Prince Caspian, by C. S. Lewis
In “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe,” Aslan told the Pevensie children that the door to Narnia through the wardrobe was closed and would never be accessible again. In “Prince Caspian,” the children enter Narnia while waiting in the train station on their way to school. They feel some tingling sensations, and then realize that they are not in England anymore. As they look around, they realize that they have returned to Narnia. The Pevensies were called to Narnia by Queen Susan’s horn, although they do not know this at the time it happens.
After some investigation, the children conclude that they have landed at the ruins of their old castle at Cair Paravel. However, things look different. The landscape is drastically changed. We learn later that time passes at a different rate in Narnia, compared to England. Just like hardly any time passed in England while the Pevensies ruled in Narnia for ages, now thousands of years have passed in Narnia during the children’s short time in England. God’s time is not equal to our time. Narnia time is not equal to England time. For me, this is a difficult concept to grasp and accept. But I like how Lewis uses Narnia as an illustration of God’s timing. In “Prince Caspian,” the Old Narnians (the Talking Beasts) have been waiting for thousands of years for the old Kings and Queens of Narnia to return. They have been waiting for the Pevensies to return to Narnia for literally ages. So much time has passed since the Golden Age when High King Peter ruled with his siblings that the current inhabitants of Narnia did not believe the tales. They began to doubt the existence of the Golden Age, and they did not believe that the old Kings and Queens would ever return. To them, High King Peter was only a myth. To them, talking animals were only a fairy tale. The New and Old Narnians doubted that the Talking Beasts would ever be restored to power in Narnia. Time does this. Time makes us forget and lose hope. But when we start to lose hope, we must remember that God’s time is different than ours. Although tough situation seem to drag on forever and ever, in God’s viewpoint, they are only fleeting moments. In God’s time, he will deliver us. In God’s time, Jesus will return. All in God’s time. It is easy to see doubters around us in the present world, just like the Narnians doubted. But in the end, the old Kings and Queens returned to Narnia to restore the rightful peoples to power. In the end, Jesus will return to earth to restore the righteous to heaven. Maintain hope and do not forget God’s promise.
While exploring the ruins of Cair Paravel, the children rescue a Dwarf from being drowned in the river. The Dwarf, whose name is Trumpkin, was difficult to convince that the children were truly the old Kings and Queens of Narnia, but once convinced, he was very glad to tell the Pevensies about the current situation in Narnia, including some history about Prince Caspian.
Prince Caspian is the nephew of King Miraz. A long time ago, Narnia was conquered by the Telmarines. Caspian himself is a Telmarine, and he is the rightful heir to the throne of Narnia. However, King Miraz usurped the throne from Caspian’s father. In this story, King Miraz is the enemy, and Prince Caspian is the hero. When King Miraz has a son, he decides to kill Caspian to prevent any disputes about the throne’s inheritance. Thankfully, the half-Dwarf, Doctor Cornelius, helped Caspian escape the castle. Caspian wakes from unconsciousness inside a firelit place. His new companions are the two Dwarfs (Trumkin and Nikabrik) and a Badger (Trufflehunter). Caspian reveals his true identity to these new companions, and they all agree that they should gather the Old Narnians and develop a plan to overthrow King Miraz. Prince Caspian supports the Talking Beasts and wants them to roam freely in Narnia without fear of persecution. Therefore, Prince Caspian is supported by the Old Narnians. After holding a council with the Old Narnians and beginning the war against King Miraz, the situation looks desperate with no hope of success. In this moment of greatest need, Caspian uses Queen Susan’s horn to call for help. By blowing the horn, Caspian called the Pevensies from the train station in England. Trumpkin is sent out as one of the scouts to search for the old Kings and Queens that are allegedly supposed to arrive at the sound of the horn. During Trumpkin’s scouting, he was captured, and that is how he found himself being rescued by the Pevensies at the ruins of Cair Paravel.
A major theme of this novel is good versus evil. There is a war between the Old Narnians, who believe in Aslan, and the New Narnians, who deny Aslan and oppress Aslan’s people. Prince Caspian leads the Old Narnians, whereas King Miraz leads the New Narnians. Again, here is a good parallel to today’s society. In many spheres of influence, the Christians who follow God’s laws are oppressed, just like the Old Narnians were oppressed. Christians are in the minority and are persecuted by the people who deny God’s existence, just the New Narnians persecuted the Talking Beasts. But just like we must maintain faith that God will act in his time, we also must maintain faith that God will overthrow the New Narnians and that our daily toils are not in vain. True religion will be restored after corruption.
After Trumpkin completes his tale about Prince Caspian and Narnia’s predicament, the Dwarf and four children journey to Aslan’s How (The Stone Table), where Prince Caspian and the Old Narnians are waging war against King Miraz. Along their trek, Aslan reveals himself to Lucy. Unfortunately, Lucy’s siblings do not see Aslan and refuse to believe her. One night, Lucy wakes and wanders towards the forest. She wonders whether the trees are coming alive again, like they did in the old days. When Lucy was a Queen in Narnia, the trees were could talk and were “in” humans, just like the beasts could talk and were “in” humans. But because of Narnia’s corruption, the trees in the current period appear like regular old dumb trees. Similarly, many of the beasts are not talking beasts, and they are not friendly towards humans. The world is very different now than it was in the Golden Age. For this reason, Lucy is surprised to see glimpses of personified trees, but she also knows that it might be reality. If Aslan returns, then the trees and beasts will be restored. To see the trees emerge from hiding indicates Aslan’s return. With hope and faith in her heart, Lucy traverses towards the forest, and because of her faith, Aslan reveals himself. Aslan encourages Lucy to speak with her siblings and follow him. He warns her that her brothers and sisters will not see him immediately, and that convincing them of his presence will not be easy. Lucy faces the challenge. She wakes her siblings, and despite their protests, she convinces them to follow her into the woods. Despite their initial skepticism, Peter, Edmund, Susan, and Trumpkin all eventually are able to see Aslan.
I liked the part where Aslan tells Lucy that he has not grown since their last meeting, but as Lucy’s faith grows, she perceives Aslan as bigger. As faith grows, our God also grows. As we learn more about God, we grow closer to Jesus, and we realize the extent of his power. As we mature in faith, we recognize more and more of God’s power and authority. Therefore, as faith grows, our God also grows. Aslan appears bigger when we place more and more faith in him.
Aslan roars and the trees awake from their great slumber. Trumpkin, Peter, and Edmund overthrow a mutiny aimed at killing Prince Caspian. Caspian, Peter, Edmund, and the rest of the Old Narnians hold a council to determine a plan to defeat King Miraz. It is clear that Caspian’s army cannot defeat Miraz’s army; therefore, Peter proposes to challenge Miraz to 1:1 combat, where the victor takes the throne. Thanks to the hubris and selfishness of two of the King’s chief advisors, Glozelle and Sopespian, Miraz is angered into accepting Peter’s proposal. This was an unwise decision on Miraz’s behalf, because his army could have readily defeated the Old Narnians. But because of the King’s pride, and the manipulation of his advisors, the King unwisely accepts the 1:1 combat. Pride was the King’s demise.
The fight between High King Peter and King Miraz was evenly matched. Eventually, Peter emerges as the victor. But the dishonest coterie of Miraz’s people will not permit such an easy defeat, and they call, “Treachery!” and attack Caspian’s people. The traitor, Glozelle, stabs his own king, Miraz, and kills him. Lucy, Susan, Aslan, the Talking Trees, and the Talking Beasts all arrive to fight against Miraz’s people. It is a swift and easy victory for the Old Narnians. When Aslan is on your side, victory is assured.
At the end of the story, Aslan offers a choice to the New Narnians. They can either remain in Narnia under the rule of Caspian, or they can return to their old island, free of Caspian’s rule. For the people that chose to escape Caspian’s kingship, Aslan created a door to transport them to their destination. The Pevensies also used this door to return to England. Prince Caspian becomes the King of Narnia. Peter and Susan acknowledge that they will never return to Narnia. Only Lucy and Edmund will be permitted to return. Why? The given reason is that Susan and Peter are too old, but this answer is not satisfactory to me. Why does age matter? There must be a deeper reason.
There is one more item that I want to think about. The names of the leaders of the Talking Trees are Bacchus, Silenus, and Maenads. Each of these names is borrowed from Greek gods and relate to the god, Dionysus, who is the god of wine, wild festivity, and religious ecstasy. Why did Lewis choose these names? It is not a coincidence. Perhaps it is to highlight the celebration of Aslan’s victory. Aslan’s victory should be celebrated with the greatest joy and mirth. It is good to celebrate victory, it is good to sing, it is good to dance. These things glorify God. These things help us escape the brutality of the world for a moment and offer great pleasure. Wild festivities are madly fun, and they glorify God, but we must be careful not to indulge in too much alcohol or sexual immorality during these types of celebrations. Yes, I think that is the idea here. Celebration is good! Victories deserve festivities!