December 18, 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis. Written in 1950, it was published in 1952 as the third book of The Chronicles of Narnia. Current editions of the series are numbered using the internal chronological order making Dawn Treader the fifth book.

Plot summary

The two youngest Pevensies, Lucy and Edmund, are staying with their cousin Eustace Scrubb while Peter is studying for his university entrance exams with Professor Kirke, and the Pevensie parents and Susan are traveling through America. Edmund, Lucy and Eustace are unexpectedly drawn into Narnia through a painting of a ship and land in the ocean near Caspian's ship, the titular Dawn Treader.

Caspian (now King Caspian) has undertaken a quest to find the seven lost Lords of Narnia, as he had previously promised Aslan. Lucy and Edmund are delighted to be back in Narnia, but Eustace is less than enthusiastic. Reepicheep is also on board, as he has vowed to find the seas of the "utter East".

They first make landfall at the Lone Islands, which are nominally Narnian territory, but have fallen away from Narnian ways - among other things, they participate in the slave trade. Caspian, Lucy, Edmund, Eustace and Reepicheep are captured, as they cross Felimath, by a slave trader in order that they may be sold as slaves. A man "buys" Caspian before they even make it to the slave market. He turns out to be the first lost lord, Lord Bern, and acknowledges Caspian as his King when Caspian reveals his identity. Before they leave the island, Caspian re-claims it for Narnia, overthrows the greedy governor, and replaces him with the Lord Bern, whom he names Duke of the Lone Islands.

At the second island they visit, Eustace leaves the group to avoid doing any work. He hides in a dead dragon's cave to escape a sudden downpour. The dragon's treasure arouses his greed, and he fills his pockets with gold and jewels and puts on a large golden bracelet but as he sleeps, he is transformed into a dragon, though one with the memories and personality of Eustace. As a dragon, he becomes aware of how bad his previous behaviour was, and uses his strength to help make amends. Aslan turns Eustace back into a boy, and as a result of the visit, Eustace becomes a much nicer person. When Eustace, as a boy, is finally able to take off the bracelet, Caspian recognizes that it belonged to another lord, Lord Octesian; presumably either the dragon killed Octesian and added the bracelet to its hoard or possibly the dragon was Lord Octesian.

In addition, they visit Burnt Island, Deathwater Island (so named for a pool of water which turns everything immersed in it into gold, including one of the missing lords), the Duffers' Island and the Island Where Dreams Come True. This last island, where nightmares become real, is never seen, but is where they find a crazed Lord Rhoop. At last, they come to the Island of the Star, where they find the three remaining lost lords in an enchanted sleep. The fallen star inhabiting the island, Ramandu, informs them that the only way to awaken them is to sail to the edge of the world and leave one member of the crew behind, at the World's Edge.

The Dawn Treader continues sailing into an area where merpeople dwell and the water turns sweet rather than bitter and salty. At last the ship can go no further as the water has become too shallow, Caspian orders the boat to be lowered and announces that he will be going to the world's end with Reepicheep. The crew argue with him, saying that as King of Narnia he has no right to abandon them. Caspian goes to his cabin in a temper, but returns and says that Aslan appeared in his cabin and told him that Lucy, Edmund, Eustace and Reepicheep would go on but everyone else would return to Narnia.

Lucy, Edmund, Eustace and Reepicheep venture in a small boat through an ocean of flowers until they reach a wall of water that extends into the sky. Reepicheep paddles his coracle up the waterfall, and is never again seen in Narnia, thus fulfilling Ramandu's prophecy. Edmund, Eustace, and Lucy walk in a strange land where they find a lamb. The lamb turns into Aslan who tells them that Edmund and Lucy will not return to Narnia and that they should learn to know him by another name in their own world. He then sends the children home. An afterword type section at the end of the book reveals people marveling at Eustace's change in character. It also reveals that Caspian marries Ramandu's daughter.

Source: Wikipedia

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