C. S. Lewis wrote most of The Chronicles of Narnia without a long-term plan. In most cases, he published each volume with little to no idea what the next one would be about. (The major exception occurs with The Silver Chair and The Horse and His Boy. Before he started on The Silver Chair, Lewis had already written a draft of The Horse and His Boy. When the two books were published in the opposite order from order in which they were composed, Lewis included references to the upcoming The Horse and His Boy in The Silver Chair.)

When reading the books as a child, in the published order, I noticed that the role of humans in the Narnian world becomes more pronounced as the series progresses. In fact, there are some significant retcons over the course of the Chronicles:

In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, it is explicitly stated by the talking beavers that there have never been any humans in Narnia before. Mr. Tumnus the faun has a book entitled Is Man a Myth?, and merely being human is considered a qualification to be king or queen of the country.

Prince Caspian contains no outright retcons, but it does introduce other humans in Narnia. The descendants of some mutinous sailors and their Polynesian wives get into a bloody conflict on their new South Pacific home (the whole episode seemingly inspired by the story of the mutiny on the Bounty) and find their way by accident through a portal to the uninhabited land of Telmar, adjacent to Narnia. This occurs long after the events of the first book, and there are no indications that there are any humans in the world other than the Telmarines. The kingdom of Calormen is mentioned, but the race (human or not) of its inhabitants is not.

Things shift further with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which contains multiple continuity snarls. In the the Lone Islands, the voyagers meet foreign humans (Calormene slave traders), and it is unclear whether the inhabitants of the islands are Telmarines or originated elsewhere. Moreover, the Lone Islands appear to have somehow maintained a continuous series of governors owing fealty to Narnia since the time of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which makes no sense at all. (A similar continuity error occurs when they find the belongings of Lord Restimar on Deathwater Island. They know he is a Narnian by the lion-headed coins among his things, but there is no reason why a Telmarine lord should have been carrying such currency.)

The next book to be written was The Horse and His Boy, in which it is shown that there are substantial human civilizations outside of Narnia, during the time of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. At this point, the retcon is clearly complete; the only element to be added to the retconned history is the presence of human kings and queens in Narnia from its earliest days, as described in The Magician's Nephew.

What I wondering is whether Lewis indicated at what point in the writing process he decide to dispense with the idea that humans had not been a part of Narnia's world prior to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? Was it between the first two books, or between the second and third? Moreover, was it a conscious decision Lewis made to include more humans in Narnian history, or did it just happen "by accident," through a sequence of unintentional retcons?

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    I think you have some things in here that require clarification. First, what's the Venn diagram for "Son of Adam"/"Daughter of Eve" and "Human". Are the Calormenes considered Sons of Adam, or is that restricted to humans (Christians, even) from our world? Second, what do beavers/Tumnus know? They live locally (and in fear?) in a place where it's "always winter and never Christmas". It seems likely that they have never seen a human personally. And, I'm not from <whereever> but I have some currency from there that I keep with me because I have fond memories of that place.
    – Pam
    Aug 15, 2018 at 9:10

1 Answer 1


I've studied Lewis (the writer) extensively and of course read the books, I can't point to a moment when the author explicitly decided humans "were a normal part of Narnia's world," to answer your question directly.

However, embedded in your question is an assumption that there ever was a problem with humans being in Narnia. The Beavers had not seen humans "in these parts," and Tumnus has a book handed down titled Is Man a Myth?. Neither of these preclude humans being in Narnia, and by the second book we are told humans migrated to Narnia from our world.

For your question, presumably between writing LWW and PC, but most likely the author never precluded humans from being in Narnia, just that it was a very unexpected sight for the Narnian creatures to see humans (Judeo-Christian daughters of Eve / sons of Adam) in such a humble location.

As for continuity issues, I see no problem with Telmar and Calormene 'humans' traveling, intermingling, and adapting over centuries to the geography of Narnia, inclusive of having currencies from a different culture and influences from the stylistic magic that Lewis introduced. It is a light mythology / allegory, and everyone conveniently speaks English ;p

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    It's perhaps worth note that Caer Paravel was waiting for two Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve. The White Witch had apparently been in charge for a long time; it's within the realm of possibility that she killed any former human inhabitants of Narnia when she took over, as well as keeping them out. I admittedly first read the books so long ago that it's hard to think in terms of just LWW, but I find it hard to say it truly indicates there were never humans in Narnia before.
    – RDFozz
    Jan 28, 2019 at 21:24
  • @RDFozz - oh I agree that we will never know what happened in the background from what we have leftover of Lewis' personal writings. We do know in LWW that it was a mild but not wholly unexpected surprise to the Witch to stumble upon a boy. PC was written very shortly after LWW, so I suspect he did not have hesitation with humans being part of Narnia.
    – Mikey
    Jan 28, 2019 at 21:30
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    I always wondered about the White Witch ..was she a human with magical powers? Like a witch from Harry Potter who came from Muggle parents? How did a human looking person suddenly emerge amongst these talking animals?
    – Danny Mc G
    Jan 29, 2019 at 20:50
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    @Danny3414 - I don't know the Harry Potter stories. The White Witch is later explained as Jadis from a 'third' world, called "Charn," with an interesting story in The Magician's Nephew. So you might not call her human, but she has been around since the dawn of Narnia and is definitely neither form our world nor from Narnia. She is responsible for the Lantern and many allegorical hints in the overall story.
    – Mikey
    Jan 29, 2019 at 21:14

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