The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: The Chronicles of Narnia (5)
Genre: Science Fiction
Date Published: January 2, 2008 (originally published 1952)
Number of Pages: 256
Print Price: $4.58
eBook Price: $4.28
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sail to the end of the world?
Brother and sister, Edmund and Lucy, are sent to spend the summer with their obnoxious cousin, Eustace. While the children are admiring a painting of an odd looking ship, the water within the picture begins to move. The next thing they know all three of the cousins are sucked into the painting and transported to the land of Narnia. They find themselves looking up at King Caspian’s ship, the Dawn Treader. They are rescued from the water and taken aboard, where King Caspian tells them of his plans to discover the fate of each of the seven Lords who were exiled by the previous ruler, Miraz.
“I swore an oath that, if once I established peace in Narnia, I would sail east myself for a year and a day to find my father’s friends or to learn of their deaths and avenge them if I could.”
Edmund and Lucy are glad to be back in Narnia. However, Cousin Eustace only seems capable of making a nuisance of himself. He takes pleasure in causing trouble among the ship’s crew in any way he can. A large part of the novel consists of Eustace’s journey from being an unlikeable know-it-all, to his finding redemption in the discovery of the God-like Aslan. Along the way, Eustace’s greed and arrogance get him turned into a dragon. He is unable to help himself or change back into the boy he once was. Due to his transformation, he learns the value of humility and realizes that he can’t do everything on his own. He is forced to rely on Aslan to transform him back into a human boy.
Well he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was
lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth
and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – and I didn’t like that much for I was very tender
underneath now that I’d no skin – and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that, it became perfectly
delicious, and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned
into a boy again.
Eustace’s transformation, from dragon to boy, represents salvation and redemption of sin as Aslan baptizes him in the water. The boy must shed his ugly skin, which symbolize his rotten ways, and become free of them as Christians must shed their worldly ways through Christ. The second theme of the novel is the voyage to Aslan’s country (the end of the world) which represents the search for God and Heaven. In one way or another, we are all on a journey toward an unseen kingdom that we’ll find at the end of our life. The greatest truth Lewis expresses in this novel is that we can’t reach the true Kingdom on our own.
My favorite passage in the novel (possibly my favorite in the entire Chronicles of Narnia series) comes at the very end, where Aslan tells Edmund and Lucy that they are too old to return to Narnia. Lucy protests that it isn’t Narnia that they will miss, but Aslan himself. Aslan reassures her that just because she can’t return to Narnia doesn’t mean their relationship is over. She will meet him again, just not in the same way they meet now.
“I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
The Lord is within everyone. We can’t see him the way Edmund and Lucy see Aslan, but he is there just the same guiding us on life’s journey.
I found Voyage of the Dawn Treader very different from the rest of the novels in The Chronicles of Narnia series. There is no great evil force or battle as in the other books. This one doesn’t feel like one whole story either; it is more like several little journeys as the children discover what has happened to each of the seven Lords. All of these smaller journeys combine and lead up to one great journey as they reach the end of the world.
Voyage of the Dawn Treader is highly enjoyable and perhaps the most magical of all the novels in this series. I recommend entering this world of adventure with fairies, dragons, magic books, speaking stars, and best of all, talking lions.Publisher: HarperCollins
Original Language: English
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