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The second book in C.S. Lewis' series The Chronicles of Narnia; also refers to the title character (see also King Caspian).

A year (our time) after the events of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy find themselves transported to Narnia again -- a thousand years after they knew it. They soon discover that Caspian and his allies have called the four kings and queens from Narnia's golden age to help them overthrow King Miraz the Usurper.

"It's all rather different from what I thought."
-Prince Caspian
C.S. Lewis

Plot Introduction:

Where The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was a tale about following your destiny, the second story in Chronicles of Narnia is that of adventure. In the first book, four children overcame the evils of the White Witch, reclaimed Narnia in the name of Aslan the Lion, and found their places on the thrones of Cair Paravel. And then, just before they reached the age of maturity, they were pulled away back into their own world.

Prince Caspian is the second book written in C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia (The book order issue is laid out in Chronicles of Narnia). While only a year has passed for the Pevensie children, ages have come and gone in Narnia. Those who live there now remember the rule of High King Peter only as the Golden Age. Narnia's rule is now that of the decendents of a King Caspian the First. At least, it was until the death of Caspian the Ninth. When Miraz, brother of the King, usurped the throne and forced Prince Caspian to escape away to Old Narnia.

It is there he finds the talking beasts, who revere him as the one true king. And it is with them, and our heroes from the other side of the wardrobe, that he intends to retake the throne in the name of his father and return Narnia to it's once Golden Age.

Characters:

The Pevensie Children

"Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy..."

Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy all return from their first voyage into Narnia. This time, they almost all seem to have changed. While Peter has always been the eldest and the leader, we didn't really see him take the reins. Now, he seems to be in control and always knows what to do. Edmund, has, perhaps changed the most. He has followed in his brother's footsteps. The once whiny betrayer has almost become a whole new person. Lucy remains her innocent and child-like self, while still seeming wiser than everyone around her.

The greatest change comes, perhaps, from Susan. Where she was once merely pragmatic, she now seems almost... old. The reason that the children were so love-able was because they believed completely in the world of Narnia. Of the adventures that came. Of the talking beasts. But Susan has nearly lost that. In its place is a confidence that sometimes comes with age.

Prince Caspian

“Caspian the Tenth, King of Narnia, and long may he reign!”

Caspian the Tenth is a boy who has lived in his father's castle, awaiting the day that he is to become King over the land of Narnia. His father died, unfortunately, years ago and the kingdom is ruled by his uncle Miraz. And Miraz would have been content to keep things this way, with him as king until Caspian reached of age, until he had a son.

So, Caspian, with only his knowledge of Narnia and a hope that the old Kingdom could be restored, set off to escape. And along the way, he met up with the few talking beasts that remained. Inspired by the knowledge that the world he dreamed of was true, Caspian begins to plan a way to remove his father's usurper from the throne.

Miraz the Ursuper

The White Witch, in the first book, was a true villian. I hated her for being so evil and cruel. Not once did I feel pity or remorse for her. Lewis created her from the vices that I had been brought up to hate. Once an author creates a perfect antagonist, it can always be a worry that they will fail to bring about another villian as despicable.

I had little reason to worry. All the qualities that I hated about the White Witch were in Miraz. In fact, the two characters are almost identical. Most authors would be seen as hacks for doing that sort of thing, but Prince Caspian isn't about Miraz as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was about the White Witch.

Miraz is a worm of a man. While the White Witch at least had the semblence of nobility, Miraz always struck me as vicious. He refuses to allow anything that would make him less powerful. And he has an eagerness to kill that is more than enough to make me despise him. Good job, on Lewis' part, to make me so vehement against Miraz.

Personal Review:

“'Well!' said Peter, 'We have had a time.”

Prince Caspian is a different sort of book from the first. While our protagonists were forced into adventure in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, they now take themselves to it at full speed. This is the change that makes them heroes, in my eyes. Narnia, as it did once before, has fallen under rule of the wicked. And they follow the call to adventure.

This book keeps the same magnificent creatures, but really seems to flesh them out. Reepicheep the Mouse will go down as my favourite character in the Narnia series. Noble Reepicheep. But even apart from him, everything seems to be bigger than the first journey into Narnia. The moment where Aslan says "...every year you grow, you will find me bigger." spoke leagues to me and has stuck out in my memory.

One of my earliest memories comes from Prince Caspian. My father read me the book before I had reached elementary school and I fell in love with it. And at the end, when Peter tells us that he and Susan may never return to Narnia, I cried. The book, as I find myself hoping Lewis intended, touched me. And that happened because the characters were real. You could almost feel the way they felt.

While the religious references that were so prominent in the first have been lessened, they are still there. Much to my pleasure. The beauty of Narnia is that it tells more than just a fantasy story about four children. It tells a story we know in our bones. And Lewis does much more with Prince Caspian. He draws on mythology, both popular and obscure. Although The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe took us into Narnia, Prince Caspain keeps us there.

Title: Prince Caspian
Author: C.S. Lewis
ISBN: 0-06-023483-0
Publisher: Collier Books
Date Published: 1951
Length: 216 pages
Genre: Fantasy


An E2 Quest: Writeup Redemption submission.

In 2008, the second Disney film adaptation of C.S. Lewis's much-adapted Narnia series appeared in theaters. It takes greater liberties with the plot than the first, and features more violence and at least as much spectacle. Like the first, it begins in London, England during the Second World War.

The Pevensie children return to Narnia to find that centuries have passed and the land has fallen on dark times. Prince Caspian, rightful heir to the throne of the kingdom that has blighted the land seeks their help to restore Narnia, and the faith of a child must, of course, lead them.

Director Andrew Adamson has clearly studied Peter Jackson, and he fills his film with visual wonders. The combination of sets, CGI, costumes, make-up, and real locations creates a dazzling world. I particular applaud the frequent use of locale; CGI still cannot match the power of appropriately-chosen (if cinematically enhanced) locations. This isn't quite Jackson's version of Middle Earth, but it impressed me more than recent big-screen excursions to Hogwarts.

The film features some impressive battle sequences, made with an awareness that multispecies war looks simultaneously wondrous and ridiculous. The storming of the Telmarine castle, with centaurs, minotaurs, dwarves, griffins, wild animals, valiant rodents and armed children amounts to perhaps the most insanely impressive cavalry charge in cinematic history.

The presentation and production represent the film's strengths, though they are not perfect. The cloying pop song that invades the soundtrack at the film's finale may be the single worst directorial misstep in a fantasy film since Peter Jackson gave Kong an interlude on ice.

The story, too, presents some problems.

Prince Caspian has been adapted from a children's story with deliberate Christian overtones, and must be viewed in this light. The plot's logic reflects its origins. In other words, prepare yourself for frequent narrative cheats. Susie, for example, makes a leap of faith to find an important path that seemingly might have been located with a bit of careful poking about. This minor contrivance from early in the film precedes more serious ones, and they reflect both the story's themes and the book's original audience. Likewise, the final leos deus ex machina strikes me as both annoying and dramatically disappointing, though I understand, from a thematic and theological perspective, why it occurs. The conclusion has been mandated by Lewis's Christian perspective. The world is fallen, and we must fight the good fight against darkness. However, in the end, we will be saved by faith alone. It doesn't matter what I believe or any other viewer or even the filmmakers believe-- Narnia must work that way.

Generally solid actors do well with some memorable, but underdeveloped, characters. Character development is always a problem when you have an army of characters in play and only a couple of hours to play them. Nevertheless, certain actors really shine. Diminutive Peter Dinklage is excellent as Trumpkin, and Eddie Izzard squeaks out a fine Reepicheep. The brief appearance of the White Witch has been effectively, creepily staged.

Other performers fare less well. The Pevensies continue to be good, but not consistently engaging. The inconsistent Mediterranean accent of the Telmarines proves downright irritating. The failure to really develop characters (or use the more interesting ones to best advantage) minimizes the movie's emotional impact.

I can recommend this film to its intended audiences—- though it will be too violent for younger children. It lacks the power of the first, however, which has a stronger story, better-developed characters, and a more effective use of World War II as a frame. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian will entertain its audience. Despite its theological intentions, those seeking a truly enlightening fantasy may want to look elsewhere.


Director: Andrew Adamson
Writers: Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely.
Based on the novel by C.S. Lewis

Cast
Ben Barnes as Prince Caspian
Georgie Henley as Lucy Pevensie
Skandar Keynes as Edmund Pevensie
William Moseley as William Pevensie
Anna Popplewell as Susan Pevensie
Peter Dinklage as Trumpkin
Sergio Castellitto as King Miraz
Warwick Davis as Nikabrik
Eddie Izzard as Reepicheep
Ken Stott as Trufflehunter
Pierfrancesco Favino as General Glozelle
Alicia Borrachero as Queen Prunaprismia
Vincent Grass as Doctor Cornelius
Harry Gregson-Williams as Pattertwig the Squirrel
Shane Rangi as Asterius
Tilda Swinton as the White Witch
Liam Neeson as Aslan

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