Unconditional Recommendation: Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy return to Narnia to aid Prince Caspian and Aslan in their endeavors to take back Narnia from the Telmarines.
Genre: Fantasy, Christian Allegory
The story picks up a year after the Pevensie children left Narnia as kings and queens and C.S. Lewis does a marvelous job of pulling you right back into the story—it’s as if you never left. Prince Caspian is bursting with goodness and truth. Combine that with Lewis’ classic characters, adventure, battle, Narnia, and the Christ-figure Aslan and it’s no wonder these books have become beloved classics.
Narnia…the land beyond the lamp-post, where wondrous things happen, where the Lion returns…where a battle is about to begin. An evil king sits on the throne of Narnia, forcing all the Talking Beasts and mythical creatures to live in hiding. The rightful king, the young Prince Caspian, fights desperately to regain his throne and save his people. But when all seems lost the Great Lion, Aslan, calls Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, four heroes from another world, to join the battle to free Narnia.
The catch is…no one else does. Not Peter, Susan, Edmund or their new dwarf friend. Aslan expects Lucy to come to him and follow him regardless of what the others see or do and isn’t that so true of the Christian life? We are to live in our lane, not looking to the right or left to see what anyone else is doing—saved or unsaved—but keep our eyes fixed ahead on our Savior, doing what pleases him, no matter the people around us or the circumstances we’re in. Lucy doesn’t follow Aslan, but instead bows to the opinions of her siblings. When she talks with Aslan about this, he essentially tells her to try again. We don’t have to wallow in despair or lose hope when we don’t follow or obey God how he would want us to because God is compassionate, gracious, ready to forgive and give us a second chance over and over and over again. Aslan gives Lucy a second chance and this time, having been convicted and convinced by Aslan, she appeals to her siblings but resolves to go to Aslan regardless of if they decide to believe her or not.
When Aslan and his party walk through the town of Beruna, Aslan brings new life, joy, and freedom to those who believe in him and fear to those who don’t. I love how Aslan disrupts the routine of things for the unbelieving Telmarine people while at the same time welcoming those who believe in him, regardless if those people are his people (Narnian) or not (Telmarine). He calls them with sweet words: “sweet heart,” “dear heart,” “my love,” and “dearest.” This reminds me of how God in the Old Testament does special things and makes special promises to the children of Israel but he also welcomes outsiders into the fold—for example, some Egyptians joined the Israelites when they left captivity in Egypt. I especially love the scene when Aslan comes upon the dying old woman. When she sees Aslan she says, “Oh, Aslan! I knew it was true. I’ve been waiting for this all my life. Have you come to take me away?” Aslan replied, “Yes, Dearest, but not the long journey yet.” I love the thought of a person waiting on their life and then at the end they come face to face with who they were hoping for. As the song goes: “Oh what a day that will be, when we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory!”
At the end of the book, Prince Caspian learns his ancestry and how the Telmarines were pirates that came from the same world as Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. Prince Caspian tells Aslan, “I was wishing that I came of a more honorable lineage.” And Aslan says, “ You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve and that is both honor enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.” Quite the observation.
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