The Popularity of The Chronicles of Narnia

by Tenethia South

Do you know how many languages The Chronicles of Narnia has been translated into? Are you aware that over 100 million copies of the series have been sold? For years, fans of Narnia have read the books, watched the films, and gone to see Narnia on stage. Do they realize how extensively popular Narnia is?

Over the years, certain books of the Chronicles have been translated into forty-six different languages. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the most translated book of the seven, having been translated into each of the forty-six languages. Although some might expect it to be far ahead of the others, it holds first place by a mere two languages, with, interestingly enough, The Magician’s Nephew coming in second place. The Last Battle and The Silver Chair are farthest behind by nine languages, having been translated into only thirty-seven languages. The most interesting language into which the entire Chronicles have been translated is Schwyzertütsch, or Swiss German, only available in audio book. In addition to the forty-six languages, all of the Chronicles have been translated into Braille, the system of dots used by the blind to read. [1]

Four of the Chronicles have been adapted to film: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; and The Silver Chair. Four versions of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe have been made, three live-actions and one animated. The oldest of these was a live-action, produced by the ABC Weekend Television in 1967. Only one or two clips from this ten part series are available anymore. Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader have both been made twice, and although The Silver Chair is currently in the works, it has previously been filmed only once.

In addition to the Chronicles being adapted for film, they have also been made into audio books: two “radio plays” by BBC (1996) and Focus on the Family’s Radio Theater (1998). Aside from these, there have been multiple stage plays based on Narnia including, remarkably, adaptions of The Magician’s Nephew and The Horse and His Boy. [2]

The making of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe film by Walden in 2006 brought plenty of Narnia collectibles. There are now posters, watches, paperweights, bookends, pop-up picture books, coloring books, learn-to-read books, t-shirts, and Halloween costumes for sale online, and that’s just a start. In addition, other items not associated with the Walden film have also been made.

When CS Lewis began writing the Chronicles of Narnia, he could not have imagined how widely-known his novels would become. [3] As you have seen, the Chronicles have not only been translated into forty-six languages, but have also been adapted into nine films, been written as multiple stage plays and audio books, and have inspired many different collectibles. These seven books have gripped the hearts of many, both young and old and will continue to endear themselves to the world as time goes on.

[1] http://inklingsfocus.com/translation_index.html
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chronicles_of_Narnia
[3] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/9694561/CS-Lewis-Chronicles-of-Narnia-author-honoured-in-Poets-corner.html

One thought on “The Popularity of The Chronicles of Narnia

  1. always narnianalways narnian

    It’s amazing to me that there was a 1967 attempt at it. I remember seeing a clip of it…

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