Narniathoners! Here we are again, with Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy back on Narnia soil, called back by the sounding of Susan’s horn. But all is not as it should be, is it, as the Pevensie children soon find out after emerging from a thicket.
Our Narniathon now takes us to the second of C S Lewis’s chronicles, Prince Caspian, published in 1951 a year after The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. As before I shall pose three general questions which you can answer or evade, depending on what you may want to say.
And as ever, feel free to to share here and elsewhere on social media your thoughts or your reviews, your favourite quotes or your photos, remembering to include the hashtag #Narniathon21 to let like-minded readers in on it all.
1. Tolkien had written of his Middle-earth saga “I wisely started with a map and made the story fit.” Prince Caspian was the first of the Narniad chronicles to include a map by Pauline Baynes showing part of Narnia and the adjoining lands. Does its addition help you orientate yourself more than if it wasn’t included? Or do you agree with Lucy in the following exchange that there are more important things to keep in mind?¹
‘That’s the worst of girls,’ said Edmund to Peter and the Dwarf. ‘They never carry a map in their heads.’Chapter 2
‘That’s because our heads have something inside them,’ said Lucy.
2. In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe we had talking animals (such as beavers, and one lion who talked and one who didn’t). In Prince Caspian we have many more fauna which talk, another instance of Lewis’s childhood obsession with animals with the power of speech. Do you find animal characters imbued with human abilities and mannerisms rather endearing, or mildly irritating?
3. Prince Caspian comes across as a book explicitly about war, especially interesting given that Michael Ward’s Planet Narnia suggested that this instalment — in Lewis’s implicit scheme of a series determined by medieval cosmology — was characterised by Mars.² But is there more to this novel than just martial exploits, bickerings, skirmishes, duels and set battles?
Whether maps, talking animals and war mainly strike you as typical of the novel, or whether you think there’s more to it that warrants consideration, I’d be pleased to hear from you in the comments below! Don’t forget to share links to your reviews or commentaries published elsewhere, and do consider looking at responses to the last post added since your last viewing. 🙂
I nearly forgot: it’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader next, with comments invited on Friday 25th February!
It’s curious how an alternative version of this exchange (which I lazily quoted last month) has become most prominent online: “Girls aren’t very good at keeping maps in their brains”, said Edmund. “That’s because we’ve got something in them”, replied Lucy.” Not quite the phraseology, though the import is very similar.
- Michael Ward’s Planet Narnia (2006) is reviewed here: https://wp.me/s2oNj1-narniad