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I have read some of C. S. Lewis's books (most notably The Chronicles of Narnia), and in it he uses (in my opinion) a peculiar narrative point of view. In most of the book, it is third person, but occasionally the narrator uses words such as "I" or "me" in the middle of the third person narrative. Another example is the A Series of Unfortunate Events, where it appears to be third person, but the narrator, Lemony Snicket, actually meets his brother in the story. Does this have a name?

I've seen the question Is There a Term or Description For When the Narrator Inserts their Own Personal Perspective Into a Third Person POV?, but I don't know if it's third person or first person. Is the narrator a character in the story who is silently following and watching everybody? Is the narrator separate from the story (third person)? Or is this First Person Omniscient?

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    I think this question maybe offtopic, because it seems to be about an existing work of literature. But, the internet has all the answers, and it seems to be "third person omniscient"
    – user54131
    Commented Apr 26, 2022 at 16:41
  • A narrator can talk on their own technically, and so also use first person for the narrator themselves. So, yeah third person but with a personified narrator maybe? Commented Apr 26, 2022 at 17:12
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    That feels like a slippery slope to saying every third person POV is just a first person POV where the narrator hasn't referred to themselves. You can just prepend it "Let me tell you a story" and suddenly it's first person. I feel that if the narrator is not a character in the story they're telling, that it's 3rd person, because they're not telling their story, but someone else's. But I'll admit I haven't really studied the intricacies of POV.
    – user54131
    Commented Apr 26, 2022 at 17:30
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    I haven't read the books myself, only seen the movies, but from the example they show here: "I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night. " I'd say it's the author's comments, because it refers to the book itself.
    – user54131
    Commented Apr 26, 2022 at 18:13
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    The narrator wouldn't have to be present necessarily to be first person. Maybe the narrator in a story is the innkeeper who is repeating the story of an old customer? Commented Apr 26, 2022 at 19:03

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No, it doesn't have a name. An author is free to select any POV and tense in the novel, changing it from scene to scene or chapter to chapter.

It is very common to shift the POV character and change whether it is 1st or 3rd, or even 2nd, though 2nd Person View points are not very common -- Big Lights, Big City is one that is held out as an example of doing it well.

The only constraint on shifting POVs and tense and view point characters is don't confuse your reader -- by being sloppy. It's okay to mislead your reader, that is totally cool. Mystery and Thriller writers use this method of shifting POV characters around to build suspense and raise the stakes in a story. It permits the author to effectively keep information from the reader to share information with the reader -- depending on the goal at the point in the story -- so the reader knows what is lurking behind the door and the POV character doesn't have a clue. Or the other way around.

It is a technique to keep a story moving and magnifying the intensity of the experience.

When the narrator injects themselves into a story, it can just be a narrative style. That the 'I' isn't really the narrator, but an embellishment of language. Sometimes it is the narrator stepping into a story and that is one form of direct address or breaking the fourth wall. But, since those terms cover anything from a soliloquy in Hamlet to Terry Pratchet's authorial intrusions to Deadpool's running commentary to the audience. Steven Brust used it quite a bit in some his writings derived on the Three Musketeers, where a historian narrates the story. In that case, it was the author adding commentary to the story in the guise of a narrator providing color commentary.

So it depends on what it is, and how it is used. It isn't really one thing or another, but may be a mix of a few things, and it may be terrific or it may be terrible.

It takes a skilled author to use it well. Though many poor writers try to use it in imitation.

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  • This doesn't answer the question. The narrator speaks in their own opinion (referring to themselves as "I" or "me") bang in the middle of a third person chapter/section. What is this called?
    – DaCool1
    Commented Apr 27, 2022 at 17:18
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    @DaCool1 just because it is a thing that happens doesn't mean there is a name for it. Before sentient life developed nothing in the universe had a name (albeit that people that belief in gods may disagree on that).
    – user54131
    Commented Apr 27, 2022 at 17:27

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