On The Chronicles of Narnia

Prince to King

By Elizabeth E. Wein

Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen.” That’s what Aslan tells the Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, as they take the four thrones at Cair Paravel in their first Narnian adventure, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. If you count pages, no king in C. S. Lewis’s Narnia books actually gets more airtime than Caspian X. He plays a starring role in two books, Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but in fact he’s also king of Narnia throughout The Silver Chair.

From the day Caspian is forced to run away because his uncle Miraz wants to kill him, Caspian is called “king” by his tutor, the half-Dwarf Doctor Cornelius. The rest of the book describes how Caspian manages to win his kingdom back from Miraz. So why is the book called Prince Caspian instead of King Caspian?

I think it’s because Prince Caspian isn’t about Caspian’s successful rule as an adult. It’s about his journey to adulthood and to king-ship–in Prince Caspian, the two are the same. Lost and alone in the beautiful, bewildering thicket of the trackless Narnian forest, Caspian has to find his own way. He has to learn to think for himself, to believe in himself, and to be responsible for himself. Only then, when he has mastered these three things–awareness, faith, and responsibility–can he take the throne as a true king of Narnia.


The first of these characteristics, awareness, leads to and reinforces the others.  …

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