It’s time for the next stage in our exploration of C S Lewis’s Narnia, but now we are no longer in the company of Peter and Susan. Instead, it’s just Edmund and Lucy returning, with the addition on this trip of Eustace Clarence Scrubbs (whose middle and last names, note, have the initials of the author’s own forenames).
No horn-call this time however, nor even a wardrobe: it’s a picture in a bedroom that provides the portal in this Narniathon, now that we’ve reached the third of C S Lewis’s chronicles. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader first appeared in 1952 following on from Prince Caspian the year before. As is the established pattern I am posing three general questions which you can answer or evade, depending on whatever you may be bursting 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.
- A picture as a portal didn’t originate with Lewis, for he may have taken the idea from an episode in John Masfield’s The Box of Delights (1935) in which Cole Hawlings passes into a painting called The Dents du Midi from the North in order to escape from wolves. Here however it’s a painting of a sailing ship on the high seas that the children enter. The question therefore is, Assuming you would like to enter a picture, what subject would you choose or even, if you have one in mind, what specific image would you opt for?
- There are many characters, old and new, that appear in this instalment, from Reepicheep to Eustace, Caspian to Coriakin, Aslan to the Duffers. What character (or characters) made the strongest impression on you in this book, and why?
- Stories of voyages and expeditions have always intrigued listeners and readers, whether to the north, west, south or — as here — east. Lewis uses The Voyage of the Dawn Treader to further explore the world made by Aslan — we will travel north, south and west in later instalments — so, What do you think is the significance, if any, of this sea voyage towards the rising sun?
Our next readalong is of course The Silver Chair, which was the next in the series to be published, and the date for our discussion is Friday 25th March (the day which once used to mark the beginning of the year).