The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis

My favorite Narnia book so far. Lucy, Edmund, and their cousin (“called Eustace Clarence Stubb, and he almost deserved it”) get accidentally transported onto King Caspian’s ship, which is starting a journey to the eastern sea. The book is mostly just little episodes where they visit different islands, all of which are very different and very interesting. As I drew closer to the end of the book, I was fully prepared to give it five stars. BUT THEN came the ending. Specifically, one thing Aslan told Lucy and Edmund. Brace for impact.

Okay Lewis. I put up with the allegory, the symbolism, your oh-so-subtle hints that these wonderful stories are actually just Christian propaganda. I tolerated it, because you kept it to the sidelines and didn’t let the allegory overwhelm the cool stories with all the magic and swords and stuff. But then you had to ruin it. Just when I’d finished a fun book about a sea voyage with almost none of your usual blatant symbolism, you dropped the bomb:
“‘You are too old, children,’ said Aslan, ‘and you must begin to come close to your own world now.’
‘It isn’t Narnia, you know,’ sobbed Lucy. ‘It’s you. We shan’t meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?’
‘But you shall meet me, dear one,’ said Aslan.
‘Are – are you there too, Sir?’ said Edmund.
‘I am,’ said Aslan. ‘But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.'”

Let me get this straight. All that amazing, magical stuff with the White Witch, the Christmas gifts, the swords and archery, Caspian, Tumnus, becoming kings and queens, Calormen, the sea voyage, REEPICHEEP… All of it was just. So the kids. Could learn. To love. Jesus.

Lewis, you manipulative SON of a BITCH.

(I abandoned my Narnia reading project after this book, mostly out of spite. The Silver Chair and The Last Battle can suck it, I got enough of this crap in catechism class.)

Verdict: four out of five stars

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis

  1. I think you might like The Magician’s Book by Laura Miller, which is all about the author’s relationship with this series and Lewis’ Christian messages, which she felt utterly betrayed by when someone told her about them.

    Also—The Last Battle is creepy. It makes me feel very disturbed.

  2. I’m sure I would enjoy that – Miller and I clearly had similar feelings about the Christian allegory aspect of this series.

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