Literature / Prince Caspian

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The second installment in The Chronicles of Narnia and the fourth book chronologically. A year after the events of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the four Pevensie siblings are summoned back to Narnia, where a thousand years have passed from the perspective of that world's relative time flow. Narnia has mostly been overrun by the descendants of an exiled group of pirates from Earth called the Telmarines (now ruled by the usurper Miraz), but the rightful heir, his nephew Caspian, has magically summoned Narnian help, receiving it in the form of the Pevensies. Once the Telmarines have been beaten back and Caspian proclaimed king, Peter and Susan are told they are now too old ever to return to Narnia.

This book provides examples of:

  • Agony of the Feet: Reepicheep and his people inflict this on the Telmarine soldiers during battle.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism : In Prince Caspian, Edmund is the only one to remember that Lucy was right about Narnia in the previous book, while Peter and Susan - who ought to know better - are reluctant to believe her when she says she's seen Aslan.
    • Trumpkin, the dwarf who lives with a talking badger, is skeptical about magic in general, prophecies in particular and the existence of mysterious saviors specifically.
  • Artistic License Biology: Reepicheep the talking mouse has lost his tail in battle, and he argues with Aslan over whether it needs to be regrown. Both of them seem to think a mouse's tail has no practical value, and is of use only as a badge of honor or vanity, but the tails of mice and rats are actually important thermoregulatory structures, without which he'd be quite vulnerable to heat stroke.
  • Badass Beard: The Telmarines. It comes with the pirate territory.
  • Badass Boast: Courtesy of the Werewolf:
    I am hunger. I'm thirst. Where I bite, I hold till I die, and even after death they must cut out my mouthful from my enemy's body and bury it with me. I can fast a hundred years and not die. I can lie a hundred nights on the ice and not freeze. I can drink a river of blood and not burst. Show me your enemies."
  • Big Bad: Miraz.
  • Combat by Champion: Peter versus Miraz.
  • Cool Gate: "The Door in the Air" — it leads wherever Aslan wants it to lead.
  • Decapitated Army: Subverted. Miraz's death doesn't lead to Telmarine surrender - in fact, the lords doctored his murder to look like he's been traitorously killed by Narnians and motivate the Telmarine army to fight.
  • Deus ex Machina: Aslan comes in during the last battle to help the Narnians win after they began to lose hope.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: After arriving in Narnia, Lucy and Edmund, despite being told it will be cold come the night and not knowing what they could come across, decide to explore barefoot for no reason at all.
  • Doomed Hometown: The Pevensies materialize near some mysterious ruins and are devastated to realize that it is their beloved and proud palace of Cair Paravel... 1300 years later.
  • Due to the Dead: When Nikabrik is killed, Peter orders that his body be given to the Dwarfs for funeral rites. The hag and the werewolf are not accorded the same respect.
  • Evil Uncle: Miraz, to Caspian.
  • Flynning: Subverted. Lewis is careful to tell his young readers that what Caspian is taught isn't fencing but sword-fighting, which only superficially resembles the former.
  • Gender Flip: The BBC adaptation cast a woman to play Trufflehunter the badger.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Nikabrik sees the Telmarine occupation as crossing this, which makes him willing to resurrect the White Witch to defeat them if Aslan doesn't do the job.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Cornelius is mostly dwarf with some human blood.
  • Herald: Caspian with Susan's horn.
  • Hollywood Torches: Spectacularly averted when the kids try (and fail) to make one of these before going down to the treasure chamber. Eventually they have to fall back on an electric torch (flashlight) that Edmund happened to have in his schoolbag.
  • Honor Before Reason: Reepicheep in a nutshell. Peter picks up on this, and uses it let him down easy when he insists on acting as champion in the duel with Miraz. It's not the fact that he stands no chance, it's that some humans are afraid of mice so it would be cheating.
  • It Was a Gift
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Nikibrik pointing out the flaw in the thinking that the Magic Horn is Too Awesome to Use. The other characters actually agree with his criticism and decide that he's right and that they should use the horn sooner rather than later - which is what turns out to set in motion the events of the entire book.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down
  • Legendary in the Sequel: Played with. Thanks to Narnia Time, the characters and events of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe are regarded as legends or even Fairy Tales. The Pevensies' reappearance is compared to what it would be like if King Arthur returned to present-day Britain.
  • The Masquerade: Old Narnians whom the Telmarines consider fairy tales live in hiding.
  • Narnia Time: The book lays out the remaining rules for this. While The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe established the "time does not pass on Earth while you are in Narnia" rule, this is the book that codifies "while you are not in Narnia, any amount of time may pass in Narnia."
  • A Protagonist Shall Lead Them: The Pevensies.
  • Race Lift: Sort of. The Telmarines' race was never mentioned in the book but they are implied to be white - as Prunaprismia is described as red haired. The film makes them appear Mediterranean and Word of God says this is to reflect their pirate origins.
  • Really 700 Years Old: From the Narnian perspective, about fifty generations have gone by. The Pevensies are legends.
    • Also brought up humorously regarding Aslan, by the good-hearted but skeptical Trumpkin:
    Trumpkin: A rather elderly lion by now, if he's someone you knew when you were here before.
  • Reasoning with God: Reepicheep manages to convince Aslan to miraculously restore his severed tail. In a slight aversion, Aslan is persuaded not by Reepicheep's logic or appeals to dignity, but by the love the other talking mice show for their Chief when they prepare to cut off their own tails rather than have an honor that is denied to the chief mouse.
  • Reverse Psychology: How Miraz is goaded into accepting Peter's challenge even though it was to his advantage not to duel. In the book, he seems not to realise that he's being manipulated, while in the movie he's clearly aware of it, but feels he has to do it anyway to save face.
  • Sacred Hospitality: Trufflehunter raises this point when he and the dwarves first take in Caspian.
  • Secondary Character Title: Despite the story focusing on restoring Caspian to the throne, he's definitely secondary to the Pevensies.
  • Sequel Hook: There is brief mention in the novel of seven lords who were loyal to Caspian IX who were unafraid of the sea. Searching for these lords is the impetus for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Specifically between Susan and Lucy. Susan believes Aslan favors Lucy; Peter takes Susan's side in an important argument because she's older and talking logically, while Lucy's suggestion makes no (visible) sense. The film plays it up even more.
  • Smug Snake: Miraz, mildly.
  • Sour Supporter: Trumpkin.
  • Spare to the Throne: In the backstory, Miraz, who killed Caspian's father to take the throne. In a way, he kept Caspian alive afterwards to function as this - if Miraz would die, at least the crown would stay in the family. The event that kicks off the main plot is that Miraz has a son, who would become this trope to Caspian... unless Caspian were to die first.
  • The Starscream: Glozelle stabs Miraz to death, as revenge for his ex-leader insulting him before the duel with Peter takes place. He and Sopespian both end up killed in battle. An example of Laser-Guided Karma, no doubt, particularly when you realize that they probably intended to do the same to Miraz's son, who had just been born.
  • Static Character: All of Narnia's Talking Beasts, according to Trufflehunter the badger.
    Trufflehunter: I tell you, we don't change, we beasts . . . We don't forget.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: All the Narnians from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe are dead... from old age... hundreds of years ago.
  • Tearjerker: The Pevensies' sad realization that all their friends from the first book/movie are long gone.
  • Time Skip: The sequel starts one year after the Pevensies' adventures in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The same Time Skip has been much, much greater in Narnia.
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet: Peter issues a formally-worded challenge to Miraz, in which he establishes his credentials as High King, lists the crimes for which he plans to hold Miraz accountable, declares his intention to "prove upon your Lordship's body" Caspian's rightful claim to the throne, and concludes by giving the year as the first year of Caspian's reign as though his victory is a forgone conclusion.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Caspian is reluctant to use Susan's horn since there might be an even greater need for it in the future. Nikabrik points out that, by that argument, he will never use it until it is too late.
  • Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: The aforementioned challenge to Miraz opens with a greeting which includes every one of Peter's multiple titles, juxtaposed with Miraz's more meager credentials.
    Peter, by the gift of Aslan, by election, by prescription, and by conquest, High King over all Kings in Narnia, Emperor of the Lone Islands and Lord of Cair Paravel, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Lion, to Miraz, Son of Caspian the Eighth, sometime Lord Protector of Narnia and now styling himself King of Narnia, Greeting.
    • And then Peter throws in Edmund's laundry list of titles and credentials for good measure, just to rub it in.
    ...our well-beloved and royal brother Edmund, sometime King under us in Narnia, Duke of Lantern Waste and Count of the Western March, Knight of the Noble Order of the Table...
  • Two Girls to a Team: Susan and Lucy.
  • Undying Loyalty: Trufflehunter is contrasted with his Dwarf housemates. He still believes in Aslan and still feels he owes fidelity to the legendary, long-lost Kings and Queens.
  • Unfriendly Fire: Miraz isn't killed by Peter, just knocked unconscious. A full-scale battle ensues, and a Telmarine Mauve Shirt the king insulted earlier finishes him off.
  • The Usurper: Miraz, younger brother to the rightful Telmarine king, Caspian IX (the title character is later crowned King Caspian X).
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Miraz's wife and son are never mentioned after Caspian's escape in the book. This creates a bit of a plot hole if you consider that, by Telmarine reckoning anyway, the baby is Miraz's rightful son and heir, yet no one even on Miraz's side takes him into account in their plans. The film shows them going to live on the Pacific island on Earth with the other Telmarines.
  • When Trees Attack: The Telmarines have a superstitious fear of the woods even in their 'sleeping' state. When Aslan awakens the trees and sends them into battle, panic and rout follow.
  • With Due Respect: Inverted: Trumpkin argues strongly against Caspian's plan and then volunteers to do the job he just argued against. He explains to the prince that having given advice, now it's time for him to take orders.

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