How were you first introduced to Narnia?

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How were you first introduced to Narnia?

Postby Geekicheep » Oct 24, 2019 6:35 pm

Hey guys,

It seems we've been getting all nostalgic lately. We've been talking about the BBC version, laughing about the beaver costumes and "long live the Queen! Raaaaaah!" :D We've been discussing things we can learn from previous versions, like my question about how the Witch should be portrayed and the question about who should play her. And tonight I found out there was an even older Narnia series. So naturally, all this reminded me of how I was introduced to Narnia.

It was a pretty unusual experience, a bit disturbing when I saw it but very funny in retrospect. I was in the first grade (not old enough to read the books yet), and two high school kids came to visit my class. I don't know if it was a school project, community service or what, but they came to tell us a story. We all walked over to this big auditorium, and it's possible another class or two joined us, and these kids, a boy and a girl, shared "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" - IN FIRST-PERSON PERSPECTIVE! =))

Yes, he was Edmund and she was Lucy! They acted out parts, doing the voices, and they had these ridiculous wigs (one white and one yellow) that they wore when they acted out Aslan or the Witch, in an exaggerated style that would make Barbara Kellerman proud. I remember the scene where the Witch turns the Christmas party to stone, the guy was shouting, "please, your majesty, don't do it!" and stuff like that, and of course she played her parts the same way. But my favorite part was in the end, when she was like, "oh I want to go back! I want to go back!" and he was like, "it's okay, I know how you feel. We'll get back to Narnia someday." I think there might have been a line in there about them being too old or something like that too. It was the one moment in the entire presentation that really stuck with me. I didn't know what "genuine" meant back then, but the whole thing felt so real, and especially that last part. And I bought it hook, line and sinker! :D

Then of course, the following year I saw the animated movie, and a few years later I read the books. I fell in love with the books, and the rest is history. So how were YOU introduced to Narnia? Was it the books? The BBC shows? A play? I'm sure there are some other interesting stories out there - though I expect I'm the only NarniaWebber who started out with a ridiculous two-person storytelling at school. =))
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Re: How were you first introduced to Narnia?

Postby Trufflepuff » Oct 24, 2019 11:02 pm

Greetings Geekicheep!

I was introduced to the wonderful and mystical world of Narnia through my mother. Growing up I always seemed to enjoy many of the things she did when she was my age. This includes (and is not limited to): The Chronicles of Narnia (of course), The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Back to the Future, and Star Trek.

She always tells me that when she was young the local library was her best friend. Everytime she left the library she would be the kind of person to come stumbling out with a ridiculous stack in her arms and would go home reading as many of them as she could. I suppose that one day she came across The Chronicles of Narnia and got immediately hooked! (So much so that she had actually read the Last Battle in ONE sitting when she was 10.) She still has quite a collection of library books in the house to this day and reads quite often (although her catalogue is now primarily consisted of mental health books, cookbooks and magazines.)

Long story short, she was the one to introduce me to these beautiful books. We have also watched all three movies together. In fact we have just recently re-watched Prince Capian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader last week! (I have sebsequently found and was inspired to joine this forum.) :)
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Re: How were you first introduced to Narnia?

Postby King_Erlian » Oct 25, 2019 1:10 am

My first introduction to Narnia was back in 1970 when I was 6. I had learned to read when I was 3 and by the time I was 6 I was a voracious reader. My parents gave me a subscription to The Puffin Club, a subscription service to Puffin Books, the children's arm of Penguin Books. Each month they had a Book of the Month and one month it happened to be The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader, so that was the first Narnia book I read. I read the rest within a year, but in a strange order - I can't remember now, but I think I read Prince Caspian last. At the time my favourite book was The Magician's Nephew as it was the most science fiction-y, with travel to other universes. I was already obsessed with space travel and rockets, as the first world news event I remember was the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. Now my favourite is The Horse And His Boy.

I liked the 1970s cartoon, although I wish I could get the version with the British soundtrack with Arthur Lowe's wonderful Mr. Beaver. I hated the BBC series, apart from The Silver Chair which was still generally poor but had Tom Baker's magnificent Puddleglum. I enjoyed the Walden movies though I liked Prince Caspian the least because I felt it was trying too hard to be a "teen" movie.
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Re: How were you first introduced to Narnia?

Postby Courtenay » Oct 25, 2019 3:15 am

Hello and welcome, Trufflepuff (great name) — and really good idea for a discussion, Geekicheep. That's a fascinating story of how you were introduced to Narnia through a two-person play!!

I remember the cartoon version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe being on TV when I was really little (mid-1980s), so I was aware of the title at least, but nothing about the story really registered with me except the scene where Aslan brings the statues to life (with a lot of magic sparkles). So when I was 5 years old and we were visiting my maternal grandparents in Melbourne, and Mum got hold of a second hand copy of the book and offered to read it to me, I was very eager because I recognised the name of it, but didn't recall much at all about the plot (I don't think I even remembered specifically that Aslan was the name of the lion). We must have read it over a few nights and I still remember how exciting and enchanting it was, especially the wonderful scene where Aslan comes back from the dead.

I rated it right from the start as one of the best stories ever, but I wasn't aware there were any sequels until a couple of years later, when I was 7 and we bought all the other books in the series. So Mum and I read through the rest of them, starting with The Magician's Nephew and skipping The Lion... because we'd already read it, going through all the rest in chronological order. That cemented me as a Narnia fan for life!

Not long afterwards, the BBC versions of four of the Narnia books came on TV and I loved them, even though they were ridiculously hokey in places. But there was almost no such thing as CGI then, and bad costumes and really-not-so-special effects were something one saw a fair bit of in films and TV at the time, especially in live-action fantasy without a big budget. You just had to use your imagination and suspend disbelief and laugh along with it... :D (And I agree, while The Silver Chair was a bit mediocre overall — and if you thought those beaver costumes were hilarious, check out the sequence in this one where Eustace and then Jill get blown to Narnia =)) — Tom "Dr Who" Baker was superb as Puddleglum.)

King Erlian, I'm pretty sure the version of the 1979 cartoon with the British soundtrack is the one available (probably not very legally) on YouTube — at least it sounded British to me when I watched it some time ago! I don't know if it's available anywhere on DVD or to download.
"Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed." (Prince Caspian)
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Re: How were you first introduced to Narnia?

Postby Cleander » Oct 25, 2019 1:37 pm

My very first introduction to Narnia, if I remember right, was watching the BBC Silver Chair with my brothers and sister when I was about 4 or 5. I only remember seeing the bit with the owls then; I think I might have been made to leave before the scary part (you know, when the Witch turns into that GIANT FOAM SNAKE!)
My one brother and sister sometimes played "The Silver Chair" around the house and used 5-year-old me as their "Eustace" (though they say now they preferred Trumpkin's epithet of "Useless" ;) ),with my sister being Jill and my brother wearing a green bathrobe and being Puddleglum. We'd make tunnels and caves using blankets and things, and go crawling around in the "Underworld" in search of the lost prince. So you might say I've had Narnian influences in my life for almost as long as I can remember. And hence my fascination with the Silver Chair. :D
Later my brother told me about the books and a bit of what they were about. It was a bit over my head at the time, so I didn't really start reading the Chronicles till I was 7 or 8. When I did start, I started with The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Then I proceeded to read the rest of the chronicles pretty much out of order over the course of the next 3 years. :-s I was reading a lot more at the time, so it took me a while to get through the entire series. I actually didn't see the movies until years later, after I'd already become a huge fan of the books.
Interestingly, my initial reactions to the books were sort of mixed. I was a little wierded out by the fauns/centaurs and things, scared by the Witch's snake transformation (in the book), and for a little bit, even a little worried that I loved Aslan more than God. (Years later, I would read about the letter he wrote to a young boy who had that same problem. If only I'd known then... :( )
But over the years, I came to love the Chronicles. I saw their beauty, their meaning, and their application to the real world. I've read them over and over again, and each time they're somehow fresh in new ways. I hope to keep on reading them, and passing them on to others. My life would not have been the same without Narnia. I hope I never forget that.
(Sorry for the long-winded love letter to the books, but I really wanted get in as much as I could remember about how these stories got into my life. AND it's my first Narniaweb Anniversary, so this seemed like a good day to do it! :D )
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Re: How were you first introduced to Narnia?

Postby Arwen_Daeneri31 » Oct 30, 2019 10:28 am

My first introduction to Narnia would have been when I was around 7 or 8. I was in the school library, which was one of my favourite places. I had heard of it before by a few older kids and found it on the shelves, I read a few pages and then checked it out. I had not known at the time this book was a part of a series so when I found that out I immediately checked the others out and read them too.

I had not seen any plays or tv series so my visions of what Narnia would look like were all in my head. I was and still am very much into the fantasy/sci-fi novels so I was also reading the Hobbit and Lord of the rings at this point too. So I had a lot to fill my imagination, I actually pretended my closet was a wardrobe to narnia as it was a walk-in closet.

When the movies came out I was thrilled and saw each one, they made me relive the childhood wonder of the first time reading the books. I actually read them again after seeing the movies.

Later in life I became busy but when I could I would read again or watch the movies and that leads me to finding this fun place called Narniaweb which I am glad to have found.
It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.
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Re: How were you first introduced to Narnia?

Postby JFG II » Nov 01, 2019 9:55 am

I was first introduced to Narnia about 20 years ago - through the BBC “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” (a VHS rental from the library). My parents are Catholic so they must have deliberately gotten it for me and my sibs to watch. I was probably 5 years old when I watched it, and it captivated me in a special way. I later read the book when I was around 9 years old. (I wasn’t an avid reader but I did read Walter Lord’s Titanic book for adults “A Night to Remember” when I was 9 - after watching the movie adaptation.) I watched the Walden adaptation when it came out. More of the same.

Growing up, I vaguely knew that there were other Narnia books and BBC movies with Aslan, but I wasn’t too interested: I caught both “Caspian” & “Silver” on TV but only watched bits and pieces of them. I guess as a kid I didn’t find them compelling. When I was 12 I finally heard the rest of the books on audio - and also watched the TV adaptations - and my reaction was cold. I was disappointed in the plots of nearly all the other books, and the one plot I was riveted by (“Last Battle”) I hated the ending, as well as the way Susan was just left out. (I also didn’t like how seemingly hateful the Calormens were portrayed as being in HHB & LB.) It took me several years before I actually read the later books free of my tween prejudices. I saw the Walden sequels too as a teenager. They disappointed.

Now that I am in my mid 20’s, I look back on my time with Narnia as a time of misunderstandings and (like my parents faith) a time of fallings out as well as reconciliations. Despite initially disliking the later books, I badly wanted - as a 12 year old - to see the books adapted faithfully to the big screen. But do away with all the bits that annoyed me as a reader! I’ve put aside many interests since I was 5. Narnia is not one of them.
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