THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER is the third book in the Narniad (in published order). I finished reading it for the Narniathon21 I’m participating in on Monday. (The Narniathon’s hosted by Chris at Calmgrove.)
This is my favorite installment of the Narniad. I love how Edmund, Lucy, and Eustace get to Narnia, and I love reading about their adventures while sailing the Dawn Treader with Caspian and his crew. I think all of the different circumstances they find themselves in on each of the islands are interesting. My two favorite islands are Dragon Island and the one with the Dufflepuds.
I’m glad Dragon Island is one of the first islands they sail to. I don’t think I could’ve taken Eustace’s constant nagging, complaining, conceitedness any longer. The interesting thing is that Eustace actually becomes one of my favorite characters in the Narniad after his time as a dragon. I love getting more of Reepicheep in this adventure. He’s such a fun character. If I had a chance of meeting him, I’d be exactly like Lucy, wanting to pick him up and cuddle him. I him so much.
I said this with LWW and PRINCE CASPIAN, but I think every one of these books in the Narniad ends kind of abruptly and a little bit weirdly. THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER is probably the least out of the three so far because it at least winds down unlike the previous two.
As with the previous two, a few things regarding the allegory stood out to me during this read. I thought the way Eustace explained how he transformed back into a human with Aslan’s help was really interesting. It was almost like he was baptized and had his sins washed away. And, instead of Aslan bleeding like Christ did in the Garden of Gethsemane, CS Lewis turned it around by making Eustace hurt and bleed after Aslan cut through his dragon skin with his teeth or claws (I can’t remember which).
The other thing I noticed about the allegory is how Aslan was really only in THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER via second-hand accounts and the characters seeing visages of him when they were in danger. It was almost like CS Lewis was trying to portray Aslan as those of us who believe in Christ talk to Him through prayer.
I do like the ending when Aslan tells Lucy and Edmund the reason the Pevensies came to Narnia in the first place was so they’d recognize Him in their own world. It helps me make sense of why Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are now too old to return to Narnia, even though in my mind no one is too old to be in Christ’s presence since, you know, Aslan is Christ.
Also, over on Chris’ blog, he asked what we thought the significance was of the characters sailing east. I think the significance is part of the allegory. There are many scriptures that say when Christ comes again, He’ll appear in the east. Chris commented:
“I’ve no doubt that the journey to the east is meant to allude to Eden. Most medieval graves and many modern ones are literally oriented towards oriens, the ‘rising sun’ so that on the Day of Doom the faithful are facing the Second Coming. Lewis signals the symbolism very strongly with his references to the sun getting bigger, and the very name of the ship alludes to the theme.”
I didn’t even think of the name of the ship alluding to the theme of going toward the rising sun or pointing toward Christ, if you will. I think THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER has a lot about it that is very interesting to think about in terms of the allegory, again making it my favorite installment of the Narniad.
I’m looking forward to reading THE SILVER CHAIR this month. I don’t remember anything about it, except that Eustace returns to Narnia.
Have you read THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER? Did you like it? Why? Why not?