The Chronicles of Narnia - A Radio Theatre Production
“Radio Theatre isn't just storytelling or a book on tape. It's an audio movie that plays on the biggest screen of all ... your imagination!”
This is how Focus on the Family introduces their classic book radio performances. There are many titles in the Radio Theatre series, but few are better loved than C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is our introduction to the land of Narnia, and the best known in the seven-book series, The Chronicles of Narnia. This could easily be a stand-alone book, but any child who listens to it is thrilled to learn that they can visit Narnia six more times (before they start over). The Magician’s Nephew is the prequel, and the other books take place at various times in Narnia’s history, not always with the same characters, but with many references between the stories.
22 Hours of Dramatic Story-telling
A child you know would love to receive this audio CD set as a gift. C. S. Lewis' classic stories of Narnia, seven in all, are brought to life with a cast of award-winning voice actors, original orchestral score, and cinema-quality digital sound. Even abridged as they are, the total listening time adds up to more than 22 hours. The whole family will enjoy it.
Our Introduction to Narnia
This was the first book C. S. Lewis wrote of The Chronicles of Narnia. As it begins, four siblings are sent to stay at an old country house until the end of the bombings in London. During a game of hide and seek, the youngest sister, Lucy, climbs into a wardrobe to hide against the back wall among the fur coats. But it turns out that there is no back wall. Curious, she pushes through the coats and finds herself by a lamppost in a snow-covered forest.
Almost immediately, Lucy is met by a faun, Mr. Tumnis, who invites her to his home for tea, and proceeds to lull her to sleep. Fortunately for her, his conscience gets the better of him and he confesses that he was trying to kidnap her because she is human, "a daughter of Eve." He warns her she is in danger and begs her to leave at once.
Lucy climbs back out the front of the wardrobe and tries to tell the other three children what has happened to her. The older two are disbelieving, but Edmund outright makes fun of her. It doesn’t help that she was only gone for seconds in English time.
Edmond Meets the Witch and Turns to the Dark Side
When next Lucy goes into the wardrobe, Edmund follows her, but with enough of a time lag that she is out of sight when he arrives in Narnia. Instead, he meets the White Witch who promises him Turkish delights and the life of a prince if he will bring all of his siblings through the wardrobe with him.
The older two, Peter and Susan are worried about Lucy’s "lies" and take their concerns to the professor who owns the house. To their surprise, he tells them nothing is more likely than that Lucy should have found a entrance to another world. Naturally, since he has previous experience, being Digory, The Magician’s Nephew.
The Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve Come to Narnia
Peter and Susan decide to test Lucy's story for themselves, so the four children go through the wardrobe to Narnia together, only to discover that Mr. Tumnis has been charged with treason for not kidnapping Lucy, as the queen had learned from Edmund. They are met by a talking beaver who promises to take them by secret deep into the land of Narnia. They have been expected, based on an ancient prophecy about two sons of Adam and two daughter of Eve who will free the land from the evil witch and release it from unrelenting winter. What’s more, there is a word that Aslan, the lion, is on the move.
Edmond sneaks away from the group to make his way to the witch’s palace. He arrives and finds that he has been vilely deceived. He is treated more like a prisoner than a prince. Now all four of the children are in mortal danger.
Will they make it to Cair Paraval, the castle and seat of the prophecy? Will they be able to secure Edmond's release from the power of the witch? Will they survive their encounter with the great lion?
How Narnia Began, and How the Witch Came to Be There
This is the prequel to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. C. S. Lewis wrote it about five years later. It begins in London where a young boy named Digory lives with his mother who is gravely ill, and his foolish uncle who dabbles in the dark arts. Digory makes friends with Polly, the girl next door and they begin to explore the attics of their houses, which brings them into the uncle's laboratory. Through a trick, he sends Polly into another world, with no way back except by a ring that he neglected to give her. Digory goes into the unknown to rescue her, and so begins a great adventure. By accident they wake the evil Jadis who manages to accompany them back to England. She begins to create havoc, and something must be done. Only Digory can do it - he has the rings.
Young Prince Caspian doesn't know the real reason his parents are gone and his uncle is the "Lord Protector" of Narnia. He also doesn't know that the talking creatures have all been forced into hiding. The old Narnia is the stuff of fairy tales told to him by his nurse. Later, the nurse is replaced by a tutor, Dr. Cornelius, who teaches Caspian many subjects and eventually, begins to reveal the history of Narnia, and a secret of his own. Those days end abruptly when it becomes dangerous for Caspian to stay with his uncle any longer. His tutor helps him escape into the woods where he is soon in a storm and big trouble. He discovers a hideout of Old Narnians, but things go from bad to worse. He has Queen Susan's magic horn, the horn she used to summon help. Should he use it? Would help come to him as it came to her?
Edmond and Lucy are staying with their aunt and uncle, which means being with their nasty cousin, Eustace. The three are pulled into Narnia through a painting and are saved from drowning as they are pulled onto a magnificent ship by none other than Prince Caspian, now king of Narnia. The purpose of the journey is to find the Seven Noble Lords who were driven away by Miraz and have not been seen since. No one has ever traveled beyond the Lone Islands, but that is where the Dawn Treader is headed now.
Edmond and Lucy are thrilled, but Eustace is not impressed. He complains, he whines, he tries to torment the mouse hero, Reepicheep, which turns out to be a great mistake. But Eustace has more mistakes ahead of him, and the most serious one of all results in a transformation he could never have imagined. Can anything save him from himself?
Young Shasta's life changes dramatically the night he hears old Arsheesh bargaining to sell him to a Calormene nobleman. What would life be life with the Calormenes, he wonders. To his surprise, the nobleman's horse gives him the answer. "Terrible." So the horse and the boy make a plan to escape to the north, to Narnia where Bree was stolen from when he was a colt. Bree takes the lead since he is experienced and Shasta doesn't know how to ride. After journeying several weeks, they are close to the city of Tashban where they must cross the river to continue their route. They become aware they are no longer alone, but before they can hide from whoever is riding close by, a fierce lion begins to chase them. The horses flee for their lives. When they reach safety, they are side by side - another talking Narnian horse and another runaway. Aravis also wishes to escape to Narnia rather than be forced to marry.
The four travel together to the city and then the complications begin. Mistaken identity, plotting overheard, a door through the city wall, a night at the tombs, another close call as again a lion pursues them - and treachery. They now know a secret they must tell, or many lives, and even kingdoms, will be lost.
Jill and Eustace hate their school. We meet them as they are running, as usual, from some bullies, only this time they cross from England right into Narnia and Aslan's presence. They are there for a reason - their quest is to find and rescue Prince Rillian. Assigned to help them is a gloomy marsh-wiggle named Puddleglum. The journey goes well until they meet a beautiful lady accompanied by a silent knight. She directs them to the giants' castle where preparations are being made for an autumn feast. This turns out to be a narrow escape, and they end up in the Underland where earthmen take they by boat to the Queen of that place. They again encounter the Knight, the lady and the Silver Chair. Will they all be enslaved by her magic, or will their memory of Aslan give them the strength to withstand it?
Shift, the ape, is a crafty manipulator. He uses Puzzle, the donkey, and a lion skin to create a false Aslan to control the inhabitants of Narnia. A reign of confusion begins as some believe the "lion" and some do not. Meanwhile, the greedy Shift is selling Narnia's natural resources to the Calormemes in the name of Aslan. Tirian, king of Narnia, and his unicorn, Jewel, are at first overjoyed that Aslan is in the country, but soon they learn of the fraud. Tirian goes to confront Shift and is tied to a tree for his trouble. This is when the children from England arrive on the scene and preparations for the battle begin. What follows is a fascinating glimpse into the last days of Narnia, and an entrance into Aslan's own country.
When you listen to the Radio Theatre productions of The Chronicles of Narnia, you don't want the magic to end. Maybe you'd like to read the books, or marvel at stunning pop-up book illustrations. Maybe you'd like to delve deeper into the story behind the stories.
My grandchildren are fascinated by this beautifully illustrated, exquisitely crafted pop-up book. We love to look at it together every time they visit.
C. S. Lewis filled The Chronicles of Narnia with biblical allusions and parallels. Unravel the mysteries with the help of the companion book.
"A Year with Aslan offers 365 of the most thought-provoking passages from all seven books, paired with reflective questions that get at the heart of what matters most. An unprecedented way to experience the magic of Narnia every day of the year."