"It's all rather different from what I thought."
Where The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
was a tale about following your destiny, the second story in Chronicles of Narnia
is that of adventure. In the first book, four children overcame the evils of the White Witch, reclaimed Narnia in the name of Aslan
the Lion, and found their places on the thrones of Cair Paravel. And then, just before they reached the age of maturity, they were pulled away back into their own world.
is the second book written in C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia (The book order issue is laid out in Chronicles of Narnia
). While only a year has passed for the Pevensie children, ages have come and gone in Narnia. Those who live there now remember the rule of High King Peter only as the Golden Age. Narnia's rule is now that of the decendents of a King Caspian
the First. At least, it was until the death of Caspian the Ninth. When Miraz, brother of the King, usurped the throne and forced Prince Caspian to escape away to Old Narnia.
It is there he finds the talking beasts, who revere him as the one true king. And it is with them, and our heroes from the other side of the wardrobe, that he intends to retake the throne in the name of his father and return Narnia to it's once Golden Age
The Pevensie Children
"Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy..."
Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy all return from their first voyage into Narnia. This time, they almost all seem to have changed. While Peter has always been the eldest
and the leader, we didn't really see him take the reins. Now, he seems to be in control and always knows what to do. Edmund, has, perhaps changed the most. He has followed in his brother's footsteps
. The once whiny betrayer has almost become a whole new person. Lucy remains her innocent and child-like
self, while still seeming wiser than everyone around her.
The greatest change comes, perhaps, from Susan. Where she was once merely pragmatic
, she now seems almost... old. The reason that the children were so love-able was because they believed completely in the world of Narnia. Of the adventures that came. Of the talking beasts. But Susan has nearly lost that. In its place is a confidence
that sometimes comes with age.
“Caspian the Tenth, King of Narnia, and long may he reign!”
Caspian the Tenth is a boy who has lived in his father's castle, awaiting the day that he is to become King over the land of Narnia. His father died, unfortunately, years ago and the kingdom
is ruled by his uncle Miraz. And Miraz would have been content to keep things this way, with him as king until Caspian reached of age, until he had a son.
So, Caspian, with only his knowledge
of Narnia and a hope that the old Kingdom could be restored, set off to escape. And along the way, he met up with the few talking beasts that remained. Inspired by the knowledge that the world he dreamed of was true, Caspian begins to plan a way to remove his father's usurper
from the throne.
Miraz the Ursuper
The White Witch
, in the first book, was a true villian
. I hated her for being so evil and cruel. Not once did I feel pity or remorse for her. Lewis created her from the vices that I had been brought up to hate. Once an author creates a perfect antagonist
, it can always be a worry that they will fail to bring about another villian as despicable.
I had little reason to worry. All the qualities that I hated about the White Witch were in Miraz. In fact, the two characters are almost identical. Most authors would be seen as hacks
for doing that sort of thing, but Prince Caspian isn't about Miraz as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
was about the White Witch.
Miraz is a worm of a man. While the White Witch at least had the semblence of nobility
, Miraz always struck me as vicious. He refuses to allow anything that would make him less powerful. And he has an eagerness to kill that is more than enough to make me despise him. Good job
, on Lewis' part, to make me so vehement against Miraz.
“'Well!' said Peter, 'We have had a time.”
Prince Caspian is a different sort of book from the first. While our protagonists were forced into adventure in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
, they now take themselves to it at full speed. This is the change that makes them heroes, in my eyes. Narnia, as it did once before, has fallen under rule of the wicked. And they follow the call to adventure
This book keeps the same magnificent creatures
, but really seems to flesh them out. Reepicheep
the Mouse will go down as my favourite character in the Narnia series. Noble Reepicheep. But even apart from him, everything seems to be bigger than the first journey into Narnia. The moment where Aslan says "...every year you grow, you will find me bigger." spoke leagues to me and has stuck out in my memory.
One of my earliest memories
comes from Prince Caspian. My father read me the book before I had reached elementary school
and I fell in love with it. And at the end, when Peter tells us that he and Susan may never return to Narnia, I cried. The book, as I find myself hoping Lewis intended, touched me. And that happened because the characters were real. You could almost feel the way they felt.
While the religious references
that were so prominent in the first have been lessened, they are still there. Much to my pleasure. The beauty
of Narnia is that it tells more than just a fantasy story about four children. It tells a story we know in our bones. And Lewis does much more with Prince Caspian
. He draws on mythology, both popular and obscure. Although The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
took us into Narnia, Prince Caspain keeps us there.
Publisher: Collier Books
Date Published: 1951
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