Friday, January 21, 2011

“Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader” by C.S. Lewis

Voyage of DTIt took me three different tries to read and finish this book. I’m not even sure why. I think it’s because I would sit down to read it after I read a fairly adult novel, and after 40 pages of kiddish writing, I would throw my hands up and scream, “GAH!”

The first two times, I only got as far as page 50. It didn’t hold my attention, and I’m not sure why.

Then, 20th Century Fox retained the rights for the movies (since Disney dropped it ). The movie came out this past holiday season, and since I neglected seeing Prince Caspian in theaters, it was time to get back onto my Narnian steed and ride into the Dawn Treader sunset!

Lewis pitched the formula of the past Narnia books (minus The Horse and His Boy which didn’t even call on the Brits from our world) for Dawn Treader.

The other books, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and now (although I am not finished with it yet) The Silver Chair all follow a similar formula: We meet the British kids, they are swept to Narnia, they find it is in danger, they save it, Aslan comes and says how happy he is about them in a scary tone, and then the kids leave.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader sweeps the Brits to the ocean, this time, off the coast of Narnia. We actually never step foot in Narnia. Instead, along with our pal Prince Caspian, Edmond and Lucy (from the previous Narnian adventures) bring their snotty cousin Eustace to the high seas. In this adventure, we are looking for seven noble men that were once sent away by Caspian’s evil uncle when he ruled.

Instead of one long narrative, each of the islands in the journey are their own little mini-story. Each island is devoted to a couple of chapters, and then we also read about their harrowing journey on the seas (especially weeks of turbulent storms). It all ties together, of course, but there isn’t one, single, monumental outcome. They’re in it for the adventure.

Now, if you see the movie, do realize they take some creative liberties. I can see why they do this, but it’s the first of the movies to actually step aside from literal translation.

I hope Lewis’ grandchildren weren’t mad…

As I wade through the rest of the series (I’m sad that there’s only two books left), I’m beginning to wonder if I would enjoy reading “The Lord of the Rings.” I know it’s a much heftier read in the fantasy genre, but it’s a classic. I like classics. Mostly.