Updated: Aug 22, 2021
Friday Book Pick: Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
The second volume in the legendary children’s series The Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian, is the story recounting Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy’s second adventure in Narnia. A year has transpired since the unforgettable experience with the magic wardrobe in Professor Digory’s house (recounted in The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe), and now the four Pevensie children are sitting at a railway station on their way back to school when suddenly they are whisked out of their world into another. The children do not immediately recognize this world as Narnia because while only one year has passed for them in England, over a thousand years have gone by in Narnia.
Prince Caspian develops as an interesting adventure full of intrigue and battles, but the reader first has to be caught up on over a thousand years of Narnian history—replete with war and conquest and oppression. I wondered as I reread the unfolding of Narnia’s history if these chapters could potentially spark an interest in the child-reader for his or her own world history. Whether or not academic interests are sparked by the Chronicles, there is little doubt about the captivating quality of the character of Aslan. C.S. Lewis’ combination of vivid imagination and Christian conviction ignited to create a world with the capacity to draw the reader closer to the mysteries of God.
Aslan is a mighty Lion and is the true king of Narnia. His Father is the great “Emperor-Beyond-The-Sea.” Aslan is elusive, mysterious, powerful and very good. Lucy, the youngest of the four children, was the first to have discovered Narnia and is the closest to Aslan.
Early in the story of Prince Caspian, at a particularly perilous moment, Lucy sees Aslan and the others do not. She tries to convince Peter, Susan and Edmund that Aslan is trying to lead them, but they will not be convinced and they will not follow him. Rather, the four children forge their own way. The journey becomes increasingly perilous for them, and Lucy knows that they have made a dreadful mistake in not following Aslan. Later, Aslan and Lucy meet face to face, and she comes to realize in his presence that she could have, and should have, followed him regardless of her disbelieving siblings. It is a powerful lesson for Lucy—one easily applied to any friend of Jesus, no matter how young. But when Lucy presses Aslan to find out precisely what would have happened if she had been obedient to him, this he will not answer. He will only say that “to know what would have happened, nobody is ever told that.” The conversation continues, and Lucy finally buries her face in his mane and “feels his lion strength going into her.” Afterwards she “quite suddenly sat up.‘I am sorry Aslan,’ she says, ‘I am ready now.’" The adventure continues after this tender and powerful scene of repentance, forgiveness and healing.
Every encounter with Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia could serve to prepare a child to recognize the Savior of our world and to desire Him—that alone makes The Chronicles of Narnia more than a treasure among children’s literature.
This is the eighth “Book Pick” in a series on the works of the great Irish-born author