The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia, Book 3)

by C. S. Lewis

Other authorsPauline Baynes (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 1970



Call number




The Macmillan Company (1952)


Lucy and Edmund, accompanied by their peevish cousin Eustace, sail to the land of Narnia where Eustace is temporarily transformed into a green dragon because of his selfish behavior and skepticism.

Media reviews

As in many other of Mr. Lewis' books, one finds a strong poetic sense and awareness of the loveliness and mystery of a universe which cannot be wholly grasped by common sense.

User reviews

LibraryThing member ncgraham
The third of The Chronicles of Narnia in the order in which they were published (and, at the moment, my preferred order), The Voyage of the Dawn Treader begins with what may be one of the best opening lines in all of literature: “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost
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deserved it.” This Eustace, a very “modern,” “grown-up,” selfish and peevish little bully, happens to be related to our old friends the Pevensies from the previous books. The two youngest children, Edmund and Lucy, are vacationing with the Scrubbs when our story begins. The three of them are drawn together into a painting of a ship in Lucy’s bedroom, and find themselves in Narnia aboard the ship of another old friend—Prince, now King, Caspian—who is on a voyage east to find what became of seven Telmarine lords whom his uncle Miraz sent away year before. But the mouse Reepicheep has a yet greater ambition, to sail to the very end of the world, to Aslan’s country, and meet whatever adventure awaits them there.

In nature, this story is episodic, but to bind it together Lewis provides not only a great and glorious quest, but also two of the greatest characters in all of the Chronicles: Eustace, and Reepicheep. Both provide some comic relief near the beginning of the book—Eustace’s journal entries are particularly hilarious, as are his repeated demands to speak to the British consul—but both are characters of such great depth. Reepicheep, like several other characters in Prince Caspian, is a creature of faith. He wants nothing more than to go to Aslan’s country, and none of the dangers and fears along the way can conquer that desire. He is fearless, wise, and brave, even if he is only two feet high! Eustace is, to put it kindly, a beast, but he is so selfish he thinks instead that everyone around him are beasts. Only when he becomes one externally does he realize how greatly he needs help on the interior. I love the subtle and realistic way Lewis treats his reformation:

It would be nice, and fairly nearly true, to say that “from that time on Eustace was a different boy.” To be strictly accurate, he began to be a different boy. He had relapses. There were still many days when he could be very tiresome. But most of those I shall not notice. The cure had begun.

Actually, all the characters are beautifully drawn. I am amazed at how much Lucy grows as a person in each additional book, and Edmund too. Caspian is more well-rounded here than he was in the last volume, and becomes more so at the end when he is unable to gain what his heart most greatly desires. For him, and for the others, this is a voyage that will change the rest of their lives.

Of course, the adventures they encounter are varied and fascinating as well, and only become more beautiful and exciting the further east they go. As a child I was incredibly excited by the episode in which Caspian frees the Lone Islands from tyranny and a brutal slave trade, and today I find I still am. And who can forget Eustace’s experiences on Dragon Island? Or Deathwater Island with its terrible power and beauty? Or the invisible, “uglified,” always-agreeing dufflepuds? (The last was one of my sister’s favorite episodes in the book, and we both laughed many times over lines like “And what I say is, when chaps are visible, why, they can see each other.”) Or the horrors of the Dark Island, or the wonders of Ramandu’s Island? And then there are the wonders of that last sea, where the water is sweet, covered in lilies, and bathed in light. And, finally, a glimpse of Aslan’s country itself.

I know many Narnia fans consider this there favorite Chronicle, almost as many as accord The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe that title. But for some reason the Caspian books were always my least favorites when I was a child, and I haven’t quite “rediscovered” this book the way I did with Prince Caspian. Still, this is a beautiful sea voyage story with deep themes, lovable characters, and exciting adventures. Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member keristars
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was my favorite of the Narnia books when I was a kid for two reasons: it's a seafaring adventure (however nominally), and it's, well, actually an adventure, with exploration of unknown worlds. I read it when I was about eleven or twelve years old, not long after being
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introduced to Homer's Odyssey thanks to the Wishbone program on PBS (I think - might've been a prose version that I read in school), and one of the big things about both books that I enjoyed was the strange and enchanting and maybe even dangerous places that the heroes came across.

But as much as I liked the Odyssey parts of the book, and I really really liked them, I didn't care much for the characters themselves. I always felt that everyone treated Eustace horridly and that he had every right to be distrustful of Caspian and the others, and every right to be homesick. One of the big problems I had with the Narnia series when I was eleven persists in bugging me now, fourteen years later: everyone who has been to Narnia expects everyone else to automatically know and respect that Narnia is real and Aslan is real (and wonderful) even though there's absolutely no reason for these others to believe.

If Eustace has been told all his life by his mother (one of the authority figures in his life whom he trusts) that the Pevensies are strange children and to be avoided, and if Eustace has never had reason to believe otherwise, why on earth shouldn't he believe that they're just playing a grand game of make believe when they talk about Narnia? I don't know but from the outset of Dawn Treader, I always have much greater sympathy for him than for Lucy or Edmund, and it bothers me that they seem to have absolutely no sympathy for him once they've all landed on the ship. The poor kid has suddenly had his entire perspective on the universe changed, of course he's going to react badly. And, besides, he's already not a very nice kid, even if he's a sympathetic character.

Other than my opinions on Eustace growing stronger with the recent reread, I found my overall preference for this book out of the series growing more distinct as well. I thought the moralities of the islands a bit simplistic and heavy-handed, but other than stupid Aslan poking his head in, this is still the least wearisome of the Narnia books and the most exciting. It's also the best one for sparking an imagination and for the lack of allegory (not to say Lewis didn't stick allegory in wherever he could, it's just not as bad as in the other books).

If I keep any of the Narnia books in my library, it will be this one, though I'm not sure I can bear to read about the way the Pevensies and Caspian treated Eustace again - this last time, my irritation was almost too much to enjoy the book at all.
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LibraryThing member steadfastreader
Putting on my 'Childhood Favorites' shelf is a misnomer, as I never read this as a child. Again, with the silly Christian undertones. Then end where Aslan tells Lucy she will never return to Narnia (riiiiiiight) but she will know him under another name in her own world, that's why she had to meet
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him in Narina... hmmm... what could that name be?

I think it's nearly criminal to feed such loosely veiled propaganda to our (any!) unknowing child. If Christianity is the 'One True Faith' then children will find it (as cognizant adults) without being duped or brainwashed. Ick.
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LibraryThing member tipsister
I still haven't seen the new movie version of Voyage of the Dawn Treader, so this review is strictly on the book, which is a good one. I've been trying to journey through Narnia for several years now. I think I received the set of books when I was around twelve or thirteen. That means I've had them
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for well over twenty years. I kept reading The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe over and over and over again. I am now making progress. I'm at least keeping up with the movies!

Voyage of the Dawn Treader is quite a fun adventure book. We are introduced to Eustace, a spoiled cousin of the Pevensies. Lucy and Edmond go to stay with Eustace and his family one summer and are whisked back into Narnia, with Eustace along for the ride. They are hauled aboard a ship called the Dawn Treader where they find their old friends Caspian, Reepicheep, and others. The ship is sailing to find the seven lost Lords of Narnia.

Through their search, they encounter strange islands and odd creatures. This is where the story really gets going. In my opinion this is one of the lighter and more fun books in the series. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I regret that I didn't read it twenty years ago. It could almost be read as a stand-alone book if someone was not familiar with the rest of the series. Voyage of the Dawn Treader is recommended for all ages but there are a few places that might be a little intense. If your kids aren't reading independently at this level, I recommend you read it with them. You'll all enjoy it.
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LibraryThing member lit_chick
2003, Harper Audio, Read by Derek Jacobi

Lucy and Edmund Pevensie are staying with their irritating, ill-mannered, bookish cousin Eustace Scrubb, when the three of them are transported into a painting of a ship on the ocean. The children are rescued by Caspian, the captain of the Dawn Treader, who
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is on a voyage to rescue the seven Lords of Narnia whom his uncle Miraz banished. Caspian invites the children along – and what a voyage it is! – a magical pond, a monstrous sea serpent, one-footed Dufflepuds, seahorses large enough to ride, and more!

It is revealed at the conclusion of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader that Lucy and Edmund will not be returning to Narnia. Lucy asks Aslan whether Eustace, who has become much better tempered over the course of the voyage, might return, but she is reminded that we can only know our own stories.

Favourite Moments:
Reepicheep continues to rule! And he plays a much more substantial (and dramatic and entertaining) role here than in Prince Caspian.
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LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
This reads a bit like "Gulliver's Travels". Lucy and Edmund are back in Narnia with their cousin, Eustace. They travel with Prince Caspian from island to island, following the faint trail of some Narnian lords who set sail for the end of the world some time back. Along the way Eustace loses his
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"beastliness" (with the help of a dragon adventure) and various lessons about character are learned. One of the bright stars of this novel is Reepicheep, the brave-hearted Talking Mouse. We're looking forward to the movie!
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LibraryThing member Breton07
"The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" is a great fantasy novel. It has some very endearing new characters, like Reepicheep, the gallant and brave mouse. However, Eustace, the cousin of Peter, Susan, Edward, and Lucy sometimes redeemed himself. I thought his character's comments were a little
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uninteresting in the story. I did find the scenes onboard the ship exciting at times. I was intrigued by their many, often dangerous adventures on islands and the high seas. Definitely a classic!
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LibraryThing member ctpress
While C. S. Lewis looked to Arabian Nights for the story of [The Boy and His Horse], he draws inspiration from Homer’s Odysseus in [The Voyage of the Dawn Treader].

It’s a very episodic book that jumps from island to island in search of the seven missing lords - and while Odysseus travels to
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the end of the earth and finds the underworld, Prince Caspian and his team travels to the ends of the world and finds heaven. And Reepicheep has to take the last journey alone - bravely sailing into the unknown with a confident heart. One of the great moments in the Narnian Chronicles.

These books are primarily written for children, and I think they will have a great time with all the strange events and strange creatures they encounter.
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LibraryThing member the_awesome_opossum
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is an adventure of Prince Caspian, Lucy, and Edmund to go find or avenge Caspian's father's missing friends, and to travel to the end of the world. CS Lewis has a way with words, as usual, and does a lot with a simple book. There's probably some of the most striking
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imagery in here as I've ever read, and the story has the feeling of an old-time fairy tale. Very good read
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LibraryThing member susan139
The third book in the series, and again it follows on from the first two books. New children come into Narnia.
LibraryThing member Arctic-Stranger
This is my favorite of all the Chronicles. The characters are wonderful, but the adventures are beyond delightful. Like Caspian at the end, I was wishing I could go further in and higher up.
LibraryThing member emhromp2
In this book two story lines are combined and some of my favourite characters go on a journey. I particularly liked the addition of the 'odious' cousin.
LibraryThing member wirkman
This, the third installment in C.S. Lewis's classic fantasy series, is the first of them to achieve true greatness in fantasy, and it is the first that I can heartily recommend to adults. Even the first sentence is of a higher literary order than the previous two books, "The Lion, the Witch and the
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Wardrobe" and "Prince Caspian." Though there isn't much of a plot, the characters are better, the individual stories (told, usually, in several chapters), and the imagination are all of a higher order. And the moral sense has also reached new heights. The story of Eustace and the dragon, alone, is worth not only the price of the book, but whatever disutility one may have to embrace by reading the previous books in the series.

A great book.

Oh, and note. Though third in the series as written, it's fifth in the series chronologically. I can't say that I recommend reading the books chronologically, though, other than if the reader is especially delighted in weird fantasy, since the chronological sixth book ("The Magician's Nephew"), which takes place first in the imagined chronology, is a mighty strange book indeed.

This is the order I recommend reading the books:

1. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

2. The Horse and His Boy

3. Prince Caspian

4. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

5. The Silver Chair

6. The Magician's Nephew

7. The Last Battle

In this order, if you do not like the first two books, it's probably simply the case that you won't like even the best of them, this, "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader."
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LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
Lucy, Edmund, and Eustice join Prince Caspian on a ship voyage to Aslan’s country at the end of the world. They venture on many strange islands, and Eustice learns not to be a selfish pig before Reepicheep is finally dropped off there.
LibraryThing member Hamburgerclan
This is a step up from previous title, Prince Caspian. It's a wonderful travel tale in which Caspian (now King) sails forth to uncharted waters to seek seven friends of his father who had been exiled during the reign of Caspian's corrupt predecessor. The story is rather simplistic, but the
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different lands and perils are imaginitive and delightfully described. A truly worthy successor to the original and one I'm going to keep on my shelf.
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LibraryThing member xicanti
This is probably my favourite of the Narnia books. I loved the journey aspect; it's a road trip/quest for understanding book, only on the high seas! I also loved that Lewis brought Reepicheep back. He was my very favourite literary character when I was younger. I almost wish I had children just so
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I could read them this book.
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LibraryThing member Demosthenes
What can I say? One of the greatest series ever. so amazing. This would have made a better movie than that stupid prince dude.
LibraryThing member TheTwoDs
My favorite of the Narnia books, as it has the most quest-like story of the series. Our heroes sail across the ocean, not knowing where, or if, it ends somewhere, and come across new lands with new creatures and races.
LibraryThing member yoda2ryu
Still continuing the chronicles, and the books just get better. This time out on the open sea, the journey takes place among several islands called the Lone Islands. As usual with Lewis, much biblical symbolism is woven into the script. A great read for anyone who loves the stories of Narnia. In
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fact, why not just read the rest of them.
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LibraryThing member Crowyhead
This and The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe are my favorite Narnia books.
LibraryThing member saralogue
I love C.S. Lewis, I actually did my author study on him last year. And to be perfectly honest I had never read any more of the Chronicles of Narnia than 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.' So I am slowly (but surely) reading all of them. I also read Prince Caspian in the early weeks of the
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semester. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a nice story, I feel that it is better written than Prince Caspian and has more content (in the form of discovery) about Narnia. This is another classic by C.S. Lewis, and Aslan becomes a more wonderful character with this novel- if that is possible.
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LibraryThing member Othemts
This series of books gets better as they go along. Stronger narrative, better characters, and more adventure. I have to admit I was surprised when Eustace turned into a dragon, and pleased that his conversion to a good boy was not complete. The downside of this book is that Reepicheep (the Jar Jar
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Binks of the Narnian chronicles) is a nuisance, although the characters in the book acknowledge that as well. The Dufflepods were also annoying but they didn’t dwell upon it. I really enjoyed the description of what Lucy sees when she looks down into the Silver Sea, very well written and imaginative
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LibraryThing member Cailin
I struggled a little through this book. I still find the series enchanting but it was hard to get through. Two more to go! I'm a little disappointed that the Pevensies are not all in Narnia.
LibraryThing member Tryion
Okay, this one was realy my favorite. When Eustace turns into a dragon ... A good read!
LibraryThing member lyzadanger
C.S. Lewis always transcends the adventurous, dangerous positions the characters get into with a comforting gentleness. If he weren't such a master of this, the Narnia series would be occasionally terrifying.

The imagery in "Dawn Treader", especially as they approach the edge of the world, is
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lovely. Lucy gets to kick ass several ways from Tuesday. The story has our heroes--The Pevensies, along with their curmudgeon-turned-sweet cousin Eustace and King (previously Prince) Caspian--venturing east from the known Narnian world pursuing islands where seven lords are believed to have been lost. Each island brings adventure.
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Original publication date

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