It seems that nearly everyone online suggests to read the Chronicles of Narnia in its original intended publication order (see for example the answers on this question), but it also seems that the series is only ever published in chronological order.

Are there any editions that use the original numbering?


The first several "boxed set" editions all used publication order. I grew up, for example, with the Collier editions. Wikipedia strongly implies that the first publisher to use the in-universe chronological order was Harper Books (now HarperCollins), when they acquired rights to the series in 1994. I have seen a set of the books published under the Fontana Lions imprint (owned by HarperCollins) appearing in this order; various references date this edition to the early 1980s.

Since at least the mid-90s if not before, this in-universe chronological order seems to have become the standard order in which the publisher produces all sets (including a single-volume edition I've found).

  • 1
    What is "this" in "this was the only order used"?
    – Tashus
    Jan 20 '20 at 3:03
  • @tashus "this order", the chronological order. Jan 20 '20 at 3:31
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    My Fontana Lions set of paperbacks from 1980 are numbered in chronological rather than published order
    – HorusKol
    Jan 20 '20 at 6:17
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    @horuskol I did find a fairly clear picture of these online, displaying the series order, and it is indeed as you say - and there are references to publication dates in the early 1980s. But apparently (per Wikipedia at least) Fontana is not a publisher but an imprint of HarperCollins. I'll note the possible new date. Jan 20 '20 at 7:27
  • 1
    Yeah, from the book "Fontana Lions is an imprint of Fontana Paperbacks, a division of the Collins Publishing Group"
    – HorusKol
    Jan 20 '20 at 9:06

While not strictly the book series (and not as universally acclaimed), the Walden Media film adaptations have so far been released in publication order - The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in 2005, followed by Prince Caspian in 2008, followed by The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 2010. The 1988 British TV series also uses publication order, beginning with Lion in 1988 and following with Caspian, Dawn Treader, and finally The Silver Chair. It should be noted that neither of these adaptations includes The Magician's Nephew or The Horse and His Boy, which are the two books published out of chronological order.

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    The 1998 TV serialisation also followed publication order.
    – Moo
    Jan 20 '20 at 3:31
  • *1988... only just spotted the typo.
    – Moo
    Jan 20 '20 at 5:55
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    This is probably the one example of the movies being better than the books. That at least they're in order.
    – ibid
    Jan 20 '20 at 13:45

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