Thursday, February 10, 2011

Voyage of the Dawn Treader

This book in the Narnia series contains a series of "adventures" similar to Gulliver's Travels or a Jules Verne novel. A couple of the "Narnia" kids are with their do-gooder intellectual cousin (Eustace) when they get sucked in to a picture of a ship they see. On the ship with Prince Caspian, they participate in a number of fairly unrelated adventures. They are sold as slaves, only to depose the ruler of a realm. Eustace is turned in to a dragon, only to be eventually rescued by Aslan. They run in to invisible monopods that they help turn visible. (And in the process Lucy regrets that she cast a spell to learn what everybody thought of her.) And what magical adventure is complete without water that turns everything it touches to gold?

Eustace becomes the main thread through the story. He is a bookworm, snobbish teetotaler who is set in his ways. (Lewis also uses alcohol as part of his 'separation', with the others freely drinking while Eustace stays away.) Eventually, he starts to realize that perhaps he is part of the problem. When the kids finally return home, he is seen as having a much improved character.

This is a "fun" novel in the Narnia series with a number of small adventures. It ties in a few moral and religious messages (such as faith, and the disadvantage of knowing too much about others.) And it also ties in Lewis's views of the benefit of socializing and not being too uptight. Each of the adventures could just about be released as its own short story. Thus far, this is probably my favorite Narnia story.

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