Prince Caspian: Faith Through a Child’s Eyes
By Chris Carpenter
CBN.com Program Director
CBN.com - NEW YORK -- When The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian opens in theaters nationwide this Friday, viewers will be delighted with all the thrilling action that ensues. Using the same cinematic magic that captivated audiences who saw The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian does a very good job of capturing the essence of C.S. Lewis’ literary vision.
The Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, have returned to Narnia 1,300 years after they were crowned kings and queens to find a land that is very different from when they left. The land they remember has fallen into ruins as a group of pirates from the land of Telmar (Telmarines) have taken over Narnia and driven all the creatures into the forest. Complicating matters, Prince Caspian, the rightful heir to the throne has been driven out by his evil uncle Miraz. The children are back to help Prince Caspian restore Narnia to what it once was but along the way will face tremendous challenges including their belief in Aslan.
Far deeper than the initial premise, Prince Caspian explores the corruption of our modern faith. According to author Gene Veith, the second story in Lewis’ seven book children’s series addresses a very modern mind set of people forgetting their belief in Jesus Christ and that He has come to save the world. True to allegory, in Prince Caspian, the people of Narnia no longer believe in a talking lion named Aslan.
“Aslan represents God,” says actor William Moseley, who plays Peter in Prince Caspian. “People say every day why can’t I see God? If he is there why can’t I see him? The reason is because you are not believing. You have to open yourself up, believe, and then you see.”
True to modern day life, in Prince Caspian the world has dismissed its past in favor of progress. Veith says the logic is simple: whatever is new is better than what is old. Why believe in something or someone who has not been seen in a very long time? It is much easier to believe in something that is here and now.
Little do they know but the Pevensie children are actually on a journey of faith in Prince Caspian. Each child is exploring what it means to believe in different ways.
“Peter was having a lot of difficulty fitting back into England after The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” explains executive producer Mark Johnson. “He was the King of Narnia and then all of a sudden he was a regular schoolboy being told what to do. Lucy longed to go back. Susan was trying to adapt although we can see she wasn’t quite successful in doing so. Edmund wasn’t quite sure how he fit in.”
Ultimately, they all arrive at the conclusion that to live one’s life and the many challenges it presents, you can only make it through based on your faith – in their case, belief in Aslan.
This concept is made very clear through the eyes of the youngest Pevensie child, Lucy. The three oldest children become more and more discouraged as they set out on a two day journey with Trumpkin the red dwarf in search of the place where Aslan was slain. The terrain is treacherous and all the old familiar places have faded from view. At one point, Lucy believes she sees Aslan. She does but no one else believes her, chalking it up to her childish ways.
“Lucy has such an open mind,” says Georgie Henley, who plays Lucy in Prince Caspian. “She is very trusting. I think that Aslan sees that in her. He shows himself to her first because he knows that she will believe he is actually there. She won’t think it is just a vision or fleeting thing. He is not just a wild lion. She didn’t let her siblings beat her down about her beliefs which is why I think Aslan believes in her a bit more.”
“There is an innocence when you are younger that is not there when you are older,” adds Moseley. “When Lucy is younger she has this innocent outlook. I think all of the Pevensies did but now the older ones are cynical. They are more closed off because they are older. But they get on with a deeper innocence through this lesson. Aslan sees that in them as well.”
It is evident the older children chose to walk by sight rather than by faith in this scene. They put their trust only in what they could see – the path in front of them, the forest, the river, themselves.
Only Trumpkin tries to reason with Lucy. He suggests that perhaps she has seen a lion but it probably wasn’t of the talking variety. While Trumpkin displays more common sense than the children he still displays a certain level of skepticism.
“I think you need a healthy cynic,” says Peter Dinklage, who plays Trumpkin in Prince Caspian. You need someone who is sort of grounded a bit. It is funny that the character who is a Narnian, surrounded by talking badgers and whatnot is a disbeliever in things that are spiritual.”
This is a similar dilemma that we face in our own world. Do we believe in ourselves and trust only what we can see with our own eyes? Or do we trust in a God and what He says that we do not physically see?
In Isaiah 43:2-3 the Old Testament prophet writes, “When you pass through the waters, I will be will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior …”
Failure looms, troubles run deep, loneliness envelopes us, fear threatens to conquer us all. However, these cannot overpower and engulf us because there is Someone who rules over all human events. He promises to never leave us and will go with us through the fires and deep waters we face.
Just as Aslan is there all the time for the Pevensie children, they choose instead to follow their own path, Lucy excluded. The end result is less than desirable as they realize there is no possible way to defeat the Telmarines without Aslan’s help. It is when they are faced with the strong possibility of being overrun and even killed that they turn to the mighty lion for help. True to form, Aslan becomes their strength and guide.
In perhaps the most telling scene in the entire movie, Lucy remarks that Aslan is bigger than when she last saw him. Aslan replies, “Every year you grow, so shall I.” In other words, the more one matures in their faith the greater God appears.
“I love that saying,” says Henley. “When I grow it’s like he becomes more mature and even bigger. It’s almost like Aslan suits you more and Narnia suits you more.”
As will God and His kingdom.
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