S-BOMB warning. That’s SPOILER-ALERT, for those less crude than I.
It’s been a hot minute since I last updated or reviewed what I’ve read this year (or read in general), so let’s jump right into it with a review of the next Narnian tale, Prince Caspian.
Let’s open up with the first point: this is another book that does not only focus on the famous Pevensie children, but it does open up with them and they do feature prominently in it. They’re preparing to go to school for the semester (for Lucy, her first year in a higher education group–aka, the kids are getting older!), when they start feeling varying degrees of discomfort, as if they’re pinching one another. Next thing they know, they’re in a strange land once more, and they rejoice. After much exploration and concerns for how to survive while they’re there, they realize they’re actually in the ruins of Cair Paravel, their old castle in the wonderful land of Narnia. A lot of time has passed. All the friends we learned to love alongside them are long gone.
For a lot of fans, this seems to be a disappointing shock and a point against the book, but I enjoyed it fairly well. I mean, I miss Mr. Tumnus and the like, but hey, new people to love. One of which is the dwarf Trumpkin. He basically functions as the Pevensies’ liaison into this new, overthrown Narnia, filling them in on how it came to be this way. They help Prince Caspian deal with the unjust King Miraz, his uncle, reunite with Aslan, reinstating the beautiful world of Narnia for the Talking Beasts that have been in hiding for ages. These are, after all, children’s books, and they have appropriate happy endings. Young Prince Caspian loves the Talking Beasts and the “old ways” of Narnia despite being a Telmarine descendant, it’s realized that the Telmarines are still Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve that originate from our world–thus the ones that do not want to live under this new way of life are allowed to return to it. Happy times are ahead, though they will take work to reach.
But there’s a greater lesson to be told here. The two older Pevensies, Peter and Susan, can no longer return to Narnia–they are officially too old. Edmund and Lucy are left out of this decree, which all the children understand well enough. Those two shall return another time. What does this mean to the reader, though? As a child, this bothered me more than the loss of old friends. The idea that I would, one day, no longer be able to return to the land of my dreams. That the very acting of growing up meant something loathsome. Eventually, my personal conclusion on this issue was that I never had to grow up if I kept reading.
Occasionally, I forget. I’m not the best about reading, not these days. I feel this weighted obligation towards writing, that I’m not allowed to read so long as I have something I’m supposed to be writing. And that obligation will suddenly spark in my mind that I’ve become that adult that can’t return, and suddenly I long for magic and adventures, and next thing I know I’m back in Narnia during its Golden Age, revisiting old friends. Eventually, the series goes full-circle in teaching me about the return trip. But that is not this book. In a way, this note means I leave the book with a sour feeling, but only for a moment.
Interested in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian? It can be purchased here.