Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dawn Treader

I’ve been listening to the Spanish audiobook version of C.S. Lewis’ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader to refresh my memory for the new movie coming out soon. I’ve seen the BBC version of the film, and I’ve read portions of the book before, but I’ve never gone from cover to cover before and I’m quite happy with the end product. Lewis did not write a strict analogy here, but his fluidity and style allows the analogy to come out time after time. Here are some analogies I look forward to seeing in the new movie that also appear throughout the series: 

1. The eternality of the King

Edmund, in a moment of greed and jealousy points out to Caspian X that his older brother was king over Narnia long before Caspian was and as such Caspian owed allegiance to him. There is a sense of a continuous or eternal kingship. The best sense of an eternal kingship in this series is not found in the Pevensie children, but in the lordship of Aslan. He is the default sovereign over Narnia and all the lands and seas surrounding it. When the Dawn Treader comes across islands previously unknown to Narnians, Aslan is there. Christ is the eternal king from the line of David. We cannot go where He is not present. 

2. Our inability to deal with sin
Eustace, the Pevensie’s cousin, is turned into a dragon in a way that closely parallels the statement in James 1 about the transformation of desire to sin. Aslan tells him to disrobe his dragon skin, but try as he might, Eustace is unable because his dragon-ness springs forth from inside. It is only Aslan who can take away the dragon skin, and after bathing Eustace, the boy finds himself human again. The link here between repentance and surrender, along with baptism (the spiritual reality), is one of the strong points of the story. 

3. The divine providence

At the end of the story, at least in the print version, the narrator makes it clear that there is a destiny, or divine providence, that guides the characters and brings them to their journey’s end. This idea is most vividly portrayed in another book, The Horse and His Boy, but I hope the film preserves it here. I’ve heard some people described as an inconsistent Calvinist. I think that describes Lewis as well.

There are many more that could be mentioned, some major, some minor. There is a parallel between one character and the catching up of Enoch and Elijah. The epic story has throwbacks to the journey of Christian in The Pilgrim’s Progress. There is also a warning against greed and the desire for wealth, showing it to be a curse rather than a blessing. Lucy’s question about Eustace is basically a paraphrase of Peter’s about John in the last chapter of John’s gospel. And, as I discovered last week reading Daniel 5, there is even a link between Belshazzar’s mishandling of the temple treasures and the mishandling of a sacred object in Narnia.

There is so much to look forward to. Which analogy did you notice or like?

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