Prince Caspian

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For the film adaptation of the novel, see The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. For other uses, see Prince Caspian (disambiguation).
Prince Caspian
PrinceCaspian(1stEd).jpg
First edition dustjacket
Author C. S. Lewis
Illustrator Pauline Baynes
Cover artist Baynes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series The Chronicles of Narnia
Genre Children's fantasy novel, Christian literature
Publisher Geoffrey Bles
Publication date
15 October 1951
Media type Print (hardcover)
Pages 195 pp (first edition)[1]
44,740 words (US)[2]
ISBN ISBN 978-0-00-671679-2
(Collins, 1998; full colour)
OCLC 2812448
LC Class PZ8.L48 Pr[3]
Preceded by The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Followed by The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Prince Caspian (originally published as Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia) is a high fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis, published by Geoffrey Bles in 1951. It was the second published of seven novels in the The Chronicles of Narnia (1950–1956) and Lewis had finished writing it in 1949, before the first book was out.[4] It is volume four in recent editions of the series, which are sequenced according to Narnia history. Like the others it was illustrated by Pauline Baynes and her work has been retained in many later editions.[1][3]

Prince Caspian features "return to Narnia" by the four Pevensie children of the first novel, about one year later in England but 1300 years later in Narnia.[a] It is the only one of The Chronicles where men dominate Narnia; the talking animals and mythical beings are oppressed and some may be endangered. The English siblings are legendary Kings and Queens of Narnia whom the refugee Prince Caspian magically recalls for assistance, as children once again.

Macmillan US published an American edition within the calendar year.[1][3]

Prince Caspian has been adapted and filmed as two episodes of BBC television series in 1989 and as a feature film in 2008.

Plot summary[edit]

While standing on a British railway station, awaiting their train to school after the summer holidays, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie are magically whisked away to a beach near an old and ruined castle. They come to realize the ruin is Cair Paravel, where they once ruled as the Kings and Queens of Narnia, and discover the treasure vault where Peter's sword and shield, Susan's bow and arrows, and Lucy's bottle of magical cordial and dagger are stored. Susan's horn for summoning help is missing, however, as she left it in the woods the day they returned to England after their first visit to Narnia. Although only a year has passed in England, many centuries have passed in Narnia.[a]

That same day, they intervene to rescue Trumpkin the dwarf from soldiers who have brought him to the ruins to drown him. Trumpkin tells the children that since their disappearance, a race of men called Telmarines have invaded Narnia, driving the Talking Beasts into the wilderness and pushing even their memory underground. Narnia is now ruled by King Miraz and his wife Queen Prunaprismia, but the rightful king is Miraz's young nephew, Prince Caspian, who has gained the support of the Old Narnians.

Miraz had usurped the throne by killing his own brother, Caspian's father King Caspian IX. Miraz tolerated Caspian as heir until his own son was born. Prince Caspian, until that point ignorant of his uncle's evil deeds, escaped from Miraz's Castle with the aid of his tutor Doctor Cornelius, who had schooled him in the lore of Old Narnia, and who gives him in parting Queen Susan's horn. Caspian flees into the forest but is knocked unconscious when his horse bolts. He awakes in the den of a talking badger, Trufflehunter, and two dwarfs, Nikabrik and Trumpkin, who accept Caspian as their king.

The badger and dwarves take Caspian to meet many creatures of Old Narnia. They gather for a council at midnight on Dancing Lawn. Doctor Cornelius arrives to warn them of the approach of King Miraz and his army; he urges them to flee to Aslan's How in the great woods near Cair Paravel. But the Telmarines follow the Narnians to the How, and after several skirmishes the Narnians appear close to defeat. At a second war council, they discuss whether to use Queen Susan's horn, and whether it will bring Aslan or the Kings and Queens of the golden age. Not knowing where help will arrive, they dispatch Pattertwig the Squirrel to Lantern Waste and Trumpkin to Cair Paravel, and it is then that Trumpkin is captured by the Telmarines and rescued by the Pevensies.

Trumpkin and the Pevensies make their way to Caspian. They try to save time by travelling up Glasswater Creek, but lose their way. Lucy sees Aslan and wants to follow where he leads, but the others do not believe her and follow their original course, which becomes increasingly difficult. In the night, Aslan calls Lucy and tells her that she must awaken the others and insist that they follow her on Aslan's path. In the cold early hours of morning the others eventually obey. They begin to see Aslan's shadow, then Aslan himself. Aslan sends Peter, Edmund, and Trumpkin ahead to Aslan's How to deal with the treachery brewing there, and follows with Susan and Lucy.

Peter, Edmund, and Trumpkin enter Aslan's How; they overhear Nikabrik and his confederates, a Hag and a Wer-Wolf, trying to convince Caspian, Cornelius, and Trufflehunter to help them resurrect the White Witch in hopes of using her power to defeat Miraz. A fight ensues, and Nikabrik and his two friends are slain.

Peter challenges Miraz to single combat; the army of the victor in this duel will be considered the victor in the war. Even though he has a stronger army and thus has more to lose by a duel, Miraz accepts the challenge, goaded by his two lords, Glozelle and Sopespian. After a stiff fight, Miraz falls. Glozelle and Sopespian cry that the Narnians have cheated and stabbed the King in the back while he was down. They command the Telmarine army to attack, and in the commotion that follows, Glozelle stabs Miraz in the back. Aslan, meanwhile, accompanied by Lucy and Susan, summons the gods Bacchus and Silenus, and with their help brings the woods to life. The gods and awakened trees liberate several victims of Telmarine oppression, then intervene to turn the tide of battle and send the Telmarines fleeing. Discovering themselves trapped at the Great River, where their bridge has been destroyed by Bacchus, the Telmarines surrender.

Aslan gives the Telmarines a choice of staying in Narnia under Caspian or returning to Earth, their original home. After one volunteer disappears through the magic door created by Aslan, the Pevensies go through to reassure the other Telmarines, though Peter and Susan reveal to Edmund and Lucy that they are too old to return again to Narnia. The Pevensies find themselves back at the railway station where the adventure began, just as the train to Susan and Lucy's boarding school pulls up into the station.

Characters[edit]

  • Lucy Pevensie, the youngest Pevensie child, is the first to see Aslan again.
  • Edmund Pevensie is the third Pevensie child. Unlike his older siblings, he trusts Lucy's sighting of Aslan, pointing out that in their first adventure she turned out to be right and he ended up looking a bit silly.
  • Peter Pevensie, the oldest of the Pevensie siblings, is High-King of Narnia.
  • Susan Pevensie is the second eldest of the Pevensie children. She uses a bow and arrow
  • Prince Caspian, the rightful Telmarine King, who becomes King of Narnia. He reappears in the next two books in the series: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair, and makes a brief appearance in the end of The Last Battle.
  • Aslan, the Great Lion, who created Narnia.
  • Miraz, Caspian's uncle, usurped the throne of the Telmarines. So long as Miraz has no son, he tolerates Caspian as heir, but when a son is born he moves to eliminate Caspian. He fights the Old Narnians, who support Caspian, and accepts a challenge to single combat with Peter to settle the matter; but he is killed treacherously by Lord Glozelle after the duel.
  • Trumpkin, a Red Dwarf who helps Caspian defeat Miraz. When he is captured by Miraz's soldiers and taken to Cair Paravel to be drowned, he is freed by the Pevensie children and leads them to Caspian. At the beginning of the novel he is entirely skeptical about the existence of Aslan and the ancient Kings and Queens, but learns better in the course of the story.
  • Doctor Cornelius, half-dwarf and half-human, is tutor to Caspian and aids in the Narnians' defeat of the Telmarines.
  • Reepicheep, a talking mouse (descended from the non-talking mice who freed Aslan from his bonds in the previous book, and were thus given the gift of speech), is a fearless swordsman and a staunch supporter of Aslan and Caspian.
  • Nikabrik, a Black Dwarf in Caspian's army, resists fighting alongside Caspian. Together with a Hag and a Wer-Wolf, he plots to raise the White Witch against the Telmarines through black magic, but all three are killed by Caspian and his allies.
  • Trufflehunter, a talking badger, holds faith with Aslan and Old Narnia, and aids Prince Caspian in his struggle against Miraz.
  • Bacchus and Silenus, Narnian forest gods (borrowed from Ancient Greece).
  • Queen Prunaprismia, Miraz's wife.
  • Lord Sopespian and Lord Glozelle, lords of Telmar. After being insulted by Miraz they manipulate him into accepting Peter's challenge, cry treachery when Miraz falls and secretly stab him in the back

Themes[edit]

The two major themes of the story are courage and chivalry and, as Lewis himself said in a letter to an American girl, "the restoration of the true religion after a corruption".[5]

The Telmarine conquest of Narnia, as depicted in the book, is in many ways similar to the historical Norman Conquest of England. Though there is no precise parallel in actual English history to the specific events of this book, the end result - "Old Narnians" and Telmarines becoming a single people and living together in harmony - is similar to the historical process of Saxons and Normans eventually fusing into a single English people.

Adaptations[edit]

The BBC adapted Prince Caspian in two episodes of the 1989 series of The Chronicles of Narnia.

The second in the series of films from Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media, titled The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, was released in the US on 16 May 2008. The UK release date was 26 June 2008.

The book was the inspiration for a song of the same name on the Phish album Billy Breathes.

The script for a stage adaptation was written by Erina Caradus and first performed in 2007.[6]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b A manuscript by Lewis, the "Outline of Narnian History", dates major events in the Narnia world and simultaneous events in England. Since his death it has been published in books about Narnia and it is generally considered valid.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Bibliography: Prince Caspian". ISFDB. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  2. ^ "Scholastic Catalog - Book Information". Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Prince Caspian, the return to Narnia" (first edition). Library of Congress Catalog Record.
    "Prince Caspian, the return to Narnia" (first U.S. edition). LCC record. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  4. ^ Roger Lancelyn Green & Walter Hooper, C. S. Lewis: A Biography, 2002, p. 309.
  5. ^ Walter Hooper, ed. The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume III, p. 1245.
  6. ^ Narnia Productions. narniaproductions.co.nz (Dunedin, New Zealand). Retrieved 2012-12-10. The homepage now promotes the last of four productions, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2008). Information about the four numbers varies.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]