Friday, 10 December 2010

Newest Chronicles of Narnia Film Depicts Christians' Difficulties

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C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia book series is a fascinating allegory of Christian faith as it walks its reader through various tenets of Christianity. Recognizing both the mastery and implicit spirituality of the book series, Walden Media elected to portray the lively tales on the big screen, and thank goodness for that. Thus far, the films have artistically captured the strength of the novels, and the most recent installment, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, is a prime example of that.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is set one year after the events of the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. In this film, like the book, Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes) Pevensie are transported back to Narnia through an unusual painting that comes to life. To their initial disappointment, their cousin Eustace (Will Poulter), with whom they had been staying in England, accompanies them on their journey, seemingly by accident, though faith teaches us that nothing is by accident.

Upon entering Narnia, Lucy and Edmund are reunited with Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) for a sea trip on the Dawn Treader, a royal ship. Of course, the trip is not without a few obstacles here and there, like dragons, merfolk, dwarves, and some lost warriors.

For the first time in a long time, Narnia is without war and is at peace. That is not to say that all is well, however, as evil continues to lurk in a subtle, yet deadly, form on the Dark Island. Unfortunately, the evil spirits that have taken refuge there are free to roam and entice godly people into indulging their own ungodly desires.

In order to prevent evil from becoming an unstoppable force, Lucy, Edmund, and Caspian must embark on a quest to rescue seven lost lords, and restore the swords of the lost lords to where they belong: on Aslan’s Stone Table. Not only is the quest dangerous, but the evil spirits present themselves to the characters in the form of temptation and sin, potentially prohibiting our heroes from restoring the land of Narnia and defeating the evil spirits.

This particular book in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series was meant to represent the Christian’s walk in a fallen world, where temptation and sin permeate. Likewise, it is no coincidence that there are seven swords to be discovered, and that the temptations plaguing the journeyers are those of the Seven Deadly Sins.


While the physical adventures found in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader are in themselves capable of creating a cinematic masterpiece, it is the spiritual elements that set it apart from other enthralling, adventurous films like those of Harry Potter. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader personifies the difficulties of living a truly Christian life. Such a lesson is manifested in the physical transformation of one of the characters in the film from a dragon back into a human. The character describes the transformation as “sort of hurt, but was a good pain.” The same can be said of a Christian’s pursuit of his or her faith.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader emphasizes the importance of faith, as well as the power of prayer. It also reminds its viewers of the necessity of a noble existence, as the end result, for the characters, is eternity in Aslan’s country. For moviegoers, Aslan’s country is better known as Heaven.

At the end of the film, Edmund and Lucy learn that their encounter with Aslan will be their last earthly rendezvous. Aslan assures the saddened children, however, “I shall be watching you always. In your world, I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”

Aslan’s words are reassuring to the children, as they are comforted by the notion of reuniting with Aslan again one day, but the words also serve as a warning: There is only one way to Aslan’s country, and that is through Aslan. Similar words have been uttered by Jesus, who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

Despite the presence of fictional creatures and lands in the Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, it tells a very real story about life’s battles between good and evil. It is remarkable, enlightening, and a very worthy way to spend an afternoon this weekend.

Photo of Will Poulter: AP Images

Related article:

Chronicles of Narnia: Masterpiece of Christian Allegory

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