Monday 4 January 2021

Book review: the Voyage of the Dawn Treader

As a film night, we recently watched The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; and so I've re-read CS Lewis's book. My verdict is that it is... OK, but a bit... pale? Perhaps even sickly? Everything is just too nice, except early-Eustace, and he isn't enough.

The story has some nice elements, and is well crafted. But... Aslan is too much, or too obviously, in charge? For example, when Caspian wants to go off the end of the world, and can't due to duty, and sulks, Aslan "has a word" with him, and he stops sulking. But the point is that he's already accepted that duty says he can't go; all Aslan has done is stop him sulking; that seems like waaay overkill. And of course appearing as a lamb that changes into a lion is just a touch unsubtle.

The voyage on the ship is nice, but the sailors, while they play their background part, are not really human beings in the story, which remains relentlessly if perhaps inevitably focussed on Our Heroes, who wander off whenever they feel like.

Amusing note: in TLTWATW, Miranda noticed that whenever he says "...went into the wardrobe" he is careful to add "...and didn't close the door, because everyone knows that is a bad idea". But in this one, at the Dark Island, he compares the darkness to going deeper and deeper into a railway tunnel, and doesn't tell you that going in there is a really bad idea.


The White Witch as Tragic Figure

* The film, from 2011

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