tek's rating: ½

This could be considered the second of three serials, or the second and third of four. I generally think of it as a single serial, since it aired over a six-week period in 1989 (in the UK), and I've always heard the title given as "Prince Caspian & the Voyage of the Dawn Treader," which combines the second and third books in the "Chronicles of Narnia" series. However, watching it now on DVD, in 2015, I see that the title that appears on screen in each episode only says either "Prince Caspian" (for the first two half-hour episodes) or "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" (for the latter four episodes). So... make of that what you will. Either way, the stories are more condensed and rushed than they would be if each book got six episodes. (This is doubly true for "Prince Caspian," obviously. But I dare say it would have been impossible to condense "Dawn Treader" as much as "Caspian," because it's a more complicated, and more interesting story.) Anyway, I'm afraid I didn't like this serial as well as I did the first one, which makes sense, because it's based on what were probably my two least favorite of the seven books (if memory serves). And condensing the stories so much certainly did them no favors. (But of course the books couldn't help but be better than the serial, whether the story was condensed or not.) Even so, it wasn't really bad, but I think I mostly like it for its nostalgic value.

Prince Caspian
IMDb; TV.com; TV Tropes; Wikia; Wikipedia

See also the 2008 film Prince Caspian.

Caution: spoilers.

Episode One
A year has passed since the four Pevensie children returned to their own world, after having spent many years ruling as kings and queens in Narnia. However, in Narnia itself, centuries have passed since they left. Narnia is now ruled by King Miraz, who is guardian to his nephew, Prince Caspian. Miraz gets very angry when Caspian talks about stories he's heard of the old days, when there were talking animals and dwarfs and fauns and such. For a long time now, humans have been ruling Narnia, and any other sentient creatures have gone into hiding. Miraz doesn't want anyone to even believe they ever existed at all, apparently. Anyway, Caspian's tutor, Dr. Cornelius, tells Caspian that the stories are all true (and Cornelius himself is part dwarf). Later, when Miraz's wife, Queen Prunaprismia, bears a son, Cornelius warns Caspian that his life is in danger. He tells Caspian that Miraz had killed Caspian's father, and now that he has an heir of his own, he no longer needs Caspian. So, Cornelius gives him some gold and stuff, most importantly Queen Susan's magic horn, to be used only in his greatest time of need. And Caspian flees the kingdom.

It's not long before Caspian's horse gets spooked by lightning, and throws him off. He falls unconscious, but is found and taken in by some dwarfs and a talking badger. One of the dwarfs, Trumpkin, is friendly toward Caspian, though he doesn't believe in the stories about Susan, Peter, Lucy, and Edmund. The other dwarf, Nikabrik, at first thinks they should kill Caspian, as he's human, and therefore a threat to their kind. But Trumpkin and the badger, Trufflehunter, overrule him. They introduce him to other creatures who become an army that rallies behind Caspian, to overthrow Miraz. Most notable among these new allies is a mouse named Reepicheep, who is a valiant swordsman, and was always one of my favorite characters from the Narnia books. (In this serial, he's played by Warwick Davis.) The army soon gets attacked by Miraz's forces, and they take refuge in a system of tunnels called Aslan's How (where the Stone Table used to be). They can easily defend their position there, but they're also trapped. So, Caspian's allies convince him to use the horn to call for help. When he does so, the Pevensies are transported from their world to Narnia. They appear not at Aslan's How, but rather at the ruins of their old castle, Cair Paravel. This had been anticipated, so Trumpkin had gone there to find them and bring them to Caspian and the army. (He was surprised not only to find that the former kings and queens were real, but also that they were now children, as they had been adults when they left Narnia centuries ago.) At one point, Lucy sees an image of Aslan, which seems to indicate which direction they should go, but as usual, her siblings ignore her, and continue to follow Trumpkin's lead. And of course this means they are soon found and chased by enemy soldiers....

Episode Two
They manage to hide from the soldiers, after which they realize they'll have to go the way Lucy wanted to, after all. And along the way, they meet up with Aslan. Meanwhile, back in the How, Nikabrik is getting fed up with waiting for help to arrive, and apparently he invites a suspicious pair into the tunnels to lend their help. One of them is an obsequious old hag and one is a werewolf (they're played by the same actors as the White Witch and Maugrim from the previous serial, though they're not quite recognizable as such). Anyway, it's pretty clear they can't be trusted, and before long they start a battle against Caspian and his allies. But then Trumpkin and the Pevensies arrive and I guess help kill Nikabrik, the hag, and the wolf. Then Peter issues a challenge to Miraz to face him in personal combat, in lieu of their armies fighting. Miraz plans to refuse, but a couple of lords who were conspiring against him to claim Narnia for themselves trick him into accepting the challenge. Peter wins, but then the armies fight anyway. The good guys win, but it's a pretty pitiful looking battle. And um, Caspian becomes the new king of Narnia, and decrees that all the non-humans will once again have equal rights. And the Pevensies return home, but not before Aslan tells them that Peter and Susan are too old to return to Narnia ever again. When they return to their world, Susan is supposed to go to America and Peter is going back to school, while Lucy and Edmund go to stay with their cousin Eustace Scrubb, whom they can't stand. There they see a painting of a Narnian ship, and even as Eustace mocks them for making up ridiculous stories, the three of them get sucked into Narnia through the painting....

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
TV Tropes

See also the 2010 film The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Caution: spoilers!

Episode One
So, Lucy, Edmund, and Eustace get pulled into the painting, and it looks like they're flying straight toward the ship, then for no apparent reason they get blown off to the side and land in the water. Caspian jumps in to rescue them, and brings them all onboard his ship, the Dawn Treader (which is captained by a man named Lord Drinian). Caspian is a young man now, probably about ten or fifteen years older than when we last saw him. Of course he and the two Pevensies are glad to see each other, but Eustace is an obnoxious jerk (kind of like Edmund was for much of the first serial). He hates the fact that his cousins are treated like a king and queen, he hates the ship, he hates that no one will take him to a British consulate, and most of all he treats Reepicheep quite badly. Anyway, Caspian and his crew are on a voyage to the Lone Islands, searching for seven missing lords, who had gone into exile because they were loyal to Caspian's father (the first King Caspian), when Miraz had killed him and usurped the throne. On the first island that they come to, Caspian, Lucy, Edmund, Eustace, and Reepicheep are all captured by slave traders. But before they can be taken to market, a man buys Caspian. He turns out to be Lord Bern, one of the seven lords Caspian was seeking. So they come up with a plan to depose Gumpas, the governor of the Lone Islands, and replace him with Bern, whom Caspian named Duke. Then they go to market and free all the slaves, and Caspian and his friends (and Eustace) return to the ship and continue their voyage. The episode ends with them encountering a terrible storm at sea.

Episode Two
They get through the storm, but in the course of it they lost most of their food and water, leaving enough for about two days. And with a dead calm settling, they've no way to move forward, so they drift with no land in sight. Eustace continues to make a nuisance of himself, eventually even trying to steal more than his share of water. But finally the wind picks up, and they make it to an island. While the others work on setting up camp and gathering supplies, Eustace goes off exploring, to avoid doing any work himself. He sees a dragon die, then goes into its cave and finds mounds of treasure. This includes a golden circlet, which he puts on his arm. (I think it's supposed to be a bracelet, but it was surely too big for anyone's wrist.) Before long, he falls asleep, and when he wakes up, he discovers that he has turned into a dragon. (This is one of the bits of the book that I chiefly remember.) He goes back to the others, but he can't speak to tell him who he is, so they plan to kill him. But because he can shake and nod his head, Reepicheep, Lucy, and Edmund manage to figure out the dragon is really Eustace. The group manage to put him to use, gathering supplies or whatever. But he's too big to take with them on the ship, so he finally goes off on his own. And then Aslan shows up and turns him human again, and he rejoins the others. After that, Eustace will be somewhat nicer than he used to be. Anyway, Caspian realizes that one of the lords they sought must have died on the island, since the circlet had belonged to him. So... they head back to sea. The episode ends with the ship being attacked by a sea serpent (which kind of looked to me like a Screaming Death).

Episode Three
Okay... the sea serpent looked more silly than scary, once I got a good look at it. And it was quickly dispatched. Next, our heroes come to another island, where they find another of the lords, who had died in a way I don't want to spoil. But it leads to a brief struggle between Caspian and Edmund, before Aslan appears and brings them to their senses. Yet again they sail on, and begin to despair of finding land, though they do so almost immediately (surely due to the TV version being condensed from the book). On the latest island, they meet some invisible creatures who want Lucy to sneak into the home of a wizard named Coriakin, and find a spell to make them visible again. (I won't spoil how they came to be invisible. But I will say that the fact that our heroes met some invisible creatures was another of the bits I most remember from the book, although I didn't remember the details.) Finally, they continue their voyage, with four more lords to find. The episode ends with the Dawn Treader sailing into a sort of fog of darkness.

Episode Four
They soon rescue a man who seems to be lost at sea, who warns them that they must get away from this place, as nightmares come true there. Everyone starts going mad, but then I guess Aslan sends a poorly animated albatross to lead them to safety. It turns out the man they'd rescued is Lord Rhoop. They continue sailing east, finally arriving at the last island before the end of the world. There they find the final three lords they sought, who have fallen into an enchanted sleep. Our heroes meet a beautiful young woman (played by Gabrielle Anwar), with whom Caspian apparently falls in love at first sight. They then meet the unnamed woman's father, Ramandu. (And there's a whole swarm of colorful animated birds that I liked a lot better than the albatross.) Ramandu explains a few things to them, including how to break the enchantment that the three lords are under. They must continue sailing east until they can go no farther, and then one of them must stay behind. I won't say which one ends up staying behind, but I will say it makes perfect sense. And when he departs the Dawn Treader on his own boat, Edmund, Lucy, and Eustace travel a little way with him, before parting ways. The three children then come to another land and once again meet Aslan. He tells them that Lucy and Edmund will never return to Narnia, because they're too old (which I think is a bit odd, because I'm sure they're still younger than Peter and Susan were the last time they were in Narnia, but whatever). And... then Aslan sends the three of them home. The end.

Followed by The Silver Chair

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