Book #38

Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are returning to boarding school when they are summoned from the dreary train station (by Susan's own magic horn) to return to the land of Narnia—the land where they had ruled as kings and queens and where their help is desperately needed. 

I jumped straight into this one after The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, desperate for more magic and adventure. I met my four friends sitting on an innocuous train station bench, waiting to be taken back to boarding school by train - the girls heading one way, the boys another. I was disappointed at the band splitting up, until all four were whisked back to Narnia in an unexpected whirl of smoke and air. At last, we were heading back to our familiar other world.

But it wasn’t all that familiar. We didn’t realise straight away we’d returned to our much loved land, until things which looked old and battered began to become recognisable. Soon, we realised, we were indeed back, but that Narnia had changed immeasurably, and many years had passed.

The passing of time in Narnia compared to that of our own world, is one of my favourite devices Lewis uses. It allows him to bring an entirely new story each time, always filled with intrigue, always entirely exciting. This time, Narnia has been overtaken, and is governed by a human from a neighbouring land - a tyrannical and abusive king, hellbent on suppressing any magic, any talking creatures, and anything out of the ordinary at all. The king’s nephew, our friend Caspian, is due to take the throne when the king dies, until the queen gives birth, and the king has to put an end to Caspian to ensure his son’s reign. Serious Game of Thrones vibes here.

Our four friends have been summoned back to sort this out once and for all - and we know they’re good at that type of thing. Lewis springs us into another battle of good against evil, wrong against right. We’re given all our favourite creatures, our much loved magical objects, some gorgeous pieces of dialogue, and best of all, a tense final battle.

There’s just something wonderful about these novels that make me feel so childlike; filled with wonder, and with no need to suspend my disbelief. As far as I’m concerned, Narnia just is. For now, let me board the Dawn Treader and start a voyage I’m sure I’ll never forget.