THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA:
Voyage of the Dawn Treader
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Nurse Cindyism.
Light shines through an English stained glass window. The view broadens to include young soldiers marching in uniform and older ladies with kerchiefs riding their bikes through wartime Cambridge. Edmund Pevensie (Skandar Keynes) frowns in dismay as the army recruiter quizzes him on his age and papers ("It's supposed to read, 'Albert A Scrubb' not Alberta," he protests about the clearly borrowed IDs). To the laughter of the soon-to-be soldiers in line behind him, younger sister Lucy (Georgie Henley) calls to remind Edmund to help her with the groceries. As they secure the food in the baskets of their bikes, Edmund comments that it's not right - he was a king in Narnia but cannot do anything here. Meanwhile, Lucy notices a blonde classmate comb her hair back with her fingers while flirting with a boy. Lucy first watches puzzled, then wistfully imitates the motion. Edmund's voice brings her out of her distraction and they head back to the home of their Aunt Alberta, Uncle Harold and pesky cousin Eustace Scrubb (Will Poulter).
A letter has arrived from elder sister Susan (Anna Popplewell), which reveals while Lucy and Edmund have spent the last six months with their relatives, she has been travelling with their parents through America and oldest brother Peter (William Moseley) studying for University exams. To the youths' dismay, they find their miserable stay may now last even longer than expected. Settling in Lucy's room as she finishes reading aloud that Susan has caught the attention of a handsome young officer (whereupon Lu sighs and imitates the motion of combing her hair back once more), Edmund comments that at least Lucy doesn't need to share a room with Eustace, who is seen/heard complaining in his journal about these daydreaming cousins. Their sadness is interrupted by a quiet moment enjoying the seascape painting in Lucy's guest room. The two agree, the pictured ship looks "very Narnian."
Eustace enters, with taunts and insults. Edmund retorts back and exchanges amused glances with Lucy, who suddenly notes the painting truly does seem to be moving. Cold saltwater splashes everyone’s faces as the waves grow larger and closer - now pouring out of the wooden frame and into the room. Eustace tries to break the painting, thereby knocking it down and causing the room to flood.
The children swim through the rapidly filling room, emerging upward into a great ocean and daylight. Lucy warns them all to flee, as a ship is headed straight towards them. Divers from the boat quickly approach. With a gasp, Lucy recognizes they are not being attacked but rescued by Caspian (Ben Barnes), their old friend and now King of Narnia. With warm embraces, the Pevensies are welcomed back and introduced as Queen Lucy the Valiant and King Edmund the Just. A cheer comes from Caspian's crew of Narnians, including men, fauns, minotaurs, and gallant mouse-warrior Reepicheep (voice by Simon Pegg) who comes tumbling towards their majesties having been tossed aside in his attempts to help the blubbering and nearly-drowned Eustace. Shocked at the unexpected journey, talking animals, and discovery that this all wasn't just a fairytale dreamed up by his cousins, Eustace demands to see the British Consulate. Everyone laughs until the Pevensies sneeze and Caspian takes them to his quarters to change into dry clothes.
The ship and king's chamber alike are ornamented in gold with the noble face of a Lion. "Aslan," Lucy smiles in delight and remembrance of the Great Lion, the Creator and Ruler of this World. She was the first of the Pevensies to find Narnia (from "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe") and with Aslan's leadership, fulfilled the prophesy that saved the land and made them all kings and queens. Also in the chamber are safely stored the gifts given to the children on their first adventure in Narnia by Father Christmas: Susan's bow and arrow, Lucy's healing fireflower cordial and dagger, and Peter's sword, which Edmund admires (he didn't receive a gift as he was being held captive by the evil White Witch at the time) but insists belongs to Caspian now as Peter had given it to him. In consolation, Caspian offers Edmund the torch (flashlight) he left behind upon his last visit to Narnia (in "Prince Caspian"), also held in safekeeping.
On deck, Caspian shares that in the last three years since he's seen Lu and Ed (time is different in Narnia; one might be there for centuries and only minutes pass by in our World; one year may pass here and it is several years later there), his people fare well and reign peaceful. Now that justice has prevailed in all his lands, he is in search of the seven missing Telmarine Lords, beloved friends of his late father. King Caspian IX was assassinated by Caspian's evil uncle, Miraz, who then tried to kill the Prince and all those in loyalty to him. By Aslan's and the four Pevensies' help, Caspian took his rightful place on the throne. The seven Lords however, never returned from Miraz’s assignment to explore the Lone Islands. Finding them is now Caspian's mission.
Embarking through the water, Lucy notices a friendly water nymph below who waves back to her. The Dawn Treader continues to sail. They first arrive at Narrowhaven, which appears to be an abandoned city. Eustace peers through a shattered window shutter and sees a family huddled in fear. "Nothing here, let's go" he calls, ready to leave. Caspian, Lu and Ed assign him to guard the church as they enter. Inside the belltower, they find a book with names and sums crossed out. This is proof of slave trade, the three realize as the traitors/traders themselves slide down the bell pulls. They begin to fight yet the Narnians surrender when they see Eustace held captive. Caspian reminds them that he is King, but the traders dismiss this as they send Eustace and Lucy to be sold and Caspian and Edmund to be thrown in the dungeon. There, the fellows find both Lord Bern (Terry Norris) and learn that the prisoners not sold into slavery are sent into boats to sea, to be swallowed by a green mist.
In the middle of the town, Lucy's freedom is quickly sold to the slavetraders. Eustace is next for sale but no one bids on the sullen child. One voice calls out in the crowd, agreeing to take him. Reepicheep tears back his mantle, revealing himself on the shoulder of Drinian (Gary Sweet), Captain of the Dawn Treader. Throughout the crowd, more of the crew are in disguise and they fight to victory. Eustace tries to escape alone in a rowboat, which he expects to row itself, being magical. The oar in his hands does move swiftly - to knock out the snarling slave trader lurking behind him, knife in hand.
As Caspian sets out once more, one of the townspeople begs to come along to find his wife who was sent into the mist. The King agrees and the man bids his crying daughter, Gael, to stay with her aunt until they return. Lord Bern brings Caspian a barnacle-encrusted sword, stating it is one of seven, entrusted to each of the Lords by his father to ensure the safety of their people. Caspian gives this to Edmund, as he has no sword of his own. Back on deck, Eustace is journaling about how foolish Ed is to be polishing the bit of tin and how ridiculous all these talking creatures are. A seagull lands in front of him, and Eustace asks where he can find food. The crew watches on and tease him for talking to the bird, as not all animals in Narnia talk. Annoyed, Eustace skulks off to help himself to the rationed food. Reepicheep catches him stealing an orange. With a gentle scold, he offers the boy another chance which is ignored. Reep continues to speak with patience until Eustace grabs him by the tail. The mouse growls, "Not the tail," as it was given to him by Aslan. Now it's a duel of honor, as Reep tosses him a sword. On deck, the others watch in amusement as Eustace clumsily tries to retreat and then equally clumsily fight back. Reep directs him on and the match becomes a lesson in swordplay. At one point, Eustace falls backwards knocking over a barrel by which it is revealed little Gael has snuck aboard to join her father in search for their missing mother/wife. Drinian hands the girl the pilfered orange and Lucy takes her in wing as the newest crew member. Reep wins the duel and, by his encouragement, Eustace’s first smile.
The Dawn Treader drops anchor at what appears to be another barren island. The crew makes camp on the beach for the night. Frosty breaths are all that can be seen of the invisible, talking voices approaching the sleeping crew. The voices argue between choosing Gael versus Lucy, deciding on Lucy as a book nearby means she can read. Awakened in fear, she is carried away by this invisible force who warn her by punishment of death to herself, and then to her friends, that she must enter the chamber of their Oppressor to read the spell to make them visible again. The Duffers, they introduce themselves, cannot break the spell themselves as they cannot read. A door opens mid-air, showing a dark flight of stairs upward. Lucy ascends, wondering why they simply couldn't have asked.
At camp, Caspian is the first to discover Lucy missing and a track of enormous footprints leading further into the island. The crew is roused to join in search. Suddenly, they are attacked from all sides by the invisible Duffers.
Meanwhile, Lucy finds herself in a library, face-to-face with the Book of Encantations The first one she reads brings snow everywhere. The next is one of beauty. Looking into the picture of a mirror, she sees her face turning into Susan's. Lucy eagerly tears the page from the book to keep it for herself, but stops short at hearing Aslan's voice (Liam Neeson) call her name. She slowly pockets the page and reads on to find the spell to make invisible things visible. As she finishes reading, a man comes into her view. This is Coriakin (Billie Brown), known to the Duffers as their "Oppressor." The magician strives to protect the simple creatures from the green mist by invisibility and from their own simple-mindedness by little tricks, such as blowing lint at them to keep them away from the shoreline.
Just as Coriakin becomes visible, so do the little Duffers, who carry each other to appear larger. They leave single footprints as they each have only one large foot and travel by jumping/being carried. The Magician's home also comes into view, as does he and Lucy. Coriakin unrolls a tremendous map of the Utter East and the Lone Islands, explaining to them that the mist is grave evil lurking which can only be destroyed by bringing all seven swords of the missing Lords to Aslan's Table at Island of Ramandu. He warns them, from this moment on they will all be tested by temptation and the evil but to be true to courage and have faith. He shows them a blue star which will guide their way.
On board the Dawn Treader again, Lucy stirs. Wisps of green mist glide around her cabin as she pulls the beauty spell from her pocket and begins to read. She sees her face again turning into Susan's and enters through the cabin's mirror where she joins a garden party. Edmund and Peter walk along either side of her, complimenting her beauty, and they stop to pose for a photo for their parents. Lucy says this is wrong, there should be four of them, but the boys laugh and say it has only ever been them three. The camera flashes on her/Susan's confused face and she covers her eyes with her hands with a yell. Lucy opens her eyes, to find herself back in her cabin on the Dawn Treader, speaking with Aslan who explains that by wishing herself Susan, she wished herself away. He tells her too, if it wasn't for her, none of them would have found Narnia and their worlds would be very different. She understands and destroys the page with the spell.
Now the green mist enters the boys' cabin. Caspian hears the voice of his late father, lamenting on his faults and failures. Edmund sees the White Witch and reaches for his sword. Lucy awakens them both and they realize, the nightmares mean the testing and temptations have begun.
They arrive at another island, which is later known as Deathwater. Eustace is laughed at for his lack of usefulness and he storms off. Meanwhile, Lucy, Edmund and Caspian find a glistening pool with a statue of a man at the bottom. Quickly they realize it is an enchanted pool, which turns everything that touches it to gold, including the man below who is recognized as Lord Restimar. Greed comes over both of the kings as they fight to claim the pool and the power that would come with it as their own. Lucy throws herself between their swords and remind them of Coriakin's warning of the evil tempting them. The two come to their senses and sheath their swords, though a slight bitterness lingers between them as Edmund feels jealous of Caspian's authority as he did of Peter's. The team uses Lord Bern's magical sword (which cannot be affected by the powers of the pool) to extract Restimar’s sword. On another part of the island, Eustace has discovered a valley of gold and jewels. He stops filling his pockets upon noticing an ornate golden cuff. Reaching for it, he finds it still on the arm of a skeleton. With a momentary pause, he takes it anyway and slides it on.
At the Dawn Treader, the crew are loading the food supplies they have found; it is scarce, as the island is volcanic. They hear a rumble and Gael notes fire emerging from the rocks. She ask if it is a volcano, but Drinian slowly shakes his head. He knows it is a dragon, which is now making his way towards them. The crew defend themselves, but the dragon returns and carries Edmund away - over a mass of lava rocks in which he has carved, "I AM EUSTACE." Everyone joins on the beach to decide what to do, realizing that it was enchanted dragon's treasure the boy came across with no cure in sight. Unable to speak, and now in this terrifying form, Eustace assumes the others will abandon him. Lucy gently removes the gold cuff from his aching paw and Caspian declares they will stay with him on the shore and decide what to do in the morning. Eustace breathes a campfire to keep everyone warm while they rest yet inadvertedly awakens Reepicheep with his tears. The warrior-mouse takes pity on the enchanted boy and comforts him both with stories of his marvelous adventures and the observation that extraordinary things only happen to extraordinary people with extraordinary destinies. The next morning, the crew lifts anchor, taking with them too the sword of Lord Octesian (the skeleton originally wearing Eustace's armband).
The crew is worried, as there is no wind and little rations until their next port. Eustace is flying alongside, Reepicheep in tow to keep him company. Suddenly the ship jerks, as Eustace wraps his scaly tail around the masthead and pulls them forward to the cheers of everyone. Following their blue star as directed by Coriakin, they arrive at Ramandu’s Island. They discover a table, laden richly with food. Upon closer inspection, Edmund recognizes the table to be stone and Aslan's. Three older men are seen at one end, asleep but alive. The crew fears the food is enchanted, until the star comes down from the sky to greet them. She is Lilliandil (unnamed in the original Chronicles; performed here by Laura Brent) and Ramandu’s daughter. Edmund and Caspian alike are taken by the lady's beauty; when she offers to change her shape if it distracts them, both quickly object. Lucy notices yet smiles, no longer wistful as she was before her talk with Aslan, and no longer comparing herself to the beauty of others. Lilliandil goes on to explain the food is good and welcomed to them, that the three Lords before them (Argoz, Revilian, and Mavramorn) were set to enchanted sleep as they barely escaped the evil mist and arrived to the island with violence in their hearts. Caspian and Edmund lay down on the table the three swords retrieved earlier in their adventures; they are still missing one last sword. Lilliandil directs them to find it, and the final missing Lord, at Dark Island. Caspian pauses to ask if he will ever see her again - she smiles and departs.
As the Dawn Treader pulls closer to shore with Eustace flying alongside, Lucy once again looks into the water and sees her friend, the water nymph - who is now stricken with horror and gesturing to not go on any further. The green mist is so thick, the crew cannot see where they are headed. Caspian continues to hear the disappointed voice of his father and Edmund the luring call of the White Witch. Alongside a rocky ledge, they encounter Lord Rhoop, mad with terror and brandishing his sword. Eustace lifts him onboard and the sight of Caspian brings the man to his senses. He quickly warns them, not to think of their terrors, or the green mist will take its shape. A moan comes from Edmund, as he has just thought of a sea serpent which is now surrounding the vessel. The crew fight back, including Rhoop who has thrown his magical sword toward the serpent. It lands into Eustace's shoulder. Still in dragon shape, he flies away in pain and crashes onto another nearby island. Lucy watches on in grave sadness and calls out to Aslan for help. The dark skies part and a white bird comes into view. Lucy smiles and knows that all is not lost.
Eustace opens his eyes to see Aslan before him. He tries with his dragon claws to tear off the scales but to no avail. The Great Lion roars and we see the glow of his claw marks on Eustace who then is lifted into the air in a cloud of light and lands in his human form. Eustace finds Lord Rhoop’s sword at his side and realizes, he's back at Ramandu’s Island. He rushes to add this final sword to Aslan's table, knowing the evil will be destroyed in doing so. Inches from the table, Eustace is pulled back by the green mist.
On board, Caspian has sliced away one of the serpent's growing tentacles. It falls onto the ship and dissolves into green mist. With a determined look on his face, he calls to his crew that they can overcome this. Eustace struggles away from the mist, lays the final sword on Aslan's table and breaks the curse.
The darkness clears, and the Dawn Treader is in still waters. Towards them sails all the boats of townspeople sent in sacrifice by the slave traders, including Gael’s mother, Helene. The little girl and her father jump overboard to greet their beloved. At finding Eustace is no longer enchanted, Reepicheep cheers in delight and launches into the sea to meet his friend who is now swimming towards them. He realizes, the water is sweet, and thus the prophesy sung over him as a baby has come true: Where sky and water meet / Where the waves grow sweet / Doubt not, Reepicheep / To find all you seek / There is the Utter East.
Caspian, the cousins and Reep row out among a sea of white lilies. They land on a strip of beach and face a wall of waves, rolling upwards but not outward. Aslan's shadow lays behind them and they greet him joyfully but solemnly. Caspian wants to go on to see his father, but Aslan warns that those who go beyond can never return. The young king walks up to the water and touches it briefly yet turns back, acknowledging that he has spent too much time wanting what was taken but now should be attending to what is given. He vows to be a better king to his people; Aslan answers that he already is. Reepicheep then asks to go on, acknowledging the consequences yet ready to lay down his life and sword to go forward. Aslan answers that his country was made for noble creatures just as himself and a small boat lays waiting for the warrior-mouse. Lucy realizes that it's time they return to England and Edmund asks, already knowing, if this will be their last visit to Narnia.
Aslan explains, they will see Him again, for He is in their World as well, and by knowing Him for awhile in Narnia, they will know Him better there. They say their goodbyes all around. Lucy asks Reepicheep’s permission and takes knee to cuddle the dear mouse as she always wanted but never dared, fearing he might consider it disrespectful. Reep is startled but returns her embrace affectionately. Eustace is in tears and once more, comforted by Reep’s observation that there are more extraordinary adventures ahead. Edmund and Caspian part, acknowledging each other as brothers while Lucy buries her face in Aslan's mane once more. Reep rows into His country and the children find themselves going through the wall of water and back in Lucy's room. Everything in the room including themselves are now dry as the water level dwindles. Weeks have passed in Narnia, but only mere moments in England. Aunt Alberta's voice calls out to Eustace, that Jill Pole (an important character in "The Silver Chair" and hopefully a hint to future Narnia productions) has come to visit. Eustace respectfully lifts the painting from the floor and hangs it back up. As the children leave the room, the silvery blue waves in the painting roll onward, the red sails of the Dawn Treader yet in sight.
(Spoilerette Note: To all the Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve who are old friends of Narnia, enjoy Fox & Walden's rendition with an open heart and mind. Although both chronologically and in detail rather different from C.S. Lewis' original manuscripts, I believe he's out there smiling with the reminder that everyone’s experience of Narnia is unique.
To all the new friends of Narnia - read the books! Go in whatever order you like. You’ll see the Pevensies again in "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe," "Prince Caspian," and "The Last Battle," and Eustace will be back in "The Silver Chair."
Merry Christmas, God bless and remember - Once a King or Queen of Narnia, always a King or Queen of Narnia!)
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