Seven Dawn Treader Discussion Points: Week 1

Professor and author Dr. Devin Brown has provided us with seven discussion questions based around The Voyage of the Dawn Treader for the seven weeks leading up to the film’s release. We are pleased to release the first of these discussion questions today and will release another question each Friday. You can join the NarniaWeb forum at to participate in the discussion group. Look for lots of lively and stimulating conversation.

Dr. Brown’s introduction reads:

In his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, Lewis records a turning point as he was learning to write.  He tells readers, “Up to then, if my lines rhymed and scanned and got on with the story I asked no more. Now . . . I began to try to convey some of the intense excitement I was feeling, to look for expressions which would not merely state but suggest. . . . I had learned what writing means.”

In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, we find a number of intriguing passages where Lewis suggests more than he merely states, places where he invites the reader to first read carefully and then to think about the implications of what was written.

In keeping with the Dawn Treader’s quest for the seven lost lords, I have provided seven discussion points from Lewis’s wonderful story, places where he invites us to speculate on what a passage may suggest.

If you like these discussion questions, you may be interested in the book Inside the Voyage of the Dawn Treader: A Guide to Exploring the Journey beyond Narnia.

And so, with many thanks to Dr. Brown, we present the first discussion question: “How Ever Many Skins Have I Got to Take Off?”: What Is Lewis Saying?

We’ll see you over at the forum!

21 Responses

  1. Lady Bess of Wistry says:

    Fun!!! Mr. Brown's other two Narnia books were some of my most enjoyable reading this summer when I found them. I can hardly wait to see the discussions that will grow out of these questions–rather more diverting than the discussions and analyses at college right now.

  2. mary says:

    To me, this is a clear pointer to the need for God's grace and forgiveness. We cannot heal ourselves alone; we need help. Eustace really only has to take off one skin to be healed, but he cannot do it by himself. He tries as hard as he can, and is very willing, but he has to let Aslan (God) help him.

    I think that's something that all Christians of all denominations would see in this scene. And probably all people of faith. HOW God helps us, and how we can help each other – that's where interpretations can differ. But I think it's clear to all of us that we need God's help to really undo any harm we have done to ourselves or each other.

    Me being preachy!

  3. glumPuddle says:

    "How many skins have I got to take off" is Eustace starting to realize that he'll never be able to "undragon" himself and that Aslan must do it.

    Based on what we know of Eustace (a prideful know-it-all), this may very well be the first time in his life he has had to admit he can't do something, and that someone must do it for him. It's a crucial piece to Eustace' character arc.

  4. Embrace says:

    Good point!

  5. Mark Sommer says:

    Good thoughts, all. I think it also has to do with the fact that self-reformation has to be done over and over, and it never quite accomplishes the fundamental change that is needed. We need God to do that.
    Not that we become perfect once we have gone to God for help – Lewis makes it clear that Eustace would often slip back into his old ways and habits. But Eustace has been transformed, and will never permanently go back to what he was.

  6. Aslan's Meadow says:

    Yes, it would be amazing if they actually got that in the movie. With all the contraditcting reports…we're just not sure.
    Also check out a new VDT poster at I has ALL FOUR PEVENSIE's on it with eustace and caspian.

  7. Pepper Darcy says:

    Only seven weeks? Wow, this is an amazing question though. I'll have to ponder and then jump over to the forum! 🙂 But excited to know it is *only* seven weeks now for my sister and i, since we're seeing it on the 11th! 😀

  8. To me it´s about finding the true you. Family, friends,school,society in general, – a lot of factors influence you into believing you are something that you are not. They create layers, skins, on you. You have to search within youself and peel of all those layers before you can understand who you are and what mission you have in life I think. And sometimes you need help from someone who can see beyond the layers….like Aslan can.

  9. always narnian says:

    It means we can't get rid of all or sins, only Christ can…

  10. Rilian says:

    I'd like to read Dr. Brown's book and compare it to Dr. Ward's chapter on VotDT.

  11. coraggio93 says:

    "How ever many skins have I got to take off?" — sounds like the question I pray often.

    Maybe it's related to the fact that even though God calls us to be more like Jesus, we have other ideas, and get into a "tug-of-war mode" about living life.

  12. coracle says:

    I recommend you go to the discussion thread on this topic! (discussion here is really only general, covering the fact that Brown has written these discussion points for us :))

  13. Ayn Rand says:

    I agree, people try so hard to "make up" for the crimes they have committed against God, but it just doesn't work, to say the least. If you REALLY had faith in God, you wouldn't try to hide your sins, or "make up" for them, for that matter.

  14. Ayn Rand says:

    People just try so hard to "make up" for the crimes they have committed against God, but it just doesn't work, to say the least. If you REALLY had faith in God, you wouldn't try to hide your sins, or "make up" for them, for that matter.

  15. Antartic says:

    You posted twice, Ayn..

  16. Ayn Rand says:

    Oops, sorry. Did something weird.

  17. Puddleglum says:

    Other than the Line that Aslan has at the end of the bool about "knowing Him by another name", this is the most crucial scene in the book, if not the whole series.
    How quickly we as people are willing, and wanting to "do it ourselves". If they eliminate that from the movie, I for one believe that all is lost.

  18. elanor says:

    Hmmm… "How ever many skins have I got to take off?"

    I think Eustace was trying to do on his own what he couldn't possibly do. It was impossible. He knew he had to change from being the little brat he was. But how? I can try to change this part of my character, to really be a good person…if I only do that…I'll be different. But then he sees another layer he didn't see before. Ohh…got to get rid of that to change too..hmm…HOW??? As he trys to change he finds the layers just keep appearing. He finally sees, in desperation and despair that he can never fully become who he really IS, who he really should be, on his own.

    Only Aslan can do that. Only Aslan.

  19. Sui-Lun says:

    I think he means "How much (of something that I am not quite sure of) do I have to reveal?"

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