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The third installment of The Chronicles of Narnia and the fifth book chronologically, which takes place a year later in Earth-time (and 3 years later in Narnia Time) since the previous installment, Prince Caspian. Along with an unpleasant cousin Eustace Scrubb, Edmund and Lucy return to Narnia and travel with now-King Caspian to the edge of the world, where he is searching for exiled Telmarine lords who were loyal to his father. On the journey, their cousin is turned into a dragon, and they encounter many wonders on an adventurous voyage, at the end of which, Lucy and Edmund, like Peter and Susan in the last book, are told they will never return to Narnia.Much of the book is inspired by The Odyssey, with analogous scenes and plot elements.Note that unmarked spoilers follow for viewers of the film who have not read the book, which is one of the series' most popular installments.
Captain Obvious: The entire race of Dufflepuds are prone to this, with such astute observations as water is powerfully wet.
Captain's Log: Eustace keeps a Diary while aboard the Dawn Treader, and a couple of episodes from the story are told using his journal entries, and completely from his point of view.
Constellations: A brief scene has the Pevensies looking at the Narnian night sky and identifying constellations they'd seen on their previous trips. They're completely different from Earth's.
Cursed with Awesome: Eustace gets magically transformed into a dragon, but treats the whole situation as something rather dreary and depressing. Then again, this is probably expected, as Eustace is the kind of person who considers going on a magical sea voyage in a fantasy land a thoroughly unpleasant affair.
Plus there's that golden bracelet stuck on his arm. Now that he's grown bigger, the bracelet is way too small and it causes Eustace a lot of pain until he's changed back into a human via Aslan's help.
He does consider the good side of being a dragon, but quickly realizes that he doesn't want it. It's an essential part of his Character Development.
He also realizes (no matter how hard they try to hide it from him) that his huge size would cause a lot of trouble for the crew, making it nearly impossible to bring him along, but he also knows that they wouldn't leave him. In short, he feels guilty that he is causing his friends so much trouble.
The Ditz: An entire race of them with the Dufflepuds.
"Aye, you're right! No one could be righter than you!"
Does Not Like Shoes: In the book, Coriakin, Ramandu and, judging from the illustration, his daughter. It was also mentioned that Lucy didn't mind going barefoot on board a ship, or walking on the grassy isle of Doorn barefooted. Her lack of shoes is justified as she kicked them off in the beginning while treading water in the Great Ocean. She does eventually get shoes again.
Dragon Hoard: Eustace stumbles upon one while the dragon is absent. He falls asleep on top of it, and is transformed into a dragon himself.
Dwindling Party: The previous expedition by the seven lost Telmarine Lords appears to have played out this way, with one after another either abandoning their quest or succumbing to its various perils.
Eccentric Mentor: Coriakin, most notably his penchant for going barefoot all the time. It is also hinted that he has a quirky sense of humor: he has a bearded mirror in his mansion (which could be used to prank his visitors), and he turned the Duffers into Monopods (probably for amusement, except other reasons).
Eldritch Location: Pretty much every island after the Lone Islands is a sliding scale of Eldritch, even by Narnia standards, particularly The Utter East and Aslans Country.
Impossibly Delicious Food: The water from the sea at the End of the World isn't just sweet and drinkable, it's all the crew needs for sustenance.
Irony: Caspian says that in Narnia they have fairy tales about places where the world is round.
Island of Mystery: Several of them. One of them has invisible inhabitants and a sorcerer, one has a dragon's lair, another has water that turns anything that falls in to gold, and the last has three old men in an eternal sleep and is inhabited by a star.
Karmic Transformation: Eustace sees a dragon moving toward him, which dies shortly thereafter. He walks past the fallen beast into its lair, and, finding a hoard of treasure, steals a ring and promptly falls asleep, dreaming of plunder and thinking "dragonish" thoughts. He awakens to find that he has become a dragon, and spends a short while in this state. When he re-establishes contact with the group, he exiles himself during meals, so that nobody has to watch the gory spectacle of him dining. (The Anvilicious undertones are downplayed in the film version.)
Keep Circulating the Tapes: When Lewis was checking the book over for publication in America, he made several changes, mostly in the Isle of Dreams sequence (the original British had the island entirely disappear; in the revised version it was stated to still exist). In 1994, when a new publishing company took over, they used the British text in the American printings, so the original American text is now getting hard to find.
In the same argument, he fails to grasp that continuing east after the storm in search of land is the only viable option for restocking the ship, because they cannot cover the distance back without a similar tempest before the water runs out. He instead decries it as "wishful thinking."
This is lampshaded by Edmund in the movie, via limerick:
There once was a boy known as Eustace/Who read books full of facts that were useless ...
Made a Slave: The main characters after being kidnapped in the Lone Islands.
Magic Map: Coriakin creates a map for King Caspian, depicting the voyage to date with supernatural accuracy, including photo-realistic details (in a setting where photography doesn't exist!) on the cities, when viewed under a magnifying glass.
Magic Pants: Not literally with pants, but the idea behind this trope is still averted when the bracelet Eustace is wearing doesn't transform to the size of a dragon limb when Eustace transforms into a dragon. His other clothes, along with a bunch of jewels in his pockets, have disappeared when he reverts to being a human - fortunately, Aslan provides him with a new set of clothes when he changes Eustace back. The bracelet (and new set of clothes) remain in the film version, although the rest of Eustace's clothes are instead discovered loose (and slightly singed) among the dragon's treasure.
The stranger started horribly at the voice of the Mouse, which he had not noticed before. 'Nevertheless you will fly from here,' he gasped. 'This is the Island where Dreams come true.'
'That's the island I've been looking for this long time,' said one of the sailors. 'I reckoned I'd find I was married to Nancy if we landed here.'
'And I'd find Tom alive again,' said another.
'Fools!" said the man, stamping his foot with rage. 'That is the sort of talk that brought me here, and I'd better have been drowned or never born. Do you hear what I say? This is where dreams - dreams, do you understand, come to life, come real. Not daydreams: Dreams!'
There was about half a minute’s silence and then, with a great clatter of armor, the whole crew were tumbling down the main hatch as quick as they could and flinging themselves on the oars to row as they had never rowed before...
More Hero Than Thou: When the characters are threatened to make Lucy to do something, Lucy argues for doing it, and the boys that they should fight to defend her.
OOC Is Serious Business: When the ship is attacked by a giant sea serpent, Reepicheep yells at everyone to push the serpent off the boat rather than fight it. Since Reepicheep usually fights first and asks questions later, this is unusual enough to startle the rest of the ship's crew into helping him.
Our Mermaids Are Different: While traditional merfolk dwell in the sea coast of Narnia (as mentioned in LWW), the Dawn Treader Crew encounter a different kind: They are two-legged, bipedal humanoids with ivory skin and dark purple hair who wear no clothing except for royalty (who wear only capes and circlets). They ride on giant seahorses, use hunting fish like land hunters use hawks and falcons, and shepherd other kinds of fish as well.
Refuge in Audacity: Caspian cannot possibly wrest control of the Lone Islands from Gumpas and his slaver allies with the relatively small number of men he has with him on the Dawn Treader. So he makes a huge flashy show of his arrival to keep any of their enemies from realizing that. It works beautifully.
Reverse Psychology: How Caspian convinces his crew members to continue their voyage to the end of the world, while also averting the threat of mutiny. See Shaming the Mob, below.
Schmuck Banquet: The Island of the Star, or so the main characters assume: It actually is completely benign, and the only reason the Telmar lords were cursed to sleep was because they tried to grab the White Witch's stone knife on a corner.
Seven Deadly Sins: All explored in the book. The film even adds seven swords that must be collected.
Lucy lusts for beauty and attention like Susan.
The crew are tempted by greed of the pool that turns items to gold.
The inhabitants of the Lone Islands are slothful and lazy.
Eustace is proud and haughty when he first arrives.
The Dufflepuds envy the life they used to have.
The crew faces the wrath of the Dark Island.
The crew wish to remain at Aslan's table and eat the food there despite more sailing to be done (gluttony).
Alternately the slave traders at the Lone Islands are greedy, the desire to stay with the pool that turns things to gold and hoard all the golden possessions is a form of gluttony while the crew wishing to stop at Ramandu's island is slothful.
Shaming the Mob: Once they've gotten as far as Ramandu's island, the crewmen don't want to sail on any farther. Caspian counters this by announcing that being allowed to accompany him farther eastward is an honor that he's not sure any of them deserves.
Wacky Wayside Tribe: the Dufflepuds. As the journey mostly consists of random encounters, many others may also qualify. Justified, since one of the expedition's main goals is exploring Narnia's distant island provinces and see what's going on there.
Weird Sun: The sun gets larger,casts more light and appears to have tall mountains from Aslan's Country behind it.
What an Idiot: In-universe. The sea serpent mistakenly believes it destroyed the Dawn Treader and keeps searching the same patch of ocean for its wreckage, instead of noticing it sailing away.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Used with an actual mouse. It is implied, but not explicitly stated, that Reepicheep made it to Aslan's country. We don't know if he reached it successfully in his boat after going over the giant wave, or died in the attempt and went to Heaven the old-fashioned way; the book simply states that after that moment, no one could claim to have seen him again.
It's explicitly shown in the BBC version, where his boat floats up the waterfall to Aslan's Country.
In the last book, he is there and greets everyone.
We never find out exactly what happened to Lord Octesian; the characters guess that he was either eaten by the dragon or turned into a dragon on Dragon Island, but the only clue they have is his bracelet. (In the movie, however, Eustace finds his bones.)
What the Hell, Hero?: Caspian in his Pride wants to stay at the end of the world; the entire crew and even Aslan calls him out on abandoning his responsibilities and promises.
Actor Allusion: An unusual, possibly coincidental example — Nathaniel Parker makes a brief appearance as the "ghost" of Prince Caspian's father. Previously in Stardust Ben Barnes, who plays Caspian, and Nathaniel Parker had played different-aged versions of the same character.
The seven Lords having swords associated with Aslan. At the time when they set sail, Aslan was known only as a myth believed by fantastical creatures and as a likely enemy to Telmarines like them.
Averted when the Dufflepuds come to get Lucy to recite the spell to make them visible (only a female or the book's owner can cause spells to work), one of them notes that Gael is also a girl. However, the Dufflepuds then note that Lucy has a book next to her, indicating that she knows how to read, and kidnap her.
Beneath the Mask: The darkness tempts the main characters, showing their hidden desires.
Edmund is still resentful of always being number 2 and he reveals his hidden envy of Peter and Caspian. He still secretly desires to have absolute power. He gets better however.
Lucy secretly isn't happy with herself and she envies her older sister's beauty and life to the point that she wishes she had her sister's life. She gets better.
Caspian is still broken over Susan and is borderline obsessed with the Pevensies and the world they come from, almost to the point of living between worlds. His issues with his father are also still completely unresolved. He gets better too.
Chewing the Scenery: Eustace's temper tantrum upon coming aboard the Dawn Treader, and arguably a few other occurrences. This didn't stop with Will Poulter's physical acting; even when lacking the ability to speak, our dragon friend manages the odd nibble.
Color-Coded Patrician: King Caspian always wears a purple shirt or tunic. The exact shade is very close to the royal purple worn in the past by nobility.
Composite Character: Goldwater Island and Dragon Island have been combined into a single volcanic isle.
Lilliandil: If [my beauty] is a distraction, I can change form.
Caspian and Edmund: NO!
Does Not Know His Own Strength: Tavros the Minotaur; while laughing with another crew member at Eustace's expense, he pats the man on his back with enough force for him to bump against the boat.
Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: Played with. Caspian and Edmund warn the sailors of eating the food at Aslan's Table, believing it to be a Schmuck Banquet which has already made the three remaining Lords fall into enchanted sleep. When Lilliandil arrives, however, she tells them that the food is free for the taking, and the enchanted sleep had a different origin entirely. (The novel has a similar scene but doesn't employ this trope, as nobody from the Dawn Treader is willing to touch the food until Ramandu's daughter tells them it's safe.)
Dragon Rider: Reepicheep spends a good deal of scenes on top of Eustace's head.
Dream Within a Dream: Lucy dreams that she is Susan and that she is in the USA with her only two siblings, Peter and Edmund. She wakes up from this dream to have Aslan appearing in a mirror and talking to her. Then she wakes up from this dream- and is now awake in the real world.
Early-Bird Cameo: Aunt Alberta mentions Jill Pole at the end of the film, though this makes little sense in the story because Eustace and Jill hated each other at that time — she'd never come to visit.
Which sadly may go nowhere, as the next book to be adapted is "The Magician's Nephew" due to its being more popular than "The Silver Chair," and if it doesn't make enough money, the film series is dead.
That said, if Magician's Nephew proves profitable, then they'll need to adapt The Silver Chair in order to better develop Eustace for his leading role in The Last Battle.
Empty Piles of Clothing: When looking for Eustace, Edmund and Caspian come across the dragon's treasure hoard, the remains of one Telmar lord, and Eustace's discarded (and slightly singed) clothing.
Failed a Spot Check: Once again, Lucy is the only person paying attention enough to notice the Mermaid following the ship, suddenly stop in its tracks and start to silently scream "Don't go that way! TURN BACK!"
Foreshadowing: At various points in the film, Edmund brings up the idea of the ship running into a sea monster. So guess whose deepest fear Dark Island uses to create one?
Furry Confusion: In-universe example — the crew laugh at Eustace for talking to some random seagull and expecting it to talk back.
Genre Savvy: Toyed with. After he gets over the shock of being in Narnia, Eustace often assumes things and invokes fantasy conventions, and when they look at him confused points out they're forgetting this is a magical land. Why not?
A distinct change from the book, where Eustace (due to "reading the wrong books") is subject to utter Genre Blindness.
Green-Eyed Monster: The Mist is a literal monster made manifest by this trope, sharing this colour and bringing out hidden envy in several character, as envy is also a form of the desires it exploits.
It is rather explicitly green... which means it may be clever Foreshadowing for the Lady of the Green Kirtle/the Emerald Witch of The Silver Chair, the next installment of the Chronicles.
Which, in turn, would turn the sea serpent into a bit of foreshadowing as well.
Confirmed by Word of God: The Lady of the Green Kirtle is behind the green mist.
Incest Subtext: An accidental one, the scene at the beginning of the movie where Lucy does a gesture that is meant for flirting right in front of Edmund. For the people who haven't read the books and didn't know Lucy's actual intentions, that scene accidentally implied that Lucy actually intended to flirt with him, until the explanation was given later.
It should be noted however that while she did do it in front of him, she was certainly not doing it AT him. She actually looked startled and embarrassed when he asked her what she was doing.
Yeah, but rewatch the scene when Lucy has Susan's body. The first person she sees is Edmund who walks with her arm in arm saying "You're beautiful, sister". Think of this. And Peter even joins them.
Informed Attractiveness: Lucy is jealous of Susan's beauty. Then again this is mostly a case of sibling rivalry so it's justified either way.
It's more to do with Susan being taken to America and having boys chasing her. Lucy just assumes it's because of Susan's looks.
To clarify, in Christian theology, Lucifer was known as the Morning Star. Due to his rebellion and Fall, he abdicated the right to both his name ("Light Bringer") and title; and the title of Morning Star was given to Jesus after His incarnation as human, death, and resurrection.
The Load: Eustace until the point mid-story when he has his very own Anvilicious adventure in character development. He starts the voyage as a complaining selfish prig. The "Eustace's journal" portion of the book is a scarily effective portrait of self-delusion and self-righteousness.
Mind Rape: Every interaction Edmund has with the Mist in the White Witch's form has shades of this.
Mirror Monster: A rare heroic example; after Lucy wakes up from her nightmare, Aslan appears next to her in the reflection.
Although this may just reflect the fact that he's been King of Narnia for a good few years and has simply picked up the natives' (very British) accents, or even emulated them on purpose as a gesture of solidarity. After all, he is a Telmarine king.
Depending on your perception of the Caspian/Edmund relationship they might be this, what with the frankly baffling decisions Caspian (the king) makes in regards to Edmund (follows him into unknown danger on the Dragon Island, the aforementioned diving save, the eye contact during Caspian's Rousing Speech).
Edmund and Caspian become like brothers, but their friendship always takes a backseat to Edmund's concern and care for Lucy, when his Big Brother Instinct kicks in. Basically, Lucy is the most important person to Edmund, as his first priority is to take care of her and keep her safe. The same for Lucy, who constantly looks for her brother.
Not Quite Dead: Eustace. Edmund and Caspian find his charred clothes and thought he died. He didn't.
Oxbridge: The real life parts of the film are set in Cambridge and feature some nice shots of the colleges.
Our Mermaids Are Different: In the beginning of the film, Lucy meets a group of aquatic beings in the ocean as she did near the end of the book. However the film replaces the ivory skinned, purple haired Sea People with naiads. While naiads where mentioned in the book versions of the first two films, they were omitted almost entirely save for the River God in the second film. The film naiads are basically similar to the mermaids that appeared near the end of the first film, except instead of being made of flesh, blood, bone, and scale like traditional mermaids, they are made entirely of non-dissolving liquid. The books and classical mythology state that naiads are fresh water nymphs and salt water nymphs are nereids and oceanids. The books and mythology also NEVER state that water nymphs have fish tails. Also falls under Sadly Mythtaken.
Passing the Torch: Suggested in Aslan's farewell to Eustace: "Narnia may yet need you..."
Pet the Dog: When Reepicheep sees dragon Eustace crying and unable to sleep, he offers to stay up with him and tell him about some of his adventures.
Plank Gag: A variant of this old gag is used here: Eustace is attempting to set an oar in a rowboat, nearly loses his balance, and swings it about, knocking out a pirate leader who was sneaking up behind him with a knife.
Pragmatic Adaptation: The film's main plot, about the mist of evil and gathering the swords, has no basis in the book series at all. On the other hand, the mist and swords help to tie everything together - the original book was a series of short stories tied together by the eponymous boat, the same characters, and the fact that they were trying to find the seven Lords. With the addition of the mist, it gave the story a kind of nebulous Big Bad of a sort.
The naiads. Naked sea people probably wouldn't fly in a family film these days.
Ramming Always Works: The crew attempts this against the gigantic sea serpent — but actually succeeds in only making it angry.
Rousing Speech: Caspian gives one to the crew as they sail into Dark Island, and Reepicheep gives one to dragon Eustace as he tries to flee from the giant sea serpent.
Satellite Love Interest: Ramandu's daughter only appears in the last chapter and exists largely to be beautiful and provide exposition. She doesn't even warrant a name of her own. She marries Caspian and we're informed that they live happily ever after.
Until she gets nommed by a snake and provides the inciting incident for The Silver Chair.
Shout-Out: The closing credits are made up of the original illustrations from the book.
Throw the Book at Them: In the melee with the slavers, there's a blink-and-you-miss-it moment when Lucy clocks two of them upside the head with their own ledger.
Throw the Dog a Bone: Presumably because Eustace remains a dragon for a much longer length of time in the movie than he does in the book, Lucy gets the bracelet off him right away, rather than having it stuck on his foreleg and causing him considerable pain the whole time he's transformed.
Took a Level in Badass: Eustace, with the encouragement of Reepicheep overcomes his fears and beats the crap out of the Sea-Serpent, then later saves the day by overcoming the Mist and laying the Seventh Sword on the table.
Also Lucy, who goes from not fighting at all onscreen in the first film, to drawing her dagger with Aslan at her side in the second, to a successful close-quarters combatant on this occasion.
Two Girls to a Team: The film adaptation added a young Narnian girl named Gael who becomes Lucy's friend on the ship. Susan appears in the film as well, but only as a cameo.
Visible Invisibility: Actually, the Dufflepuds are completely invisible, even to the audience. One can tell roughly where they are, however, by the footprints they leave and the 'puff' of crystallising breath in the cold air when they speak.
Vocal Evolution: Eustace's voice grows softer and less-irritating after he returns from being a Dragon.