The Chronicles of Narnia # 4: Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
Scholastic, 240 pages
The four Pevensies help Caspian battle Miraz and ascend his rightful throne.
Narnia…the land between the lamp-post and the caste of Cair Paravel, where animals talk, where magical things happen…and where adventure begins.
Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are returning to boarding school when they are summoned from the dreary train station (by Susan’s own magic horn) to return to the land of Narnia — the land where they had ruled as kings and queens and where their help is desperately needed.
When the movie Prince Caspian came out, I watched it without having read the book, so I had zero expectations. All I thought after I watched the movie was it was a little bit long, and I squeed when Aslan showed up. I didn’t really like it as much as the first movie on the first watch but it got better when I watched it for the second and third time. Eventually, Prince Caspian became one of those movies that I like watching over and over again, despite my friends’ complaints of it not being faithful to the book, etc, etc.
But how many times have we learned that movies are never equal to the books, and that Hollywood will always, always change something in the book for reasons we do not know and still get angry about?
Anyway, so I finally read Prince Caspian just before the year ended. From the initial impressions of my friends who read the book before watching the movie, I was prepared to see glaring differences compared to the movie. I wasn’t sure what I’d like more, of course, but I’ve learned to read with an open mind.
I was surprised to find out that there really wasn’t much difference. Well, okay, it is different in terms of how the story flowed, and how the sequences were made and how dark it feels and the romance (yes, it never existed in the book). But I can see why the movie people diverged from the book. Prince Caspian is not really an exciting book. While there was a battle, many struggles for both Caspian and the Pevensies, and even some black magic, the way it was written just doesn’t shine as much as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. A Lewis fan and friend told me that Caspian is the book he tends to skim over, and while I didn’t really skim through it, it did prove to be very fast reading as I got through 3/4 of it while I was getting my hair done in the salon. Then I stopped so it took me a while to actually finish it.
But I’m not saying that Prince Caspian is a bad book. It just wasn’t exciting as its predecessor.* There were no extravagant rescues, there were no betrayals or resurrections. My favorite part, as always, was when Aslan showed up. It wasn’t quite like how it was done in the movies, but I liked how Lewis wrote it so that the other Pevensies didn’t see Aslan immediately because of the fear that was in their hearts. That’s the same in our faith walk, don’t you think? We can only see God when we let our fears go. And once we see Him, things will never be the same.
There’s this one passage in the book that I really loved, because it sounded so poetic and beautiful:
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes. (p. 213)
Prince Caspian is a good book. Perhaps I’d learn to appreciate it more when I re-read it, but it certainly made me appreciate the movie more. I think it’s time for another re-watch. :)
* NOTE: I must say that I am reading the Narnia books in order of publication, so when I say predecessor, I meant The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and not The Horse and His Boy.
My copy: paperback, from Scholastic Book Fair at our office
Blurb: Back of book
Reviews of Other Narnia Books:
#2: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe