Friday, April 29, 2005

Deathwater Island

"All the same," said Caspian, "we may as well test it." He stooped down and wrenched up a spray of heather. Then, very cautiously, he knelt beside the pool and dipped it in. It was heather that he dipped; what he drew out was a perfect model of heather made of the purest gold, heavy and soft as lead.

"The King who owned this island," said Caspian slowly, and his face flushed as he spoke, "would soon be the richest of all the Kings of the world. I claim this land for ever as a Narnian possession. It shall be called Goldwater Island. And I bind all of you to secrecy. No one must know of this. Not even Drinian - on pain of death, do you hear?"

"Who are you talking to?" said Edmund. "I'm no subject of yours. If anything it's the other way round. I am one of the four ancient sovereigns of Narnia and you are under allegiance to the High King my brother."

"So it has come to that, King Edmund, has it?" said Caspian, laying his hand on his sword-hilt.

"Oh, stop it, both of you," said Lucy. "That's the worst of doing anything with boys. You're all such swaggering, bullying idiots - oooh! -" Her voice died away into a gasp. And everyone else saw what she had seen.

Across the grey hillside above them - grey, for the heather was not yet in bloom - without noise, and without looking at them, and shining as if he were in bright sunlight though the sun had in fact gone in, passed with slow pace the hugest lion that human eyes have ever seen. In describing the scene Lucy said afterwards, "He was the size of an elephant," though at another time she only said, "The size of a cart-horse." But it was not the size that mattered. Nobody dared to ask what it was. They knew it was Aslan.

And nobody ever saw how or where he went. They looked at one another like people waking from sleep.

"What were we talking about?" said Caspian. "Have I been making rather an ass of myself?"

"Sire," said Reepicheep, "this is a place with a curse on it. Let us get back on board at once. And if I might have the honour of naming this island, I should call it Deathwater."
~C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)

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Cool link of the day: All sorts of Narnia Map links


4 Comment(s):

At Fri Apr 29, 02:00:00 PM EST, Blogger Joelle said...

It's one of those chapters that prompts questions such as, "so am I allowed to say curse because they did in Narnia?" ;)

THAT is a conversation I would rather not repeat with the lil sis.

 
At Fri Apr 29, 04:51:00 PM EST, Anonymous Kimi said...

I love the way Aslan appears and saves them from temptation. They all see him, but it's *Lucy* who sees him first, and I get the feeling that the others might not have seen him had she not been there (remember the scene in Prince Caspian, when they see Aslan one by one? Lucy first and Susan last?)

Luct walks very close to Aslan in her heart, and that makes her more open to the help he is always ready to give.

 
At Fri Apr 29, 09:27:00 PM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

Does Lucy even succumb to the spell of greed that falls upon Caspian and Edmund? I mean, she's really annoyed that they are quarreling, but that seems like a natural reaction to the situation.

 
At Fri Apr 29, 10:46:00 PM EST, Blogger Bob said...

Perhaps not greed, but she certainly is convinced of her own superiority, isn't she? "That's the worst of doing anything with boys. You're all such swaggering, bullying idiots..." Not the gentle words of a humble spirit, those.

Kimi, I am enchanted by the thought that if Lucy had not been present, Aslan might not have been noticed by the others. I think you are quite right.

I only have one problem with this particular scene. Lewis presents this narrative with the implication that it has been told to him by Lucy, but then he tells us that Aslan drives all knowledge of what the island was out of their heads. Then how does he know what truly happened? Neh. A small point and Lewis probably wasn't trying to make everything perfectly consistent in that regard. But it still bothers me every time I read it.

 

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