Review of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (book)
It’s been a year since Lucy and her older brother, Edmund, have last visited the magical land of Narnia. As Peter is preparing for college and Susan is in America, the two siblings are forced to stay with their obnoxious younger cousin, Eustace. One of Eustace’s favorite pastimes, in fact, is mocking Edmund and Lucy about the “imaginary” land of Narnia…until a painting on the wall comes to life. Finding themselves on the ship of King Caspian, Edmund, Lucy, and Eustace (the latter not so enthusiastically) join the crew on a journey to the end of the world.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is, however, largely Lucy’s and Eustace’s book. It is through them that Lewis explores his most significant themes, such as temptation, change, and faith. Eustace, originally annoying and selfish, is tempted by cursed gold and transforms into a dragon. After observing the crew’s support and his cousins’ compassion for him in his cursed state, he vows to become more helpful and considerate. Lucy, meanwhile, discovers a book of spells; one of these spells could make her the most beautiful girl in existence…but would ultimately lead to the destruction of worlds. As we discover Lucy’s inner conflicts and insecurities, we are also exposed to her unwavering faith in Aslan, the creator of Narnia; when the ship is in its darkest hour, it is Lucy who saves the crew with her belief in Aslan.
Through thorough characterization of Lucy and Eustace, C. S. Lewis, the author of The Chronicles of Narnia series, explores the ideas of loyalty, temptation, faith, redemption, and (ultimately) of growing up. Overall, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is both an interesting beginning to the adventures of Eustace in Narnia and a satisfying conclusion to those of Lucy and Edmund.