novel: Lewis: Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)

This is the third book of the Narnia series. It seems that it will be the last of which the original main characters take part, which leaves me a bit sad, because I took a great liking to Lucy instantly, despite her being the one with the most blind faith. Of course, all of the characters are idiots for not pointing out that Aslan bears a resemblance to Jesus. Maybe they’ve never been to church before. One of the arguments against Harry Potter, as I recall, was that it acknowledges supernatural powers aside from god, which don’t, of course exist, which makes it throughly heretical. The bible, on the other hand, doesn’t say such things don’t exist, but merely demands that they do not be used, I mean, that it’s wrong to raise spirits from the dead, and that it’s wrong to worship the other gods. Which is why I like the beliefs that include the other gods, so that the story goes that Jesus banished the Roman pantheon, and Venus went and hid in a mountain, etc. etc. Lewis, because the Christians know him to be one of their only supporters given credit by non-Christians thus should be able to do no wrong. He’s yet criticized for including mythical creatures in his work, including Bacchus. Any heavy-handedness is very brief, and his occasional asides and observations also very funny. The narrator makes clear which questions one should not worry about, that is, which questions he has no intention of answering, which keeps things moving along better than, say, Lord of the Rings, which has far more information and dead ends than anyone could make sense of (hence the endless tomes of further explanation). This is a classic “voyage” work, like the Odyssey or Gulliver’s Travels, in which the characters go from strange land to strange land and have many adventures. The difference between those works named above and Lewis’ is that Lewis allows his Aslan to keep the characters in line throughout the whole voyage. Inescapable terrors, dangers, tiffs, and slight moral questions are all set right by Aslan, which helps keep the plot from becoming too complicated, and also allows his ingenuity to be placed entirely in inventing magical delights and settings, and not having to bother figuring out how to save his characters. He even throws in Coleridge’s albatross for good measure, and though I was quite sure someone would shoot it, Lewis shows what would happen to a crew who let the albatross live. So they survive. This work was also more engaging than the previous, which was in turn more so than its previous.

My only question from the first book was this: if the children reach adulthood in Narnia, and then return back to our world as children, does that mean Lucy has to deal with menarche twice?

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