Like any true fan of Narnia, I’ve read or listened to C.S. Lewis’ masterpieces so many times I’ve almost got them memorized. But revisiting always brings something new and fresh.
Prince Caspian did that for me this summer. Aslan is on the move, the Kings and Queens of old have returned and Narnia is about to be renewed. Peter, Edmund, and Caspian are fighting evil with the sword.
Aslan, Lucy and Susan are fighting evil too, but with a grand and uproarious party. The madcap motley crew is singing and dancing and feasting, collecting people who cannot resist the promenade along the way. Trees are woken up to joy. Bacchus, Silenus, and the Maenads tear through the village free of spirit and light of foot.
Is it a Romp, Aslan? cried the youth. And apparently, it was.
I’d never thought much of this scene before. But this time, a statement of Susan’s jumped out at me.
“I wouldn’t have felt safe…if we’d met them without Aslan.”
“I should think not,” said Lucy.
I concur, Susan. Wild, unfettered joy is terrifying to some extent.
Will I mess it up? What if it should end?
Any good desire for pleasure or enjoyment taken a step too far can quickly become fleshly. Even the best and purest that earthly community has to offer can be shattered.
After the battle is won, the party continues – a riotously good time is had by all. The trees and fauns and dwarves and children dance and feast and tell stories and finally sleep.
The best thing of all about this feast was that there was no breaking up or going away, but as the talk grew quieter and slower, one after another would begin to nod and finally drop off to sleep with feet toward the fire and good friends on either side…But all night Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
The best thing of all – the feast will never be broken up. There will be no going away. And we will never need fear, for all night long the King will be watching with joyful and unblinking eye.
Even as a child, Narnia made me homesick and the feeling has not faded with the passing years. Prince Caspian helps children feel, not just know, that Heaven is good and the King is better – even beyond imagining.