Prince Caspian Summary
Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie sit at a railway station waiting for the train that will whisk them away to boarding school. For those unfamiliar with the concept, a boarding school is what you'd get if a regular school and a jail had a baby (read: you live there, all day, all school year). Luckily for the Pevensie children, a magical force does the whisking instead of the train, and they find themselves in a thick thicket.
As any curious children would, they go exploring. They discover they are on a forested island with a bunch of ruins. Peter figures out that they've returned to Narnia, and that these ruins are their old castle of Cair Paravel from back when they were kings and queens. To prove it, they find their old treasure room where their awesome king and queen swag remains. Nice.
The next morning, they rescue a dwarf from being drowned by a couple of soldiers. NBD. The dwarf thanks them and tells them he fights for King Caspian, a Telmarine and the true king of Old and New Narnians alike. Old Narnians? New? Caspian? Sounds like some backstory is in order, and the dwarf kindly obliges.
Caspian was the son of the king, but after the king's death, his uncle, Miraz, ruled as a regent since Caspian was too young. Caspian learned of Old Narnia and the ways of Aslan first from his nurse and then from his tutor Doctor Cornelius. Cornelius taught the young king until Miraz's wife became pregnant. Realizing Caspian's life was in danger, Cornelius snuck him out of the castle and sent him riding toward the southern woods.
There, he met the Old Narnians, including Trufflehunter the badger; Trumpkin and Nikabrik the dwarfs; a couple talking bears and squirrels; and some centaurs and fauns for good measure. What self-respecting magical wood doesn't have centaurs and fauns bound about, right? With the rightful king on their side, the Old Narnians decide the time for a civil war has come.
Seems like a good idea—until they start to lose. In a moment of desperation, Caspian blows Susan's horn, given to him by Dr. Cornelius, and Trumpkin heads to Cair Paravel to see if Aslan or some other type of divine assistance has shown up to help (30 minutes or less or the miracle is free!).
And this is where we came in to the story. Trumpkin and the Pevensie children agree to beat feet and get to Caspian's aid as soon as possible. They get lost along the way and suffer hardships, including a non-talking bear, which apparently aren't as friendly as their chit-chatty brothers. When they get to a gorge, Lucy spots Aslan, but the others, save Edmund, don't believe her. They take the hard road and get even more lost.
When they sleep, Aslan comes to Lucy and tells her to wake the others. Although always a difficult task to wake up campers, she manages, and they all follow Aslan to Caspian's camp. There, they find Nikabrik trying to resurrect the White Witch, source of evil, eternal winter, and enemy of Christmas. Since Peter and Edmund are fans of good things and Christmas presents, they stop Nikabrik and his corrupt companions.
With his new army outnumbered, Peter challenges Miraz to single combat, which Miraz accepts because he feels his pride is on the line. Peter and Miraz duke it out old-school style with swords and armor. But their duel is cut short when two Telmarine lords, Glozelle and Sopespian, betray and stab Miraz in the back (literally). The Telmarines fight the Narnians, but with Peter and Edmund in command, the Narnians beat them back to the river.
Wait, but what were Susan and Lucy up to during all this? Well, they were with Aslan invading the town of Beruna. With the gods and creatures of old, they scared off the Telmarines who were scared of the old ways while accepting others into their fold.
Victory and success! Caspian becomes King of Narnia, and the Old Narnians can again live freely in their land. Aslan allows the Telmarines who wish to remain in Narnia to do so, but teleports the others to an island in our world.
As for Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, they have to return to their own world, too. For Peter and Susan, it's bittersweet as Aslan says they've become too old to return to Narnia again (a.k.a. too tall to ride this ride). It's hinted that Edmund and Lucy will return one day, though. And with that, they return to the railway station and the promise of the coming school year after one last summer adventure.
- We're ba-ack. Narnia! (!!!)
- Okay, sorry. Just had to get that out of our system.
- The Four Pevensie children sit at a train station.
- Once kings and queens of a place called Narnia, they're now heading for boarding school. And if you thought going to school was bad, try going to school after being king or queen of a magic kingdom. Super weak.
- Lucy feels a tug, then Edmund, and then Peter and Susan.
- The next moment, the train station is gone, and the children find themselves in a thicket. The Lesson: always be careful in British train stations or you might accidently end up in a magic land. We feel like we've heard that one before.
- They stumble through the wood and come out in front of a beach and dazzling blue sea.
- They play for a bit (duh), but soon decide they need to find water. When they explore, they discover they are on an island.
- They come across a small spring running down from the woods. While drinking and resting beside it, they eat the sandwiches their mother packed them for school.
- After some discussion, they decide to explore deeper into the woods to see what's on the island with them.
- First stop: an apple orchard surrounded by old, crumbling stone walls.
The Ancient Treasure House
- Turns out those walls they found aren't just walls. They're the ruins of an ancient castle.
- In fact, the place reminds Peter of their castle of Cair Paravel.
- It grows dark, so exploration must be put on hold to build a campfire.
- They build it in the safe corner of two walls and have a supper of warm apples. Make sure to save room for a dessert: cold apples.
- After dinner, Susan goes to have a drink at the well. She returns with a golden chess piece she found. The others miss Cair Paravel, but Peter informs them that—wait for it—that's exactly where they are.
- But wait a second, Edmund says. Cair Paravel wasn't on an island, and a year isn't enough time to make a palace a ruin either.
- Lucy reminds them that a door should be nearby if this is indeed their castle.
- And wouldn't you know it? Under vines and overgrowth, they find just such a door.
- Despite Susan's initial fears, they break open the door and head down the stairs. There, they find the treasure chamber filled with all their trinkets and goodies.
- Looks like they're back.
- Because Edmund's torch (read: flashlight in American) runs on batteries, and Narnia doesn't have any RadioShacks handy, they decide to grab their Christmas presents and leave.
- Peter finds his sword and shield, Lucy her magical cordial, and Susan her bow and quiver. Susan's horn is missing, but she still makes out better than Edmund as the poor guy didn't get a Christmas present—though it was kind of his own fault.
- They spend that night on the hard and uncomfortable ground, but fall asleep all the same.
- They wake up dreadfully early to a breakfast of, hmm, apples.
- Deciding they need to leave the island, they head for the beach. Their first thought is to swim the channel, but Peter claims only Susan will make it.
- That's when Edmund has a light bulb moment. He realizes that time passes differently in Narnia than it does outside of Narnia.
- Meaning that one year went by for them while hundreds went by for Narnia. By Jove, he's onto something there.
- A boat comes into view, and the children watch two soldiers drop a very lively bundle overboard. The bundle turns out to be a dwarf.
- Susan shoots an arrow, hitting the soldier holding the dwarf. Both soldier and dwarf go overboard, and the second soldier bails when he realizes he's under attack.
- Peter and Susan jump into the water to snatch up the boat and the dwarf.
- The dwarf is thankful for them to have saved his life, even if they might be ghosts on a haunted island. You never know.
- The children wonder what's up with the drowning attempt, and the dwarf agrees to tell them his story. But first: breakfast. And no apples. They're going fishing.
- They grab the gear from the boat and catch them some pavenders (fish native to Narnia).
- The dwarf thinks the castle smells of ghosts but cooks the fish all the same.
- He tells them he is a messenger for King Caspian, true king of Narnia. Well, Old Narnians, not New Narnians, though Caspian is one of them, too.
- Perhaps we'd better take a step back and start from the beginning.
The Dwarf Tells of Prince Caspian
- Time for some backstory.
- Prince Caspian was raised by his uncle, Miraz. During his childhood, he heard all sorts of wonderful stories about Aslan, talking animals, and Old Narnia from his nurse.
- One day, Caspian tries to share these tales with his uncle. Hearing this "nonsense" gets Miraz fuming mad (4.12). Poor Nurse is fired toot-sweet.
- She's replaced by a tutor, one Dr. Cornelius. We have no idea what he received his PhD in, but he lets on that he knows all sorts of things about Narnia's history.
- A few days later, Cornelius takes Caspian to the top of the Great Tower for some late night stargazing.
- There, he gives Caspian the most interesting history lesson ever.
- He tells the young prince about Old Narnia: fauns, centaurs, talking animals, walking trees, the High Kings and Queens and, of course, Aslan. Cornelius even lets on that he's a half-dwarf, making him twice as awesome in Caspian's eyes.
- Cornelius cuts the lesson just when things get interesting (boo!), saying they should return before someone notices they're gone.
Caspian's Adventure in the Mountains
- The good doctor is good to his word because he's a good guy. He gives Caspian many more lessons in the Great Tower. Meanwhile, the young prince's other schooling begins in earnest.
- As he learns in school, he also teaches himself and begins to see that Narnia is not the happy-go-lucky type of magical kingdom thanks to Miraz's rule.
- One night, Dr. Cornelius wakes up the prince unexpectedly. News has just come that Miraz's wife is pregnant. If Caspian doesn't amscray right now, he'll be murdered.
- Cornelius gives the prince the horn of Queen Susan. You might remember that this magical horn will bring help if blown, but only in the direst of circumstances.
- Caspian hops onto his horse, Destrier, and rides for the southern wood.
- After a day's riding, a storm hits while they're traipsing through a deep, dark wood. Like all Telmarines, or any sensible person in general, Caspian is a little freaked out.
- Destrier bucks, and Caspian gets knocked out from a bonk to the noggin.
- He awakens to the sound of three voices wondering what to do with them.
- The voices belong to two dwarfs, Trumpkin and Nikabrik, and a badger named Trufflehunter.
- Caspian explains his situation. Nikabrik is upset about the whole thing, but to be fair, he's usually upset about everything anyway.
- But Trufflehunter believes that a Son of Adam should be the king of Narnia. If Caspian will be true to Old Narnia, the badger will serve him, Telmarine or no.
- After more chit-chat, it is decided that Caspian should meet the neighbors.
The People that Lived in Hiding
- So one summer morning, the trio takes the prince to meet the neighborhood.
- Caspian meets the Three Bulgy Bears, Pattertwig the squirrel, and more dwarves. They decide to skip meeting the ogres and hag since they can be kind of mean.
- They catch up with Glenstrom the Centaur, and he lets them in on some 4-1-1: the stars foretell that the time for war has come. They decide to change the theme of the council from meet-and-greet to war planning.
- Next up is Reepicheep the mouse and his peeps, erm, mice (meeps?). They pledge their loyalty to Caspian.
- Trufflehunter wishes they could wake up the trees, but they lack the power and don't have a magical arborist hanging about.
- The group comes across a group of Fauns. They dance and party the night away in forest-style.
- When Caspian wakes up the next morning, he sees the Faun hoof prints still in the ground and knows it wasn't a dream.
Old Narnia in Danger
- That night, at the Dancing Lawn, the Old Narnians gather to discuss this war business.
- Before they can get underway though, a man appears. Only it's not a man; it's Dr. Cornelius. He didn't spend eight years of study at Narnia U to be called "man."
- He has come to warn the council that Miraz is coming with his army—and not to join in peace talks either.
- Reepicheep is pumped at the idea of battle, but Dr. Cornelius suggests they fight later. First, they must fall back to Aslan's How and regroup.
- So… they fall back to Aslan's How and regroup.
- Miraz's army soon finds them, and the war begins.
- Caspian's side takes the worst of it. They suffer a particularly devastating defeat thanks to Wimbleweather the Giant zigging when he should have zagged. It puts Caspian's forces in a foul mood.
- Caspian's council tries to figure out what to do. Deciding their circumstances qualify as direst, they choose to have Caspian blow Susan's horn in the morning.
- Pattertwig is sent to the Lantern Waste, and Trumpkin volunteers to travel to Cair Paravel. Each will go to these historic sites to welcome whatever divine help might answer the call.
How They Left the Island
- And now we're caught up to speed.
- Trumpkin tells the Pevensies that he was captured on his way to Cair Paravel and was sentenced to death by the ghosts of Cair Paravel's forest—ghosts that turned out to be the Pevensies.
- But Trumpkin thinks that maybe—this being a war and all—the Pevensies aren't exactly going to work out since they're children.
- This upsets Edmund, who challenges Trumpkin to a duel. Edmund soundly wins. Just to prove the point, Susan beats him in an archery contest, and Lucy heals a wound of his with her cordial.
- Trumpkin relents on his "no help" attitude, and the team decides their best course of action is to meet up with Caspian and his company.
- Edmund maps a course that will take them through Glasswater Creek and straight to the Stone Table (a.k.a. Aslan's How).
- They store apples into the Telmarines' boat and ship off.
- Lucy remembers her time as a Queen of Narnia sailing to the Lone Islands. The others remember too—although a tad less fondly as that rowing business is hard work.
What Lucy Saw
- Dog tired, the Pevensies row up Glasswater Creek. They pull ashore at twilight and all of them hit the hay, erm, moss.
- All except Lucy. She's wide awake, and the Narnian scenery enlivens her.
- She explores the wood, imagining what it would be like if the trees could talk to her again. For a moment, she feels like she has just missed the opportunity to communicate with them.
- Then she heads back to the camp and promptly falls asleep.
- The next morning, it's up for an apple breakfast and some hiking. Huzzah!
- And… they're lost. To make matters worse, they lose themselves right into the path of a mindless bear.
- Trumpkin manages to kill the bear before it munches on any of them. They butcher the bear for rations and proceed being lost again.
- Next up, they come to a gorge. Peter can't figure out whether or not they are lost after all since the landscape might have changed.
- Suddenly, Lucy glimpses Aslan. She knows he wants them to follow him.
- Unable to decide if Lucy really saw Aslan, the group puts it to a vote. Edmund and Lucy say go left and up to follow the lion. But Trumpkin and Susan vote to go down.
- It comes to Peter, who says… down. Sorry, Lu.
The Return of the Lion
- The path down the Rush is rocky and dangerous, and it leads them to the Bridge of Beruna.
- Hooray, they're closer! Oh, but unfortunately, they're getting close to the wrong army. The Telmarines start shooting arrows at them. The Pevensies and Trumpkin have to hustle back the way they came.
- After an exhausting day of back tracking, they camp in a fir wood and have a dinner of apples and bear meat. It just sounds better and better every time. Then they promptly doze off.
- But Lucy wakes up to a voice calling her. Following it, she sees it belongs to Aslan himself.
- After a joyful reunion, Aslan tells Lucy to go wake the others and have them follow.
- She wakes them up, but they don't see Aslan, so they go back to bed. The only one she can convince to stay awake is Edmund.
- Hey, it's a start.
The Lion Roars
- Finally, everyone is up and about.
- Lucy tells her story. Susan and Trumpkin aren't exactly convinced, but Peter says he'll go along. And seeing how Peter is High King and all…
- They follow Lucy who follows Aslan. Eventually Edmund can see the lion, then Peter, and finally Susan.
- When they come within sight of Aslan's How, the lion turns to face them. Breathing on the children, he revives their courage.
- Then he formally introduces himself to Trumpkin by way of a little roughhousing. Although terrified, Trumpkin accepts Aslan's offer of friendship.
- Aslan commands Peter, Edmund, and Trumpkin to hurry over to Aslan's How and deal with what's happening there.
- The girls stay with Aslan, and the lion roars.
- Everyone hears it. The Telmarines are terrified, and the Old Narnians gather strength.
- The roar brings a procession of gods, deities, and spirits, including Bacchus and the ever-smashed Silenus, out to celebrate Aslan's return.
Sorcery and Sudden Vengeance
- Meanwhile, Trumpkin takes the boys into Aslan's How. As they travel deeper into the dark tunnel, they hear loud voices echoing off the stone.
- They choose to listen for a moment.
- Nikabrik is arguing with Caspian that the dwarves unfairly suffered the brunt of Miraz's latest attack. He also argues that the horn didn't work. A Plan B is in order.
- Before getting to Plan B, Caspian wants to know who these "friends" of Nikabrik's are.
- They introduce themselves with some pretty intimidating speeches, but it comes down to one being a hag and the other a werewolf.
- As for that plan, Nikabrik aims to resurrect the other great power from Narnia's past: the White Witch.
- The others try to point out how bad idea of an idea this is, but Nikabrik defends it, believing the dwarves never had it as good as when she ruled.
- Dr. Cornelius mentions that the White Witch is dead, but the Hag counters that witches don't really die.
- A battle ensues, and Trumpkin, Peter, and Edmund leap in to assist. When the chaos settles, Nikabrik and his companions are slain.
- Peter introduces himself to Caspian and promises to help the prince claim his rightful throne.
- He then orders Nikabrik's body given a proper burial while the others can be flung into a pit.
- Afterward, they sit down for a breakfast of a "bit of cold bear-meat […], a lump of hard cheese, an onion, and a mug of water" (12.87).
- But no apples.
The High King in Command
- Now, on to the business of winning this war. Peter plans to challenge Miraz to a duel. If he accepts, dandy. But even if Miraz doesn't, it'll buy them some time.
- Peter has Dr. Cornelius write the letter of challenge. With no Internet, they have to hand-deliver the letter. Ugh, how tedious.
- Edmund takes the letter with Glenstorm and Wimbleweather.
- At Miraz's camp, the Lords Glozelle and Sopespian see Edmund and his companions coming from the wood.
- They wager Edmund brings a challenge for Miraz and plan to use the challenge to their advantage.
- When Miraz asks their advice, they use the king's own pride to trick him into accepting the challenge.
- Back at Caspian's camp, Peter prepares for the duel and accepts Wimbleweather, Glenstorm, and the eldest Bulgy Bear as his marshals.
- Sorry, Reepicheep.
- Edmund asks Peter if he can win. Peter says he's fighting to find that out.
How All Were Very Busy
- A little before two o'clock, the fight is on. On, we say!
- Trufflehunter and Trumpkin wish that Aslan had showed up before the battle, but the badger points out that at least he woke the Dryads, Hamadryads, and Silvans for some backup.
- Peter and Miraz duke it out. Peter holds his own very well, but Miraz isn't exactly a novice. He starts to get the upper-hand.
- Both fighters agree to have a break. Peter tells Edmund his only chance is to use Miraz's weight against him.
- Ding! Round 2. After dancing around him, Peter knocks Miraz to the ground but refuses to deliver the killing blow. Chivalry requires that Peter let his enemy rise.
- But since Lords Glozelle and Sopespian aren't chivalrous—like at all—they don't allow this to happen. They cry out that the Narnians stabbed Miraz in the back, and the Telmarines rush into battle. At the same time, Glozelle actually does stab Miraz in the back. What a jerk.
- The final battle begins. Peter and Edmund finish Glozelle and Sopespian quickly.
- With the help of the trees, the Narnians beat the Telmarines back to the Ford of Beruna.
- There, the bridge is mysteriously absent. With no escape, the Telmarines surrender.
- But what happened to the bridge? And what were Susan and Lucy doing?
- Let's get to that now, shall we?
- Early that morning, Aslan wakes the girls up to go cruising.
- They head for the Beruna Bridge, and Aslan has Bacchus tear it down to free the rivergod.
- From there, they jaunt into Beruna. Aslan's presence terrifies a schoolroom of children and a teacher. Well, everyone except a little girl named Gwendolen. She thinks lions are pretty cool and joins them.
- Traveling through Telmarine territory, Aslan continues to scare away most of the Telmarines while some of them join the party.
- The animals decide it looks like great fun, too, and hook up with Aslan's congregation.
- At one house, they find a sick old woman. Bacchus offers her some top shelf wine, and she's instantly restored. Who knew?
- When their task is complete, they return to meet up with Peter's army.
- Caspian greets the once-sick woman heartily. Guess who she is? Yep, his old Nurse.
Aslan Makes a Door in the Air
- The Old Narnians greet Aslan with hugs and hurrahs.
- Caspian finally meets the god, and Aslan makes him the official, real deal King of Narnia.
- But it's not all joyful news. Reepicheep has been severely injured and will soon die.
- But wait! Lucy uses her cordial to heal his wounds, and Aslan provides the martial mouse with a new tail. Okay, now it's all good news again.
- Peter knights Caspian, and with his new found powers, Caspian turns around and knights and rewards his loyal followers.
- As for the Telmarines, they are imprisoned, which sucks. But they're given beef and beer, so, hey, it's not so bad for them either.
- After that, it's the celebratory feast to end all celebratory feasts. Even the trees are invited to get down and do the birch tree boogey.
- The next day, Aslan starts the task of conflict resolution. He tells the Telmarines that those who wish to stay in Narnia may do so, but he'll provide a new home for those who want to cut loose.
- Some Telmarines wish to stay, but most want out.
- Aslan tells the Telmarines that their ancestors actually came to Narnia from an island in King Peter's world, and he plans to return them to that island by way of a magic doorway.
- One brave Telmarine accepts and steps through Aslan's magic doorway. But when the guy just up and disappears, the others freak out and refuse to follow.
- Reepicheep offers his services to show the Telmarines there is nothing to fear, but Peter knows better. It's their turn to leave as well.
- They change into their Earth clothes, and Peter lets Edmund and Lucy in on a secret. Susan and he will never return to Narnia because they have grown too old. Womp womp.
- But Aslan seems to have hinted that Edmund and Lucy will be back. (Can we say sequel setup?)
- After many a goodbye and farewell, the Pevensies step through Aslan's magic doorway and return to the train station as though they never left.
- And everything returns to normal.
- Well, except for the fact that Edmund left his new flashlight in Narnia. Oops.