Literature: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

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.


This book provides examples of:

  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: Reepicheep. Inverted with Ramandu and his daughter.
  • Badass Adorable: Reepicheep, to Lucy at least. He doesn't think much of being called "adorable", though.
  • Barefoot Sage: Coriakin and Ramandu.
  • Blessed With Suck/Mythology: There's a lake (underground in the film, but not in the book) which has the Midas curse upon it.
  • 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.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Governor Gumpas's official honorific is not "His Excellency" but "His Sufficiency."
  • Diary: Eustace keeps one while aboard the Dawn Treader. His entries are filled with Self-Serving Memory to a comical level.
  • Dirty Coward: The Dufflepuds.
  • 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.
  • The Drag-Along: Eustace, and he gladly makes his opinion known.
  • 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.
  • Flipping the Table: Drinian and Bern do this to Gumpas' table, to get his attention.
  • Fountain of Youth: Ramadu, a retired sun, is brought a fire berry every day that takes a little of his age. This will happen until he is a newborn baby and he can rise again.
  • Fridge Horror: Deathwater Island, in-universe.
  • Genius Bruiser/Smart People Play Chess: Reepicheep is a good player—as long as he doesn't project his own character onto the pieces.
  • Genre Blindness: "Most of us know what we should expect to find in a dragon's lair, but, as I said before, Eustace had read only the wrong books"
    • Also, from the movie:
    Caspian: Everyone knows not to touch a dragon's treasure.
    Eustace: (Death Glare glares)
    Caspian: Well, everyone from here.
  • Gold Fever: Deathwater Island
  • Green-Eyed Monster: One temptation Lucy suffers when reading the magician's book.
  • Gunboat Diplomacy: The Lone Islands
  • Heroic Vow: Caspian made one at his coronation to search for the seven missing lords of Telmar.
  • Hey, You!: Eustace calls his parents by their first names.
  • I Just Want to Be Beautiful: It is revealed that Lucy envies her sister's beauty.
  • 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.)
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Eustace argues that the men should use less water while working because their perspiration would cool them down, so they would need less water. Ignoring the fact that the whole reason you need more water when warm is that you lose more in sweat... oh, and that perspiration would, at best, keep temperature at normal, rather than cooling down beyond normal. Despite reading a lot of non-fiction, Eustace actually doesn't have that much raw intellectual firepower.
    • 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.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The sailors' reaction upon realizing what "dreams come true" really means.
    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.
  • Nightmare Sequence: "The Island Where Dreams Come True." Sounds great, until you remember that nightmares are dreams.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: His Sufficiency, Governor Gumpas.
  • 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.
  • Portal Picture
  • Real Dreams Are Weirder: The reason why the island where dreams come true is so horrifying. We're not told exactly what Eustace's worst nightmare is, but apparently it involves a giant pair of scissors.
  • Reality Warping Is Not a Toy: The Island Where Dreams Come True.
  • 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.
  • Send in the Search Team
  • 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.
  • Slave Liberation: Caspian does this at the Lone Islands.
  • Spoiled Brat: It's discussed that Eustace is such a pill before his Heel-Face Turn because of vapid "modern" educational and parenting theories that over-indulged his sense of self-importance.
  • Super Fun Happy Thing of Doom: The "Island Where Dreams Come True." Dreams, as in nightmares.
  • Take That: At modern educational and childrearing techniques that produce such a brat as Eustace.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: But — we really want to know what kinds of sins a star can commit.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: Coriakin's Great Big Book of Everything. Also a bit of Forbidden Fruit, in regards to some spells.
  • Unfortunate Names: "There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it." In the next book, after Eustace's Jerk Face Turn, Lewis introduces him with "but he wasn't a bad sort."
    • Written by a man named "Clive Staples," who vastly preferred to be called "Jack."
  • Unreliable Narrator: The excerpts from Eustace's Travel Diary present him as tragically put-upon by arrogant prigs who willfully refuse to see him as the voice of reason in every situation. Yeah, we're sure that's exactly how it happened.
  • 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.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: When they find the table with the sleepers, they do not eat the feast in case that was what caused them to fall asleep, but this turns out not to be the case and the food is safe to eat.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: "The Island Where Dreams Come True." (Unlike most places described by the phrase, emphatically not a nice place to visit.)

Alternative Title(s):

The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader, Voyage Of The Dawn Treader