Friday, March 28, 2008

Treading on Sacred Ground

Yesterday I posted about the book covers of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. And I was surprised at how many people have an opinion (though perhaps I shouldn't have been) on which ones are 'the best.' While I'll always have my own favorites when it comes to comparing covers for all seven books, I'm not that passionately opinionated on the subject. What I am passionate about is the order of the books. I hate what I refer to as the 'new-fangled' order of the series. According to Wikipedia, this new-fangled order came about in 1994. I hated it then, and I hate it now. Though perhaps a whole generation has discovered the series since '94 and would argue that this 'new' order is the best way to read the series. (They'll never convince me.)

I could go on. But I'll try to refrain at the moment. What are your thoughts on the matter....assuming you have an opinion :)

Publication order compared with Chronological order
Publication order Chronological order
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe The Magician's Nephew
Prince Caspian The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader The Horse and His Boy
The Silver Chair Prince Caspian
The Horse and His Boy The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Magician's Nephew The Silver Chair
The Last Battle The Last Battle


Unknown said...

There is only one order and that is the original publication order! LOL

Like you, I have to skip around in my all-in-one edition to read them in the proper order.

Jeane said...

I didn't know people felt so strongly about the order of the books! I was first introduced to the series w/ the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. After my sisters and I discovered the rest of the, we figured out the internal chronological order and read them that way. This was when they were all numbered in order of publication still.

Jeanette said...

I am reading the series for the first time and I am sorry but I am reading them chronologically because that is the order C.S. Lewis said they should be read in. I am usually a stickler about reading things in publication order, but not this time. Sorry! :-)

Becky said...

I'm going to have to dispute you with that, Jeannette. It's all Douglas Gresham as far as I'm concerned. See here for example. But perhaps even more this handy little article which I just now found.

Jeanette said...

Well, I've already started reading them this way and so there it is. Here is the quote I originally found that I used in making my decision.
"The updated order originates from Lewis's response to a young reader's letter in 1957. An American boy named Laurence Krieg was having a debate with his mother over the best reading order; he argued for the chronological order while his mother believed in the order of publication. So Laurence wrote to Lewis asking him which order he, the author, recommended. Lewis replied:

'I think I agree with your order for reading the books more than your mother's. The series was not planned beforehand as she thinks . . . so perhaps it does not matter very much in which order anyone reads them. I'm not even sure that all the others were written in the same order in which they were published. I never keep notes of that sort of thing and never remember dates.'

In the past, the books were physically numbered according to their publication dates. However, recent editions of The Chronicles of Narnia published by HarperCollins (1994 and later) have switched to the chronological order based on the recommendation of Lewis's stepson, Douglas Gresham."

From what Lewis said above it sounds like he really could not care one way or the other...I know that most Narnia experts and fans think they should be read in publication order but like I said I already started the other way. Hey! As long as people actually read them at all-isn't that what really matters? :-)

Becky said...

Jeanette, of course that is the only thing that matters! :) I hope you enjoy them.

And I hope I didn't give the impression that I was the reading police and would hunt down those that were reading them "wrong" and make an issue out of it.

Laura said...

I'm on your side. Publication order, publication order, publication order! Arrgggh! It stresses me out when parents come into the library and say, for example, "My son has read The Magician's Nephew and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. What's book three?" Agggh.

(Thanks for giving me a place to vent...)

Unknown said...

I agree that the publication order is the best one, but then, I might be biased because that's the way I first read it. To me, it was delightful to read The Magician's Nephew after reading The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe and experiencing the "Aha!" as I discovered the origins of things I had read about in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. And frankly, I think that The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe works best when you don't know the backstory.