The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
First edition dustjacket
|Author||C. S. Lewis|
|Cover artist||Pauline Baynes|
|Series||The Chronicles of Narnia|
|Genre||Children's fantasy novel, Christian literature|
|15 September 1952|
|Media type||Print (hardcover)|
|Pages||223 pp (first edition)
52,038 words (US)
|ISBN||978-0-00-671680-8 (Collins, 1998; full colour)|
|LC Class||PZ8.L48 Vo|
|Preceded by||Prince Caspian|
|Followed by||The Silver Chair|
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader[a] is a high fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis, published by Geoffrey Bles in 1952. It was the third published of seven novels in The Chronicles of Narnia (1950–1956) and Lewis had finished writing it in 1950, before the first book was out. It is volume five in recent editions, 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. It is the only Narnia book that does not have a main villain.
Lewis dedicated the book to Geoffrey Corbett. He is the foster-son of Owen Barfield, the friend, teacher, adviser and trustee of Lewis.
The Voyage features a second return to the Narnia world, about three years later in Narnia and one year later in England, by Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, the younger two of the four English children featured in the first two books. Prince Caspian is now King Caspian X.[b] He leads a sea voyage to the eastern end of the world, which the English siblings and their cousin Eustace Scrubb magically join soon after his ship Dawn Treader sets sail.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader has been adapted and filmed as four episodes of BBC television series in 1989 and as a feature film in 2010.
The two youngest Pevensie children, Lucy and Edmund, are staying with their odious cousin Eustace Scrubb while their older brother, Peter, is studying for an exam with Professor Kirke, and their older sister, Susan, is traveling through America with their parents. Edmund, Lucy, and Eustace are drawn into the Narnian world through a picture of a ship at sea. (The painting, hanging neglected in the guest bedroom in which Lucy was staying, had been an unwanted present to Eustace's parents.) The three children land in the ocean near the pictured vessel, the titular Dawn Treader, and are taken aboard.
The Dawn Treader is the ship of Caspian X, King of Narnia, who was the key character in the previous book (Prince Caspian). Edmund and Lucy (along with Peter and Susan) helped him gain the throne from his evil uncle Miraz. Also present on board are the Lord Drinian (the captain of the Dawn Treader) and the first mate Rhince.
Three years have passed since then, peace has been established in Narnia, and Caspian has undertaken a quest in fulfillment of his coronation oath to find the seven lost Lords of Narnia. Lucy and Edmund are delighted to be back in the Narnian world, but Eustace is less enthusiastic, as he has never been there before and had taunted his cousins with his belief that this alternate universe had never existed. The Talking Mouse Reepicheep is also on board, as he hopes to find Aslan's Country beyond the seas of the "utter East". When Eustace teases Reepicheep, much is revealed about the mouse's pugnacious character.
They first make landfall in the Lone Islands, nominally Narnian territory but fallen away from Narnian ways: in particular the slave trade flourishes here, despite Narnian law stating that it is forbidden. Caspian, Lucy, Edmund, Eustace and Reepicheep are captured as merchandise by a slave trader, and a man "buys" Caspian before they even reach the slave market. He turns out to be the first lost lord, Lord Bern, who moved to the islands and married a woman there after being banished from Narnia by Miraz. When Caspian reveals his identity, Bern acknowledges him as King. Caspian reclaims the islands for Narnia, and replaces Gumpas, the greedy governor, with Lord Bern, whom he names Duke of the Lone Islands.
At the second island they visit, Eustace leaves the group to avoid participating in the work needed to render the ship seaworthy after a storm has damaged it, and hides in a dead dragon's cave to escape a sudden downpour. The dragon's treasure arouses his greed: he fills his pockets with gold and jewels and puts on a large golden bracelet; but as he sleeps, he is transformed into a dragon. As a dragon, he becomes aware of how bad his previous behaviour was. He attempts to shed his dragon skin without success. It is only with the help of Aslan that he is able to become human again, though the process is very painful. Caspian recognizes the bracelet: it belonged to Lord Octesian, another of the lost lords. They speculate that the dragon killed Octesian — or even that the dragon was Octesian. Aslan turns Eustace back into a boy, and as a result of his experiences he is now a much nicer person.
They stop at Burnt Island, where a coracle is discovered among human artifacts on the now uninhabited isle and given to Reepicheep. Next is Deathwater Island, so named for a pool of water which turns everything immersed in it into gold, including one of the missing lords who turns out to have been Lord Restimar. Then they stop at the Duffers' Island, where Lucy herself encounters Aslan, and at the Island Where Dreams Come True — called the Dark Island since it is permanently hidden in darkness. They rescue a desperate Lord Rhoop from this last. Eventually they reach the Island of the Star, where they find the three remaining lost lords in enchanted sleep. Ramandu, the fallen star who lives on the island, tells them that the only way to awaken them is to sail to the edge of the world and there to leave one member of the crew behind.
The Dawn Treader continues sailing into an area where merpeople dwell and the water turns sweet rather than salty, as Reepicheep discovers when he belligerently jumps in to fight a mer-man who he thinks challenged him. At last the water becomes so shallow that the ship can go no farther. Caspian orders a boat lowered and announces that he will go to the world's end with Reepicheep. The crew object, saying that as King of Narnia he has no right to abandon them. Caspian goes to his cabin in a temper, but returns to say that Aslan appeared in his cabin and told him that only Lucy, Edmund, Eustace, and Reepicheep will go on.
These four named venture in a small boat through a sea of lilies until they reach a wall of water that extends into the sky. Fulfilling Ramandu's condition, Reepicheep paddles his coracle up the waterfall and is never again seen in Narnia (Lewis hints that he reaches Aslan's Country). Edmund, Eustace, and Lucy find a Lamb, who transforms into Aslan and tells them that Edmund and Lucy will not return to Narnia – that they should learn to know him by another name in their own world (as Lewis explicitly stated, Aslan is how Jesus manifests Himself in Narnia). He then sends the children home.
In their own world, everyone remarks on how Eustace has changed and "you'd never know him for the same boy" - although his mother believes that Edmund and Lucy have been a bad influence on him in the way that they have made him "boring and uninteresting".
- Lucy Pevensie – the youngest of the four Pevensie children.
- Edmund Pevensie – the next youngest.
- Eustace Scrubb – a cousin of the four Pevensie siblings; Edmund and Lucy are staying with him at the house that Eustace shares with his parents.
- Caspian X – the King of Narnia.
- Reepicheep – a valiant mouse who is a main ally to King Caspian.
- Lord Drinian – The Captain of the Dawn Treader.
- Seven Great Lords of Narnia – Characters central to the plot; Caspian is aboard to the Dawn Treader to help find these lost Lords.
- Ramandu – a "star at rest" who regains youth through fire-berries.
- Ramandu's daughter – the daughter of Ramandu and the future Queen of Narnia, wife of Caspian, and mother of Rilian.
- Gumpas – Governor of the Lone Islands, who takes Caspian prisoner.
- Coriakin – the wizard (and star) who rules the Dufflepuds as penance for his misdeeds.
Differences between British and American editions
Several weeks or months after reading the proofs for the British edition of The Chronicles,[clarification needed] Lewis read through the proofs for the American edition. While doing so, he made several changes to the text. When HarperCollins took over publication of the series in 1994 they made the unusual decision to ignore the changes that Lewis had made and use the earlier text as the standard for their editions.
In Dawn Treader, Lewis made two changes; one minor and one of more substance. The minor change appears in the first chapter where Lewis changes the description of Eustace from "far too stupid to make anything up himself" to "quite incapable of making anything up himself". Paul Ford, author of Companion to Narnia, suggests that Lewis might have felt the need to soften the passage for his American readers or perhaps he was starting to like Eustace better. Peter Schakel, author of Imagination and the arts in C.S. Lewis, notes that the passage should have been changed in both cases as "calling a character 'stupid' in a children's book is insensitive and unwise". Both Schakel and Ford agree that it is not an accurate depiction of Eustace as Lewis describes him, and this too may be the reason for the change.
The more substantive change appears in Chapter 12, "The Dark Island", where Lewis rewrote the ending in a way that, Schakel maintains, improves the imaginative experience considerably.
The reader cannot [in this version] dismiss the island as unreal or as no longer existing: it is still there, and anyone who can get to Narnia still could get caught in it. More important, the inserted analogy, with its second-person pronouns, draws readers into the episode and evokes in them the same emotions the characters experience. This is no laughing matter, as the earlier version risks making it.
A side by side comparison of the ending of chapter 12 follows:
|British Edition||Pre-1994 American Edition|
|In a few moments [...] warm, blue world again. And all at once everybody realized that there was nothing to be afraid of and never had been. They blinked their eyes and looked about them. The brightness of [...] grime or scum. And then first one, and then another, began laughing.
“I reckon we’ve made pretty good fools of ourselves,” said Rynelf.
|In a few moments [...] warm, blue world again. And just as there are moments when simply to lie in bed and see the daylight pouring through your window and to hear the cheerful voice of an early postman or milkman down below and to realise that it was only a dream: it wasn’t real, is so heavenly that it was very nearly worth having the nightmare in order to have the joy of waking, so they all felt when they came out of the dark. The brightness of [...] grime or scum.|
|Lucy lost no time [...] Grant me a boon.”
“What is it?” asked Caspian.
|Lucy lost no time [...] Grant me a boon.”
“What is it?” asked Caspian.
|“Never to bring me back there,” he said. He pointed astern. They all looked. But they saw only bright blue sea and bright blue sky. The Dark Island and the darkness had vanished for ever.
“Why!” cried Lord Rhoop. “You have destroyed it!”
“I don’t think it was us,” said Lucy.
|“Never to ask me, nor to let any other ask me, what I have seen during my years on the Dark Island.”
“An easy boon, my Lord,” answered Caspian, and added with a shudder. “Ask you: I should think not. I would give all my treasure not to hear it.”
|“Sire,” said Drinian, [...] the clock round myself.”||“Sire,” said Drinian, [...] the clock round myself”|
|So all afternoon with great joy they sailed south-east with a fair wind. But nobody noticed when the albatross had disappeared.||So all afternoon with great joy they sailed south-east with a fair wind, and the hump of darkness grew smaller and smaller astern. But nobody noticed when the albatross had disappeared.|
Researcher Sue Baines wrote: "In contrast to other Narnia books, Dawn Treader has virtually no overt villains, other than the slavers in the very beginning who are quickly overcome and disposed of. Rather, the plot confronts the protagonists again and again with the flaws of their own character. Eustace's greediness and general bad behavior cause him to turn into a dragon, and he must work hard to show himself worthy of becoming human again; Caspian is tempted to seize the magic pool which turns everything to gold – which would have turned Caspian himself into a greedy tyrant ready to kill in order to preserve his power and wealth; later, Caspian faces the nobler but still wrong-headed temptation to go off to Aslan's Country and abandon his responsibilities as a King; Lucy is tempted to make herself magically beautiful, which would have led to her becoming the focus of terrible wars devastating Narnia and all its neighbors; and having resisted this temptation, she succumbs to a lesser temptation to magically spy on her schoolmates – and is punished by hearing malicious things and destroying what could have developed into an enduring nice friendship. ... Edmund, who had undergone a very severe test of his character on his first arrival in Narnia, is spared such an experience in the present book, and acts as the most mature and grown-up member of the group." 
Arguably, Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the novel which shows the most influence of Lewis' Irish background. It is reminiscent of the Immram genre of Irish literature. However, unlike such voyages, Dawn Treader travels East rather than West.
The novel also underscores the idea of Aslan representing Jesus Christ. In the end of the novel Aslan appears as a lamb which has been used as a symbol for him. After transforming into a Lion, Aslan tells the Pevensie children "'I am [in your world],' said Aslan. 'But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little you may know me better there'".
Film, television, or theatrical adaptations
- In 1983 the world premiere of the musical stage adaptation of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was produced by Northwestern College (Minnesota) at the Totino Fine Arts Center. Director: Carol Thomas; Libretto: Wayne Olson; Music and Lyrics: Kevin Norberg (ASCAP).
- A stage adaptation of "Voyage of the Dawn Treader", written and directed by Ken Hill, designed by Sarah-Jane McClellan , with music by Brendan Healy, was first presented at the Newcastle Playhouse on 29th. Nov. 1985.
- The BBC produced a TV miniseries of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1989); it was combined with the previous film and released as Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. (see The Chronicles of Narnia (TV miniseries)).
- BBC Radio produced a radio play based on the book in 1994.
- Focus on the Family released a longer version as part of its complete production of all the Chronicles of Narnia.
- The playscript for 'The Voyage of the Dawn Treader' was written by Erina Caradus and first performed in 2008. see http://narniaproductions.co.nz
- In 2000 a musical version was written and produced by the Alternative Community School of Ithaca, NY
- BG Touring Theatre company produced a version of the Glynn Robins stage adaptation of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader at the 2006 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the third installment in The Chronicles of Narnia film series from Walden Media. Unlike the earlier two films, which were distributed by Disney, it was distributed by 20th Century Fox. Michael Apted took over as director from Andrew Adamson, who opted to produce with Mark Johnson, Perry Moore and Douglas Gresham. Will Poulter joined the cast as Eustace Scrubb, while Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Ben Barnes, Liam Neeson, and Tilda Swinton all returned.
"Voyage of the Dawn Treader" is a song by Bobby Wynn based on The Chronicles of Narnia.[when?]
- Note that the name of the ship Dawn Treader is italicised in the title on the first edition dust jacket. By English typographical conventions, both book titles and ship names are usually italicised when written. Where "Dawn Treader" appears as part of the full title it might be distinguished by another typographic convention but in this article the entire title is simply italicised. "Dawn Treader" alone always refers to the featured ship.
- 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.
- "Bibliography: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader". ISFDB. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
- "Scholastic Catalog - Book Information". Retrieved 23 June 2014.
- "The voyage of the Dawn Treader" (first edition). Library of Congress Catalog Record.
"The voyage of the Dawn Treader" (first U.S. edition). LCC record. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
- The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader.
- Schakel, p. 35.
- Ford, Paul (2005). Companion to Narnia: A Complete Guide to the Magical World of C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia. HarperCollins Publishers. p. 178. ISBN 978-0-06-079127-8.
- Schakel, p. 37.
- Schakel, p. 38.
- "Recommended Reading", F&SF, February 1953, p. 74.
- Sue Baines, "Moral and educational themes in the Narnia and Harry Potter books" in Gerald Sumner (ed.) "Round Table on the Development of Twentieth Century Fantasy".
- Huttar, Charles A. (2009-06-02). ""Deep lies the sea-longing": inklings of home — page 10 — Mythlore". Findarticles.com. Retrieved 2010-02-01.[dead link]
- Duriez, pp. 80, 95.
- Colin Duriez (2004-06-02). A Field Guide to Narnia. IVP Books. ISBN 978-0-8308-3207-1.
- Schakel, Peter (2002). Imagination and the Arts in C.S. Lewis: Journeying to Narnia and Other Worlds. University of Missouri Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-8262-1407-2.
- Downing, David C. (2005). Into the Wardrobe: C. S. Lewis and the Narnia Chronicles. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 978-0-7879-7890-7.
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- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in libraries (WorldCat catalog) —immediately, the full-colour C. S. Lewis centenary edition
- C. S. Lewis at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader at Faded Page (Canada)
- Project Gutenberg Canada ebook (works of C.S. Lewis are public domain in Canada as of 2014)
- Aslan's Country
- Narnia Fans