The crew is forced to choose between complacency and honor when Caspian decides to embark on the “unenchantment” of the Three Sleepers.
And as Edmund said afterward, “Though lots of things happened on that trip which sound more exciting, that moment was really the most exciting.” For now they knew that they had truly come to the beginning of the End of the World.
That’s really a good way to sum up the whole appeal of this book. The other books in the series might sound more exciting, but this book excites something very different, something which few other authors even attempt to achieve: It shows children what beauty is.
They discover that the Old Man is actually Ramandu, a “star at rest”. He also reveals that Coriakin (the Magician) was a star as well. The Stars are pretty clearly analogous to Angels (in Revelations, John uses the stars as representations of angels, too), which naturally brings up the question of “fallen angels”. Coriakin is apparently being disciplined for some unnamed infraction of the laws of the stars, which seems to imply that there are far worse offenders, and that these offenders may or may not be wandering around in Narnia. I’ll leave it at that for now (since there isn’t any more about the stars in this book, anyway), but I’ll probably end up coming back to it later. Well, except for this:
“In our world,” said Eustace, “a star is a huge ball of flaming gas.”
“Even in your world, my son, that is not what a star is but only what it is made of.”
Anyhow, Ramandu explains that the only way to awaken the three lords is for someone to go to the very end of the world, leaving one person behind to cross “over the edge”, so to speak. I was actually rather surprised to discover that the majority of this chapter is spent convincing the crew to continue their journey, but it does make sense. After all, why should they keep going when they have a literal all-you-can-eat feast on Ramandu’s island? To put it simply, man was made for so much more than that (as evidenced by Pittencream, the one man who was left behind because he was so reluctant to continue the voyage).
Caspian has a stroke of brilliance: instead of merely asking the crew to continue the voyage, he instead says that he’s going to select the crew to continue the voyage.
A good many who had been anxious enough to get out of the voyage felt quite differently about being left out of it.
Next time: The Wonders of the Last Sea