PRINCE CASPIAN is the second book in the Narniad (in published order). I finished reading it for the Narniathon21 I’m participating in about a week ago. (The Narniathon’s hosted by Chris at Calmgrove.)
I really love this installment of the Narniad. I love that all the Pevensies are back in Narnia. I think it’s interesting to see Narnia in ruin and that the story takes place many years after the Pevensie children ruled as kings and queens in Cair Paravel.
I also love the new characters, except Nikabrik. I wanted to strangle him, especially when Peter, Edmund, and Trumpkin happened upon the council in Aslan’s How. It frustrated me so much that they waited as long as they did to go into the meeting. My favorite new character is Reepicheep. I him. I love him more in upcoming stories, though.
I forgot that the ending of PRINCE CASPIAN is just as abrupt as LWW, but for whatever reason, it doesn’t bother me like it does in LWW. I think it’s because I love the last line:
I think that line is rather funny whereas LWW tries to end on a more serious note.
As with LWW, a couple things regarding the allegory stood out to me more during this read. I thought it was interesting that Lucy, the youngest, sees and believes Aslan has returned first. This reminded me of how pure a child’s faith is compared to an adult. Children believe so easily and so strongly (e.g. Santa Clause, Easter Bunny) whereas adults are much more skeptical and cynical. When I was a child, I believed wholeheartedly in the tenets of my own faith. Now, as an adult, I have to work at it much harder. CS Lewis captures my own journey with faith and religion perfectly in the chapter “The Return of the Lion.”
The other thing I noticed about the allegory this time was the timeframe of Narnia and Aslan’s return. In the Christian faith, most believe that Christ will come again to deliver the faithful when the world has fallen into sin, ruin, war, and chaos. When the Pevensies return to Narnia in PRINCE CASPIAN, it has been thousands of years and Narnia is in ruins and war. As the children and Trumpkin head to Caspian and his army, Aslan returns to help the Narnians who believe in Old Narnia.
The parts of the Narniad that don’t make any sense to me start to crop up in PRINCE CASPIAN. At the end, Aslan tells Peter and Susan they’re too old to return to Narnia. If Aslan is Christ, or as CS Lewis says:
Since Narnia is a world of Talking Beasts, I thought He [Christ] would become a Talking Beast there, as He became a man here. I pictured Him becoming a lion there because (a) the lion is supposed to be the king of beasts; (b) Christ is called “The Lion of Judah” in the Bible; (c) I’d been having strange dreams about lions when I began writing the work.Companion to Narnia: Revised Edition
Then why would Peter and Susan outgrow being in Aslan’s presence? View Spoiler » You can see how much CS Lewis’ choice here bothers me. I am trying to keep an open mind as I read through the series a second time, but it’s hard in these instances because they bother me a lot.
Have you read PRINCE CASPIAN: THE RETURN TO NARNIA? Did you like it? Why? Why not?