Prince Caspian


Prince Caspian

infobox Book |
name = Prince Caspian
title_orig =
translator =


image_caption = Cover of first edition (hardcover)
author = C. S. Lewis
illustrator = Pauline Baynes
cover_artist =
country = United Kingdom
language = English
series = The Chronicles of Narnia
genre = Fantasy, children's literature
publisher = Geoffrey Bles
release_date = 1951
media_type = Print (hardcover and paperback)
pages = 195 pp
isbn = N/A
preceded_by = The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
followed_by = "The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader

"Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia" is a novel for children by C. S. Lewis, written in late 1949 and first published in 1951. It is the second book in the "Chronicles of Narnia" series, although in the overall chronological sequence it comes fourth.

Plot summary

While standing on a railway station in 1941, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are magically whisked away to a beach near an old and ruined castle. Peter soon realizes that they are in Cair Paravel, where they once ruled as the Kings and Queens of Narnia, when Susan finds the knight belonging to a chess set they used while ruling Narnia. They explore the ruin, and discover the treasure vault where Peter's sword and shield, Susan’s bow and arrows and Lucy’s bottle of magical cordial and dagger are stored. The horn that can call Aslan is not there, however, for Susan left it in the woods the day they returned to England after their first visit to Narnia. Although only a year has passed in their world, 1300 years have passed in Narnia. Edmund figures out the time problem, suggesting that Narnian time operates differently from earth time and that hundreds of years of Narnian could well have passed since the one year of England time had elapsed.

That night, a boat rowed by two soldiers and carrying a squirming wrapped dwarf comes to the river mouth by Cair Paravel. Susan drives the soldiers off with an arrow, and Peter and Edmund plunge into the water to rescue the boat and its bundle. It is a Dwarf called Trumpkin. Trumpkin tells the legend of ghosts in the ruins of Cair Paravel, to explain why the soldiers fled, and gives the children a brief history of Narnia and current events: During the Pevensies' absence, a race of men called Telmarines have invaded Narnia, driving the Talking Beasts into the wilderness and pushing even their memory underground. Narnia now is ruled by the despotic usurper, King Miraz and his wife Queen Prunaprismia, and Trumpkin is working for the rightful ruler, a child named Caspian.

Miraz killed his brother (and Caspian's father), King Caspian IX, to take the throne. Prince Caspian is initially ignorant of his uncle’s evil deeds, but eventually learns the truth from his tutor, Cornelius along with stories of Old Narnia.

Miraz is willing to keep Caspian as his heir as long as he is childless, but when the Queen has a son, this changes. Cornelius helps Caspian escape, sending him off with a packet of food and Queen Susan's horn, with instructions to use it only at the point of his greatest need. Caspian is knocked unconscious when his horse bolts and awakes in the den of a badger, Trufflehunter, and two dwarfs, Nikabrik and Trumpkin. There is some discussion of who he is and why he's there, but eventually the dwarves and badger are convinced of Caspian's identity and accept him as their king.

The badger and Dwarfs take Caspian to meet many creatures of Old Narnia, ranging from the Three Bulgy Bears, dwarf smiths and fauns to Glenstorm the centaur and Reepicheep the Mouse. They gather for the council at midnight on Dancing Lawn, when Camillo says there is a Man coming. It turns out to be Doctor Cornelius, who has come to warn them that King Miraz is coming with his army and they should flee to Aslan’s How and the Great Woods near Cair Paravel. But Miraz arrives close on Caspian's heels, and the armies skirmish, gradually pushing Caspian back. At a second war council, they discuss whether to use Queen Susan's horn, and whether it will bring Aslan or the Kings and Queens of Narnia (i.e. the Pevensies). They dispatch Pattertwig to Lantern Waste and Trumpkin to Cair Paravel to discover the results of the blowing of the horn, and it is then that Trumpkin is captured by the two Telmarines.

Trumpkin is a bit disappointed, having expected to meet the adult Kings and Queens of the past, not teenagers. So, after they outfit the Dwarf in mail and weapons, they challenge him to a sword fight and a bow and arrow contest. The Dwarf loses the first contest to Edmund and the second to Susan. His estimation of the four children improves greatly thereafter. The Pevensies and Trumpkin make their way to Caspian.

They try to save time by traveling up Glasswater Creek, but on the second day they realize they are lost. They decide to go down the ravine until it meets the river and then travel up the river. Lucy sees Aslan and wants to follow where he leads, but they ignore her. But the journey is long and hard, and the children completely lose their way. In the night Aslan calls Lucy. He tells her that it was her fault for the detour. He instructs her to go back, awaken the others, and insist that they follow her, who would be following Aslan. She does.

It takes some work to convince the others, as it is the wee hours of the morning and extremely cold, but as they obey, the others begin to see Aslan's shadow, then Aslan himself. Aslan finally stops, and the others catch up. Aslan says: “And now, where is this little Dwarf, this famous swordsman and archer, who doesn’t believe in lions?” Aslan gives Trumpkin a toss in the air and a shake. Peter, Edmund, and Trumpkin head to Aslan's How to meet Caspian, while Susan and Lucy travel with Aslan and see the woods come alive and dance with Aslan, including Bacchus and Silenus.

Peter, Edmund, and Trumpkin enter Aslan’s How but before they enter the room, they listen at the door to the conversation within. Nikabrik has brought a Hag and a Werewolf, and the three are trying to convince Caspian, Cornelius, and Trufflehunter to ally themselves with the powers of evil, who are also battling Miraz. A fight ensues, and Nikabrik and his two friends are slain.

Peter challenges Miraz to single combat; the army of the victor in this single combat will be considered the victor in the war. Even though he has a stronger army and thus has more to lose by reducing it to a single combat, Miraz accepts the challenge, being goaded on by his two lords, Glozelle and Sopespian. In the combat, during the second round, Peter gains an advantage, but he allows Miraz to rise after a bad fall. The combat buys time, allowing the arrival of the Woods, now living tree spirits rather than the inanimate forests of Earth. When Aslan arrives at the battle, the Telmarine soldiers surrender. Lucy uses her cordial bottle to heal Reepicheep, and Aslan restores Reepicheep's tail, in payment for Reepicheep's ancestors freeing Aslan in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe".

The next day messengers go throughout the country to give the Telmarine inhabitants of Narnia the choice between returning to their ancestral home and remaining in Narnia, but now on equal terms with the Talking Animals, Fauns, Dryads and other non-human inhabitants and with Caspian as King. About half of them accept the offer and arrive at the Ford of Beruna on the fifth day.

Aslan has made a 'door' of two uprights and a crossbeam across the top of the uprights. Peter and Susan are told by Aslan that they will never return to Narnia. Peter tells the others he can cope with this as "it's all a bit different from what I thought." Although fearful that the doorway is a way of execution, one of the Telmarine soldiers advances and goes through the door and disappears. Then, to allay the Telmarines' fears, Peter and the rest of the children go through the doorway. They arrive back at the railway station from which the adventure began, just as the train is pulling into the station.

Characters

*Peter Pevensie is the oldest of the Pevensie siblings and is a skilled sword-fighter. He doesn't believe Lucy's talk of seeing Aslan at first but later Aslan appears and he apologizes.
*Susan Pevensie is the second eldest of the Pevensie children and is a highly skilled archer. She doesn't believe Lucy's talk of seeing Aslan at first but later Aslan appears and she apologizes. She says that she had known deep inside that Lucy was telling the truth, but had been stubborn.
*Edmund Pevensie is the third Pevensie child. He believes Lucy and follows her, mentioning that in their first adventure they didn't believe her and she turned out to be right.
*Lucy Pevensie is the youngest Pevensie child. Lucy is the first to see Aslan again.
*Aslan - The Great Lion and creator of Narnia.
*Prince Caspian is the true king of Narnia. Caspian reappears (as King Caspian) in the two subsequent books in the series: "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" and "The Silver Chair" and makes a brief appearance in the end of "The Last Battle".
*Miraz is Caspian's uncle and technically only Regent while Caspian is underage, though he plans to usurp the throne for himself and his heirs. He tolerates Caspian only so long as he (Miraz) has no children of his own, as he needs an heir to the throne. He dies when stabbed in the back by Lord Glozelle after his duel with Peter.
*Queen Prunaprismia is Caspian's aunt and Miraz's wife.
*Doctor Cornelius is Caspian's (half-dwarf, half-human) tutor and also aids in the Narnians' defeat of the Telmarines.
*Trumpkin is a red-Dwarf who helps Caspian defeat Miraz. When he is captured by Miraz's soldiers and taken to Cair Paravel in exile, he meets the Pevensie children and leads them to Caspian.
*Nikabrik is a black-Dwarf in Caspian's army. Although at first not wanting to fight alongside Caspian he changes his mind. He wants to fight Miraz by calling up the White Witch, with the black magic of a hag and a werewolf. However, he, the hag and the werewolf are killed.
*Trufflehunter is the wise old badger who aids Prince Caspian in his struggle and is faithful to Aslan and old Narnia. He helps Caspian and saves him from the storm in the forest by taking him in to his den.
*Reepicheep is a large, dark, talking mouse who carries a rapier and wears a red plume tucked in his golden circlet. He is a direct descendant of the mice who chewed through the ropes that held Aslan down to the stone table. He thinks highly of his honour and aids Caspian in battle.

Chapters of the Book

Themes

The two major themes of the story are courage and chivalry (this is Narnia's Civil War story) and, as Lewis himself said in a letter to an American girl, "the restoration of the true religion after a corruption" ("Collected Letters", III, p. 1245). Aslan is portrayed by Lewis as the Christian Jesus Christ. Aslan's father (the "Emperor-Over-Sea") is God the Father. Some believe the story is a parallel to Moses and the freeing of the Israelites. Edmund and Lucy assist Prince Caspian in his attempt to get to Aslan's country (over the sea) in Lewis' "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader".

The new Narnia can be seen as a parallel to the modern world, with a dislike of religion. "Who believes in Aslan nowadays?" asks Trumpkin when he first meets Caspian. Those who "hold on", like the badgers, are praised: this links with Lewis's views on religious faith. Faith is another of the major themes of the book.

Recently, it has been suggested that the story has parallels with Lewis's own life. Lewis's nursemaid told him folktales, as did Caspian's, and later Lewis had a hugely influential tutor, as does Caspian. Both lack mothers. In both cases "myth becomes fact" with the finding of what has been longed for.

Film, television, theatrical, or musical adaptations

The BBC adapted "Prince Caspian" in two episodes of the 1989 series of "The Chronicles of Narnia".

The second in the series of films from Walden Media, titled "", was released in the US on 16 May 2008. The UK release date was 26 June 2008.

The book was the inspiration for a song of the same name on the Phish album "Billy Breathes".

References

Further reading

*cite book |last=Downing |first=David C. |title=Into the Wardrobe: C. S. Lewis and the Narnia Chronicles |year=2005 |publisher=Jossey-Bass |location=San Francisco |isbn=0-7879-7890-6

External links

* [http://www.mercedes-benz.co.uk/narnia2/ Prince Caspian online game]
* [http://www.christianitymagazine.co.uk/features/caspian%20ignite.aspx/ Prince Caspian film review] from Christianity magazine
* [http://www.publicchristianity.org/Videos/princecaspian.html Film review vodcast from the Centre for Public Christianity]
* [http://www.publicchristianity.org/Caspian.html] Review by Jutine Toh for Centre for Public Christianity
*isfdb title|id=1368|title=Prince Caspian


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