flaws make his character interesting, and his want to save his mother versus his duty to follow Aslan's orders is both intense and tragic. Him eventually choosing to reject temptation is incredibly uplifting, and he reaps the rewards of that compassion. More than that however, the book contains some of Lewis' best writing in the series with regards to imagery and atmosphere. The desolate world of Charn is haunting, and Aslan's creation of Narnia is beautiful beyond words.

3. The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader - The episodic nature of this book and lack of any clear, overarching narrative makes it one of the strongest of the series. Lewis is allowed to simply unveil more and more of Narnia as a world and explore his characters flaws and shortcomings. We're along for the journey, and it's a hell of a ride. The character work is probably Lewis' overall best in the series, as we once again see Edmund confront greed (this time joined by Caspian), Eustace learn to improve his attitude and dispose of his selfish nature, and best of all Lucy, who has to learn self-validation, and not rely on either what others think of her, or the ways she can magically improve herself. The imagery as we near the end of the book is beautiful, and Aslan's appearance as a sheep rather than a Lion is a nice touch, one which only serves to strengthen the narrative.

2. The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe - The most famous of the seven isn't actually the best. While there's a lot to be said for this book, it falls just short of the one above. Anyhow, it's almost immediately effective in establishing the world of Narnia, the imagery from the very first scene in the land conveys a sense of wonder that's befitting of an opening book. Every description Lewis gives is effective in its own way (most notably the entire sequence where winter turns to spring), and the themes of sacrifice and redemption still hold strong even now. The White Witch is the series best antagonist, and while Voyage might surpass it in an overall sense with regards to character work, Edmund's recovery development and is layered beyond that of any other's journey in the series.

1. The Last Battle - Right from the opening words you can guess what sort of book this is going to be. It's nearly devoid of the charm that is so prominent throughout the rest of the books, with each scene bringing on an even greater feeling of despair. We're ending with a Narnia that's lost faith and hope, and are hit by failure after failure with no light in sight. While it's not much fun to read, it's emotionally resonate and dramatic in ways none of the other novels are, and the chapter "Night Falls On Narnia" is both beautiful and depressing. All this being said, the appearance of the rest of the characters from previous books (bar Susan, who's absence adds to the growing misery and serves to make an effective point about the dangers of favouring that which is superficial and materialistic over what ultimately matters) is nostalgic and uplifting, and the final couple chapters make for a beautiful, happy ending, a wonderful contrast with the darkness of the rest of the novel, and one that feels earned after witnessing the horrors the main characters have been through.


Last edited by Sjuttiosju on August 9th 2020, 9:27 am; edited 3 times in total
The lord of hunger
The lord of hunger
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Rank The Chronicles Of Narnia Books Empty Re: Rank The Chronicles Of Narnia Books

on July 3rd 2020, 9:47 am
only seen the movies sorry boi
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Rank The Chronicles Of Narnia Books Empty Re: Rank The Chronicles Of Narnia Books

on July 3rd 2020, 12:55 pm
Been years since I read them all, but:

1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
2. The Last Battle.
3. Prince Caspian.
4. Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
5. The Magician's Nephew.
6. The Silver Chair.
7. The Horse and His Boy.
NotAA3
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Rank The Chronicles Of Narnia Books Empty Re: Rank The Chronicles Of Narnia Books

on July 3rd 2020, 1:29 pm
I'll rank them once I've finished my current re-read.
Meatpants
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Rank The Chronicles Of Narnia Books Empty Re: Rank The Chronicles Of Narnia Books

on July 3rd 2020, 1:35 pm
Message reputation : 100% (1 vote)
1. The Lord of the Rings

2. Lol
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Rank The Chronicles Of Narnia Books Empty Re: Rank The Chronicles Of Narnia Books

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