I missed Narnia and so I get back to it by re-reading the 4th book (in chronological order) Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia. I was instantly relaxed (because I have been pretty stressed a day ago) and I let my mind wander back to Narnia. I was really enjoying myself and since reading this book some years ago and watching the movie adaptation, there were things that I suddenly came to notice and that I have failed to see before. Well, that’s the beauty of re-reading and seeing things again when you have been passed a certain age. 😀
In this story, the Pevensies (Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy) return to Narnia one year after they came into it through the wardrobe. In Narnia though, more than a thousand years had already passed and a lot has changed since they came. The talking animals are in hiding and some had regressed into dumb animals, the spirit of the trees are in deep sleep and the Telmarines are ruling Narnia.
They learn about Caspian and about what happened to Narnia when they save the dwarf, Trumpkin. Prince Caspian’s uncle Miraz has killed Caspian’s father, the king and has taken the throne himself. The old Narnians and all the talking creatures have all pledged alliance to Prince Caspian who has been fond of the Narnians and wanted to restore Narnia to them. And now, the siblings are back because they are summoned by Susan’s Horn that is now in the possession of Prince Caspian, the true heir to the throne. They must get to Aslan’s How where Caspian’s party is hiding to help them wage the war against Miraz.
I can say that in this book, the plot has clearly taken a mature tone like The Horse and His Boy. There are some bits of violence described (beheading a hag and killing a werewolf and a dwarf) and of course, there’s a war like the other books. But I must say, it is still a pretty decent story even with all of that.
What’s more, besides the usual Christian allegory like in the other books, there is an addition of Greek mythology as presented by the characters of Bacchus and Silenus who were much like the Greek gods of the same name. As with the characters, I suddenly see how Susan’s character and attitude in this book are very becoming of her fate in the last book in the chronicles of Narnia. I was again sad because I like Susan. She is as what her title says (Queen Susan The Gentle) gentle and sweet. But she has become too whiny and pessimistic and not very helpful in general.
And then there’s Edmund who I have been rooting since The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I was really happy that he has become mature and has changed for the better. Though his transformation has happened way back in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, in this book it was more clearly seen.
And for Peter, as always he is a gentleman, a great king, and brother. Caspian easily recognized the greatness in Peter that he was struck in awe with him. I think, Peter made a good example for Caspian, who has to stand up to his uncle to claim his rights as the true king of Narnia.
And Lucy, the ever-adventurous and amiable child who since the beginning is the favorite of Aslan. When she saw Aslan and her siblings, with the exception of Edmund, did not believe in her, she has to make the bravest decision to follow Aslan on her own. Luckily, they were convinced in the end and she did not have to go by herself. Lucy has been the most constant character in the series and she never fails to show her courage in every situation. She is really very opposite to Susan who is pessimistic and fragile.
Though the story is about the restoration of Narnia to the talking creatures and to the kingship of Caspian, the narration is balanced in presenting the struggles of the Pevensies and that of Caspian. There is also an introduction of other delightful characters like the gentle giant Wimbleweather, Red dwarf Trumpkin, the badger Trufflehunter, the daring talking mice Reepicheep and the Bulgy Bears whom I personally find cute and funny. And because I was a little partial to these cute bears, I want to show you some of those parts (so sorry for the spoilers) where they are mentioned and which never failed to make me laugh.
“Hear him! Hear him!” said the bulgy bears. “Whatever we do, don’t let’s have any running. Especially not before supper; and not too soon after it neither.“
Aren’t they just funny? They certainly made this book even better for me. And here’s another one.
Peter was just explaining to Caspian that he could not be one, because his right to the throne was what they were fighting about, when suddenly a thick, sleepy voice said, “Your majesty, please.”
Peter turned and there stood the eldest of the bulgy bears. “If you please, your majesty,” he said, “I’m a bear, I am.”
“To be sure, so you are, and a good bear too, I don’t doubt,” said Peter.
“Yes,” said the bear. “But it was always a right of the bears to supply one marshal of the lists.”
“Don’t let him,” whispered Trumpkin to Peter. “He’s a good creature, but he’ll shame us all. He’ll go to sleep and he will suck his paws. In front of the enemy too.”
“I can’t help that,” said Peter. “Because he’s quite right. The bears had that privilege. I can’t imagine how it has been remembered all these years, when so many other things have been forgotten.”
“Please, your Majesty,” said the bear.
“It is your right,” said Peter. “And you shall be one of the marshals. But you must remember not to suck your paws.”
“Of course not,” said the bear in a very shocked voice.
“Why, you’re doing it this minute!” bellowed Trumpkin.
The bear whipped his paw out of his mouth and pretended he hadn’t heard.
HAHA! It was such a subtle and effortless funny moment that I can’t just help but laugh. And I must say, though the very plot of this book is straightforward and common, the characters are well-thought off and each has their own qualities to love.
Overall, I highly recommend this books to children over 9 years old.