Prince Caspian 70th Anniversary (15 Quotes)
Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia was published on this day 70 years ago! (1951)
C.S. Lewis’s first idea for a Narnia sequel involved a boy named Digory who loses the ability to talk to trees and animals (including a squirrel named Pattertwig) after cutting off the branch of an oak. After writing several pages, Lewis abandoned the idea in favor of Prince Caspian.
It has been observed that the character of Caspian has some similarities with book’s author. Lewis lost his mother at a young age and, according to his stepson Douglas Gresham, “was also fond of his nursemaid Lizzie, and she would tell him old Irish folktales and fairy stories.” Alan Jacobs wrote that Lewis had a constant “willingness to be enchanted,” much like Caspian’s yearning for the old days of Narnia.
Here is a memorable quote from each chapter of Prince Caspian:
“Look sharp!” shouted Edmund. “All catch hands and keep together. This is magic—I can tell by the feeling.”Ch. 1: The Island
“It is my sword Rhindon,” he said; “with it I killed the Wolf.” There was a new tone in his voice, and the others all felt that he was really Peter the High King again.Ch. 2: The Ancient Treasure House
“What were they going to drown you for?” asked Peter.Ch. 3: The Dwarf
“Oh, I’m a dangerous criminal, I am,” said the Dwarf cheerfully.
Two thoughts came into his head at the same moment. One was a thought of terror – “He’s not a real man, not a man at all, he’s a Dwarf, and he’s brought me up here to kill me.” The other was sheer delight – “There are real Dwarfs still, and I’ve seen one at last.”Ch. 4: The Dwarf Tells of Prince Caspian
“Back there among the Humans the people who laughed at Aslan would have laughed at stories about Talking Beasts and Dwarfs. Sometimes I did wonder if there really was such a person as Aslan: but then sometimes I wondered if there were really people like you. Yet there you are.”Ch. 5: Caspian’s Adventure in the Mountains
“Our council at the Dancing Lawn must be a council of war.” He spoke in such a voice that neither Caspian nor the others hesitated for a moment: it now seemed to them quite possible that they might win a war and quite certain that they must wage one.Ch. 6: The People That Lived in Hiding
“You are my King. I know the difference between giving advice and taking orders. You’ve had my advice, and now it’s the time for orders.”Ch. 7: Old Narnia in Danger
It was not like the silly fighting you see with broad swords on the stage. It was not even like the rapier fighting which you sometimes see rather better done. This was real broad-sword fighting.Ch. 8: How They Left the Island
“Oh, Trees, wake, wake, wake. Don’t you remember it? Don’t you remember me? Dryads and Hamadryads, come out, come to me.”Ch. 9: What Lucy Saw
“…every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”Ch. 10: The Return of the Lion
“Son of Earth, shall we be friends?” asked Aslan.Ch. 11: The Lion Roars
“Ye—he—he—hes,” panted the Dwarf, for he had not yet got his breath back.
“I’m a beast and we don’t change. I’m a badger, what’s more, and we hold on.”Ch. 12: Sorcery and Sudden Vengeance
“Sire,” said Reepicheep. “My life is ever at your command, but my honor is my own.”Ch. 13: The High King in Command
She said, “Oh, Aslan! I knew it was true. I’ve been waiting for this all my life. Have you come to take me away?”Ch. 14: How All Were Very Busy
“Yes, dearest,” said Aslan. “But not the long journey yet.”
The best thing of all about this feast was that there was no breaking up or going away, but as the talk grew quieter and slower, one after another would begin to nod and finally drop off to sleep with feet towards the fire and good friends on either side…Ch. 15: Aslan Makes a Door in the Air
Listen to our chapter-by-chapter Prince Caspian book commentaries.
Hard to believe it was that long ago. Some have argued that Prince Caspian was inspired by Shakespeare’s well known play, Hamlet. Since CS Lewis was a literary scholar, he would obviously know about Shakespeare’s plays.
There’s no doubt C. S. Lewis was familiar with Hamlet. (I believe he wrote an essay on it.) But it’s pretty ridiculous to say Prince Caspian was “inspired by” Hamlet. The only plot point they have in common is that the villain kills the main character’s father and take their throne, then tries to the kill said main character. And these plot points are handled totally differently. Hamlet’s father was killed when he was a young man, shortly before the beginning of the play. He has a lot of memories of him and a personal resentment of his murderer/successor. Caspian was a baby when his father was killed or possibly still in the womb. And Claudius only tries to kill Hamlet after Hamlet starts trying to kill him. Miraz wants to kill Caspian as soon as he has his own heir. This is before Caspian even knows Miraz killed his father. Avenging his father is pretty much Hamlet’s whole motivation. It’s only a small part of Caspian’s. The two stories have nothing in common tonally or thematically.
It’s clear to me that when Lewis sat down to write Prince Caspian, he set out to write a story about Narnia, after having been conquered by ordinary people for many years, reasserts its magic, not a story about a prince whose uncle kills his father. Instead of saying he was probably inspired by Hamlet, it’d be better to say he was influenced by it. (Even that’s a bit of a stretch IMO.)
That argument could be too. Though I don’t think CS Lewis never specified how old Caspian X was when Miraz killed Caspian IX… but it’s possible that he still was an infant or still inside his mother’s body. Either way, I don’t think he ever knew his parents.
One of the things I disliked about the movie was that they aged Caspian up. I found it hard to believe that at the age they were trying to portray him that he wouldn’t have had some understanding of who Miraz really was and the different intrigues that were going on in the court. He just didn’t come across as innocent as Caspian was supposed to be.
One of my favorite things about Prince Caspian the book was that Caspian didn’t have any other motive than to return Narnia to its truth. I think an older Caspian might not have been so so clear.