Meet the Characters of The Dawn Treader
- Monday, November 15, 2010
Narnia fans already know Lucy and Edmund, but The Voyage of the Dawn Treader provides even familiar characters with new story arcs and moral directions. Learn more about Aslan, the Great Lion who called the children into Narnia; Eustace, Lucy and Edmund's the self-centered cousin; Lucy and Edmund, who face new temptations and challenges; Reepicheep, the courageous Talking Mouse; and Caspian, the Narnian king on a special quest.
"[In your world] 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 by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there." - Chapter 16
The Great Lion is the bridge between Narnia and England, calling Edmund, Lucy, and now Eustace to his world for his own purposes. He plays a less visible role in Dawn Treader than in the previous Narnia tales, but his infrequent appearances often change the course of the story. Author Devin Brown describes Aslan's appearances to the children and Caspian as moments of redemptions, freeing them from the pitfalls of sin. That's not to say Aslan intervenes at the first sign of danger - he often allows pain to have its day. As a Christ-figure, Aslan uses that pain as his "megaphone," Brown writes, "his tool to rouse someone who has been deaf to all other attempts to get his attention and blind to the reality of his inner condition." The vignettes of the Dawn Treader are all unified in Aslan's purpose.
There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. - Chapter 1 of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Everyone matures in Narnia, but Eustace might be the most shining example. He more than lives up to what Brown calls his "priggish, snobby name" at the beginning of the story. Eustace goes to school at the Experiment House, where the boys and girls are allowed to do whatever they like - even if what they like is bullying others. His forward-thinking parents don't provide much moral direction either. Without any stories or faith to broaden his horizons, Eustace's world is very small.
In fact, his adventure in Narnia happens because he refuses to stop needling his cousins, Lucy and Edmund. Once he arrives on the Dawn Treader, his condition as a demanding bully becomes increasingly apparent. But "Eustace's condition of being friendless, self-centered, and dominated by the desire to dominate is a state in which Aslan will not abandon him," as Brown writes. His dragonish nature will have consequences, yet this punishment serves a redemptive purpose - his curse will bring him face to face with Aslan, the only one in the Narnian world who can save him.
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