The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
First edition dustjacket
AuthorC. S. Lewis
IllustratorPauline Baynes
Cover artistPauline Baynes
CountryUnited Kingdom
SeriesThe Chronicles of Narnia
GenreChildren's fantasy novel, Christian literature
PublisherGeoffrey Bles
Publication date
16 October 1950
Media typePrint (hardcover and paperback), e-book
LC ClassPZ8.L48 Li[1]
Followed byPrince Caspian 

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis, published by Geoffrey Bles in 1950. It is the first published and best known of seven novels in The Chronicles of Narnia (1950–1956). Among all the author's books it is also the most widely held in libraries.[2] Although it was written as well as published first in the series, it is volume two in recent editions, which are sequenced by the stories' chronology (the first being The Magician's Nephew). Like the others, it was illustrated by Pauline Baynes, and her work has been retained in many later editions.[1][3]

Most of the novel is set in Narnia, a land of talking animals and mythical creatures that one White Witch has ruled for 100 years of deep winter. In the frame story, four English children are relocated to a large, old country house following a wartime evacuation. The youngest visits Narnia three times via the magic of a wardrobe in a spare room. All four children are together on her third visit, which verifies her fantastic claims and comprises the subsequent 12 of 17 chapters except for a brief conclusion. In Narnia, the siblings seem fit to fulfill an old prophecy and so are soon adventuring both to save Narnia and their lives. Lewis wrote the book for, and dedicated it to, his goddaughter Lucy Barfield. She was the daughter of Owen Barfield, Lewis's friend, teacher, adviser, and trustee.[4]

Plot summary[edit]

In 1940, four siblings – Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy – are among many children evacuated from London during World War II to escape the Blitz. They are sent to the countryside to live with an old professor, later to be named Digory Kirke. Exploring the professor's house, Lucy finds a magic wardrobe providing a portal to a forest in a land called Narnia. At a lamppost oddly located in the forest, she meets Tumnus, a faun, who invites her to tea in his home. There he confesses that he invited her not out of hospitality, but with the intention of betraying her to the White Witch. The witch has ruled Narnia for years, using magic to keep it frozen in a perpetual winter. She has ordered all Narnians to turn in any humans ("Sons of Adam" or "Daughters of Eve") they come across; but now that Tumnus has come to know and like a human, he repents his original intention and escorts Lucy back to the lamppost.

Lucy returns through the wardrobe and finds that only a few seconds have passed in normal time during her absence. Her siblings do not believe her story about another world inside the wardrobe, as it is now found to have a solid back panel.

During a game of hide-and-seek some days later, Lucy again passes into Narnia. This time her brother Edmund follows her. He meets a woman calling herself the Queen of Narnia. When she learns that he is human and has two sisters and a brother, she places an enchantment on him and urges him to bring his siblings to her castle, promising in return to make him her heir. When Lucy and Edmund return together through the wardrobe, Edmund realizes that the queen he met and the witch Lucy describes are one and the same. He denies to the others that he has been in Narnia at all. Peter and Susan are puzzled by Lucy's insistence, and consult the Professor, who surprises them by taking Lucy's side.

Soon afterward, all four children enter Narnia together after hiding in the wardrobe. Lucy guides them to Tumnus's cave, but they find it ransacked, with a notice from Jadis (the White Witch) proclaiming his arrest for harbouring humans. Mr. Beaver, a talking animal, finds and befriends the children, and takes them to his den. There, he and Mrs. Beaver tell them of a prophecy that the Witch's power will fail when two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve sit in the four thrones at Cair Paravel. Aslan, the great lion and the rightful King, has been absent for many years but is now "on the move again" in Narnia.

Edmund steals away to the White Witch's castle, which is filled with statues of Narnian victims she has turned to stone. The Witch is furious when Edmund appears alone and angrier still to learn that Aslan may have returned. She takes him on her sledge to intercept the others. Meanwhile, Mr. Beaver realizes that Edmund has betrayed them, and they set off at once to seek Aslan at the Stone Table. As they travel, the Witch's spell over Narnia begins to break: Father Christmas (who has not been seen in Narnia for a hundred years) arrives with magical presents: a sword for Peter, a help-summoning horn and a bow with arrows for Susan, a knife and a bottle of healing cordial for Lucy. The snow melts, and winter ends. Aslan welcomes the children and the Beavers to his camp near the Stone Table, and orders a party to rescue Edmund from the White Witch. The witch approaches in truce to parley with Aslan. She insists that, according to "deep magic from the dawn of time", she has the right to kill Edmund following his treason. Aslan bargains with her privately and she renounces her claim.

That evening, Aslan secretly returns to the Stone Table, shadowed by Susan and Lucy. Aslan welcomes their company but warns them not to interfere with what is about to happen. He has traded his own life to the Witch for Edmund's, and the girls watch from the bushes as the Witch orders Aslan tied to the Stone Table, shaved, and muzzled. She administers the killing blow herself.

Confident now of victory, the Witch leads her army away to battle. Susan and Lucy remain and keep vigil all night, weeping over Aslan's abandoned body. They un-muzzle him, and mice gnaw away his bonds. As the sun rises, the Stone Table breaks and Aslan is restored to life. He tells Lucy and Susan that Jadis was unaware of the "deeper magic from before the dawn of time" that will resurrect an innocent killed in place of a traitor. With Lucy and Susan on his back, he hurries to the Witch's castle to restore the stone statues to life.

Meanwhile, Peter and Edmund lead the Narnians against the Witch. Edmund breaks her wand, preventing her from turning more Narnians into stone, but he is seriously wounded. Aslan arrives with the former statues as reinforcements. The Narnians rout the Witch's supporters, and Aslan kills the Witch himself. Aslan breathes life into those she has turned to stone on the battlefield, and Lucy uses her magic cordial to revive the wounded, starting with Edmund. The Pevensie children are crowned kings and queens of Narnia at Cair Paravel, and soon afterward, Aslan slips away and disappears. The land enjoys a Golden Age under the four siblings' rule.

Fifteen years later, the four rulers chase a wish-granting white stag through the forest. There they rediscover the lamppost, and feel that they have seen it before. They soon find their way through branches and coats back into the wardrobe in the Professor's house and suddenly become children again, dressed in their old clothes. Almost no time has passed in the real world, despite their many years in Narnia.

The four children consult the Professor, who immediately believes them, and hints that theirs would prove not to be the first adventure in Narnia, nor by any means the last.

Character list[edit]

The Pevensie Siblings

Raised in London, evacuated to the Dorset countryside, and reaching adulthood in Narnia, they are the four main characters. In one chapter, Father Christmas arrives to endow those present (three Pevensies and two beavers) with a feast, weapons, and magical items. After the restoration of Narnia, a Tetrarchy is established with the four siblings as the rulers.

  • Lucy Pevensie is the youngest Pevensie child and, in some respects, the primary protagonist of the story. She is the first to discover the land of Narnia when she finds her way through the magical wardrobe in the Professor's house. When Lucy tells her three siblings, they don't believe her: Peter and Susan think she is just playing a game while Edmund persistently ridicules her about it. She is later crowned Queen Lucy the Valiant.
  • Edmund Pevensie is the second-youngest of the Pevensie children. He has a bad relationship with his siblings. Edmund is known to be a liar, and often harasses children younger than him. He often singles out Lucy as his favourite target. In Narnia he meets the White Witch, who plies him with enchanted Turkish delight, drink, and smooth talk. Lured by the White Witch's promise of power and an unlimited supply of the magical treats, Edmund betrays his siblings. He eventually regrets his actions and repents. After he helps Aslan and the good denizens of Narnia defeat the White Witch, he is crowned and named King Edmund the Just. He has no endowments, because of his betrayal.
  • Susan Pevensie is the second-oldest of Pevensie children. She does not believe in Narnia until she actually goes there. Along with Lucy, she accompanies Aslan on the journey to his apparent self-sacrifice and secretly witnesses the horrific event. Tending to his carcass, she removes a muzzle from him to restore his dignity and oversees a horde of mice who gnaw away his bonds. She then shares the joy of his resurrection and the endeavor to bring reinforcements to a critical battle. She is crowned Queen of Narnia alongside Lucy and pronounced Queen Susan the Gentle.
  • Peter Pevensie is the eldest of the Pevensie siblings. He judiciously settles disputes between his younger brother and sisters, often rebuking Edmund for his attitude. At first, Peter disbelieves Lucy's stories about Narnia, but changes his mind when he sees it for himself. He is hailed as a hero for the slaying of Maugrim and for his command in the battle to overthrow the White Witch. He is eventually crowned High King of Narnia and dubbed King Peter the Magnificent.

At the Country Home

The house that shelters the Pevensie children is run by a Professor, staffed by servants, and frequently toured by historians.

  • The Professor is a kindly old gentleman who takes the Pevensie children in when they are evacuated from London. He is the first to believe that Lucy did indeed visit a land called Narnia. He tries to convince the others logically that she didn't make it up. The book hints that he knows more of Narnia than he lets on. He is identified in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader as Professor Kirke, and appears as a young boy, Digory Kirke, a main character in the prequel, in which he witnesses Aslan's creation of Narnia. Although never explicitly stated, there are minor parallels between himself and Aslan on the smaller scale of the house in Dorset; in that he is rarely seen, can be sought for impartial wisdom, provides a sense of stability, and sometimes cannot be found.
  • Mrs. Macready is the housekeeper for the Professor and takes it upon herself to guide the tour groups. Although never explicitly stated, there are minor parallels between herself and the White Witch, albeit on the smaller scale; for example, she effectively rules the country house in the absence of the Professor (terrifyingly so in the imagination of a young girl torn from her home and mother). The Pevensies certainly see her as an antagonist and dub her "The Macready". She is stated to be not very fond of children, imposes strict rules on their behaviour, and disturbs their peace with the tours.


The magical land of Narnia is populated by talking animals, mythological species, and sentient flora.

  • Aslan, a lion, is the rightful King of Narnia and other magic countries. He sacrifices himself to save Edmund, but is resurrected in time to aid the denizens of Narnia and the Pevensie children against the White Witch and her minions. As the "son of the Emperor beyond the sea" (an allusion to the Father, the first person of the Holy Trinity in Christianity) Aslan is the all powerful creator of Narnia. He is the deity that links all created worlds together and is thus all knowing, all present, and all powerful.
  • The White Witch is the land's self-proclaimed queen and the primary antagonist of the story. She tyrannizes Narnia through her magically imposed rule. Her spell on Narnia has made winter persist for a hundred years with no end in sight. When provoked, she turns creatures to stone with her wand. She fears the fulfillment of a prophecy that "two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve" (meaning humans; two male, two female) will claim the right to rule and supplant her. She is usually referred to simply as "the White Witch" but her actual name, "Jadis," appears in one proclamation in this book.[5] Lewis later wrote a prequel to include her back-story and account for her presence in the Narnian world.
  • Tumnus, a faun, is the first individual Lucy (who calls him "Mr. Tumnus") meets in Narnia. Tumnus befriends Lucy, despite the White Witch's standing order to turn in any human found in Narnia. He initially plans to obey the order but, after getting to like Lucy, he cannot bear to alert the Witch's forces. He instead escorts her back towards the safety of her own country. His good deed is later given away by Edmund who innocently tells the White Witch that Lucy mentioned meeting a faun. The witch orders Tumnus arrested and turns him to stone, but he is later restored to life by Aslan.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, two beavers, are friends of Tumnus. They play host to Peter, Susan, and Lucy and lead them to Aslan.
  • A Dwarf serves the White Witch. He's never named in the book but called Ginabrik in the film, where he has a more significant role.
  • Maugrim (Fenris Ulf in most American editions) the wolf is the chief of the White Witch's secret police. She sends him to hunt down the Pevensie children. He tries to kill Susan who flees and sees to the safety of others. She sounds her horn. Peter answers the call and slays Maugrim.
  • Giant Rumblebuffin is a giant who is turned to stone by the White Witch. Aslan restores him to life by breathing on him. Although slightly dim-witted, he is very kind. His significant contribution is to break down the gate of the Witch's castle to let the rescued Narnians out, and also to crush some of her army.


Lewis described the origin of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in an essay titled "It All Began with a Picture":[6]

The Lion all began with a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood. This picture had been in my mind since I was about sixteen. Then one day, when I was about forty, I said to myself: 'Let's try to make a story about it.'

Shortly before the Second World War many children were evacuated from London to the English countryside to escape bomber attacks on London by Nazi Germany. On 2 September 1939 three school girls, Margaret, Mary and Katherine,[7][8] came to live at The Kilns in Risinghurst, Lewis's home three miles east of Oxford city centre. Lewis later suggested that the experience gave him a new appreciation of children and in late September[9] he began a children's story on an odd sheet that has survived as part of another manuscript:

This book is about four children whose names were Ann, Martin, Rose and Peter. But it is most about Peter who was the youngest. They all had to go away from London suddenly because of Air Raids, and because Father, who was in the Army, had gone off to the War and Mother was doing some kind of war work. They were sent to stay with a kind of relation of Mother's who was a very old professor who lived all by himself in the country.[10]

How much more of the story Lewis then wrote is uncertain. Roger Lancelyn Green thinks that he might even have completed it. In September 1947 Lewis wrote in a letter about stories for children: "I have tried one myself but it was, by the unanimous verdict of my friends, so bad that I destroyed it."[11]

The plot element of entering a new world through the back of a wardrobe had certainly entered Lewis's mind by 1946, when he used it to describe his first encounter with really good poetry:

I did not in the least feel that I was getting in more quantity or better quality a pleasure I had already known. It was more as if a cupboard which one had hitherto valued as a place for hanging coats proved one day, when you opened the door, to lead to the garden of the Hesperides ...[12]

In August 1948, during a visit by an American writer, Chad Walsh, Lewis talked vaguely about completing a children's book he had begun "in the tradition of E. Nesbit".[13] After this conversation not much happened until the beginning of the next year. Then everything changed. In his essay "It All Began With a Picture" Lewis continues: "At first I had very little idea how the story would go. But then suddenly Aslan came bounding into it. I think I had been having a good many dreams of lions about that time. Apart from that, I don't know where the Lion came from or why he came. But once he was there, he pulled the whole story together, and soon he pulled the six other Narnian stories in after him."[14]

The major ideas of the book echo lines Lewis had written fourteen years earlier in his alliterative poem The Planets:

... Of wrath ended
And woes mended, of winter passed
And guilt forgiven, and good fortune
JOVE is master; and of jocund revel,
Laughter of ladies. The lion-hearted
... are Jove's children.[15]

This resonance is a central component of the case, promoted chiefly by Oxford University scholar Michael Ward, for the seven Chronicles having been modelled upon the seven classical astrological planets, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe upon Jupiter.[16]

On 10 March 1949 Roger Lancelyn Green dined with Lewis at Magdalen College. After the meal Lewis read two chapters from his new children's story to Green. Lewis asked Green's opinion of the tale and Green said that he thought it was good. The manuscript of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was complete by the end of March 1949. Lucy Barfield received it by the end of May.[17] When on 16 October 1950 Geoffrey Bles in London published the first edition, three new "chronicles", Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Horse and His Boy, had also been completed.


Lewis's publisher, Geoffrey Bles, allowed him to choose the illustrator for the novel and the Narnia series. Lewis chose Pauline Baynes, possibly based on J. R. R. Tolkien's recommendation. Baynes had greatly impressed Tolkien with her illustrations for his Farmer Giles of Ham (1949). However, Baynes claimed that Lewis learned about her work after going into a bookshop and asking for a recommendation for an illustrator who was skilled at portraying both humans and animals. In December 1949, Bles showed Lewis the first drawings for the novel, and Lewis sent Baynes a note congratulating her, particularly on the level of detail. Lewis’s appreciation of the illustrations is evident in a letter he wrote to Baynes after The Last Battle won the Carnegie Medal for best children’s book of 1956: "is it not rather 'our' medal? I’m sure the illustrations were taken into account as well as the text".[18]

The British edition of the novel had 43 illustrations; American editions generally had fewer. The popular United States paperback edition published by Collier between 1970 and 1994, which sold many millions, had only 17 illustrations, many of them severely cropped from the originals, giving many readers in that country a very different experience when reading the novel. All the illustrations were restored for the 1994 worldwide HarperCollins edition, although these lacked the clarity of early printings.[19]


Lewis very much enjoyed writing The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and embarked on the sequel Prince Caspian soon after finishing the first novel. He completed the sequel by end of 1949, less than a year after finishing the initial book. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe had few readers during 1949 and was not published until late in 1950, so his initial enthusiasm did not stem from favourable reception by the public.[20]

While Lewis is known today on the strength of the Narnia stories as a highly successful children’s writer, the initial critical response was muted. At the time it was fashionable for children's stories to be realistic; fantasy and fairy tales were seen as indulgent, appropriate only for very young readers and potentially harmful to older children, even hindering their ability to relate to everyday life. Some reviewers considered the tale overtly moralistic or the Christian elements over-stated — attempts to indoctrinate children. Others were concerned that the many violent incidents might frighten children.[21]

Lewis's publisher, Geoffrey Bles, feared that the Narnia tales would not sell, and might damage Lewis’ reputation and affect sales of his other books. Nevertheless, the novel and its successors were highly popular with young readers, and Lewis's publisher was soon eager to release further Narnia stories.[22]

In the United States a 2004 study found that The Lion was a common read-aloud book for seventh-graders in schools in San Diego County, California.[23] In 2005 it was included on TIME's unranked list of the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923.[24] Based on a 2007 online poll, the U.S. National Education Association named it one of "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children".[25] In 2012 it was ranked number five among all-time children's novels in a survey published by School Library Journal, a monthly with primarily U.S. audience.[26]

A 2012 survey by the University of Worcester determined that it was the second most common book that UK adults had read as children, after Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. (Adults, perhaps limited to parents, ranked Alice and The Lion fifth and sixth as books the next generation should read, or their children should read during their lifetimes.)[27]

TIME magazine included the novel in its "All-TIME 100 Novels" (best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005).[24] In 2003, the novel was listed at number 9 on the BBC's survey The Big Read.[28] It has also been published in 47 foreign languages.[29]


Lewis wrote that "The Narnian books are not as much allegory as supposal. Suppose there were a Narnian world and it, like ours, needed redemption. What kind of incarnation and Passion might Christ be supposed to undergo there?"[30]

The main story is an allegory of Christ's crucifixion:[31][32] Aslan sacrifices himself for Edmund, a traitor who may deserve death, in the same way that Christians believe Jesus sacrificed himself for sinners. Aslan is killed on the Stone Table, symbolizing Mosaic Law, which breaks when he is resurrected, symbolizing the replacement of the strict justice of Old Testament law with redeeming grace and forgiveness granted on the basis of substitutional atonement, according to Christian theology.[33] As with the Christian Passion, it is women (Susan and Lucy) who tend Aslan's body after he dies and are the first to see him after his resurrection. The significance of the death contains elements of both the ransom theory of atonement and the satisfaction theory: Aslan suffers Edmund's penalty (satisfaction), and buys him back from the White Witch, who was entitled to him by reason of his treachery (ransom). In Christian belief, Christ is associated with the Biblical "Lion of Judah" of Revelation 5:5.

Professor Kirke is based on W.T. Kirkpatrick, who tutored a 16-year-old Lewis. "Kirk," as he was sometimes called, taught the young Lewis much about thinking and communicating clearly, skills that would be invaluable to him later.[34]

Narnia is caught in endless winter that has lasted a century when the children first enter. Norse tradition mythologizes a "great winter", known as the Fimbulwinter, said to precede Ragnarök. The trapping of Edmund by the White Witch is reminiscent of the seduction and imprisonment of Kay by The Snow Queen in Hans Christian Andersen's novella of that name.[35]

The dwarves and giants are found in Norse mythology; fauns, centaurs, minotaurs and dryads derive from Greek mythology. Father Christmas, of course, was part of popular English folklore.

There are several parallels between the White Witch and the immortal white queen, Ayesha, of H. Rider Haggard's She, a novel greatly admired by C. S. Lewis.[36]

The Story of the Amulet written by Edith Nesbit also contains scenes that can be considered precursors to sequences presenting Jadis, particularly in The Magician's Nephew.[37] Nesbit's short story The Aunt and Amabel includes the motif of a girl entering a wardrobe to gain access to a magical place.[38]

The freeing of Aslan's body from the stone table by field mice is reminiscent of Aesop's fable of "The Lion and the Mouse." In the fable, a lion catches a mouse, but the mouse persuades the lion to release him, promising that the favor would be rewarded. Later in the story, he gnaws through the lion's bonds after he has been captured by hunters. It is also reminiscent of a scene from Edgar Allan Poe's story "The Pit and the Pendulum," in which a prisoner is freed when rats gnaw through his bonds.[39] In a later book, "Prince Caspian," we learn that as reward for their actions, mice gained the same intelligence and speech as other Narnian animals.[40]


Cold War[41][edit]

One of the less common research angles by scholars of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is the political, particularly with respect to the Cold War. One scholar, Roger Chapman, focuses on the underlying theme of the Cold War and Lewis' "negative attitudes" towards Totalitarianism. It is speculated[by whom?] that this theme of war contributes to the massive popularity of The Chronicles of Narnia novels. The characters are on a quest to help Narnia, much like the west was doing; launching a quest against communism. The trials many of the children face in Narnia are comparable to those children faced in resilience to communism, which Chapman compares to a spiritual testing. Chapman points out that C. S. Lewis was a fan of the novel Animal Farm, which spread the anti-communism ideology.

When Lucy enters the land of Narnia, she meets Tumnus who explains that the world is always winter and how they never have Christmas. This correlates with how the Cold War was perceived, with the cold symbolizing a negative political ideal. The cold and freezing temperatures were also the stereotypical image of Russia. There is also this hint of atheism with the lack of Christmas, which the Soviet Union was associated with.

Narnia is full of secret police and spies, much like Nazi Germany and Russia. Chapman points out that Lewis names chapter fourteen "The Triumph of the Witch", which he claims is an obvious play of words for the Nazi film "Triumph of the Will". Then, with the arrest of Tumnus it resembles Stalin's purges, or Stalinization. Chapman claims that the similarities to Narnias totalitarian government is undeniable and was something many children connected to during the time of the Cold War.

Then, the White Witch's description matches what many Westerners thought of the Iron Curtain and the lives behind it; where she shuts out others, isolating herself and those under her rule, and making them incapable of moving from under her rule. This leaves many inhabitants, much like Mr. And Mrs. Beaver, awaiting freedom and help from someone else. That someone else being Aslan. Aslan is not only a representation of Christ in the religious aspect, but also the United States. The President of the United States of the time was described as "a kind and magnificent lion who can roam wifely and do great deeds" (Chapman 7), which correlates to Aslan being a lion as a symbol of the United States.


One of the biggest themes seen in C. S. Lewis's The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is the theme of Christianity. Various aspects of characters and events in the novel reflect biblical ideas from Christianity. The lion Aslan is one of the largest examples, as his death is very similar to that of Jesus Christ. While many readers made this connection, Lewis denied that the themes of Christianity were intentional, saying that his writing began by picturing images of characters, and the rest just came about through the writing process.[42] While Lewis denied intentionally making the novel a strictly Christian story, he did admit that it could help young children accept Christianity into their lives when they were older.[43]

After the children enter the world of Narnia through the wardrobe, Edmund finds himself in trouble under service of the White Witch, as she tempts him with Turkish Delights. When Edmund is threatened to be killed, Aslan offers to sacrifice himself instead. Aslan is shaved of his fur, and stabbed on an altar of stone. This is similar to how Jesus was publicly beaten, humiliated, and crucified. After his sacrifice, Aslan is later reborn, and continues to help the children save Narnia.[43] While this sequence of events is comparable to the death of Jesus, it is not identical. There are a few differences, such as the fact that Aslan’s death was not done to save the entirety of Narnia because they broke the law, his death was only for Edmund. Aslan is also only dead for one night, and comes back the next morning, as opposed to Jesus returning on the third day.[42] Despite these differences, the image of Aslan and the event of his death and rebirth reflect those of the biblical account of Jesus’s death and resurrection, adding to the theme of Christianity throughout the novel.[42]

Differences between editions[edit]

Due to labor union rules,[44] the text of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was reset for the publication of the first American edition of by Macmillan US in 1950.[1] Lewis took that opportunity to make the following changes to the original British edition published by Geoffrey Bles[3] earlier that same year:

  • In chapter one of the American edition, the animals that Edmund and Susan express interest in are snakes and foxes rather than the foxes and rabbits of the British edition.[44][45]
  • In chapter six of the American edition, the name of the White Witch's chief of police is changed to "Fenris Ulf" from "Maugrim" in the British.[46][47][48]
  • In chapter thirteen of the American edition, "the trunk of the World Ash Tree" takes the place of "the fire-stones of the Secret Hill".[49]

When HarperCollins took over publication of the series in 1994, they began using the original British edition for all subsequent English editions worldwide.[50] The current US edition published by Scholastic has 36,135 words.[51]



The story has been adapted three times for television. The first adaptation was a ten-part serial produced by ABC Weekend Television for ITV and broadcast in 1967. In 1979, an animated TV-movie,[52] directed by Peanuts director Bill Meléndez, was broadcast and won the first Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program. A third television adaptation was produced in 1988 by the BBC using a combination of live actors, animatronic puppets and animation. Only this last one was the first of a series of 4 Narnia adaptations over 3 seasons. The programme was nominated for an Emmy and won a BAFTA. It was followed by three further Narnia adaptations.


Stage adaptations include a 1984 version staged at London's Westminster Theatre, produced by Vanessa Ford Productions. The play, adapted by Glyn Robbins, was directed by Richard Williams and designed by Marty Flood.[53] Jules Tasca, Ted Drachman, and Thomas Tierney collaborated on a musical adaptation published in 1986.[54]

In 1997, Trumpets Inc., a Filipino Christian theatre and musical production company, produced a musical rendition that Douglas Gresham, Lewis's stepson (and co-producer of the Walden Media film adaptations), has openly declared that he feels is the closest to Lewis's intention.[55][56][57] It starred among others popular young Filipino singer Sam Concepcion as Edmund Pevensie.[58] The book and lyrics were written by Jaime del Mundo and Luna Inocian, while music was composed by Lito Villareal.

In 1998, the Royal Shakespeare Company did an adaptation by Adrian Mitchell, for which the acting edition has been published.[59] The Stratford Festival in Canada mounted a new production of Mitchell's work in June 2016. [2] [3]

In 2003, there was an Australian commercial stage production which toured the country by Malcolm C. Cooke Productions, using both life-size puppets and human actors. It was directed by notable film director Nadia Tass, and starred Amanda Muggleton, Dennis Olsen, Meaghan Davies and Yolande Brown.[60][61]

In 2011, a two-actor stage adaptation by Le Clanché du Rand opened Off-Broadway in New York City at St. Luke's Theatre. The production was directed by Julia Beardsley O'Brien and starred Erin Layton and Andrew Fortman.[62] As of 2014, the production is currently running with a replacement cast of Abigail Taylor-Sansom and Rockford Sansom.[63]


Multiple audio editions have been released, both straightforward readings and dramatizations.

In 1981, Michael Hordern read abridged versions of the classic tale (and the others in the series). In 2000, an unabridged audio book was released, narrated by Michael York. (All the books were released in audio form, read by different actors.)

In 1988, BBC Radio 4 mounted a full dramatization. In 1998, Focus on the Family Radio Theatre also adapted this story. Both the original BBC version and the Focus on the Family version have been broadcast on BBC radio. Both are the first in a series of adaptations of all seven of the Narnia books. The BBC series uses the title Tales of Narnia, while the Focus on the Family version uses the more familiar Chronicles moniker. The Focus on the Family version is also longer, with a full orchestra score, narration, a larger cast of actors, and introductions by Douglas Gresham, C. S. Lewis' stepson.


In 2005, the story was adapted for a theatrical film, co-produced by Walt Disney and Walden Media. It has so far been followed by two more films: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The latter was co-produced by Twentieth-Century Fox and Walden Media.



  1. ^ a b c "The lion, the witch and the wardrobe; a story for children" (first edition). Library of Congress Catalog Record.
    "The lion, the witch and the wardrobe; a story for children" (first U.S. edition). LCC record. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  2. ^ "Lewis, C. S. (Clive Staples)1898–1963". WorldCat. Retrieved 2012-12-09
  3. ^ a b "Bibliography: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". ISFDB. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  4. ^ Schakel 2002 p. 75
  5. ^ for she is mentioned by name in the notice left by Maugrim after the arrest of Tumnus in chapter 6, "Into the Forest."
  6. ^ Lewis (1960). "It All Began with a Picture". Radio Times. 15 July 1960. In Hooper (1982), p. 53.
  7. ^ Ford, p. 106.
  8. ^ "Of Other Worlds", by C. S. Lewis". Huntington. Retrieved 2014-12-24.[full citation needed] Archived 4 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Edwards, Owen Dudley (2007). British Children's Fiction in the Second World War. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-7486-1650-3.
  10. ^ Green, Roger Lancelyn, and Walter Hooper (2002). C. S. Lewis: A Biography. Fully Revised and Expanded Edition. p. 303. ISBN 0-00-715714-2.
  11. ^ Lewis (2004 [1947]). Collected Letters: Volume 2 (1931-1949). p. 802. ISBN 0-06-072764-0. Letter to E. L. Baxter dated 10 September 1947.
  12. ^ Lewis (1946), "Different Tastes in Literature". In Hooper (1982), p. 121.
  13. ^ Walsh, Chad (1974). C. S. Lewis: Apostle to the Skeptics. Norwood Editions. p. 10. ISBN 0-88305-779-4.
  14. ^ Lewis (1960). In Hooper (1982), pp. xix, 53.
  15. ^ Lewis (1935), "The Alliterative Metre". In Hooper, ed. (1969), Selected Literary Essays, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521074414, p. 25.
  16. ^ Michael Ward (2008), Planet Narnia: the seven heavens in the imagination of C.S. Lewis, Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780195313871.
  17. ^ Hooper, Walter. "Lucy Barfield (1935–2003)". SEVEN: An Anglo-American Literary Review. Volume 20, 2003, p. 5. ISSN 0271-3012. "The dedication ... was probably taken from Lewis's letter to Lucy of May 1949".
  18. ^ Schakel 2002, pp. 30–31.
  19. ^ Schakel 2002, p. 132.
  20. ^ Veith, pp. 11–12.
  21. ^ Veith, p. 12.
  22. ^ Veith, p. 13.
  23. ^ Fisher, Douglas, James Flood, Diane Lapp, and Nancy Frey (2004). "Interactive Read-Alouds: Is There a Common Set of Implementation Practices?" (PDF). The Reading Teacher. 58 (1): 8–17. doi:10.1598/RT.58.1.1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-07. Retrieved 2012-08-22.
  24. ^ a b Grossman, Lev (16 October 2005). "All-TIME 100 Novels: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe". Time. Retrieved 2010-05-25.
  25. ^ National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved 2012-08-22.
  26. ^ Bird, Elizabeth (7 July 2012). "Top 100 Chapter Book Poll Results". A Fuse #8 Production. Blog. School Library Journal ( Retrieved 2012-08-22.
  27. ^ "Top ten books parents think children should read". The Telegraph. 19 August 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-22.
  28. ^ "BBC - The Big Read". BBC. April 2003. Retrieved 2012-10-19.
  29. ^ GoodKnight, Glen H. "Translations of The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis" Archived 3 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine. (index). Narnia Editions & Translations ( Updated 3 August 2010. Confirmed 2012-12-10.
  30. ^ James E. Higgins. "A Letter from C. S. Lewis". The Horn Book Magazine. October 1966. Archived 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2015-10-17.
  31. ^ Lindskoog, Kathryn. Journey into Narnia. Pasadena, CA: Hope Publ House. ISBN 9780932727893. pp. 44–46.
  32. ^ Gormley, Beatrice. C. S. Lewis: The Man Behind Narnia. Eerdmans. ISBN 9780802853011. p. 122. (Second edition of C. S. Lewis: Christian and Storyteller. Eerdmans. 1997. ISBN 9780802851215.)
  33. ^ Lewis, C. S. (2007). The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy, 1950 - 1963. Zondervan. p. 497. ISBN 0060819227.
  34. ^ Lindsley, Art. "C. S. Lewis: His Life and Works". C. S. Lewis Institute. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  35. ^ "No sex in Narnia? How Hans Christian Andersen's "Snow Queen" problematizes C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia". Free Online Library ( Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  36. ^ Wilson, Tracy V. "Howstuffworks "The World of Narnia"". Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  37. ^ "C. S. Lewis And The Scholarship Of Imagination In E. Nesbit And Rider Haggard – Research and Read Books, Journals, Articles at Questia Online Library". Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  38. ^ "What C. S. Lewis Took From E. Nesbit". Project Muse. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  39. ^ Project Gutenberg.
  40. ^ Prince Caspian, Chapter 15.
  41. ^ Chapman, Roger (Spring 2012). "The Lion, the Witch and the Cold War: Political Meanings in the Religious Writings of C.S. Lewis". Journal of Religion and Popular Culture. 24: 1–14 – via ProQuest.
  42. ^ a b c "Full Text Finder". doi:10.1353/sli.2013.0010&rft.externaldocid=574597_s2165267813200018&paramdict=en-us.
  43. ^ a b Russell, James (2009-09-27). "Narnia as a Site of National Struggle: Marketing, Christianity, and National Purpose in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". Cinema Journal. 48 (4): 59–76. doi:10.1353/cj.0.0145. ISSN 1527-2087.
  44. ^ a b Brown, Devin (2013). Inside Narnia: A Guide to Exploring The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Abingdon Press. ISBN 0801065992.
  45. ^ Schakel, Peter (2005). The Way Into Narnia: A Reader's Guide. Wm. B. Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0802829849. p. 122.
  46. ^ Bell, James; Dunlop, Cheryl (2007). The Complete Idiot's Guide to the World of Narnia. Alpha. ISBN 1592576176.
  47. ^ Hardy, Elizabeth (2013). Milton, Spenser and The Chronicles of Narnia: Literary Sources for the C.S. Abingdon Press. ISBN 9781426785559. pp. 138, 173.
  48. ^ Ford, p. 213.
  49. ^ Ford, p. 459.
  50. ^ Ford, p. 33.
  51. ^ "Scholastic Catalog - Book Information". Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  52. ^ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe on IMDb
  53. ^ Hooper, Walter (1998). C. S. Lewis: A Complete Guide to His Life & Works. HarperCollins. pp. 787, 960.
  54. ^ WorldCat libraries have catalogued the related works in different ways including "The lion, the witch, and the wardrobe: a musical based on C.S. Lewis' classic story" (book, 1986, OCLC 14694962); "The lion, the witch, and the wardrobe: a musical based on C.S. Lewis' classic story" (musical score, 1986, OCLC 16713815); "Narnia: a dramatic adaptation of C.S. Lewis's The lion, the witch, and the wardrobe" (video, 1986, OCLC 32772305); "Narnia: based on C.S. Lewis' [classic story] The lion, the witch, and the wardrobe" (1987, OCLC 792898134).
     Google Books uses the title "Narnia – Full Musical" and hosts selections, perhaps from the play by Tasca alone, without lyrics or music. "Narnia – Full Musical" at Google Books ( Retrieved 2014-06-16.
  55. ^ "Trumpets The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe". 29 December 2005. Archived from the original on 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2010-12-11. Evidently "the Bachelor Girl" was a former member of the Trumpets cast.
  56. ^ David, B.J. [2002]. "Narnia Revisited". From a Filipino school newspaper, probably in translation, posted 12 September 2002 to a discussion forum at Pinoy Exchange ( Retrieved 2015-10-29.
      "Stephen Gresham, stepson of C.S. Lewis" saw the second staging by invitation and returned with his wife to see it again. "[T]his approval from the family and estate of the well-loved author is enough evidence that the Trumpets adaptations is at par with other version."
  57. ^ See also blog reprint of local paper article at [1]. Article in English. Blog in Filipino.
  58. ^ Garcia, Rose (29 March 2007). "Is Sam Concepcion the next Christian Bautista?". PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal). Retrieved 2010-12-11.
  59. ^ Mitchell, Adrian (4 December 1998). The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: The Royal Shakespeare Company's Stage Adaptation. An Acting Edition. Oberon Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1840020496.
  60. ^ Murphy, Jim (2 January 2003). "Mythical, magical puppetry". The Age ( Retrieved 2012-12-11.
  61. ^ Yench, Belinda. "Welcome to the lion's den". The Blurb [Australian arts and entertainment] ( Archived from the original on 8 September 2007. Retrieved 2010-12-11.. This review mistakenly identifies C. S. Lewis as the author of Alice in Wonderland.
  62. ^ Charles Quittner. "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Is Cute and Compact". Retrieved 2014-09-20.[dead link]
  63. ^ Graeber, Laurel (4 September 2014). "Spare Times for Children for Sept. 5-11". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-09-20.


  • Ford, Paul F. (2005). Companion to Narnia: Revised Edition. San Francisco: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-079127-8.
  • Hooper, Walter, ed. (1982). On Stories and Other Essays on Literature. By C. S. Lewis. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. ISBN 0-15-668788-7.
  • Schakel, Peter J. (2002). Imagination and the arts in C. S. Lewis: journeying to Narnia and other worlds. University of Missouri Press. ISBN 0-8262-1407-X.
  • Veith, Gene (2008). The Soul of Prince Caspian: Exploring Spiritual Truth in the Land of Narnia. David C. Cook. ISBN 0-7814-4528-0.

Further reading[edit]

  • Sammons, Martha C. (1979). A Guide Through Narnia. Wheaton, Illinois: Harold Shaw Publishers. ISBN 0-87788-325-4.
  • Downing, David C. (2005). Into the Wardrobe: C. S. Lewis and the Narnia Chronicles. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 0-7879-7890-6.
  • Ryken, Leland; and Mead; Marjorie Lamp (2005). A Reader's Guide Through the Wardrobe: Exploring C. S. Lewis's Classic Story. London: InterVarsity Press. ISBN 0-8308-3289-0.

External links[edit]