Happy Birthday Narnia!
“The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis was first published on October 16, 1950… Exactly sixty-one years ago today!
To mark the occasion, we are inviting NarniaWebbers to share their first experience with Narnia. When did you discover it? What were your first impressions? How did you become such a big fan? Post your story in the comments section below. Also, check out this brief history of Narnia:
Here are some stories from the staff to start us off:
When I was about four years old I remember seeing “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” sitting on a table in our house. It was the old cover from the 70’s and it really captured my imagination. I really, really wanted to read the story but my parents said I was too young. I think they finally gave in when I was five. Growing up, LWW was one of the first “real” books that I read (well they read it to me) and I just loved it! It really set the stage for my love of literature and Narnia at a very early age.
I have been reading “The Chronicles of Narnia” long enough that I don’t really remember when I got started reading them. I do remember checking out hardback copies from the library when I was pre-teenager. I used to watch the BBC Narnia films with a boy I used to babysit. I also got them from the library originally, but their copies were where I discovered that there was actually a sea serpent scene. As for the radio dramas, I started listening to those as they were released. I also remember going to see a stage version of “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” done with just a handful of props and a handful of people. When the book covers started changing, I had begun to buy my own set of Narnia books so I scrambled to buy a full set. I now have a set of pre-1994 covers in addition to a newer set. Narnia was a part of my childhood and I expect it to be a part of my life for years to come.
I was introduced to Narnia at age 8. I was in 3rd grade at a Christian school, and our teacher had put LWW on the reading list. She’d read us one chapter per day (to give us a break). I remember feeling as if the story had brought me to life.
I was bullied a lot in school, and so my Mom pulled me out and homeschooled me. I suppose I’d forgotten about that children’s story from so long ago, but one day, while in a Christian bookstore (around age 12 or so), I found the Narnia section. I hadn’t known that there were more books in the series, so I saved up my allowance for weeks so that I could buy a set, and what a change has been made in my life ever since.
Those books were there for me at a time when few other things were. I don’t think people realize just how much they lean on dreams, until they’re forced to wake up and see the harsh truth that life is a cruel place. Narnia was my dream for many many years. It got me through some hard times, put a smile on my face, and brought me to a place like NarniaWeb, which I truly couldn’t imagine living without.
My first ever introduction was through the Focus on the Family radio theater version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I was around 5 or 6, and I remember being read to as well as listening to the radio theater with my dad in the evenings. It was so special to me.
When I got older, I wondered what had happened after the adventures in LWW. At the end of the book, it had said there were more adventures, right? I wasn’t aware that there were more books, so I decided to write my own. I guess you could call them fan fiction. Thankfully, shortly after that, I discovered my dad’s old set of the Chronicles in our basement. And the rest, as they say, is history.
I love how the Chronicles, even though they are children’s books, are really still so relevant. They’ve been such a lovely part of my life, and as weird as it sounds, I’m thankful for Narnia and the way it’s impacted me.
My grandfather taught a college course on CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, and Charles Williams, so I always saw Narnia books lying around when I went to his house. I vaguely remember watching bits of the BBC versions and having some of the books read to me when I was little. So, for a long time, Narnia was a blurry but mostly pleasant childhood memory.
One night in early 2001, I had a cold and was unable to sleep. So I got up, walked into the living room, and sat down. There, lying on the end table, was a box set of The Chronicles of Narnia (thankfully, they were in publication order). I casually picked up the first book, “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe,” meaning only to look at the cover to fight boredom, and maybe skim the first page… Before I knew it, hours had gone by and I was still reading. I read the series twice that year. “Wow,” I thought,”These aren’t warm fuzzy kids books after all. They’re actually really good. They’re actually compelling.”
The books bring back the magic and sense of possibility of storytime, and I love Lewis’ ability to take deep concepts and express them very simply. Every time I go back and re-read the series, I see it from a different perspective. I do not think I became a huge fan of the books because they are great reads; I became a fan because they are amazing re-reads… and re-re-reads… and re-re-re-reads…
Only the beginning of the adventures of Narnia!
What’s your story? Post it below!