Book #39

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader  by C.S. Lewis

The Dawn Treader is the first ship Narnia has seen in centuries. King Caspian has built it for his voyage to find the seven lords, good men whom his evil uncle Miraz banished when he usurped the throne. The journey takes Edmund, Lucy, and their cousin Eustace to the Eastern Islands, beyond the Silver Sea, toward Aslan's country at the End of the World. 

Towards the end of Prince Caspian, Aslan informs Peter and Susan that they will never again return to Narnia - they are becoming too old. I found this a bloody cheek, to be honest, since I am thirty-three and being allowed to travel to Narnia, but what Aslan says is law, of course. I wondered how this would work when we were reduced to just Edmund and Lucy - four heads are better than two after all. Then I met Eustace.

Cousin to the Pevensie children, Eustace is an insufferable brat with no imagination. He’s a numbers and facts boy, and truly, how can numbers and facts boys survive in a world of mystery and imagination? Yet he is propelled into Narnia, alongside Edmund and Lucy, through a strange painting in his mother’s spare room. He ends up on a boat. He doesn’t like boats. Begin the madness.

Although a pain in the arse, Eustace is an important addition to the world of Narnia. His growth throughout the novel is wonderful as he begins to value relationships and trust over his own comforts and selfishness. He has more engaging characteristics than Peter and Susan combined, and it was wonderful to read about someone who wasn’t written as a perfectly mannered 1950s kid on a quest for righteousness. He’s flawed, and I am here for him.

I should probably admit there was something about this one which didn’t grip me as much as its predecessors, and I’m still unsure why this might be. The team flick across islands, each of which has their own intriguing qualities - some more intriguing than others. The entire quest was to find the lords Caspian’s uncle sent away from Narnia, but oftentimes I felt this quest was forgotten in the face of having an adventure.

Anyway, onwards I go to discover the mysteries of the silver chair.