Narnia

From Academic Kids

Narnia is a fantasy world created by the Irish author C. S. Lewis as a location for his Chronicles of Narnia, a series of seven fantasy novels for children. In Narnia, animals can talk, mythical beasts abound, and magic is rampant.

Contents

Geography

Narnia

The name "Narnia" refers to not only the Narnian world, but especially to the land of Narnia within it, which its creator, Aslan the great lion, filled with talking animals and mythical creatures. Narnia is a land of rolling hills rising into low mountains to the south, and is predominantly forested except for marshlands in the north. The country is bordered on the east by the Eastern Ocean, on the west by a great mountain range, on the north by the River Shribble, and on the south by a continental divide.

The economic heart of the country is the Great River of Narnia, which enters the country from the northwest on an east-southeasterly course to the Eastern Ocean. The seat of government is Cair Paravel, at the mouth of the Great River. Other communities along the river include (from east to west) Beruna, Beaversdam, and Chippingford.

Archenland

Archenland is a mountainous country to the south of Narnia. It is bordered on the north by a continental divide and on the south by the Winding Arrow river. The seat of government is the castle at Anvard, in the heart of the country.

Calormen

Calormen is an empire in the south of the world of Narnia. Most of the country has a semi-arid climate, and its most notable geographic features are a volcano known as the Flaming Mountain of Lagour, and the Great Desert. The Great Desert is in the northern part of the country, and the difficulty of crossing this desert prevented aggressive Calormene governments from invading Archenland and Narnia for centuries.

The cultural center of Calormen is the River of Calormen, which flows from west to east along the south side of the Great Desert. The capital city is Tashbaan, located on an island in the river's delta, and the river is bordered for much of its length by farmland and wealthy communities.

The city of Azim Balda, located at a crossroads in the heart of the country, is a major hub for travel and communications.

The Eastern Ocean

Numerous islands and archipelagoes dot the Eastern Ocean. Most notable among these are Galma, the Seven Isles, and the Lone Islands, all subjects of the Narnian crown, and Terebinthia, an independent island. At the far end of the Eastern Ocean the geography becomes completely fantastic (as a result of the Narnian world being flat) and the sky meets the surface of the earth; in addition, it is implied that a passage to Aslan's country is located here.

Other lands

To the north of Narnia lie Ettinsmoor and the Wild Lands of the North, both inhabited by giants. The most prominent settlement is the House of Harfang, a community of giants that is apparently the remnant of a much larger city which was abandoned generations ago.

The land west of Narnia is an uninhabited region of rugged mountains known as the Western Wild or the Lantern Waste. The land of Telmar lies somewhere beyond this region, but its exact location was never documented.

The land of Bism is located in great caverns deep beneath the ground of Narnia.

Cosmology

General characteristics

The world of Narnia is a flat world in a geocentric universe. Its sky is a dome that mortal creatures cannot penetrate.

Narnia's stars are flaming humanoid beings. Its constellations are the result of a mystical dance upon the sky, performed by the stars to announce the works of Aslan, Narnia's creator.

Its sun is a flaming disc that revolves around the world once daily. The sun has its own ecosystem, and is known to be inhabited by great white birds. The vegetation on the sun contains healing properties. For example, the extract of a certain fireflower found in the mountains can heal any wound or sickness, and a fire-berry that grows in its valleys, when eaten by a star, works to reverse the effects of age.

The Narnian ground is a living organism. The surface is dead soil in much the same way that an animal's outer layers of skin consist of dead cells, but at deeper levels the rocks themselves are alive, and in many cases edible. The Narnian dwarfs themselves are referred to as "Sons of Earth".

Multiverse

The Narnian world is part of a multiverse of countless worlds including our own world and the world of Charn. These are connected by a meta-world or linking room known as the Wood Between the Worlds. Not much is known about this wood, but it appears to be an empty space occurring as a side effect of the multiverse's underlying structure. This space takes the form of a dense forest with pools of water. With an appropriate magical device, each pool becomes a portal to a different world.

Time

British visitors to Narnia observe that the passage of time while they are away is unpredictable. The tendency is for more time to pass in Narnia than at home, but this is not universally true.

To plot the intersections of the worlds' timelines requires curved lines in at least two dimensions. The distance between any two intersections will be different on each timeline, and there is no predictable relationship between them.

There is some confusion concerning the intersections of the timelines. The Telmarines were descended from pirates from our world, who had stumbled through a door between the worlds. Some believe these were preindustrial pirates. This would put them before the first visit to the Narnia, in the year 1900 our time. At that time, the visitors witnessed the creation of Narnia, which would mean that the pirates, leaving much earlier, would arrive much later.

However, the books do not say that the pirates were preindustrial, so they could easily be the more modern kind, so no confusion may be necessary.

History

Creation of Narnia

The Creation of Narnia was witnessed by six creatures; Jadis, Empress of Charn; Digory Kirke; Polly Plummer; Andrew Ketterly; Frank; and Strawberry, a cabhorse. This group was brought to the unmade world by Digory and Polly via Magic Rings and the Wood Between Worlds in an effort to remove Jadis from London. The whole group was brought due to the 'magnetic effect' the rings had of taking everyone who was touching someone that was touching a ring. At the Wood Between Worlds Digory and Polly picked a random pool and jumped in. The world they arrived in was completely dark, yet it felt alive. Jadis recognized that it was an unmade world.

The creation begun with a low music, described as a tone that seemed to come from the earth itself. This tone continued and was joined by hundreds of much higher voices. The appearance of the second group of voices coincided with the appearance of stars in the sky. It is later made clear that the stars themselves were singing. The first tone continued to grow louder until at a climax the sun rose revealing a valley with a river in it. The group also saw at this point a lion, Aslan, moving through the valley singing. As he sang trees and wildlife appeared in a pattern matching the song. For instance low notes made trees and high notes made flowers. Aslan continued to approach the group, which made them increasingly nervous. Jadis had a crossbar from a lamppost which she threw at Aslan and hit him in the head. Aslan didn't show any indication of having even felt the crossbar hitting him, and it fell to the ground where it promptly grew into a lamppost. Aslan later made it clear that the only reason the lamppost grew was because the world was so full of life at the beginning.

Next, Aslan's song changed and the ground began to 'boil'. At various places animals came up in sets of two, and multiple sets of animals came up from the ground. After all the animals had come up from the ground they gathered in a circle around Aslan, who went around the circle and touched pairs of animals on the nose. All the animals he didn't touch wandered away into the forest. Next Aslan called all of Narnia to "awake" and be talking animals, etc. Strawberry had wandered into the circle with the other animals and was chosen to be a talking animal. At this point fauns and dwarves and Naiads and Dryads came from the forest and the river, all of whom gathered around Aslan.

After Aslan created Narnia he chose its first rulers, anointing the Cab driver and his wife as King Frank I and Queen Helen I of Narnia to rule peacefully over the talking beasts. The land was in peace for hundreds of years, till Jadis the Witch-Queen returned and bound the land in ice and Snow for one hundred years. She made it always winter and never Christmas.

When four children named Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy found their way into Narnia through a magic wardrobe they happened to arrive at a time when the great Lion Aslan had returned, and the hundred years of winter was broken. Becoming part of his court, they fought in battle and defeated the White Witch, and became kings and Queens themselves.

However after many years they disappeared, and Narnia was left with out any rulers. When they returned from our world, thousands of years later, Narnia was taken over by an evil King named Miraz who planned to murder his nephew Caspian. The four children helped defeat Miraz, and put Caspian on the throne, and humans and talking beasts lived in Narnia together happily for years.

Lucy and Edmund returned to Narnia once more, with their spoiled cousin Eustace, and sailed with King Caspian on a legendary voyage on the Dawn Treader, where Eustace was turned into a dragon and reformed.

Caspian married a beautiful woman (the daughter of a star) he met on that voyage, and she became Queen of Narnia. They had a son named Rilian, but the Queen was killed and Rilian as a young man disappeared. Eustace and his school friend Jill Pole returned to Narnia, sent by Aslan to find the lost prince, a journey which took them to the wild lands of the north, inhabited by giants, and to the underworld where an evil Queen had bewitched Rilian into doing her bidding. Freeing him and destroying the Queen in her evil snake-form, the two children returned to their world.

Narnia ended after a last battle when the magical world died, but all the creatures of Narnia, found themselves in Aslan's land and met previous people who had lived in Narnia and died. Aslan's land was bigger and better than the old Narnia, because it was the real one, whereas the old Narnia had been just a copy of Aslan's land.

Also see

List of the Kings and Queens of Narnia (A list of mentioned Kings and Queens of Narnia from the books)

Human contact

There are seven documented events of contact between the world of men and the world of Narnia. Dates are taken from a timeline provided in the book Past Watchful Dragons by Walter Hooper.

  • In The Magician's Nephew, four humans, Frank (last name unknown), Andrew Ketterley, and children Digory Kirke and Polly Plummer, were present at the creation of Narnia, having been brought there by a magical experiment. The same day, Aslan called Frank's wife, Helen, from England, and the two remained in Narnia as King and Queen.
  • In Narnian Year 460, as alluded to in Prince Caspian, six human pirates from the South Sea entered the land of Telmar through a magic cave. They remained in Telmar and their descendants formed the Telmarine civilization.
  • In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, in Narnian Year 1000, four children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie, entered Narnia through a wardrobe Digory had built from the wood of a magical Narnian tree. Aslan returned to Narnia at the same time, defeated the foreign ruler Jadis, now known as the White Witch, and set up the four children as kings and queens. They ruled for fifteen years before returning to England.
  • In Prince Caspian, in Narnian Year 2303, the Pevensie children were summoned to Narnia by magic to help remove a Telmarine usurper from the Narnian throne and establish the teenage Prince Caspian as king. After this, Aslan allows the Telmarines, descendants of the pirates who had arrived long ago, to go back to an island in the South Sea if they so wish.
  • In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, in Narnian Year 2306, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie and Eustace Scrubb entered Narnia through a magic painting, and took part in Caspian's voyage to the edge of the world.
  • In The Silver Chair, in Narnian Year 2376, Aslan brought Eustace Scrubb and Jill Pole to Narnia, where they rescued Rilian, son of the now elderly Caspian, from his enchanted captivity. Caspian died, but was resurrected and briefly crossed over into England in 1942 to help remove a corrupt school administrator.
  • In The Last Battle, in 1949, King Tirian of Narnia appeared to the friends of Narnia in England, and Aslan brought Eustace and Jill to Narnia in Narnian Year 2575 to assist Tirian at the end of his reign.
The Chronicles of Narnia
C. S. Lewis
Archenland | Calormen | Charn | Narnia | Wood between Worlds
Books Characters Places

External references

  • Peter, from the animated television show Family Guy, briefly visited Narnia when he plunged into the clothes dryer in pursuit of a lost sock. Upon landing, he was greeted by a small creature, who introduces himself as Mr. Tumnus, said, "Welcome to Narnia!", and ran quickly away with his sock.
  • An alien race in a video game called "Independence War" are called "Narnia".
  • In an episode of Friends, Chandler gets defensive about his "nubbin" when Ross asks "if it does anything", and replies: "Why yes Ross, pressing my third nipple opens the delivery entrance to the magical land of Narnia."
  • In Katherine Paterson's "Bridge to Terabithia," Leslie refers often to the Narnia books and lends them to Jesse to read so he can learn to act like a king.
  • In the South Park episode "Richers invade South Park" the character Token, thinking he doesn't fit in anywhere else, goes to live with the lions at the zoo. There he encounters the lion's leader, the great lion Aslan, who agrees to let him stay if he can pull a joke thorn from his paw.

External links

it:Narnia ja:ナルニア国

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