This chapter contains a good deal of what this book is perhaps best known for: Walking around Narnia, eating food, and discussions of belief (but not at the same time).
As one might infer from the title, this chapter consists primarily of introducing the Old Narnians (including REEPICHEEP!). While Caspian is busy geeking out at meeting all the legendary creatures, Trufflehunter, Trumpkin, and Nikabrik display a unique dynamic. One scene which illustrates this well comes after the Black Dwarfs offer to introduce them to some less savory creatures:
“We should not have Aslan for friend if we brought in that rabble,” said Trufflehunter as they came away from the cave of the Black Dwarfs.
“Oh, Aslan!” said Trumpkin, cheerily but contemptuously. “What matters much more is that you wouldn’t have me.”
“Do you believe in Aslan?” said Caspian to Nikabrik.
“I’ll believe in anyone or anything,” said Nikabrik, “that’ll batter these cursed Telmarine barbarians to pieces or drive them out of Narnia. Anyone or anything, Aslan or the White Witch, do you understand?”
Each of Caspian’s three companions represents a different worldview. Trufflehunter is obviously the staunch believer, always striving to do what would please Aslan; Trumpkin is not so much cynical as skeptical, believing that he’s simply taking the world at face value, and doing what he feels is right in light of that; Nikabrik is more of a utilitarian, willing to use any means necessary to reclaim Narnia (spiritual or otherwise – even his support of Caspian is really just a means to that end).
You know how I keep comparing this book to an adventure novel? Well, Reepicheep would totally be the character played by Errol Flynn. Yes, even if he is a mouse. Because he’s just that awesome.
On a more somber note:
“The time is ripe,” said Glenstorm. “I watch the skies, Badger, for it is mine to watch, as it is yours to remember. Tarva and Alambil have met in the halls of high heaven, and on earth a son of Adam has once more arisen to rule and name the creatures. The hour has struck. Our council at the Dancing Lawn must be a council of war.” He spoke in such a voice that neither Caspian nor the others hesitated for a moment: it now seemed to them quite possible that they might win a war and quite certain that they must wage one.
This is the first we hear of the stars being “read”, but it’s far from the last. Also, Trufflehunter brings up how the Dryads and Naiads have “fallen asleep”, with no sign that they will ever wake again, after the coming of the Telmarines. Considering how close it is to the reference to Adam in the paragraph I quoted, it’s a clear allusion to the New Testament usage of the phrase (particularly in Paul’s epistles), where it refers to those who have died in light of the coming resurrection. Basically, it’s meant to be a hopeful sign, implying that Aslan will return and awaken them from their death-like slumber.
Until next time…