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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of The Dawn Treader


The good & the languid

This is a pleasing title, rife with adventure & a certain poetic sensibility. Such beauty as we espy in medieval or ancient myths at our disposal, if only it moves our hearts. This story describes a world where the hearts of the decent are true. This is a rare offering for children. For these are not comedies, but a little serious: children’s versions of history, but without much harshness. When adolescence is pitted against adulthood, apparently adulthood is found wanting.

Only the younger children return for this adventure, Edmund & Lucy. The girl wishes to be beautiful, like the older girl, & so learns about temptation. She learns her lesson by halves. First, she must take care of brave a little girl in search of her lost mother. Then the talking lion who appears only to her says she should only wish to be herself, who led everyone to Narnia. Trust in poetic gifts?

Edmund again shows that odd, supposedly curable penchant for tyranny. In a moment of anger, he fights the rightful king. He also thinks gold is his way to independence, surely an illusion. But he does not terrify, being a democrat. This boy had tried to enlist to fight WWII.

They inadvertently bring an annoying cousin with them, Eustace. He needs everything: family love, the camaraderie of the honorable, love of beauty… – As confident as generous, Lewis has him become the protagonist in further adventures. – Through a clever device, the boy’s love of gold turns him into a dragon. He thus learns to sacrifice for those he loves. Thus, he regains his humanity, but he is no more attractive than he was. But what does it mean to compare a boy with a dragon? & do such stories really improve spoilt children?

The handsome, the young king Caspian is again on a journey to save his kingdom, adroitly doing good left & right, earning the glowing love with which his people meet him at every point. His great fear is his father’s disappointment, but he decides that his father, like all kings, would have wished him to remain a king & discharge his kingly duties. He travelled to the end of the world for that piece of wisdom, with no great experience of kingship on the way. It really astounds, how his troops remain loyal, cheery, & heedless of death…

The journey to the edge of the world is brief, uneventful. Death avoids them like the plague. Their mistakes fail to come back to haunt them. – All is aptly summarized by the bravest, most chivalrous among them, an English mouse: we have nothing, if not belief. Perhaps the faithful are not the adventuring kind.

Recommended only for fans of Narnia