Sunday, July 26, 2009

Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The fifth book of C. S. Lewis's series was one of my absolute favorites when I was younger. In this book, they travel to various islands, each with something magical and dangerous. They meet up again with King Caspian, who is leading this voyage. Only this time, it is only Lucy and Edmund who come, along with their obnoxious cousin Eustace. Eustace is a horrible brat and a jerk. Then, one day on an island, he becomes a dragon. He quickly becomes sorry for his behavior and he longs to be with the rest of the crew, but they cannot take a dragon aboard. Then, one night, a Lion comes into the camp and tells Eustace to follow him. The Lion leads him to a pool of water. Eustace knows that if he goes in he will feel much better. But before he is allowed to enter, the Lion (who you must guess is Aslan) tells him to shed his skin. Eustace tries a couple of times, but can never shed enough. Finally Aslan offers to help. He digs his claws deep into Eustace's back. It is painful, but he rips off the skin and throws Eustace into the lake, where he then emerges as a boy again. The lesson? No matter how much we try to do things for ourselves, only the Savior can make the final difference.

Later on, the sailors are sailing through a pitch-black sky with horrible screams and nightmarish voices echoing across the waters. They are all terrified and about to give into despair. Lucy, always the most faithful, prays to Aslan for help. Suddenly a beam of light falls upon the ship and from it descends an albatross, which whispers to Lucy, "Courage, dear heart." She knew the voice to be Aslan's. By following that light and the path set out by Aslan, they are able to escape from that horrible place.

At the end, Lucy, Edmund, and Eustace find themselves on the brink of Aslan's country. There they meet Aslan, who tells them that the way that they will enter in is from their world. Lucy asks if he will show them, and he responds, "I shall be telling you all the time." He then informs Lucy and Edmund that they will never return to Narnia. They are both heartbroken and cry out in despair. Lucy tells him that they won't miss Narnia so much as they will miss him. Aslan then says, "But you shall meet me there, child." Edmund asks if he is in our world too, and Aslan says, "I am. But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This is the reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me better here for a little, you may know me better there."

This is where we learn that Aslan really is a symbol for Jesus Christ. Everything he does teaches us about the Savior. That is why I love The Chronicles of Narnia so much. They ring with truth in every page.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Prince Caspian

The fourth book in C. S. Lewis's series has become better known since the movie came out. To me, this book teaches about faith in the Lord, even when you cannot see His plans for you. Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are again called back to Narnia to save it from a race of men that is determined to destroy Old Narnia with all the beautiful creatures that Aslan created. The woods have become silent, the magical creatures have disappeared, and talking animals seem extinct. However, with the rise of Prince Caspian, Old Narnia has a chance to win the fight, but only if the great Kings and Queens of Narnia return. When Susan's ancient horn is blown, the four siblings are called back to the ancient castle at Cair Paravel.

During their journey to find Prince Caspian, Lucy sees Aslan and excitedly tells the others that they need to follow him. But since her siblings can't see Aslan, they don't believe her, with the exception of Edmund. They continue on their path, only to find it is a dead end. Having lost a lot of time, they must retrace their steps and follow the route Lucy originally suggested. That night, Aslan visits Lucy and chastizes her for not following him. When she protests that her siblings didn't believe her, Aslan growls and she humbly says, "You mean that it would have turned out all right-somehow?" But Aslan replies that nobody is ever told what would have happened. Then he tells her to wake the others. He tells her that the only way to find out what will happen is to do it and see. Her siblings grudgingly follow her. Then, slowly, one by one, they are all able to see Aslan.

This book teaches that the Lord has a way prepared for us. It may not seem like the most logical way, but it is the best way. We must have faith in Him and follow the course He has set before us. That is the only way that we can know what will happen; it is the only way to know what the Lord has planned for us. It requires faith, but just like the Pevensie children, we will eventually see that the Lord truly is leading us forward in our lives.