The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian - discussion guide
Author: Tony Watkins Keywords:
Trust, faith, belief, doubt, scepticism, self-confidence, suffering, God
Film title: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Director: Andrew Adamson
Screenplay: Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, based on the novel by C.S. Lewis
Starring: Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Peter Dinklage, Sergio Castellitto, Warwick Davis
Distributor: Walt Disney
Cinema Release Date: 16 May 2008 (USA); 26 June 2006 (UK)
Warning: This study guide contains some spoilers.
Prince Caspian is in danger. His uncle, the usurper Miraz (Sergio Castellitto), and his wife have had a baby boy. And Caspian (Ben Barnes), who should be king, stands in the way of Miraz’s ambitions for his son. Caspian flees the castle, hotly pursued by some of Miraz’s men. Deep in the forest, he falls from his horse and, feeling that he has no hope, blows a magic horn to summon assistance. Caspian doesn’t know it, but the horn has pulled Peter (William Moseley), Susan (Anna Popplewell), Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley) back into Narnia. It is just one year in our world since they fell out of the wardrobe after their first adventures in Narnia, but 1300 years have passed there. Trumpkin the dwarf (Peter Dinklage) warns them (and the viewers of the film), ‘You may find Narnia a more savage place than you remember’.
Not only is it more savage, but the magic has gone from the world. Narnia is now occupied by the Telmarines who oppress true Narnians, and Aslan has become little more than a fairytale. There are some, like Trumpkin, who think the old stories may be true but belong in the past. ‘Aslan?’ he exclaims. ‘I thought he abandoned us when you lot did.’ Others, like Nikabrik (Warwick Davis), have given up on Aslan and will turn to anything, however evil, if it will achieve the desired result. Yet there are some, like Trufflehunter (Ken Stott), who still believe in him. Despite all the difficulties of their circumstances, they are confident that he will rescue them. For most of Prince Caspian, Aslan remains in the background while his representatives, the Pevensie children, as kings and queens of Narnia, act on his behalf. After their years of experience in Narnia, they have gained enough wisdom and skill to do what needs to be done. They do what Aslan would want them to – as long as they trust him.
C.S. Lewis’s Prince Caspian was first published in 1951, the second of The Chronicles of Narnia to be written (though it is the fourth in terms of the chronology of the stories). It is the second film in The Chronicles of Narnia series from Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media, following The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005). Like the first film, it was directed by Andrew Adamson and scripted by him along with Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. It has a darker tone than the first film, reflecting the troubled situation in Narnia. It is also a more spectacular film, which has resulted in the addition of the sequence showing the assault on Miraz’s castle.
Questions for discussion
What did you particularly enjoy about The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian? How do you think it compares with The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?
If you have read C.S. Lewis’s novel, how does the film compare to the book? Which of the elements that were added in or removed do you think improve the story? Which of the additions or removals do you think are problematic?
How have the four Pevensie children changed since their first adventures in Narnia? Which of these are positive changes, and which are not?
Why are they so shocked at the changes in Narnia since they were last there? What do you think would have been the most disturbing aspects of the change?
How does Trumpkin respond to the Pevensies? What do you see as his significance in the story?
‘Get treated like a dumb animal for long enough, and that’s what you become.’ (Trufflehunter)
How has the Telmarine occupation affected Narnia and those who live there? What parallels do you with our own world?
How would you describe Caspian’s character? What did you like and dislike about him?
To what extent is Caspian a product of his Telmarine background? What aspects of his personality and behaviour are not typical of Telmarines? In what ways has Doctor Cornelius influenced him?
Why do you think Lucy has a special encounter with Aslan? In what ways is Aslan pleased with her? In what ways has she not done as she should?
What does this film say about the importance of small, young, insignificant or otherwise overlooked people? What examples can you think of within the film?
Why are Peter and Susan not inclined to believe Lucy about seeing Aslan? Why are they so disgruntled about not seeing him? What do they learn as a result?
Why do you think Aslan stays in the background in this story? What does Lucy mean when she says that maybe they had to prove themselves to Aslan, rather than him having to give some proof to them? How might this be true of our engagement with God?
‘It’s up to us, now. We’ve waited for Aslan long enough.’ (Peter)
Do you think Peter and Caspian were right to plan an assault on Miraz’s castle, even though it went wrong? What would you have done? What makes Peter and Caspian inclined to trust their own abilities, skills and instincts, rather than wait for Aslan to show them what to do?
Lucy insists that Aslan ‘must know what he’s doing.’ How easy would you have found it in this situation to have the same confidence? How easy do you find it to have this kind of trust in God in our world?
Why do you think Caspian’s feeling that he is not up to the job of being king is the very thing that Aslan sees as making him right for the role? How is this likely to affect the way he rules Narnia?
How did you feel about the way Aslan treated the defeated Telmarines?
C.S. Lewis didn’t see his Chronicles of Narnia stories as allegories, but more as an exploration of what it might be like if God were to be incarnated in a magical land of talking animals, in the same way as he was incarnated as Jesus Christ in our world. Aslan is therefore not simply a symbol of Christ, but a representation of him. To what extent do you think this works? How does it enhance your own understanding of Jesus?
Which of the characters in the film are you most like, in terms of their relationship with Aslan? What would enable you to trust God more than you do now?
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Author: Tony Watkins
© Copyright: Tony Watkins 2008
Unless stated otherwise, Bible quotations are from the New Living Translation (NLT) copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.