Beyond the Wardrobe: The Official Guide to Narnia

 BTWN   (HarperCollins, 2006)

™ and ©2002 Dave McKean and Neail Gaiman

In The Magician’s Nephew, Uncle Andrew wants to exploit Narnia’s resources for selfish gain. Accordingly, we tread carefully when it comes to the recent glut of Narniana. No worries: This volume is no mere movie tie-in. It is surprisingly chock–full of all things Narnian.

It starts with the life of author Clive Staples Lewis. Did you know that he was a lifelong friend of J.R.R. Tolkien, with whom he shared ideas? Or that he died the same day as JFK? There is much to learn.

The themes of all seven Narnia books are reviewed, as well as a brief overview of their plots and characters. Learn about the books’ original names, the order in which they were written, in which they were published, and in which they should be read. Follow a timeline of Narnian vs. Earth history and a list of known interdimensional crossings.

The recent movie is well–represented, especially among the illustrations. (Earlier adaptations merit passing references.) Despite all, one mystery persists: Since Aslan is the deity of Narnia, what exactly does Narnian Christmas commemorate?

— Jack Abramowitz

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