The Chronicles of Narnia # 4: Prince Caspian

Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
The Chronicles of Narnia # 4
Publisher: Scholastic
Number of pages: 240
My copy: paperback, bought from Scholastic Book Fair

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.

Rating:

Other reviews:
Bookie Woogie

Reviews of Other Narnia Books:
#2: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

The Chronicles of Narnia # 2: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
The Chronicles of Narnia # 2
Publisher: Scholastic
Number of pages: 206
My copy: paperback from Scholastic Book Fair

What begins as a simple game of hide-and-seek quickly turns into the adventure of a lifetime when Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy walk through the wardrobe and into the land of Narnia. There they find a cold, snow-covered land frozen into eternal winter by the evil White Witch. All who challenge her rule are turned into stone. Narnia, once filled with all manner of Talking Beasts, Dwarfs, Giants, and Fauns is now a dark, joyless wasteland.

The children can only hope that Aslan, the Great Lion, will return to Narnia and restore beauty and peace to the land. But will the power of Aslan be enough to conquer the dark magic of the White Witch?

* * *

What better book to read during the holidays than C.S. Lewis’ classic, The Chronicles of Narnia? While I was lamenting at how I never read The Giver back in high school, I was also sad that The Chronicles of Narnia were never required reading for school, too. I’ve heard of the series for a long time now, but I never really knew of the story of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe until senior year in college, right before the movie showed. I was already nineteen then! Why was this never a part of my childhood? I am glad that Scholastic had a book fair at my office a couple of years later — I got the entire Narnia boxed set for only Php 500 (around USD 11).

Still, it took me a while to read it, and it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I decided to go on a Narnia trip for Christmas. Like I said, what better book to read during the holidays, right?

In case you were like me who’s never read this book or watched the movie or even a stage play of this, here’s a quick recap: siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy were sent to stay at a Professor’s house, and during one game of hide and seek, Lucy stumbles upon the land of Narnia through a wardrobe. She makes friends with a faun, Mr. Tumnus, and she finds out that Narnia has been stuck in winter for a long time because of a White Witch Jadis. Later on the siblings end up all going to Narnia, and they find out that they are the fulfillment of a prophecy and the Great Lion Aslan is on his way back to Narnia to restore the land.

I first “read” this book through an audiobook before the movie was shown in the cinemas. I loved the audiobook. Then I watched the movie and I loved it too — not caring if there were any differences from what I “read”. I think I loved it because it was a Christian novel, and I truly related to what Edmund did and what Aslan did for him. Aslan became one of my favorite fictional characters, and I always loved it whenever he shows up on the movies (but that may be because Aslan is voiced by Liam Neeson).

Reading the book for the first time reminded me so much of all the things I loved from the audio book and the movie, and maybe even more. Since the entire Narnia series is written as children’s books, the text is lyrical and there’s a whimsical feel in the story, almost like when I was reading the fairy tale books when I was a kid. I think the only way to describe this book is it’s magical. I don’t know if it’s just Christmas, or if it’s because I’m more receptive to fantasy now than I was a year ago, but I really enjoyed reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I think that if I read this as a kid, I may not have been able to appreciate it as much as I do now, so maybe reading it this late in my life is a good thing. :)

I don’t think I’d have the time to read the rest of the Narnia books before the year ends, but I will finish reading them soon. :) When I have children, I will make sure to have copies of these books at home so they can read it and visit Narnia anytime they want to.

And one more thing: show of hands to anyone who can relate to Edmund? I know I do.

Rating:

Cover and Blurb: Goodreads

Other reviews:
Bookie Woogie
Becky’s Book Reviews

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