War! What is it good for? Absolutely depends on whom you ask. Scholar Michael Ward reads Prince Caspian as a story centered on war and martial law. It's all about the need to fight rather than "allowing aggressors to have their way." To balance this, he argues that Lewis included chivalry to "[impose] restraints on the practice of war so as to avoid unnecessary (that is cruel) violence" (source). Then again, David Holbrook reads a novel where "the trouble is that excited delight in violence is combined with a tone of endorsing it as all jolly good fun, and then endorsed by [a] solemn didactic message, urging that this is the way to the Kingdom of Heaven" (source). Ultimately, we'll say this: war is undeniably an important theme in Prince Caspian, but whether or not that's a positive thing will depend on the reader.
Questions About Warfare
- What do you think about Prince Caspian's tone by way of the war theme? Too hot, too cold, or a Goldilocks-approved just right?
- Which character do you think is the most war-centered character, and how do they affect your reading of the theme? You can pick from either side of the conflict, so long as you explain your choose with evidence from the book.
- Check out our "Principles" theme. How do you see the principles promoted by the novel interacting with the theme of war?
- How do you see the ending connecting to the novel's understanding of war?
Chew on This
Caspian's war with the Telmarines is an example of a holy war. Its main goal is to change the religious standard of Narnia.
Alternatively, we could look at Caspian's camp as a group of environmental terrorists done Narnia-style.