A Narnia Timeline

I just found something really exciting (well, to me, anyway): Lewis’ timeline of Narnia. It’s in a book called The Man Who Created Narnia: The Story of C. S. Lewis by Michael Coren (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1996). Unfortunately Coren doesn’t give a source, i.e. whether this comes from particular notes and where those are kept, he just prints it as “C. S. Lewis’s Outline of Narnian History so far as it is known”. However, it’s still really cool. I like getting obscure background info like that.

So according to this timeline, the events of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe take place in 1940, or Narnian Year 1000. The Pevensie kids are 8, 10, 12 and 13, Professor Digory Kirke is 52 – he was 12 in the story of The Magician’s Nephew, Polly was 11. Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy stay in Narnia for 15 years, so by the time they fall back out of the wardrobe into 1940 and their pre-teens they had turned 23, 25, 27 and 28 (it must suck just a bit to have to go through puberty twice…). When they go back to Narnia in 1941 to help out Prince Caspian it’s the year 2303 there; Caspian is 13. In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader he is 17 (by now it’s 1942 on earth). He marries Ramandu’s daughter at 20; Prince Rilian is born in 2325 and disappears in 2345. Eustance and Jill in The Silver Chair arrive from 1942 England in the Narnian Year 2356, so Caspian is 66 when he dies. Finally, the events of The Last Battle take place in 1949 or Narnian Year 2555.

I think it’s interesting how young the kids all are – other than in The Last Battle, we’re talking pre-teens in almost every case. It puts a bit of a different complexion on some of the events. And it’s one aspect of the books that was changed quite drastically in the new Disney movies – but that’s another topic for another day.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “A Narnia Timeline

  1. One of the fascinating things about the timeline for me is Rilian. Look how many years there are between Caspian’s marriage and Rilian’s birth! And then Rilian is twenty when he vanishes, which puts a slightly different picture on his spoiled, willful actions than if he were, say sixteen or seventeen. And he’s thirty when he’s rescued, which again has got to be one horrible adjustment to have lost those years between twenty and thirty, which is really when one learns so much about who one is and what one is doing in this life. And gosh, for Caspian to look like such an old, old man and to die at age 66 – those ten years between Rilian’s disappearance and reappearance must have been HIDEOUS for him. Poor Caspian.

    (Although I have heard that Lewis wrote the timeline well after the books were published because he got so tired of people asking him about the dates and times, and that he himself didn’t really consider it canon, and his sense of time for the Chronicles was much more fluid. But I don’t even remember where I heard that, so no clue how accurate it is.)

    None of which has anything to do with the KIDS, but still. Interesting stuff.

    Like

    • Heh, I was thinking the exact same thing re. Caspian and Rilian, and the contrast between Caspian’s age when he dies and what a very old man he’s described as (he also lost his wife at the same time as Rilian disappeared, so that’s extra-horrible).
      It’s one of the things I enjoy so much about that timeline, to get those kinds of figures. I’d already done the math on some of the kids’ ages, but I had Lucy and Edmund pegged at about 11 and 12, because it says Edmund had been at school for a year, and I thought it was normal to start public school at 11. But with the way they’re described it makes more sense to have them at be 8 and 10, and Peter no more than 13. They really are *children* still.

      Like

      • I know, can you imagine for Caspian? To suffer the loss of his beloved wife, and then to lose his son but not know what happened or if he’s dead or alive, or in the thrall of a witch, AND to know that he’ll be leaving Narnia without an heir if Rilian never turns up … no wonder he aged about thirty years instead of ten.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s