I recently re-read all seven books of The Chronicles of Narnia. I could write a whole post both criticizing them and explaining why they’re still incredible classics – some of the allegorical points could lead to some fuzzy theology, but overall reading about Aslan and his country fills me with longing for Christ and His coming kingdom in a way that no theological treatise could.

Instead of expanding on that thought, however, I decided to share all of my favorite quotes. Some are beautiful descriptions, some inspirational truths, and some simply humorous. I’m afraid a majority of them will only make sense if you already know the context, but I’m sure those of you who haven’t read The Chronicles of Narnia can find some gems here, too.

Since there are several ideas about what order the series should be read in, I decided to try reading in publication order this time around. Just in case you’re wondering why the quotes are in that order. (Also, every other one is in bold print so you can tell where one quote ends and another begins – since a few of them take up several lines.)

Photo by Luke Tanis on Unsplash

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

They were pretty tired by now of course; but not what I’d call bitterly tired – only slow and feeling very dreamy and quiet inside as one does when one is coming to the end of a long day in the open.

It was such a romp as no one has ever had except in Narnia; and whether it was more like playing with a thunderstorm or playing with a kitten Lucy could never make up her mind.

“He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”

Prince Caspian

“Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.”

“That is because you are older, little one,” answered he.

“Not because you are?”

“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”

“You have listened to fears, child,” said Aslan. “Come, let me breathe on you. Forget them. Are you brave again?”

“Do you feel yourself sufficient to take up the Kingship of Narnia?”

“I – I don’t think I do, Sir,” said Caspian. “I’m only a kid.”

“Good,” said Aslan. “If you had felt yourself sufficient, it would have been a proof that you were not.”

“You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.”

Voyage of the Dawn Treader

But no one except Lucy knew that as it [an albatross] circled the mast it had whispered to her, “Courage, dear heart,” and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan’s, and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face.

“My own plans are made. While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan’s country, or shot over the edge of the world in some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise and Peepiceek will be head of the talking mice in Narnia.”

[Spoken by Reepicheep, one of my favorite characters. He displays such zeal for following Aslan, courage to defend his country, and enough nobility to make you forget that he’s actually a mouse.]

“Yes,” he said, “it is sweet. That’s real water, that. I’m not sure that is isn’t going to kill me. But it is the death I would have chosen – if I’d known about it till now.”

Day after day from all those miles and leagues of flowers there rose a smell which Lucy found very hard to describe; sweet – yes, but not at all sleepy or overpowering, a fresh, wild, lonely smell that seemed to get into your brain and make you feel that you could go up mountains at a run or wrestle with an elephant. She and Caspian said to one another, “I feel that I can’t stand much more of this, yet I don’t want it to stop.”

“Are – are you there too, Sir?” said Edmund.

“I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”

The Silver Chair

Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.

[The lion’s voice] was deeper wilder, and stronger; a sort of heavy, golden voice. It did not make her any less frightened than she had been before, but it made her frightened in rather a different way.

“You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,” said the Lion.

If you want to get out of a house without being seen, the middle of the afternoon is in some ways a better time to try it than the middle of the night. Doors and windows are more likely to be open; and if you are caught, you can always pretend you weren’t meaning to go far, and had no particular plans. (It is very hard to make either giants or grown-ups believe this if you’re found climbing out of a bedroom window at one o’clock in the morning.)

“You see, Aslan didn’t tell Pole what would happen. He only told her what to do. That fellow ill be the death of us once he’s up, I shouldn’t wonder. But that doesn’t let us off following the sign.”

“Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things – trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones…We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.”

“Why, Son of Adam, don’t you understand? A Centaur has a man-stomach and a horse-stomach. And of course both want breakfast. So first of all he has porridge and pavenders and kidneys and bacon and omelette and cold ham and toast and marmalade and coffee and beer. And after that he attends to the horse part of himself by grazing for an hour or so and finishing up with a hot mash, some oats, and a bag of sugar. That’s why it’s such a serious thing to ask a Centaur to stay for the weekend. A very serious thing indeed.”

[Some of the most beautiful descriptions in these books involve food. And have you ever noticed how the standard of good food in several well-known fantasy worlds is exactly the same as in 20th century Great Britain? Funny how that happens.]

“He has died. Most people have, you know. Even I have. There are very few who haven’t.”

“After that, the Head’s friends saw that the Head was no use as a Head [of a school], so they got her made an Inspector to interfere with other Heads. And when they found she wasn’t much good even at that, they got her into Parliament where she lived happily ever after.”

The Horse and His Boy

“If you can’t ride, can you fall?”

“I suppose anyone can fall,” said Shasta.

“I mean can you fall and get up again without crying and mount again and fall again and yet not be afraid of falling?”

Talking horses always become more horsey in accent when they are angry.

No one can teach riding as well as a horse.

If one is nervous there’s nothing like having your face towards the danger and having something warm and solid at your back.

But one of the worst results of being a slave and being forced to do hard things is that when there is no one to force you any more you find you have almost lost the power of forcing yourself.

“You’re not quite the great Horse you had come to think, from living among poor dumb horses…It doesn’t follow that you’ll be anyone special in Narnia. But as long as you know you’re nobody special, you’ll be a very decent sort of Horse, on the whole, and taking one thing with another.”

“Child,” said the Voice, “I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.”

“Please,” she said, “you’re so beautiful. You may eat me if you like. I’d sooner be eaten by you than fed by anyone else.”

“Dearest daughter,” said Aslan, planting a lion’s kiss on her twitching, velvet nose, “I knew you would not be long in coming to me. Joy shall be yours.”

The Magician’s Nephew

Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.

“I’m sure Aslan would have, if you’d asked him,” said Fledge.

“Wouldn’t he know without being asked?” said Polly.

“I’ve no doubt he would,” said the Horse (still with his mouth full). “But I’ve a sort of idea he likes to be asked.”

But he was in no danger of feeling conceited for he didn’t think about it at all now that he was face to face with Aslan. This time he found he could look straight into the Lion’s eyes. He had forgotten his troubles and felt absolutely content.

“Oh, Adam’s sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good!”

“She has won her heart’s desire; she has unwearying strength and endless days like a goddess. But length of days with an evil heart is only length of misery and already she begins to know it. All get what they want; they do not always like it.”

The Last Battle

“Nothing now remains for us seven but to go back to Stable Hill, proclaim the truth, and take the adventure that Aslan sends us.”

No one – not even the King himself except in some great need – would dream of riding on a Unicorn.

[Proof that whoever made the The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe movie never read The Last Battle.]

And then she understood the devilish cunning of the enemies’ plan. By mixing a little truth with it they had made their lie far stronger.

“There’s no knowing. But courage, child: we are all between the paws of the true Aslan.”

“Stand fast, Jewel. If you must weep, sweetheart,” (this was to Jill), “turn your face aside and see you wet not your bow-string. And peace, Eustace. Do not scold, like a kitchen-girl. No warrior scolds. Courteous words or else hard knocks are his only language.”

“Yes,” said Queen Lucy. “In our world, too, a Stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.”

“The speed of him was like the ostrich, and his size was an elephant’s; his hair was like pure gold and the brightness of his eyes like gold that is liquid in the furnace. He was more terrible than the Flaming Mountain of Lagour, and in beauty he surpassed all that is in the world even as the rose in bloom surpassed the dust of the desert.”

“And yet they’re not like,” said Lucy. “They’re different. They have more colours on them and they look further away than I remembered and they’re more…more…oh, I don’t know…”

“More like the real thing,” said the Lord Digory softly.

“But that was not the real Narnia. That had a beginning and an end. It was only a shadow or a copy of the real Narnia which has always been here and always will be here: just as in our own world, England and all, is only a shadow or copy of something in Aslan’s real world. You need not mourn over Narnia, Lucy. All of the old Narnia that mattered, all the dear creatures, have been drawn into the real Narnia through the Door. And of course it is different; as different as the real thing is from a shadow or as waking life is from a dream.”

But very quickly they all became grave again: for, as you know, there is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious. It is too good to waste on jokes.

“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this. Come further up, come further in!”

“Isn’t it wonderful?” said Lucy. “Have you noticed one can’t feel afraid, even if one wants to? Try it.”

About half an hour later – or it might have been half a hundred years later, for time there is not like time here

“There was a real railway accident,” said Aslan softly. “Your father and mother and all of you are – as you used to call it in the Shadowlands – dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”

And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.