One of my goals for 2013 is to make more time for re-reads of my beloved favourites, in which case I thought this year would be the perfect opportunity to rediscover the wonderful ‘Land of Narnia’. After reading quite a few crime mysteries and thrillers I decided to lighten up my reading so I reached for the next instalment of The Chronicles of Narnia series The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C S Lewis.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the fifth instalment of The Chronicles of Narnia series. This post may contain spoilers for previous instalments.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader follows only the two youngest Pevensie siblings Edmund and Lucy as they stay with their aunt Alberta, uncle Harold, and their rotten cousin Eustace Scrubb. Their one comfort is retreating to Lucy’s bedroom where there is beautiful painting of a Narnian like ship which reminds them of all their wonderful adventures. One afternoon rotten Eustace is teasing them about their ‘imaginary world’ when suddenly the waves start to flow out of the painting. And before the children know what’s happening they’ve been swept into Narnia right into the path of King’s Caspian’s new ship the Dawn Treader. While Edmund and Lucy are delighted to be back Eustace is anything but pleased to find himself on anything as inconvenient as an adventure. Willing all not they are all now involved in Caspian’s adventure into the uncharted eastern end of the world in search of the seven lost lords. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a pretty famous instalment of The Chronicles of Narnia what with the recent big budget film adaptation. There were no big surprises for me on re-reading this. I pretty much remembered the whole story helped a little by the film adaptation although this is the least faithful adaptation of the three modern films.
The main protagonists of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader are Edmund and Lucy Pevensie and their cousin Eustace. As always these children are memorable, interesting, believable, and strong individual characters. Even though I liked Peter and Susan I don’t find them a great loss as of all the siblings Edmund and Lucy have to be my favourites. Then of course we have Eustace a petty, fussy, and lonely boy who would much prefer a book of facts over an adventure. Much like Edmund in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe Eustace has not just a physical journey to go on but an emotional one too and he comes out at the end a much nicer person. During The Voyage of the Dawn Treader we are introduced to a host of other new colourful characters but I was also very pleased to see Reepicheep the warrior mouse again!
I am no stranger to Lewis’s work. I think his writing style in The Chronicles of Narnia is simple and fun which works well for adults and children alike. Lewis has been criticised for his use of archaic language especially when it is used by his young characters, however I find the language rather charming and I feel it adds to the magically atmosphere of the book. When I first read The Chronicles of Narnia I read the books in publication order because I think for your first time nothing beats encountering ‘Narnia’ first through the most famous book The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. For my re-read I purposefully decided to read the series in chronological order so I could get a full idea of the detail and history Lewis put into ‘Narnia’ and the characters that inhabit it. I was really pleased to get round to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader because as a child it was my favourite instalment and I found that it had lost known of its charm for me.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is an utterly charming children’s tale of magic, family and adventure. A wonderfully comforting read. I look forward to moving on to The Silver Chair the sixth instalment of The Chronicles of Narnia particularly as I don’t remember a great deal about it.
Have you read this? Have you read The Chronicles of Narnia?
Previous instalments of The Chronicles of Narnia series: