Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis

Synopsis: In England, Lucy and Edmund are stuck at their Aunt Augusta’s house while their parents and Susan are in America (and Peter is studying at the Professor’s new, smaller house).  Lucy, Edmund, and their obnoxious cousin Eustace get pulled into a painting of a Narnian ship, and end up in Narnian waters. King Caspian’s ship pulls them up to safety, and they are voyaging to find seven of Caspian’s father’s supporters who sailed off to the east.

The stops include:

  • An island heavily involved in the slave trade, where a governor is treating his people cruelly and isn’t showing respect for Narnia’s overlordship. So, he gets replaced by one of the lords Caspian was looking for.
  • They hit a storm and land on the first island they see. No one is on it. Eustace explores and finds a dead dragon. He takes the dragon’s bracelet, and turns into a dragon. He’s a dragon for a while, and Aslan comes to him to help him take off his skin. Eustace becomes a decent kid after that. They realize the armband Eustace had as a dragon belonged to one of the lords.
  • They land on an island where they discover water that turns things into gold. There’s a statue at the bottom, which they decide was  a lord. Edmund and Caspian are sorely tempted by this treasure, and almost duel. Lucy and Reepicheep snap them out of it. They dub the land “Deathwater.”
  • They arrive in a land where there are invisible people. The invisible people need Lucy to read from the Magic Book to turn them visible. The Magic Book has lots of interesting spells, including one to make the reader the most beautiful person in the world (tempting) and one to know what your friends really think of you (does this with regret). She reads the Dufflepuds/Monopods into visibility. They’re pretty funny looking dwarfs with one foot. She meets the Magician and sees Aslan as well.
  • They come close to the Island of Dreams. A terrified man (Lord Rhoop) swims to them to be rescued. The Island of Dreams makes all your dreams come true— not daydreams, but dreams.  They get out of there ASAP.
  • They finally land on an island with three sleeping men and the most beautiful woman they’ve ever seen, who turns out to be a star. She tells them that these men were the last three lords, and they’ve been enchanted so they would stop fighting. The only way to break the sleep is to leave one of their party in Aslan’s country.  Caspian promises to come back (to marry the girl).

Reepicheep makes it to Aslan’s country, and Edmund and Lucy are told they are not coming back to Narnia.  Aslan says he will be with them in England, under a different name.

Bookworm’s Commentary:

  • I said in my last post, you know someone’s “bad”  in Chronicles of Narnia if they don’t drink or smoke. Eustace’s family has another point against them: they’re vegetarians.  I can totally see Lewis’s point that nonsmokers, teetotalers, and vegetarians aren’t much fun.  It’s not that they won’t partake, it’s that they make others feel guilty for partaking. Let’s face it… no matter what our feelings are about smoking, drinking, and eating meat,  being self-righteous about it doesn’t make friends.
  • Caspian seriously wouldn’t consider marrying a girl because she had freckles and squinted. Good job being superficial, Caspian.
  • Oh yeah, speaking of superficial, Susan got to go to America with the parents because she was the pretty one.  Peter was studying, and since Susan was bad at school it wouldn’t effect her marks if she was gone. Shouldn’t “she’s bad at school” make you want to keep her in school?… If the reason were, “she’s second oldest and Peter didn’t want to go,” fine.  But really, the reason they state is that she’s the prettiest so she’ll get more out of the trip. I could go on for a while about how this reasoning doesn’t make sense…
  • Lewis makes comments about certain sorts of knowledge. Yes, you need facts. But you also need fiction and fantasy to balance it out. Otherwise Eustace wouldn’t have been dumb enough to put dragon treasure on his arm.
  • It’s interesting to see Lucy being held back by Susan even though she’s not there. It’s hard to be a little sister…

Book vs. Movie:  Spoilers ahead!
Overall, better than Prince Caspian, but not as good as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

  • Most of the incidents in the movie happened in the book, but out of order, and on occasion the events happen over a longer period of time in the film (Eustace as a dragon lasted a week in the book, but lasted long enough for him to go to at least two more islands as a dragon.)
  • Lucy says the spell to turn her beautiful, and she turns into Susan and Lucy no longer exists. Aslan comes by to show her how being her is just right.
  • Although not in the book, I appreciated a theme that they added to the movie:  “the evil.”  You see green mist in various places where our heroes are going to be tempted: the magician’s house where Lucy wishes to be beautiful, the golden waters that almost turn Edmund and Caspian against each other, and of course, the home of the green mist is the Island of Dreams.
  • However, what’s with the White Witch? Again? I realize this book’s main conflict is man vs. self, and that’s not very good for film.  I realize when she shows up, they’re in the Island of Dreams (where nightmares come true).  They’re actually told not to even think what they fear, and Edmund is the first to accidentally think of something. But he thought of a sea monster, not the witch.
  • Andrew Adamson was the director for the first two and a producer for this one. Take a guess from this line what other movie he worked on:
    Eustace: (in disbelief about Reepicheep) It can talk!
    Caspian: Yes, it’s getting him to shut up that’s the trick!

    • Line directly from Shrek.  Congrats on riding the gravy train as long as possible.
  • Thinking of Caspian, thank goodness they picked an accent!

Class Stuff:
Grades: 3-6
Grade: B+
It’s more of a series of short stories instead of a big story, but I like the variety of settings and lessons learned. The introduction of Eustace is good to help continue the story.

Aside: I wonder if they’ll continue this as a movie series. If they were to do so, I’d imagine The Silver Chair and The Last Battle would be the main ones to be made.  Eustace shows up in The Silver Chair, and everyone except Susan comes back to The Last Battle. Gotta crank them out while they’re young, if you can.  The Magician’s Nephew and The Horse and his Boy are a little outside of that realm and don’t have that urgency to be made.

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Filed under Adventure, Book vs. film, Fantasy, Upper elementary

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