152. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

New Warhorn Media post by Nathan Alberson:


In this one, no less than @jacob.mentzel says we should just chillax about Lewis’s gnosticism (in this book at least.) So there. :innocent::innocent::innocent::innocent::innocent::innocent::innocent::innocent::innocent::innocent::innocent::innocent::innocent::innocent::innocent::innocent::innocent::innocent:


Good discussion.

I grew up with the book, too, and it just read like a fairy tale to me. I never thought any of it was weird at all until I became an adult and read The Great Divorce, and connected a few dots.

That bit at the end where you talk about “well, I said no to x, so hello alcohol!” was hilarious and yeah, ouch. Lewis IS really good at pinning that down.

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Good job turning around what could have been an unfortunately negative episode.

I mean, if we want, we could see Till We Have Faces in everything that he wrote, but it would be a shame to miss the many great things that Lewis did here.

Still my (and my children’s) least favorite, but the best moments here are really great.

Really looking forward to Puddleglum next week.


Dawn Treader is my favorite. Thanks guys!

I don’t think you should be blowing off the Michael Ward theory though. I read the longer book and found it compelling. I’m sure this shorter one is just as good.

Though, I’m not going to lie… when I was looking up that link I saw that someone’d released another book to “celebrate” the first book being out ten years. It shook my confidence that it’s not some pseudo-intellectual theory designed to separate Lewis fanatics from their money.

What alternatives to The Great Divorce would you recommend for Christians trying to come to some sort of terms with the unspeakable sufferings of the damned? I got converted when a friend gave me Mere Christianity so read several of those popular works early on and found them very helpful.



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Good discussion. When it comes to Lewis wanting to reconcile paganism and Christianity I think it helps to remember that Lewis was a medievalist and the primary goal of medieval thinking was to reconcile paganism and Christianity! Think about it, Augustine sought to “baptize” Plato, Aquinas did the same with Aristotle, Dante Christianized the epic (specifically the Aeneid ), the authors of Beowulf and Njal’s Saga sought to reconcile their German past with Christian truth, Geoffrey of Monmouth wanted to absorb the greatness of pagan Rome into Christian Britain, etc. In light of this, we shouldn’t be surprised when a medieval scholar does this in his books.

As Jake pointed out, Lewis works well when we read his works at the level he intended them to be read. This is a great adventure story and it works well as a great adventure story; it doesn’t work well as a picture of the journey to Heaven or as an insight into the unknowable. In the same way, The Great Divorce is great when read as a work dealing with human psychology and the nature of choice (which is what Lewis explicitly says it is), but it falls apart when it is treated as a picture of Heaven. Because people value Lewis so much, they tend to look to him to say more than he intended, which in turn takes away from his works.

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Voyage of the Dawn Treader is my favorite too. I never got familiar with any theories, I just see the Dawn Treader itself as loosely representative of the Church.

Aslan’s tearing off of Eustace’s scales always moves me deeply. As does his simple message to Lucy in the hour of her greatest despair: Courage, dear heart. And I think Reepicheep’s quote is my favorite out of all fiction:

My own plans are made. While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan’s country, or shot over the edge of the world into some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise.

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