Analysis: What's Up With the Ending?
Prince Caspian ends with a classic good-guys-win-bad-guys-lose battle, followed by a major victory party.
What? That's not enough for you? Come on, if it was good enough for Return of the Jedi, then its good enough for Narnia, okay? We even like to imagine the Narnians celebrating with that catchy Yub Nub song.
Fine. Truth is there's more going on in this one than just the good guys vs. bad guys, and each reader will probably find their own little gem to add to this classic scenario. For example, we always like to point out that the restoration of worldly order plays an important role in the ending, too. Kind of a big deal.
With Caspian's victory, a son of Adam sits on the throne, the Old Narnians no longer have to live in secrecy, and worship of Aslan returns. All of this is in accordance with Aslan's desires. Since Aslan is the all-powerful god figure in Narnian lore, this puts Caspian's victory in accordance with natural law as well.
The fate of the Telmarines further restores worldly order to Narnia and even our world. For the Telmarines who do not wish to stay in Narnia, Aslan promises a new home:
"You came into Narnia out of Telmar," said Aslan. "But you came into Telmar from another place. You do not belong to this world at all. You came hither, certain generations ago, out of that same world to which the High King Peter belongs." (15.30)
Okay, so it's not a new home, but it's new to them. The point is that those who belong in one world will stay, while those who belong in another will go. This means that what was once lost to our world will be returned. Once again, we see balance and order being restored.
Among those who must amscray are Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. They are, after all, members of our world, and everything must return to where it belongs for proper. But among the details of Peter and Susan's return is this tidbit:
"At least, from what [Aslan] said, I'm pretty sure he means you [Lucy] to get back some day. But not Su and me. He says we're getting too old." (15.58)
This little detail provides two interesting clues about Narnia:
(1) Chances are Lucy and Edmund will return—setting up the sequel The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
(2) But more important, for order to be restored to Narnia, people of a certain age may not return. There is something about Narnia that demands either being a child or a child at heart to enter it. It's like Lewis is saying that for this world to have order, for it to make sense in and of itself, this law needs to be in place. We wonder if this includes the readers entering Narnia as much as it does the characters themselves.
As for Edmund's flashlight… well, maybe not all order has been restored to Narnia.