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The story behind ''Narnia'': See photos

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The Chronicles of Narnia: Phil Bray

The source material

Before Harry Potter — was there actually such a time? — there was The Chronicles of Narnia. A seven-volume series of slender novels, C.S. Lewis’ enduring creation (over 85 million sold) was a melting pot of fantasy and folklore, colored by the cosmology of the scholar’s Christian beliefs. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the first book, published in 1950, is your archetypal through-the-looking-glass tale. Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie — refugees of the London blitz — discover that a mysterious, fur-packed closet tucked away in a country home is actually a portal into a wonderland of chatty critters, all awaiting the return of a messianic lion, Aslan, who will end the Witch’s reign of tyrannical winter.

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