Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader


This entry of C.S Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series, third in publication and fifth in chronology, opens with one of the chief protagonists, Eustace Clarence Scrubb, visited by Pevensie cousins Edmund and Lucy, when all three magically find themselves in the seas of Narnia and taken aboard the eponymous vessel, its most prominent passenger being King Caspian X, three years after reclaiming his kingdom from his uncle. Eustace takes a dislike to this strange situation, early on antagonizing Reepicheep the Mouse and venting in a diary, which he ultimately abandons.

Caspian is sailing eastward from the mainland of Narnia to find his late father’s friends, with several subplots coming to fruition such as an initial encounter on the Lone Islands with slavers whose captives the Narnian King ultimately liberates. At the vessel’s next destination, Eustace breaks from the party of passengers on his own adventures, and finds himself transformed into a dragon. Another island has a pool of water where submersion results in gilding, potentially death for living beings, the atoll consequentially named Deathwater Island. The following isle sports invisible beings whose transparency is the result of an enigmatic magician.

A subsequent island has major callbacks to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, with an enchantment encountered at the end of the story where a passenger of the Dawn Treader must remain behind, the Pevensies and their cousin in the end returning to their own world. Overall, this entry of the Narnia series is enjoyable, although contemporary readers might find unintentional humor in the terminology used to indicate the rear section of nautical vessels. Regardless, this is another worthwhile entry of Lewis’ magnum opus, with notable religious overtones this reader could definitely appreciate.

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