In The Chronicles of Narnia, people often spend weeks, months, or even decades in other worlds. They return to their old life at the exact instant that they left as if they were never gone. For example, the Pevensies spent years (perhaps decades?) in Narnia after the events of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Afterwards, they're transported back to their original lives as schoolchildren and carry on with their ordinary lives. People still treated them the exact same way that they always treated them, oblivious to all of the knowledge, skills, and life experience that they gained while they were in Narnia.

It's strongly implied that being in certain worlds influences your abilities and attitudes to an extent (characters often slowly regain certain skills, such as swordsmanship, over the course of several hours upon returning to Narnia). Even setting that aside, why didn't the characters find that profoundly disturbing? Personally, if I woke up as a 10-year-old again and was expected to carry on living as if I actually was a 10-year-old (returning to elementary school, etc.) and being treated as if I was 10, I'd find that profoundly unsettling and frustrating (not to mention infuriating), so why does this never appear in the books?

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    "Personally, if I woke up as a 10-year-old again and was expected to carry on living as if I actually was a 10-year-old (returning to elementary school, etc.) and being treated as if I was 10, I'd find that profoundly unsettling and frustrating (not to mention infuriating), so why does this never appear in the books?" ???? This does appear in the books. They're always talking about how great Narnia is. There's a reason why.
    – user111
    Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 5:12
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    @Hamlet That's true, but the emphasis seems to be on how good Narnia is rather than on how bad England is. I don't think that the books ever actually says that struggling to "transition" back into their everyday lives has anything to do with their love for Narnia and desire to return. Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 5:15
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    +1, I've thought about this question too. Possibly (though this is just speculation) the answer is, "The characters' readjustment wasn't important to the story--don't think about it too hard."
    – DLosc
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 2:45
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    Great question! I've often thought about this too. After all their adult experiences in LWW, how on earth did they go back to living as children again? The common parental mantra of "adults know what it's like to be a child, but not vice versa" just goes completely out of the window in that situation. @Hamlet They talk about how great Narnia is, yes, but Narnia vs England is a whole different issue from adults vs children.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 15:16
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    I agree that this is a pretty large plot hole, and what happens in regard to Susan in The Last Battle looks even worse when taking this into account. Susan is no longer a friend of Narnia once she starts taking an interest in the wrong kind of growing up, but the fact is that she's already done some growing up in Narnia already. Even though she's consciously forgotten Narnia, the instinctive experience of having already experienced adolescence surely would have had an influence on her.
    – user4256
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 12:10

1 Answer 1


Related: Why did people appear to remember what was going on at the time they left England when they returned from Narnia?

The books aren't very explicit on this point, so here are a few possibilities.

Their time in the "other world" takes on a "dreamlike quality"

While they're in one world, the world that they just left has a "dreamlike quality" - there was some sense in which Narnia was like an extended dream while they were in England (and vice versa for England while they were in Narnia).

This would explain why, for example, they seem to have remembered details about what was going on when they left England when they returned. They evidently didn't remember the lamp-post until after they got back to England (prior to getting back to England, they only had a vague recollection of having seen it before), and they didn't seem all that disoriented when they got back to England. They appear to have remembered where they were and why they were there. (They even remembered to apologize to the Professor for losing some of his coats). This is much like you remember your whereabouts when you wake up from a dream.

The influence of the world itself

The world itself seems to have a good deal of influence on the characters' behavior, thought patterns, and even skills. It will often take hours or days in Narnia for characters to regain all of the skills that they had gained last time they were there.

This suggests the possibility that, when they return to England, they don't really retain all of their adult-like traits or skills, which would seem to make it easier for them to transition back.

They did have trouble, but the books didn't address that

The books actually don't describe much about their lives outside Narnia. In fact, in most cases, the books spend only as much time in England as is required to set up the story. (An obvious counterexample, though, is when Caspian and Aslan go to England briefly, but even then they're clearly "out of context" - that's fundamentally Narnians setting something about our world right, not just a story about England). After all, the books are the Chronicles of Narnia, not the chronicles of the characters' lives in England - the books are fundamentally about Narnia. One could argue that, in one sense, they're even more about Narnia than they are about the characters themselves - i.e. the books are fundamentally "about" things that certain people did in Narnia, not merely about those particular characters.

Genuine plot hole

It's quite possible that this is a genuine plot hole, and that C. S. Lewis either didn't think of it or didn't think that it was important enough to the stories to address. (The latter point could be related to the previous point - i.e. it's not important because the books aren't about the characters' actions outside of Narnia).

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