Analysis: What's Up With the Title?
When this novel was originally published, it was called Prince Caspian: Return to Narnia, but today, readers generally know it as The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian—or simply Prince Caspian. If we want to get really crazy, we could call it The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia. But with a title that large, where would the author's name go on the cover page? Decisions, decisions.
Guess we'd better start with the common element shared by them all: Prince Caspian. Caspian receives top billing because he's the most important character in the story—you know, the protagonist. In this way, the title follows that grand literary tradition of such words as Beowulf, Macbeth, and Jane Eyre.
Now you might be wondering why he's given protagonist props since the Pevensie children take up more page time than he does. And that's a good question. If you want to further that discussion, swing on over to our "Characters" and "Character Roles" sections. Here, we'll stick with the titles.
Onto that The Return to Narnia bit. This subtitle provides us with some readerly expectations. It comes out and tells us the Pevensies—not to mention the readers themselves—will be returning to Narnia in this sequel to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. To give credit where it's due, this is way more original than simply calling it something lame like Narnia 2: Attack of the Narnians or something along those lines.
And for our final title conundrum: The Chronicles of Narnia. This bit-o-title is a latecomer to the party since they only became known as the Chronicles once the series provided an actual chronicle. Remember: a chronicle is a record of historical events. With the complete Chronicles of Narnia, we have a total history of the mystical land from its birth (in The Magician's Nephew) all the way to its destruction (in The Last Battle). In other words, Prince Caspian is just one chronicle—one record of an event—in the history of Narnia.
So feel free to pick and choose the title combination you like best. As for us, we'll stick to Prince Caspian (seeing as it's the shortest to type).