This review will be a bit short as I don’t have a lot to say about this story. First off, I enjoyed it, but aside from the beginning chapters, I didn’t find much memorable about it. Here we have the Pevensies, Peter, Edmund, Susan, and Lucy on their second visit to Narnia. This takes place about a year later (in the real world) to their time in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Prince Caspian gets its start in a railway station where suddenly the four children are whisked away to Narnia. The Harry Potter series, too, makes use of a train station to get the kids to the magical world. And what could be more logical than a place of transportation? Anyway, it’s a great opening that flows well into an even better scene: All the children find their former castle where they ruled as kings and queens for so many Narnian years. At Cair Paravel, they start to remember the lives in Narnia that they once had and also find their old weapons and gifts given to them by Father Christmas so long ago. Then they meet a new dwarf and are off to help Prince Caspian save his kingdom.
I did get a kick out of Lucy sticking it to her brother when Edmund’s grumbling about girls: “That’s the worst of girls. They never carry a map in their heads.” And Lucy responds: “That’s because our heads have something inside them.” Ouch. Turns out the map in the boys’ heads of no use as its hundreds of years later that they are trying to navigate through Narnia. Lucy ends up saving the day by trusting in Aslan and her brothers’ pride is humbled. At first the three older siblings do not believe her, even though they themselves have seen Aslan before and Lucy would have no reason to make it up. C.S. Lewis is very much getting at one having faith like a little child, as Lucy is the youngest and her faith wins out on the path in which to take. It’s not so much that Lucy doesn’t have a map in her head, but she has space and room for imagination and the possibility that Aslan is there to show them the way. As adults our heads are certainly crowded with many things, many useful of them in the real world, but having a head full of faith, we can see what’s really important. Or the correct path to take in life, and so on. It’s interesting just how long the older kids persist in not believing Lucy. I see this in the real world so, so often, especially today. So many obvious signs that people just don’t see until finally they are forced to wake up to the fact that they or their thinking is on the wrong path and they must turn around and consider that all those other ideas or conspiracy theories or what have you may be valid or true or both. How easily our grown up pride gets in the way of seeing clearly sometimes.
The interaction between the Pevensies and Prince Caspian really is not a big part of the book. The largest part is simply getting them all in the same place. Lewis includes a wild, uniquely Narnian romp, and then the boys get to do some fighting and killing. As the High King, Peter trumps Caspian and ends up fighting Caspian’s uncle Miraz in combat. It ends up in a big fight, Narnians against the Telmarines who abused Caspian, and it’s thrilling to see the mouse Reepicheep enter the fray only to have Peter yell at him: “Come back, Reepicheep, you little ass! You’ll only be killed! This is no place for mice.” Of course the valiant mouse ignores him.
They all waltz through Narnia and watch as Aslan changes people, or gives them the courage to throw off their bonds. Miraz and the Telmarines have done their best to make Narnia more like a regular world, and everyone is bored and has not been having a good time. That is all stopped. Prince Caspian is crowned king of Narnia and he gives his fealty to Aslan as any Narnian king should. It’s also great to see the persistence of Reepicheep and the mice, who beg Aslan to give him a new tail as it’s been cut off in battle. Persistence is definitely part of Christianity and in asking for things we need or want. God wants us to be persistent. But it is not merely persistence, but the love of the mice for their fellow mice that really moves Aslan to grant his request.
After an amazing, again, uniquely Narnian feast, we find out from Aslan that the Telmarines aren’t from there at all, but from the real world. No wonder they ended up trying to stamp out anything wonderful and magical in Narnia. In any case, it makes Caspian a son of Adam and daughter of Eve, so he is truly fit to be a king of Narnia. Aslan makes a door back into the real world and the kids go back to their regular lives. Sadly, Lucy and Edmund find out from Peter and Susan that their older siblings won’t be coming back to Narnia as they will be too grown up. The very end is great as Edmund realized he left his new torch, or, in American, flashlight back in Narnia. What fun.