on 19 January 2004
When I was 7 or 8 I read my mother's childhood copies of 'The Chronicles of Narnia,' most of them so well loved that each book had half a cover and an assortment of pages tucked in the back that you had to put in the right place while you were reading. Discovering this beautiful edition of 'The Magician's Nephew,' including the original cover and illustrations and with archive-quality clay-coated pages has been a revelation.
'The Magician's Nephew' tells how Diggory Kirke (the young Professor Kirke from 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe') and his friend Polly get sent to The World Between Worlds, unwittingly awaken Jardis, Queen of Charn, from an enchantment and transport her to the new world of Narnia as it is being sung to life by the Great Lion Aslan. Despite the fact that it's the first of the Chronicles, it was the last to be written and thus sews the seeds for all the books that follow. We learn where the lamp post and the wardrobe came from, why some animals talk and some do not, and why humans are the rulers of Narnia.
If you're not interested in the Christian allegory aspect of the books then it's a great read in and of itself. For those who appreciate this second dimension of the books, 'The Magician's Nephew' is a doubly exciting and thought provoking book. Human stewardship, creation ex nihilo, original sin and many other aspects of Creation are presented in an unusual and challenging way.
Whatever age you are, whether you are familiar with Narnia or new to it, this sumptuous copy of 'The Magician's Nephew' will be a book that you will enjoy and treasure for years to come.
Digory and Polly are exploring a passageway between their houses one summer morning when they stumble into Digory's uncle's study. Uncle Andrew dapples in magic, and tricks Polly into taking one of his magic rings. Digory goes after her, and they find themselves in a magic wood, a passageway to different worlds. Exploring further, they find evil as well as a land about to be created.
This is a different story in the Narnia tales. First, we don't arrive at Narnia until after half way through the book. Second, this is the only book where actions in the fantasy worlds have direct impact on events in our world. For these reasons, it's a fun change in the series. The story in Narnia is simpler then the others, but it makes watching a new world take shape no less thrilling. And there are some important lessons on doing the right thing at the right time and getting out of life exactly what you expect.
There is quite a debate about the order this book should be read in. While it was published sixth, the events place it first. When I read these books back in third grade, I read them in publication order, and I enjoyed that because there are some surprises in here that explain a couple scenes in the first book. Admittedly biased, I think that reading them in publication order would make for the most enjoyment. However, the issues involved are very minor and any of the books can really be read in any order without spoiling anything important.
No matter what order you choose to read the books in, make sure you do. These are classic children's fantasy for a reason; they are fun stories that can be enjoyed by kids of all ages.
Every good story has a backstory. So in "The Magician's Nephew," C.S. Lewis backpedalled to tell us the story of how Narnia began, the origin of the White Witch, and various other little questions that popped up over the course of his Narnia series. The result is a tense, slightly comic prequel that neatly ties up the various loose threads.
Two London schoolchildren, Polly and Digory, meet and befriend one another, despite Digory's misery over his mother's fatal illness. But they fall prey to Digory's arrogant uncle Andrew -- Andrew has created some magical rings that transport the wearer to another world, and he wants the two as guinea pigs. Polly and Digory only narrowly manage to return from a dying world.
But they had an unwelcome passenger -- Jadis, an imperious sorceress who plans to take over the world. Polly and Digory are appalled at what has happened, and try to find some way of transporting Jadis elsewhere, using the magical rings. But when they do, they find themselves encountering a world that is just being created, by a strange lion -- the world of Narnia.
The Narnia stories are getting more attention in the months before the movie is released. And though it's unknown whether "The Magician's Nephew" is going to be on the silver screen, it's a valuable read for movie-watchers and readers alike. Basically, if "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" raised any questions, then this can answer them.
"The Magician's Nephew" serves as a neat way of explaining some very weird occurrances -- where did that lamppost come from? Or the Narnian humans? Just where did the White Witch come from, since she doesn't seem to fit in Narnia's springtime utopia? This book pretty much tells it all, as well as providing a character -- Digory -- who is a quiet but important presence fifty years later.
But "The Magician's Nephew" isn't just a way of dealing with loose threads. It's also an entertaining story, full of strange magic and eerie dead worlds. But Lewis also includes some comedy, when Jadis is running amuck all over London, or when Narnian animals try to plant and water Uncle Andrew. Lewis does get a bit hamhanded with the allegory of Jadis and an apple, but the fast, tense storyline makes up for that.
"The Magician's Nephew" is not just a prequel to the rest of the Narnia series, but an entertaining fantasy novel in its own right. Definitely a must-read for fantasy fans.
on 22 June 1999
Whoever wrote that plot summary can't have read the book recently! In fact, Polly & Digory are followed _out_ of Charn by the evil Empress Jadis and unwittingly bring her to a newly-created Narnia; Aslan gives them the task of mitigating the effects of their mistake. One of the best in the series, to my mind. The scene where the talking animals adopt Uncle Andrew as a pet is just hilarious; the description of Charn, especially the Hall of Statues, spine-chilling; and my mouth waters again to remember the toffee-fruit tree that Polly & Digory plant...
The Magician's Nephew is the first novel in the seven Narnia stories by CS Lewis, and one of the best. It tells how the world of Narnia was created by Aslan, but what precedes it is almost as exciting.
Diggory and Polly live in the Edwardian London of long ago, "in the time when the Bastables were hunting for treasure and Mr. Sherlock Holmes still lived in Baker St." They meet because neither goes away for the summer holidays, and Diggory's mother is dying. His uncle is thought to be mad,but in fact turns out to be a weak but evil magician, who tricks Polly into putting on a magic ring that will take her out of our world and universe. Diggory follows her, and they discover the Wood between the Worlds, where innumerable pools leads to other worlds.
Plunging into one of these, they find themselves in the accursed and dying land of Charn, where Diggory wakes the Empress Jadis - the future White Witch. It is when they try to return her to Charn, after a hilarious but terrifying day with her in London, that they stumble upon Narnia - and the hope that Aslan may give Diggory's mother a fruit to make her well again.
Kenneth Branagh gives the best reading of this unabridged version imaginable. Although his women (especially Jadis) leave something to be desired, the characters of Diggory, Uncle Andrew, Aslan and all the animals spring into life. It kept my children absolutely quiet for three hours, even though the 7 year old had just read it himself. Pure magic.
Whether you read these books chronologically (Narnian time):
The Magicians Nephew
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Horse and His Boy
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair
The Last Battle
or in the order they were published:
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)
The Magicians Nephew (1955)
The Last Battle (1956)
is entirely up to you.
Beginning at the beginning has always sounded like a good approach to me, hence this first review of the Narnia series.
Though written in simple style to be appreciated by young scholars, this book seems to echo with subtle and not so subtle references to the bible. A background check on the late great C. S. Lewis will reveal that he became a theist in 1929, a Christian in 1931, and later was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity by the University of St. Andrews in 1946.
His belief in the existence of one God, viewed as the creative source of man and the world, who transcends yet is immanent in the world, provides the foundation for the series, especially in this book and the magnificent classic "The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe." (Note: definition courtesy of Merriam-Webster)
"The Magician's Nephew" tells of the creation of Narnia by the great and powerful Aslan, and the temptation of a son of Adam, by a deceiver, with an apple from a forbidden tree.
This is the story of Digory and Polly, two friends who, upon an accidental meeting with Magician wanna-be Uncle Andrew, find themselves in a head spinning adventure involving other worlds, magical rings, an evil sorceress, a cabby and his horse, talking animals, and a collection of fauns, satyrs, dwarves and naiads.
We learn about the first King and Queen of Narnia, a heroic quest, a miraculous cure, and the planting of a tree and a lamp post, both of which we will need to move on with the series.
Even though a slim volume, The Magician's Nephew is deceptively deep and compelling.
WARNING: Reading this book leads to the compulsive reading of at least six other books.
Amanda Richards August 1, 2004
on 10 September 2004
I first heard this production when I was young and it's a story and dramatisation that has has stayed with me because it is an incredibly colourful and faithful version of the original story. The passion and precision of the voices are really superb and manage to bring to life a myriad set of complex characters that could easily have sounded dull and dated, despite Lewis' amazing story-telling ability. This production allows the imagination to truely envisage Lewis' dreamland, which is probably because the actors are so well cast and embody the good and bad of the characters they play so well. A lot of effort has clearly gone into this dramatisation, so that it remains faithful to the spirit of the book and adds a realism the text could not.
With this particular edition, the C.D. quality is excellent- without the muffling sounds sometimes caused on audio cassettes and so there is no reason why this and the other 6 radio dramatisations should not be bought and treasured by all those people who loved the books and those who've never heard of Narnia- there is simply no other collection of stories better brought to life in audio.
on 2 July 2004
Have you got 2 rings that can take you into a different world?
Polly and Digory have. This story is about 2 children that put a yellow ring onto their finger and can go into another world. This world is called Narnia. Digory goes and finds Polly and takes a green ring with him which can take them back to their own world. Then they travel to a different world and meet a cruel queen. Will they escape with their lives?
My favourite character is Digory because he gets into mysterious situations and he's very brave.
My favourite part is when Polly wants the ring, Uncle Andrew gives it to her and she disappears into another world because it is full of suspense.
I would recommend this book to 7-12 year olds who like adventure stories because it is about children of their age going into different world's and it's very strange
on 21 September 2015
This CD is an unabridged reading of The Magicians Nephew by C.S. Lewis. It is an excellent production, and listening it is as good as reading the book. We hear how the two late Victorian children, Digory and Polly, make friends and explore the attics of their houses - how they meet Digory's nasty uncle Andrew, and how he tricks them into travelling to another universe that leads, in turn, to the dead world of Charn. We hear how the evil queen of that world is awakened and how the children bring her to late Victorian London. We hear about the mayhem she causes and what happens to Uncle Andrew! We hear how the children, Uncle Andrew, the evil queen, and a Cabby end up in the magical world of Narnia, that is being created by the great lion Aslan. We hear of the children going on a quest - a quest that will have big consequences. And we hear what happens as a result. There are serious parts and funny parts but above all it is a very meaningful story. This is a really excellent 4 CD set.
on 14 September 2015
Fantastic read. I am reading the series in published order, not reading order. Although i think reading the books in C.S Lewis recommended reading order would be good due to the fact that all the books linked to each other and follow on from each other. However, saying that. Reading the books in published order hasn't made me confused with goings on in the books. It has been quite good reading about past events later in the series and linking all the books together. This was the second to last book for me to read, even though it has the book 1 on the amazon book order.
Was a great read, as all the books have been. You find out how the wardrobe was made and how Peter, Edmond, Susan and Lucy came to the big manor house in the Lion, Witch and wardrobe book. Doesn't matter what order you read them in, they are very good books, didn't take me long to read it either. 2 days i think.
Please read, thank you C.S.Lewis