Synopsis: Aslan meets Caspian and decrees that he will be King of Narnia. A wounded Reepicheep is healed. The Telmarine soldiers are imprisoned. The Narnians feast. The Telmarines are given a choice: remain and share the land with the other creatures, or leave for a land which Aslan will provide. The Telmarines learn where they are from. Some choose to return. The Pevensies return to their world.
‘Dumb’ animals in Narnia all know who Aslan is and hurry to him. Those with speech (and the associated ‘human’, intellectual traits) are more divided. Maybe Lewis is showing that with intelligence and reason come choice. I love the image of the little cat and the big dog which he uses to illustrate the scene.
The scene where the injured mice carry a mortally wounded Reepicheep to Aslan always filled me with tears when I was a younger reader. I still find it provokes quite an emotional response now. I don’t know how much of that is due to memories and associations, and how much to the camaraderie and bravery of these little characters in battle: they didn’t have to fight but they did anyway. I love Reepicheep’s conversation with Aslan – surely only Reepicheep would ever start a sentence to Aslan with, ‘Permit me to remind you…’ Who else would dare?
Here we discover that the mice were granted speech after helping Aslan in LWW.
The Telmarine fear of water seems strange as we are told in this chapter that they are descended from seafarers. Did this only develop after their move to Telmar? Or later, as they entered Narnia?
Once again, we hear about delicious Narnian food. The phrase which has always stayed with me is, ‘pyramids and cataracts of fruit’. I carried it around in my head for so long I ended up forgetting where it was from. Even the wine sounded appealing to young me, who knew that I hated alcohol. (I have since developed quite a taste for it.) Even the trees’ meal (various soils) is made to sound tempting.
‘All night Aslan and the moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.’ Is this simply personification, or is this moon – as the stars of the Narnian world are – sentient?
Doorways loom large in the part of my imagination which is filled with all things Narnian. Unusual or decorative doorways, and those which seem to be in incongruous places, always make me think of the links between the worlds in the Chronicles. (They turn up quite often in the photographs posted on this site via my instagram account, where I add views or images I find day-to-day which remind me of Narnia.) Here the door is just a simple shape, a wooden echo of stone doorways such as those at Stonehenge. It feels like ‘old magic’.
What happened to Miraz’ castle after Caspian became king? Did Trumpkin return to Cair Paravel for the treasure? What was done about the ruins?
The image of the Narnian animals wearing expensive jewellery sounds incongruous to me, although I don’t know why.
We are told nothing about Telmar itself. Why did the Telmarines leave it? Is there anyone there now? How far away is it? Is it habitable?
I spent some time with an atlas when younger, guessing at where the magical cave between worlds might be. We are told that such links between worlds are growing rarer. Why?
Bravery is rewarded, as ever, when the first volunteer Telmarine is given ‘strong magic’ by Aslan.
Susan and Peter have had a conversation about not returning to Narnia. What was said? Peter says they discussed ‘other things’ with Aslan. What were these things?
The last time the children came to Narnia they stayed for over a decade. This time they visited for days – most of which were spent fighting or travelling. Did they ever feel short-changed by this visit? Was it what they expected? Did they feel surprised at the difference between the two visits? They seem to feel alright about it, as Peter says – of travelling to a different world, and through time, then fighting to the death amongst other things – “We have had a time!”