The Chronicles of Narnia
"Listen," said the Doctor. "All you have heard about Old Narnia is true. It is not the land of men. It is the country of Aslan, the country of the Waking Trees and Visible Naiads, of Fauns and Satyrs, of Dwarfs and Giants, of the gods and the Centaurs, of Talking Beasts."
—Doctor Cornelius, Prince Caspian
"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.'"
The Chronicles of Narnia are a series of seven books by C. S. Lewis, telling the history from its creation to its ending of a land where animals talk, where a varied collection of creatures from European folklore lives, and where a number of children have heroic adventures under the guidance of the great Lion, Aslan. Though "Narnia" is sometimes used to describe the whole world, it is strictly speaking a northern mediaeval European-style kingdom of that world; it is bordered by Archenland on the south (beyond which lies the quasi-Arabian empire of Calormen), by Ettinsmoor on the North, by Lantern Waste on the West, and by the Great Eastern Sea on the East, beyond which is Aslan's Country.
In publishing order, the seven books of The Chronicles of Narnia are:
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950)
- Prince Caspian (1951)
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
- The Silver Chair (1953)
- The Horse and His Boy (1954) (written 1953, before the previous book)
- The Magician's Nephew (1955)
- The Last Battle (1956)
The first four books are in chronological order, but the fifth takes place between the last two chapters of the first, and the sixth is a prequel to the series. The Chronicles of Narnia were actually not originally intended to be a seven volume series. After the success of the first book, Lewis wrote two more, to complete a trilogy. Thus Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader form a natural pair, telling a single more or less connected story within the larger series. When demand continued, Lewis wrote another two books, then a "prequel" describing Narnia's beginning, and finally The Last Battle, in which the land of Narnia is brought to its own close, giving the series a definite ending.
Many recent printings number the books in chronological order. For many, however, reading in publication order is more satisfying, as The Magician's Nephew has many references that make sense only if you've read the earlier published books, and reading in chronological order can spoil certain elements of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Besides, the author's writing style subtly changed as the books were written: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian have a rather casual, conversational tone, while The Magician's Nephew and The Last Battle read more like histories. In a letter to a young reader, Lewis stated that a chronological reading seemed to make more logical sense but affirmed that he had no particular reading order in mind when he wrote. Furthermore, if he'd really intended for people to read the books in chronological order, he could have easily arranged for that in his lifetime.
C.S. Lewis (re-)converted from atheism to Christianity and wrote many works of apologetics and theology; the Narnia series, his only work directly targeted at children, is at once a work of creative fiction and applied apologetics, even dealing with atheism. Narnia borrows creatures and myths from many different cultures and ages, from the Edwardian adventure stories of Lewis's youth to the Arabian Nights, from Shakespearean tragedies to the Grimms' fairy-tales, from the Classical and Germanic mythologies that were Lewis's avocation to the mediaeval literature that was his professional study, interwoven with creatures of Lewis's own imagination (as found also in Lewis's so-called Space Trilogy) -- a profusion of fantasy highly unorthodox in the prosaic, "realistic" Machine Age, post-war '40's and '50's -- all undergirded with a solid structure of Christian doctrine. By the third (published) book, it is clear that Aslan is a fictional version of Jesus -- yet, as Lewis insisted, the works do not form an allegory of Christian life, as some have assumed, but rather an adventure-tale in which God is a fellow-adventurer. He also said that he didn't set out to include any religious elements in the story, it just ended up that way.
The books display the influence of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, not surprisingly since the authors were friends at the time -- indeed, Lewis's Space Trilogy was written as a result of a friendly wager with Tolkien. While The Chronicles of Narnia has not had the colossal cultural impact of Tolkien's epic, the series has remained the best-known and most beloved of all of Lewis' works.
Television Serial adaptations of the first four books have all been televised by the BBC and released on DVD (in some places as Compilation Movies), and the first three (by publication order) have been filmed as the start of a series intended to adapt all seven books. Lion was also the subject of an earlier TV adaptation on ITV in 1967 (now largely lost) and an Animated Adaptation in 1979. Unfortunately, the BBC master of Lion was apparently lost to unknown causes several years ago, so the best quality copies of that series left are the DVDs. More recently adapted into movies by Disney (later 20th Century Fox) and Walden Media through the work of Perry Moore spending several years acquiring the rights for Walden. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe came out in late 2005, Prince Caspian in 2008, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in late 2010.
- Narnia Time, in which the relative flow of time between two separate worlds changes according to the needs of the plot.
See the individual books' pages for tropes that appear in specific books.
- The Archer: Susan, Lucy, Jill
- Author Avatar: Professor Kirke, admitted by Lewis himself, although Kirke is also an avatar of Lewis's own old tutor, W. T. Kirkpatrick, (as is MacPhee in That Hideous Strength).
- Authority Equals Asskicking: The kings and queens of the series along with Aslan.
- Badass: Reepicheep, for one
- And don't forget Aslan himself.
- Because Destiny Says So
- Be Careful What You Say: Rishda Tarkaan really wasn't expecting Tash to respond to his summons, given he didn't actually believe in the Calormene god in the first place.
"Thou hast called me Rishda Tarkaan; I have come."
—Tash, The Last Battle
- Black and White Morality
- Big Brother Instinct: Peter Pevensie has it.
- Edmund develops it for Lucy later.
- Bilingual Bonus: "Aslan" and "Tash" mean "lion" and "stone" respectively in Turkish. "Jadis" means "witch" in Persian.
- Brainwashed: The Lady of the Green Kirtle does this in The Silver Chair, to the gnomes and Prince Rilian. She also tries to do it to Rilian's rescuers.
- Captain Obvious - the Duffers put him to shame.
- Character Development: For example, in The Silver Chair, it's explicitly mentioned that Jill lacks a sense of direction, to the point that she travels through the air towards a setting sun for hours without the concept of "west" ever occurring to her. In The Last Battle, she's more "wood-wise" than Eustace and even Tirian and is repeatedly shown to have a knack for navigating by the stars. It's stated that she's been practicing those skills ever since she returned to England.
- Don't forget Eustace himself, who started out as a spoiled, whiny child but steadily grew out of it due to his experiences in Narnia.
- Or, for that matter, Edmund, who begins the first book as a selfish, mean-spirited traitor and ends it as a Big Damn Hero in the desperate battle against the White Witch and her forces.
- Don't forget Eustace himself, who started out as a spoiled, whiny child but steadily grew out of it due to his experiences in Narnia.
- Chaste Hero: None of the Seven Friends of Narnia ever marry.
- The Chooser of the One: Aslan chooses who enters Narnia (and would be the kings and queens), and picked the children.
- Comes Great Responsibility
- Common Knowledge: Despite the fact that it would be impossible for anyone who has read the books to miss the fact that Narnia is one country out of many in the other world, many people think that Narnia is the other world itself.
- Cuckoo Nest: The Lady of the Green Kirtle attempts to Brainwash the heroes into believing that Narnia was a dream and that her kingdom is the only real world.
- Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: "Make your choice, adventurous stranger; Strike the bell and bide the danger! Or wonder till it drives you mad, what would have followed if you had..."
- Deadpan Snarker: Puddleglum, Reepicheep, Edmund and Eustace. Even Lucy gets to snark at one point.
Peter: (While the group is lost) That's the problem with girls: they never keep a map in their heads!
- Does Not Like Shoes: Actually lots of characters, including The Hermit of the Southern March, Coriakin, Ramandu, possibly Ramandu's Daughter , Shasta, Queen Jadis and, at some point, Pevensies themselves (especially Lucy).
- It's a bit subverted with Shasta several times when the burning desert sand or the freezing dew-covered grass makes him wish he had shoes like Aravis.
- Eat Dirt Cheap: The Walking Trees. Prince Caspian even describes a tree feast made of different kinds of dirt.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: The White Witch. You could almost make a poster saying, "THIS IS YOUR SKIN ON TURKISH DELIGHT".
- The Eeyore: Puddleglum.
- The Empire: Calormen. Charn was an even worse one.
- Evil Chancellor: Lords Glozelle and Sopespian for Miraz in Prince Caspian; the Space Arabs of Calormen, moreover, have an Evil Vizier, although the Tisroc himself isn't all that pleasant to begin with.
- Evil Overlord: Jadis as the White Witch; King Miraz; the Tisroc of Calormen; the Lady of the Green Kirtle
- Evil Sorcerer: Jadis and the Lady of the Green Kirtle are female, but they fit this one better than Wicked Witch. Uncle Andrew tries to be one, but fortunately he's largely inept.
- Expansion Pack World
- Faeries Don't Believe in Humans, Either
- Fairy Tale Motifs
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Calormen Empire is often compared to the Persians or the Turks.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: One of the first examples in literature. J.R.R. Tolkien strongly criticized this.
- Fish People: Marsh-wiggles, though they're more like amphibian people.
- Flat World: Eventually Lampshaded in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Caspian is surprised to hear that there's such thing is a round world, and thinks Eustace and Edmund are kidding.
- The Ghost: The Emperor Beyond The Sea, father of Aslan. Justified, as he is the YHWH to Aslan's Christ.
- Going Cosmic: The series has Christian analogy from the get-go, but it becomes more and more heavy-handed with each sequel.
- Good Is Not Nice: "He is not a tame lion... but he's good."
- Aslan is sort of a fascinating example of this. He ranges from a warm, welcoming protector to an aloof, condescending Jerkass to a figure that is outright threatening to protagonist and antagonist alike -- sometimes all within the same book. As a Biblical allegory, he's spot on in this regard.
- Growing Up Sucks: A lot of people accuse Lewis of promoting this, partially because the kids can't go back to Narnia when they're older, and partly because of Susan's fate (see Misblamed, below). But we see other characters grow up without it being a bad thing, most notably Caspian, Cor, and Digory. The Pevensies, in fact, do all grow up for some time, and Aslan makes it clear that outgrowing the need to visit Narnia in favor of living in their own world is a good thing. It seems to be more "Growing up sucks if you forget your childhood in the process."
- Hair of Gold: Lucy and Caspian, although you wouldn't know it from many of the ilustrations, and in the movies, they both have brown hair.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Several cases. A couple decades after Narnia's beginning, the children of King Frank and Queen Helen wedded non-human Narnians. The sons married wood nymphs and river nymphs, and the daughters married wood gods and river gods. The peoples of Archenland and Calormen could count, being that they are descendants of these unions, despite the fact that they physically look completely human. After the Telmarine Conquest in Narnia, some of the dwarfs disguised themselves as humans and married humans and spawned a few half-dwarfs, Dr. Cornelius being one of them. It is debated whether Ramandu's daughter (Named "Lilliandil" in the film) is a full star or only half-star, though her son Rilian and his descendants, like Tirian, at least count as part-star. If you put the beavers' account of the White Witch's origins to her story of being queen of Charn and being brought into Narnia, it can be assumed that the race of Charn are descended from Jinn (demons) Giants.
- Heel Face Turn: Multiple characters throughout the series; most notably Edmund Pevensie, Eustace Clarence Scrubb, Prince Rilian, and Mr. Tumnus.
- Horned Humanoid: The Fauns, Satyrs, Minotaurs, and some of the Gnomes.
- Informed Attractiveness: In at least two books, Susan is said to be beautiful, and her looks drive a couple of subplots. Nowhere is her appearance actually described, though.
- Interdimensional Travel Device
- It Only Works Once: Professor Kirke explains to the Pevensie kids after they return from Narnia for the first time that the wardrobe passage will never work again. No route besides the wardrobe and the magic rings ever works more than once.
- The White Witch tells Edmund that he can't have any more magical Turkish Delight (until they get to her castle) because her magic is made of this.
- James Bondage: Rilian and Tirian.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Because the books, for most their entire published history, were ordered in publishing order and only recently re-ordered by a different publisher, older volumes of the series that maintain the classic numbering go for a lot more money today than they used to.
- Kids Are Cruel: Edmund to Lucy in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Eustace to almost everyone, in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, (although he is more of a Jerkass than a bully); in the Backstory, the bullies in The Silver Chair.
- King of Beasts: Aslan
- Left-Justified Fantasy Map: Inverted and combined with the fact that making East the cardinal direction is a characteristic of mediæval Christian maps (because that's the direction Jerusalem is from Europe). Aslan's Country is in the distant East (contrast Tolkien's Valinor being "West of West") and he is said to be the "son of the Emperor over the sea." It is likely in this case that Lewis was particularly influenced by the first book of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, in which Una's father is King of the East and the evil Duessa (who has some affinities with the White Witch) is associated with the West. (Note that the two are allegorical representations of Protestantism and Catholicism, respectively.)
- Legendary in the Sequel: Thanks to Narnia Time, occurs to the main characters in nearly every book.
- See also: Title Drop
- Light Is Good / Dark Is Evil
- Actually, one thing the series does right is not to dwell much on this; most of the villains, for one thing, are not "dark", and while Aslan arguably fills the "light Big Good" niche the only true light related...things, the stars, don't play a big role nor do they seem any more morally conventional than any other race. As Silver Chair shows, the closest thing to demons on Narnia are good, while the very first villain is a witch dressed in white (although not explicitly light related).
- A Light in the Distance: Lantern Waste
- Literary Agent Hypothesis: Rather hard to reconcile with the events of The Last Battle.
- Loads and Loads of Races: Besides talking animals, the world of Narnia is full of mythological creatures, monsters, and magical beasts. LWW Introduces fauns, dwarfs, dryads, naiads, centaurs, minotaurs, ghouls, werewolves, boggles, hags, ogres, spectres, wooses, cruels, sprites, people of the toadstools, orknies, ettins, efreets, jinn, giants, horrors, incubuses, unicorns, winged horses, and merpeople. PC introduces maenads, male tree and river spirits, half-dwarfs, and telmarines. VDT introduces people of the islands, star people, monopods/duffers/dufflepuds, sea people, dragons, sea serpents, and birds of the morning. SC introduces marshwiggles, gnomes/earthmen, and (sleeping) giant lizards.
- Loophole Abuse: How the Pevensies justify taking fur coats that don't belong to them into Narnia, on the grounds that they're not actually removing them from the wardrobe.
- Magic Antidote: Lucy's cordial, made from flowers that grow only on the surface of the sun, no less.
- Medieval Stasis
- Messianic Archetype: Aslan again. At the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader he alludes that he is known by a 'diferent name' on Earth - make of that what you will.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: The Calormene god, Tash
- Narnia Is The Center Of The Universe: Aside from Dawn Treader, all the books' antagonists' plans involve Narnia in one form or another. Justified, in that Narnia was the first country made in the other world, and therefore the one most special to Aslan.
- Nice Hat: Reepicheep's circlet counts.
- Nice Mice: Mice are the only race of Talking Animals that gets a racial storyline of their own.
- Offstage Villainy: Tash, who doesn't harm anyone "on screen" except for the villain who summoned him. Justified, as he's not "on screen" much besides in that scene, and it's implied that if King Peter hadn't stopped him, he would have gone after the heroes. Even "off screen", it's mentioned that he requires Human Sacrifice.
- The Ojou: Queen Susan
- One-Gender Race: Although Narnia has races from Classical Mythology that are depicted as one gender only (male centaurs, male fauns, male satyrs, male dwarfs, female dryads, female naiads, etc.), Lewis is rather ambiguous about these races as being either one-gendered or not. Lewis mentions male tree and river gods that are implied to be the male versions of the tree and water nymphs of Narnia. And Lewis never states that female fauns, centaurs, satyrs, and dwarfs do not exist, yet some centaurs have centaur sons. Why, when the children of King Frank and Queen Helen go out and marry, the sons marry dryads and naiads, and daughter marry male tree and river spirits instead of any of the dwarfs, centaurs, satyrs, or fauns. Lewis does however mention races with both males and females such as giants and giantesses, and mermen and mermaids. In the films, they do depict female dwarfs and centaurs along with the males, the large river god is depicted, but without naiad daughters, and in a deleted scene, when the Pevensies and Trumpkin see a dryad die because its tree was cut down, when it screams, it has a man's voice. All the on-page Dufflepuds are male but one mentions his daughter.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Grumpy and aggressive, yes, but also skilled archers.
- Our Centaurs Are Different: These are actually good guys, and quite heroic, too.
- Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Instead of dwarfish sprites, they look like bizarre human-animal mixtures, but mostly humanoid, and no two are alike.
- Our Goat People Are Different: Lewis describes both Fauns and Satyrs as inhabitants of Narnia. Although he describes fauns as having the hindlegs of goats, long tails, curly hair, and small horns, the only description for the satyrs is that they are red as foxes or reddish-brown in color. The book illustrations depict fauns and satyrs as basically identical, with the exception of Mr. Tumnus, who is drawn with a long tail. The movies expand the difference by making fauns goat-legged and human bodied, with regular goat tails instead of long tails, and satyrs as basically human sized goats that walk on their hindlegs.
- Our Mermaids Are Different: Narnia has two varieties of merfolk. The ones that live in the cost of Narnia are the traditional merfolk with the heads, arms, and torsos of human men and women and long fish tails below the waist. They are friendly, can breathe the air of the surface, can leave the water, and have beautiful, sireneqsue/angelic singing voices. The other kind that dwell in the oceans at the world's end are completely humanoid in appearance with regular human legs, have ivory white skin, dark purple hair, wear no clothing except for royalty, who wear cloaks and coronets, and ride of the backs of spiny sea horses (that's gotta be painful if you are riding butt naked.). They are apparently unable to leave the water (either they are unable to breathe air, or they don't know what might happen to them if they do), and are very fierce and hostile to the Dawn Treader crew, except for one fish shepherdess girl who waved to Lucy when she saw her. In the film version of VDT, the Sea People are replaced by Naiads, who weren't featured in the first two films (Unless you count the River God), and they are depicted as basically mermaids made out of liquid.....
- Pals With Aslan
- Path of Inspiration: Subverted
- Panthera Awesome: Aslan. Jesus Christ is a lion, get in the wardrobe!
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Reepicheep, and how. If a mountain got up and challenged him to a duel he'd run right for it without a second thought. No exaggeration.
- Plant Person: Dryads
- Platonic Life Partners: Eustace and Jill
- Recursive Reality: All universes are connected to the Wood Between The Worlds, a forest dotted by puddles. Each puddle is a portal to a universe.
- Rightful King Returns: Prince Caspian and The Horse and His Boy
- Royal Blood: Jadis believes this is a requirement for magic (as indeed it apparently was on Charn) in order to use Rule Magic. Device Magic is usable by anyone, but according to Jadis, non-royal magicians on Charn were "made away with."
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Kings of Narnia and Archenland are to be "first in every charge and last in every retreat." Both Caspian and Rilian are strongly taken to task when tempted to "pursue private adventures" to the detriment of their duty as royalty.
- Sapient Steed: Inevitable when you have sentient and Talking Animals. Particularly important in The Horse and His Boy.
- This is lampshaded in the Disney film adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when Edmund is nearly thrown off his horse while he and Peter are practicing their horseback swordfighting.
Edmund: Whoa, horsey!
- Philip is an Meaningful Name as it means 'someone who likes horses'
- In the books, however, this is noted as something not done except in times of need.
- Philip is an Meaningful Name as it means 'someone who likes horses'
- Satan: Tash and the Northern Witches.
- Seven Minute Lull: After falling victim to this in The Magician's Nephew, a talking bird is delighted to discover that he has become the first joke.
- Shut UP, Hannibal: Puddleglum has a truly awesome one at the climax of The Silver Chair.
- Sibling Rivalry: Edmund and Lucy in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, due to Edmund's tendency of tormenting her. Then again, Edmund has an aversion to all of his siblings.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Fallen right off the Ideal end.
- Smurfette Principle: Averted. Every single one of the seven books features at least one female in a prominent role. Most, if not all, feature more than one.
- Strawman Political: Eustace. Even to those who read the novel as children, it becomes pretty obvious pretty quickly that Lewis is not only a theist, but a monarchist, too.
- Lewis claimed in "A Reply to Professor Haldane" to be a democrat, but he certainly celebrates kingship in a number of his writings.
- Lewis was a great respecter of literary forms. Fairy tales have royalty. No one ever killed an ogre to win the hand of the prime minister's daughter.
- Super Fun Happy Thing of Doom: Both the "Island Where Dreams Come True" in Voyage of the Dawn Treader and the "Gentle Giants" in The Silver Chair are not what they seem.
- Talking Animals: We'd be strung up if we didn't mention this one.
- Title Drop: One of the long-recounted legends from the Golden Age of Narnia is known as the tale of 'The Horse and His Boy' (Eustace hears it in The Silver Chair).
- To Serve Man: The Lady of the Green Kirtle sends Scrubb and Pole to Harfang with instructions to greet their hosts from her and say she is sending them two Southern children for the Autumn Feast. "It's a cookbook," indeed - they literally find one.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Lucy and Aravis are the tomboys to Susan's and Lasaraleen's girly-girls.
- Tomboy Princess: Aravis, after her marriage to Cor. Lucy is a Tomboy Queen.
- Town with a Dark Secret: Harfang.
- Trapped in Another World
- Trap Is the Only Option: Digory feels this way about the bell that will awaken Jadis, lest their curiosity drive them mad. Polly disagrees, considering it pure Schmuck Bait. Unfortunately, she's "overruled".
- Underdressed for the Occasion: Inverted. When Aslan magically summons soon-to-be-Queen Helen to Narnia, she is described as looking beautiful in her simple attire. The narrator informs us that if she had known this was going to happen and had put on her best outfit, she would have looked tacky.
- Unfortunate Names: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader memorably begins, "There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it." Later in The Silver Chair," he's introduced with, "His name unfortunately was Eustace Scrubb, but he wasn't a bad sort." This is explicitly a reference to Lewis' own given name, "Clive Staples", which he intensely disliked, and from childhood preferred to be referred to as "Jack".
- Mocked when a hard-of-hearing dwarf thinks his name is Useless.
- Vanity Is Feminine: The otherwise completely down to earth Polly immediately starts to trust Digory's Obviously Evil uncle after he calls her pretty. Lucy, generally shown as more virtuous than her older and vainer sister Susan (who was disgraced from the heroes after she grew up and took too much of an interest in lipstick and nylons), is so tempted by the idea of being more beautiful and desirable than her that only the appearance of Aslan stops her from casting a spell allowing her to do so.
- On the other hand, the Witch appeals to Edmund's vanity often in the "Turkish Delight" tempting scene from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
- Was Once a Man: The dragon Eustace encounters a dragon that might once have been Lord Octesian. Also the dragon Eustace becomes.
- Well, it was never determined if the dragon was actually Lord Octesian. The group theroized that it was possible that Lord Octesian was just killed by the dragon (the movie seemed to support this, given that his sword was found with a skeleton) or that he never was involved with the dragon at all (the only evidence they had of his presence on the island was his bracelet, and it was possible the dragon found that elsewhere). Still, Eustace definitely still counts.
- Wish Fulfillment: Arguably, the two instances in the entire series when Narnian magic intervenes directly in the real world: In The Magician's Nephew, when Aslan gives Digory the means to save his mother, and in The Silver Chair, when Aslan, Caspian, and the children teach the bullies at the boarding school a lesson. This becomes clear when one reads Lewis' autobiography, Surprised by Joy, and sees that he lost his own mother at a young age, similarly to Digory, and that he had attended a realistic Boarding School of Horrors, where he experienced bullying.
- World Building
- Youngest Child Wins: Lucy Pevensie
The most recent film series also provides examples of:
- Adaptation Dye Job: In the book, Peter has dark hair, while Edmund and Caspian are blondish; however, in the movie, the roles are reversed, Peter being fair-haired, while Edmund and Caspian have dark, almost black hair. Lucy is also stated several times to have Hair of Gold in the books; Georgie Henley is a brunette (her hair was actually lightened for the film but still looks definitely brown). The only one who kept her original hair color is Susan.
- Adaptation Expansion: Many scenes that take only a paragraph or two in the books are greatly elaborated. Quite nicely, actually, especially for the first film. A good example is the final battle, which is barely covered in the book. There, the narration follows Susan, Lucy, and Aslan, who don't arrive until the very end of the battle. Also, the scenes of the Blitz, which were probably necessary because children today often don't learn about World War II in school until they're too old (or think they're too old) for films like this.
- The expansion for the second film was very well-done as well. Susan's inability to let go of Narnia, Peter's problems with becoming a kid again, Edmund's quiet strength and heroism and Caspian's belief in his own inability to be a good king were all handled beautifully. Also, they showed how the Pevenises were not normal children, but rather people with an adult's experience and wisdom. The character development from the first movie was marvelously done, especially for Susan and Edmund.
- The expansion for the third one was also very well done as well, with little threads added showing Caspian and Edmund's brotherly friendship, Eustace and Reepicheep's bond, the inner struggles that Caspian, Edmund, and Lucy were all going through and a tiny, humorous one of Edmund being a bit of a thorn in Drinian's side. Also, seeing how Caspian was devastated to lose the Pevensie's a second time as they had become family to him was a wonderful expansion from the book.
- Adaptation Explanation Extrication: In the books, after the kids became kings and queens of Narnia, the narration tells how they ruled successfully for years and years and were given nicknames: King Peter The Magnificent, Queen Susan the Gentle, King Edmund the Just, Queen Lucy the Valiant. In The Film of the Book, they're crowned with these names while still kids just after winning their victory, which makes them seem slightly ridiculous and over-the-top -- especially in the case of Edmund, whose main contribution to the plot was betraying his siblings to the White Witch before he got better.
- It's also explained in the book that the White Witch's Turkish Delight has some mind control powers over whoever eats it, and shown that Edmund only let her get close to him out of fear, making Edmund's betrayal over a supply of candy seem far less petty.
- Although it was Aslan who gave them the titles, so one could argue that he'd already know stuff like that.
- Action Girl: Susan. And Lucy.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: All of the kings and queens of the series.
- Badass: Tons of people in Prince Caspian. Notable examples are Miraz, whose duelling skills are shown to be more than a match for Peter's; Susan, whose archery skills have become impeccable; and Edmund, who has more awesome moments than Peter and Caspian combined... and less dialogue than either. It's as if he spent those 1,300 Narnian years training for this movie.
- All the royals in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Caspian and Edmund are both deadly swordsmen, and Lucy wields both a sword and Susan's bow and arrows with a lot of skill.
- Badass Adorable: Lucy. The entire fleeing Telmarine army stops dead in their tracks when they see a tiny girl, standing alone on their only escape route across the bridge, smiling sweetly at them. And this is before Aslan joins her.
- Reepicheep. Only Lucy is actually allowed to hug him if she asks really nicely, but damn, don't you want to?
- Badass Spaniard: The Telmarine culture in the second movie is very obviously based on Golden Age Spain, so it wouldn't be much of a stretch to qualify Caspian as an example (bonus points for Ben Barnes basing his characterization on Inigo Montoya). Miraz, despite being a villain, also deserves a mention for his badassery.
- Big Damn Heroes: Aslan and the Trees.
- Bittersweet Ending: The ending of Prince Caspian. As well as the ending of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It's implied that Caspian was never really able to let go of the Pevensies. His cabin on the ship, as seen at the beginning, was basically a shrine to all of them. He had even saved Edmund's torch (flashlight for American readers).
- This fits in quite well with the books where Caspian is fascinated with the world the Pevensies come from and always had a secret desire to go there the same way they visit Narnia.
- There's also the Eustace factor. Yeah, he's learned to be a brave fighter, but he also has to say goodbye to Reepicheep, the one who taught him to overcome his fears and who was kind to him when he was a dragon.
- Bloodless Carnage
- Bratty Half-Pint: Eustace. It's extraordinarily difficult not to hate him until his Character Development finally kicks in.
- Broken Glass Penalty: In the first movie, Edmund breaks a window and the children's attempt to hide is what sends them into Narnia.
- Call My Name: Edmund and Lucy constantly call each other's name in Voyage of the Dawn Treader, when they're separated from each other, talking to each other or if they're in danger.
- Canon Foreigner: Oreius and Otmin from the first film, Asterius from the second, and Tavros and Gael from the third, just to name a few.
- Channel Hop: The current film adaptation has jumped from Disney to 20th Century Fox. A rare example of a film series doing this, as only a few other film series such as Hellboy and Terminator have done it.
- Character Development: All of the main characters get some. Susan, Edmund and Caspian have the most. Lucy gets a little between the 2nd and 3rd movies. Peter gets some for the worse in Prince Caspian and Eustace gets a lot in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder / The Starscream: Miraz falls victim to treacherous Telmarine lords who don't like to be ordered around by a king.
- Combat Tentacles: The walking Trees.
- Continuity Nod: in what could be also considered a Sequel Hook, Jill Pole, one of the protagonists of The Silver Chair, gets a brief mention at the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
- In the same film, as in the corresponding book, the Stone Knife from the first film/book gets a brief appearance and mention. Probably confusing for anyone who hasn't either read the books or got a very good visual memory, since it's never named as such in the first film.
- Cool Ship: The Dawn Treader, of course.
- Crossdresser: Believe it or not, Anna Popplewell. According to the official movie companion, she volunteered as a last-minute double for Skandar Keynes (who had already called it a day) in one shot (which happened to be of Edmund's legs as he goes through the wardrobe).
- Darker and Edgier: Especially Prince Caspian. This was Lampshaded in the trailer:
You will find Narnia a more savage place than you remember...
- Deadpan Snarker: Edmund in Prince Caspian. Susan gets a couple in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Edmund and Eustace are both this in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
- And Reepicheep.
Pattertwig: We could collect nuts.
Reepicheep: I was expecting someone... you know, taller.
- Trumpkin too, by way of being the Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- Heck, even Miraz gets in on this:
Miraz: This used to be a private room.
- In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Eustace gets his turn.
Eustace: What are these things?
- He does it a lot as he gets nicer and less petulant.
- Development Hell: Due to rights issues, the fourth film in the series is "on hold indefinitely", and, even if the crisis is resolved, the production won't start before 2014. The franchise isn't officially dead yet, but is certainly on life support.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: That one Minotaur in the first movie that fell dead with two swords in his back. Olé!
- Drama-Preserving Handicap: Edmund destroying the Witch's petrifying wand to give Peter a shot at defending himself.
- Dramatic Curtain Toss: Lucy discovering the wardrobe.
- Dream Within a Dream: Subverted in the first movie- the characters think their memory of a familiar place is from a dream within a dream, but it turns out to be from where they originally came from in the real world. Played straight in the third movie, where Lucy is having a dream, wakes up from it to have Aslan talk to her, then wakes up from this one again into the real world.
- Mr. Fanservice: The main three actors in the first two films -- William Moseley (Peter), Skandar Keynes (Edmund) and Ben Barnes (Prince Caspian). Keynes in particular grows up nicely.
- Evil Is Hammy: Sergio Castellitto obviously enjoys his role as Miraz. Tilda Swinton has her moments, too, which doesn't make her acting less awesome.
- Expecting Someone Taller: Prince Caspian meeting Peter for the first time. Justified, given the time difference. Played for laughs by Reepicheep later on.
- Faceless Goons: Telmarine soldiers, wearing face-concealing Rage Helms.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Telmarine culture is stylized to resemble Golden Age Spain. Much like in the book, Handwaved by explaining that Telmar was founded by Earth pirates who accidentally found their way to Narnia. Likewise, Narnia itself has "Merry Old England" vibes.
- Fauns and Satyrs: Mr. Tumnus. He starts out trying to kidnap Lucy, but later becomes her friend.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Reepicheep with Eustace, once the former takes him under his wing and especially once the latter has become a dragon.
- Five-Man Band:
- In Prince Caspian it becomes
- And then in the third movie it becomes
- Foe-Tossing Charge: When Oreius goes after the White Witch in the big battle scene, he has a rhino come and run interference for him, which let's face it is hard to improve on if you're only allowed one ally.
- Foe Yay: Between Edmund and the White Queen, especially in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader film. He's haunted by visions of her on and off throughout the journey, taunting him about how he's trying to prove his worth. It gets especially explicit when she repeatedly offers to make him "her king", and that she can make him a man. Some of the things she says are borderline Mind Rape, stating that she'll always be alive in his mind despite the fact she's died arguably twice now (the second time by Edmund's own hand). Considered Squick by some for obvious reasons.
- Foreshadowing: "May your wisdom grace us until the stars fall from the heavens."
- That's brilliant! Because Aslan said that to the four original Pevensies and then in Dawn Treader there is actually a star that comes down from the heavens (she goes back up again, but still) and that's the last time Edmund and Lucy come to Narnia. Alive, anyway. (An additional point of note is that in the books, all the stars do fall from the heavens in The Last Battle during the end of the world.)
- Another example from the first movie is the lamp-post having tree roots as its base. There is also the wardrobe, which features, among other things, a ruined city, a forest with many pools, and two women sitting on opposing sides of the wardrobe.
- Susan's slightly melancholy agreement in Prince Caspian that she's happy to be in Narnia "while it lasts" foreshadows her being told at the end of the film that she can't return. Arguably also her absence in The Last Battle.
- Heel Face Turn: Pretty much all the minotaurs from Prince Caspian onward, to the point where there are at least two as crewmen on the Dawn Treader in the third movie. The reason for this mass turn for the minotaurs and not, say, the wolves, isn't quite clear, except that minotaurs are really badass.
- Although wolves are considered to be pretty badass themselves, so...
- Also there are wolves in the Narnian army in Caspian, it's just no-one makes a big deal out of it.
- Minotaurs have hands, wolves don't. There's not a lot of useful things to do on a ship if you don't have opposable thumbs.
- Although wolves are considered to be pretty badass themselves, so...
- Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Peter (and Miraz) during the last half of the duel.
- If You Kill Him You Will Be Just Like Him: Caspian with Miraz.
- Improbable Use of a Weapon: In Prince Caspian during the castle raid, Susan throwing an arrow at a soldier and having it sink in and kill him.
- Lady of War: Queen Susan with her long skirts, flowing hair and bow and arrows is the very definition of this.
- Made of Iron: Honourable mention goes to Asterius, the minotaur who led the Foe-Tossing Charge into the castle in Prince Caspian, and held up the portcullis while getting shot several times as the others escaped.
- Mask Power: The Telmarines now sport Badass baroque metal masks with fearsome visages of bearded Conquistadors on them.
- Meaningful Echo: The new Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe film gives us this line, from Peter to Edmund. Especially heart-warming, as this comes after Edmund has been healed from near-death due to his breaking the witch's wand.
"Why can't you just do as you're told?"
- Money, Dear Boy: Following the 2010 release of the film version of Voyage of the Dawn Treader, FOX is planning to film The Magician's Nephew next instead of The Silver Chair, after noticing that the films have so far grossed back amounts that roughly correspond to the popularity of the book involved - and The Magician's Nephew is usually considered the second most-popular in the Narnia series.
- Mood Whiplash: From The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:
White Witch: Tell me, your sisters, are they deaf?
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: If Caspian and his sailors are any indication, the whole Telmarine race apparently drops their vaguely-Spanish accents some time between Prince Caspian and The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader. Perhaps he took on an English accent so the native Narnians were more comfortable with him?
- Only the Worthy May Pass: From the Lone Islands on, King Caspian, the Pevensies and Eustace are subjected to various temptations that would cause them to either abandon or die in their quest.
- Onrushing Army: This is apparently how military advances are done in Narnia. Except in Prince Caspian the titular prince and the Pevensies use stealth and surprise to try and defeat Miraz with the Raid on the Castle.
- Ordinary High School Student: Peter had a hard time becoming one again, after being High King. All of the Pevensies had a hard time of this.
- The Other Darrin: Simon Pegg took over the voice of Reepicheep from Eddie Izzard.
- Our Gryphons Are Different: The movies have classical griffins as part of Aslan's army -- which for some reason have beards on their lower jaws and feathers at the end of their lions' tails.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: Particularly Dawn Treader, which takes an almost completely episodic story and gives it a strong ongoing plot thread in the green mist that has to be stopped.
- Promoted to Love Interest: Caspian and Susan.
- Putting on the Reich: Word of God states that Telmarine aesthetic was designed to give them a Fascist feel.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Pevensie siblings can be differenced by this, with Peter and Lucy represented by Red, due to the fact that they are more intuitive, vibrant, determined and, to an extent, more sensitive than Edmund and Susan, who are more logical, cold and down to earth, inclined towards the Blue part. Even their hair show it, due to the fact that Peter and Lucy have lighter hair, while Edmund and Susan are dark haired.
- Running Gag
Reepicheep: Choose your last words carefully, Telmarine.
Soldier: You're a --!
- And again:
Soldier: You're a mouse.
- Screwed by the Network: Disney's marketing of the Prince Caspian. Rather than release it in December as a family film (like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was), they decided to spend enormous amounts of money trying to sell it as a teen film and gave it a summer release, about a week apart from both Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Iron Man. It should have been kept in December, because that's friendlier to this type of movie, but to be fair, May has shown it can expand just fine (see 2003 and 2007). And Iron Man was hardly seen as a sure thing at the time. Basing the marketing around Ben Barnes may have been a dumb move, however.
- Shout-Out: In Prince Caspian, Susan fights by both shooting enemies and also slashing at them with her arrows, which brings to mind a certain Elvish prince from a certain murky forest...
- Which in itself is quite a nice thing, since Tolkien and Lewis were good friends in real life, and it was in fact the former that helped convert the latter back to Christianity.
- Sort of. While Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic, Lewis (re)converted to Anglicanism. Tolkien was reportedly disappointed.
- The Witch's army in the first film looks like it's composed of the Hordes of Chaos (and Orcs) of Warhammer Fantasy Battle fame. Right up to the icons on their banners.
- Which in itself is quite a nice thing, since Tolkien and Lewis were good friends in real life, and it was in fact the former that helped convert the latter back to Christianity.
- Slash Fic: Apart from the Susan/Caspian ship, there really are no other usual pairings that do not involve partners of the same sex, blood connections, and sometimes both at the same time.
- Species-Coded for Your Convenience: The armies of Aslan and the Witch are pretty much divided among these lines. In the second movie, however, nearly all of the non-humans of Narnia (minus a Hag, Werewolf, and Black Dwarf) fight together, and a minotaur sacrifices himself to save the monarchs.
- Strange Secret Entrance: The eponymous wardrobe in the first book which acts as an entrance to Narnia.
- Studio To The Rescue: After Disney was disappointed with Prince Caspian not performing quite as well as Wardrobe they decided to pass their option to release The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader due to budget disputes, at which point Fox promptly offered to pick up the contract. Some see this as a What an Idiot! move for Disney, as Prince Caspian is generally regarded as one of the least popular books in the series, while Dawn Treader is the most.
- Sword of Plot Advancement: The seven swords of the seven Lords of Narnia, which must be placed on Aslan's Table to put an end to the evil mist plaguing the area.
- Talking with Signs: I AM EUSTACE "written" on the burning brush that Edmund sees from being carried in the dragon's claws in Dawn Treader.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: Caspian and teenager/adult Edmund.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: In the first movie, Susan is seen doing some target practice with her bow and arrow. She hits the ring just around the bull’s-eye. Then Lucy throws her knife at the target and hits dead centre.
- Urban Legends: Somehow, the idea that Evanescence had written material for the soundtrack of the first film, but had been declined as being "too epic," spread far and wide until Amy Lee herself finally declared it was all bogus.
- Was Once a Man: The dragon the crew of the Dawn Treader encounters on the island of enchanted gold. Better known to them as Eustace Scrubb. But Eustace himself encounters no dragon, unlike in the book.
- White Stallion: Peter rides one-- a unicorn at that-- at the battle of Beruna. It's the only white equine seen on the battlefield.
- Xenafication: Susan in Prince Caspian. Justified in that she had been practicing her archery skills for 15 years, plus another year on Earth, just like her siblings.
- Year Inside, Hour Outside: Susan jokes in the Prince Caspian film that this makes her 1300 years older than Caspian.
- You Didn't Ask: Aslan summons an army of talking trees to defeat the Telmarines -- after the Narnians send Lucy to ask for his help.
- You Killed My Father
Older adaptations provide examples of:
- Actor Allusion: In the BBC TV adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Professor Kirke is played by Michael Aldridge, who essentially plays a softer version of his character Seymour Utterthwaite from Last of the Summer Wine, a former headmaster. This is particularly noticeable with his use of Kirke's Catch Phrase:
Kirke: What DO they teach them in schools these days?
- Evil Is Hammy: The White Witch in both the animated and BBC adaptations. Both have No Indoor Voice, with their lines rarely dropping below a deafening screech, and both are prone to Chewing the Scenery. Barbara Kellerman's acting in the BBC version is hammy enough that a Big No serves as an answer to a simple question. Probably an example of Ham and Cheese.
- Hey, It's That Guy!:
- Is that Puddleglum or is that The Fourth Doctor?
- Warwick Davis (who would go on to play Nikabrik in the Walden Media films, played Reepicheep in the BBC version, and Griphook the goblin in the Harry Potter films.
- A very young Samuel West, now a well-respected stage, film, and television actor, played Caspian in the BBC version.
- Lazy Artist: The animation for the 1979 film is just terrible. Seriously, go watch a clip right now. Susan's oblong head alone is enough to send one into giggles.
- Mood Whiplash: In the animated film, after Aslan's murder and subsequent resurrection, he spends about half a minute just jumping around playing with Susan and Lucy. Granted, it happened in the book too (over the course of a sentence or two), but the way it's presented here is just startling.
- Roger Rabbit Effect: In the earlier installments of the BBC series, a lot of the magical creatures that couldn't be played by people in costumes are animated.
- The Rest Shall Pass: Susan to Lucy in Prince Caspian, when she stays behind to hold off the pursuing soldiers so that Lucy can find Aslan in time.
- there were also VHS tapes