Narnia: The First and The Last

[Content Note: Violence, Slavery, Rape, Othering]

Narnia Recap: In which Caspian asserts kingly authority.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chapter 4: What Caspian Did There

So now that Caspian has magically solved slavery forever with his brilliant insights from experiencing the slave trade from within for a full five minutes, it's time to collect the Pevensies and carry on with our adventure. We just need to do a few things first.

But before I begin, here are some verses to keep in mind. Or rather, just the one verse.
New International Version (©2011)
"So the last will be first, and the first will be last."

New Living Translation (©2007)
"So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last."

English Standard Version (©2001)
So the last will be first, and the first last.”

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
"So the last shall be first, and the first last."

King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009)
"So the last will be first, and the first last."

International Standard Version (©2012)
"In the same way, the last will be first, and the first will be last, because many are called, but few are chosen."

NET Bible (©2006)
So the last will be first, and the first last."

Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
So the last will be first and the first last, for the called are many and the chosen ones are few.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
"In this way the last will be first, and the first will be last."

King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many are called, but few chosen.

American King James Version
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

American Standard Version
So the last shall be first, and the first last.

Douay-Rheims Bible
So shall the last be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.

Darby Bible Translation
Thus shall the last be first, and the first last; for many are called ones, but few chosen ones.

English Revised Version
So the last shall be first, and the first last.

Webster's Bible Translation
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many are called, but few chosen.

Weymouth New Testament
"So the last shall be first, and the first last."

World English Bible
So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few are chosen."

Young's Literal Translation
So the last shall be first, and the first last, for many are called, and few chosen.'

OK? Hold onto that.

   When all this had been pleasantly settled, Caspian ordered horses, of which there were a few in the castle, though very ill-groomed, and he, with Bern and Drinian and a few others, rode out into the town and made for the slave market. It was a long low building near the harbor and the scene which they found going on inside was very much like any other auction; that is to say, there was a great crowd and Pug, on a platform, was roaring out in a raucous voice:

Geography isn't my strong point, and Lewis doesn't make it easy for me to follow along, but I assume -- possibly incorrectly -- that "the harbor" near which the slave market is located is the same harbor from which Caspian's armored men must have disembarked either last night or this morning before they started their march on the castle with their swords drawn. After all, the definite article "the" seems to indicate that this particular harbor is either the main harbor or the only harbor in town. But if this harbor is the same harbor from which Caspian and his men disembarked, then it raises a lot of troubling questions about his method of liberating the island of slavery.

A defense of Capsian's march on the castle that has been offered thus far is that it was the quickest and safest means to the practical end of freeing the Pevensies. There has even been some suggestion offered that Caspian was forced to march on the castle in order to save his friends, and that their capture required Caspian to behave in a more heavy-handed manner than he had initially bargained for when planning his trip to the islands. Yet here we now see that the castle was actively a detour away from his friends -- and if the slave-buyers had been in a sharpish mood to get off home a little faster, then Lucy and Edmund and Reepicheep would now be lost forever. (Since, even if Caspian were to give chase in the Dawn Treader, there's no reason to assume that all three would be traveling on the same ship together to the same destination.)

Caspian's march on the castle didn't make his mission to the slave market any less dangerous. He actually took a greater risk by going to the castle first; in addition to making it that much easier for his friends to be spirited away from the islands in the time it took him to sort out things with Gumpas, there was also always the risk that the castle guards could have opted to battle Caspian and his men, and with no assurance of which side would come out the victor. Nor does Caspian gain anything materially from the castle march to help him at the slave market -- he takes some horses for himself, yes, but he additionally leaves some of his men behind. When they started out in the morning, they had approximately fifty armed men, but on the trip to the slave market they only take "[Caspian], with Bern and Drinian and a few others". So not only did Caspian stand to potentially lose resources at the castle, he actually deliberately leaves resources behind before going on to rescue his friends.

We could say that Caspian's detour to the castle adds legitimacy to his proclamation at the slave market, and that when he announces that the slave trade is going to stop henceforth he can now totes mean it because of legitimacy. Except that he's no more legitimate now than he was this morning -- the altercation with Gumpas didn't make Caspian more legitimately in control of the islands. And the people at the slave market have no way to verify this supposed legitimacy anyway. Whatever power Caspian has at the slave market is the same power he had before Gumpas: the violent threat invested in the pointy sword in his hand, the proclamations of his own legitimacy in his mouth, and the populace power behind him.

And with that in mind -- as well as the fact that the islanders will be shown hating the slave trade and happy for its removal -- it actually would have made more sense all round for Caspian to free the slaves first and march on the castle after.

This would have been a more heroic thing to do, in the sense of Caspian having the properly idealistic priorities ("Freedom First, Paperwork Afterward") expected of an ideal Arthurian king come to free the slaves and restore the proper order. And it would have added more legitimacy to Caspian's ingress as the savior of the islands if he were accompanied by freed slaves and their rejoicing friends and families as opposed to Best Friends of Lord Bern plus a few onlookers who thought Caspian and Drinian were intriguingly sexy. And finally, this method would have been (in my opinion) a more Biblical approach, wherein those who are quite literally "the last" in society (i.e., the slaves) are made very much "the first" by giving them autonomy to depose their corrupt ruler and raise in his place a better and more-certified-by-god ruler.

But we don't get that. I almost think we can't get that, because then we're back to the issue I have with Lewis and legitimacy, and it's that legitimacy cannot (in his worldview) come from The People because if it did then it could be taken away in the same way. Instead, legitimacy has to come from an external power -- from God or Aslan or an invasion that no one remembers which ended with a promise to pay tribute for reasons no one can recall -- to be invested in the king from on high, and then the freedom for the people can flow down from the kingly authority if he is so inclined to offer it.

In The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Jadis was illegitimate not because she treated the Narnians badly (though she did) but because of her heritage -- and the Pevensies were legitimate because of their heritage and not because the Animals specifically wanted those four children to rule over them. In Prince Caspian, Miraz was illegitimate not because he treated the Narnians badly (though he did) but because of his heritage -- and Prince Caspian was legitimate because he was the direct male descendent of the guy who rolled into Narnia and massacred the inhabitants. (Obviously.) Here in Voyage of the Dawn Treader, King Caspian is the legitimate ruler of the Lone Islands not because he freed them from their oppressors and rode a popular mandate into the castle, but because a Narnian King long ago won the islands in some kind of battle or contest and Caspian is the rightful heir to that king because of flurble-wurbly-wobbly-bits.

That's how logic works in this world. I'm pretty sure that it's how government and religion are supposed to work in our world, given the didactic nature of this series. And that creeps the hell out of me, quite frankly. But let's move on for the moment.

   But Pug stopped and gaped when he saw the mail-clad figures who had clanked up to the platform.
   “On your knees, every man of you, to the King of Narnia,” said the Duke. Everyone heard the horses jingling and stamping outside and many had heard some rumor of the landing and the events at the castle. Most obeyed. Those who did not were pulled down by their neighbors. Some cheered.
   “Your life is forfeit, Pug, for laying hands on our royal person yesterday,” said Caspian. “But your ignorance is pardoned. The slave trade was forbidden in all our dominions quarter of an hour ago. I declare every slave in this market free.”

HA HA, that is just perfect.

I love (and by "love", I obviously mean "am horrified by") how Caspian has managed to make this entire slave trade thing about himself. He was a slave for five minutes, so clearly he is well within his rights to explain to Gumpas that he has hard-won inner knowledge of the horrors of slavery. And he's the rightful king of Narnia (because conquest) and therefore the rightful emperor of the Lone Islands (because conquest) and therefore his grievance with Gumpas can and should be initially broached in terms of the unpaid tribute that Gumpas owes him (and then we'll get to the whole slavery thing later). And now we get to hear how Pug's life is forfeit (only not really) because he laid his hands on the king, and obviously that is the worst thing anyone can do.

I am reasonably certain that these proclamations -- Gumpas owing money, except not really; Pug owning his life, except not really -- are supposed to be bluster on Caspian's part. I think this is supposed to be presented as super-intelligent twelve-dimensional chess where he threatens these men with the loss of something dear and then pardons them so that they'll scamper off with their tails between their legs. This is supposed to make Caspian look clever and confident and awesome. I get that.

But there's a side-effect here of centering Caspian as the point of attention and as the cause of grievance. Gumpas isn't a bad person for looting the kingdom through incompetence or embezzlement, but rather he is a bad person for not paying Caspian his financial and kingly dues. Pug isn't a bad person for kidnapping hundreds (thousands?) of islanders and selling them into slavery, but rather he is a bad person for kidnapping Caspian and selling him into slavery. Caspian (and Lewis) are invisibling the real victims of Gumpas and Pug by centering Caspian as the victim in this narrative. That is a bad decision to make.

There is also the additional problem that this twelve-dimensional chess game is short-circuiting the legal process, denying restitution to the victims, and potentially leaving the islands in a much more vulnerable state than necessary. Gumpas shouldn't be given the option to slink off with his ill-gotten gains; those moneys belong to the islanders (and not to Caspian) and should be restored for the good of the kingdom (and in order to buy back the Lost Slaves of Calormen). By leaving Gumpas with his personal fortune intact, Caspian is leaving Gumpas well-placed to challenge Bern for control over the island once Caspian leaves -- readers will please note that Gumpas' governorship may have been a hereditary position, that Bern is a foreigner to the islands, and that Gumpas' best friend Pug has a whole fleet of pirate ships. Not good.

In the same way, the choice between killing Pug on the spot or letting him go free forever is a false choice because there are other, better options. Caspian pays restitution to the slave buyers from Pug's personal holdings, but pays nothing to the slaves themselves. Unless Pug has been very efficient at pissing away all his profits on wine, women, and song, he must have some personal fortune that is worth something, even if it's not very much. Hell, his fleet of pirate ships should be confiscated if only to maintain the peace and prevent an underground slave trade from cropping up to fill the void created by Caspian's actions.

Yet there's no suggestion that Pug should be locked up as a danger to others, that his personal fortune should be confiscated to buy back the hundreds (thousands?) of slaves sold to Calormen or to pay restitution to the slaves themselves, or that the kidnapped slaves deserve the right to demand that proper justice be done beyond a hearty slap on the back and a "better luck next time, Pug" rejoinder. Also not good.

And please note that this elision of justice is really only possible because Lewis centered Caspian as the One True Victim and invisibled the real victims. Which is one more reason why privilege-centering and victim-invisibling are morally problematic, because without that choice it is not possible to recount Caspian's actions here as though they are a clever, twelve-dimensional master plan of Christiany Aslany goodness. The one can't occur without the other as a foundation.

   He held up his hand to check the cheering of the slaves and went on, “Where are my friends?”
   “That dear little gel and the nice young gentleman?” said Pug with an ingratiating smile. “Why, they were snapped up at once—”

And now we are literally going to give Lucy, Edmund, Reepicheep, and Eustace objective worth based on how desirable they were to slave buyers. I am not even kidding. Lucy and Edmund and Reepicheep are good people and therefore have monetary worth easily recognizable to slave buyers, necessitating that they be bought quickly and for a good price; Eustace is not a good person and therefore has no monetary value and couldn't even be fobbed off on a buyer for free.

   “We’re here, we’re here, Caspian,” cried Lucy and Edmund together and, “At your service, Sire,” piped Reepicheep from another corner. They had all been sold but the men who had bought them were staying to bid for other slaves and so they had not yet been taken away. [...] Two merchants of Calormen at once approached. The Calormen have dark faces and long beards. They wear flowing robes and orange-colored turbans, and they are a wise, wealthy, courteous, cruel and ancient people. They bowed most politely to Caspian and paid him long compliments, all about the fountains of prosperity irrigating the gardens of prudence and virtue—and things like that—but of course what they wanted was the money they had paid.
   “That is only fair, sirs,” said Caspian. “Every man who has bought a slave today must have his money back. Pug, bring out your takings to the last minim.” (A minim is the fortieth part of a crescent.)

And there's your morning quota of racism othering for the day.

If you've read James Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me, you've encountered one of my favorite examples of How To Other already. In discussing the simplistic and othering narratives that many American history books use to portray Native Americans, Loewen demonstrates how othering language sounds wrong to our ears when it is applied to the privileged:
Consider how textbooks treat Native religions as a unitary whole. The American Way describes Native American religion in these words: “These Native Americans [in the Southeast] believed that nature was filled with spirits. Each form of life, such as plants and animals, had a spirit. Earth and air held spirits too. People were never alone. They shared their lives with the spirits of nature.” Way is trying to show respect for Native American religion, but it doesn’t work. Stated flatly like this, the beliefs seem like make-believe, not the sophisticated theology of a higher civilization. Let us try a similarly succinct summary of the beliefs of many Christians today: “These Americans believed that one great male god ruled the world. Sometimes they divided him into three parts, which they called father, son, and holy ghost. They ate crackers and wine or grape juice, believing that they were eating the son’s body and drinking his blood. If they believed strongly enough, they would live on forever after they died.”

Textbooks never describe Christianity this way. It’s offensive. Believers would immediately argue that such a depiction fails to convey the symbolic meaning or the spiritual satisfaction of communion.

The Calormen here are being othered with the words used to describe them. They "have dark faces and long beards" as a monolith, whereas the Narnians have skin colors and facial hair that change based on the unique individual. (Beards in VoDT include a bearded Lord Bern, bearded Lone Islander sailors, a bearded mirror in the home of the Magician Coriakin, a long beard on the Magician Coriakin himself, beards on the three Sleeping Lords, and a beard reaching to the feet of the Star Ramandu.)

They are described as wise, though any nation of people will have its fair share of fools; they are described as wealthy, though any nation of people will have its poor; they are described as courteous, though any nation of people will have rude assholes; they are described as cruel, though any nation of people will have charitable persons; and they are described as ancient, though any nation of people can trace its legacy pretty far back since we all come from somewhere (and the Narnians themselves stretch back to the beginning of the world, which is about as "ancient" as a lineage can get). The supposed praises in this litany of generalizations aren't genuinely meant: we generally don't consider "cruel" men who are also slave-owners to be particularly wise or courteous except perhaps in a very unimportant "letter of the law" kind of way, and the Calormen men that we later see in these series are almost universally stupid and rude anyway.

And the obvious dig at the supposed racial cruelty of the Calormen is not meaningfully contrasted with Telmarine genocidal cruelty nor with Aslanic/Narnian cruelty despite the fact that Prince Caspian dealt with its inconvenient non-converted Telmarine population by exiling them to a deserted isle in another world to never be seen or heard from again (i.e., the Coronation Day Massacre). Nor are the "long compliments" and flowery language used here to other the Calormen meaningfully compared with the flowery language Caspian (and High King Peter) are happy to pull out any time they need to Speak Patriarchy -- the reader is supposed to intuit that the majestic plural is good straightforward English, but that metaphoric compliments are employed by double-talking foreigners who really just want their moneys back. 

So we're left with a bunch of meaningless-and-contradictory not-really-meant "praises"; some severe calumnies that are flatly asserted rather than meaningfully explored; a lot of adjectives used to other the people involved as fundamentally different and strange and weird from the protagonists who do the exact same things (i.e., grow beards, wear different clothes, employ figurative speech, commit the occasional atrocity, buy slaves, and worry overly much about monetary compensation for slave buyers); and an entire culture and its people are monolithized into a broad fantasy-world stereotype that just happens to match up with some real world stereotypes about cultures where the people have brown skin and wear robes and turbans and employ metaphoric compliments. Stellar.

[Commenting Note: We will talk about this later in A Horse and His Boy, but I want to reiterate here that attempting to invisible Islamic influences in the "Thousand and One Nights" tales in order to clear Lewis of a charge of othering people is not appropriate in this space for about a thousand different reasons, not including the fact that othering non-Muslim people of color is not somehow magically better than othering Muslim people of color. Othering is wrong, regardless of the political, religious, or racist motivations which may or may not have been present when doing so.]

Moving on.

   “Does your good Majesty mean to beggar me?” whined Pug.
   “You have lived on broken hearts all your life,” said Caspian, “and if you are beggared, it is better to be a beggar than a slave. But where is my other friend?”
   “Oh him?’ said Pug. “Oh take him and welcome. Glad to have him off my hands. I’ve never seen such a drug in the market in all my born days. Priced him at five crescents in the end and even so nobody’d have him. Threw him in free with other lots and still no one would have him. Wouldn’t touch him. Wouldn’t look at him. Tacks, bring out Sulky.”
    Thus Eustace was produced, and sulky he certainly looked; for though no one would want to be sold as a slave, it is perhaps even more galling to be a sort of utility slave whom no one will buy. He walked up to Caspian and said, “I see. As usual. Been enjoying yourself somewhere while the rest of us were prisoners. I suppose you haven’t even found out about the British Consul. Of course not.”

Oh for fuck's sake.

When I started deconstructing LWW, I was genuinely astonished at how much I ended up liking Edmund; now that we're knee-deep into VoDT, I'm similarly startled to see how endearing Eustace is to me now. As much as Lewis would dearly like for us not to notice, Eustace is again right. He was right when he pointed out to Lucy and Edmund and Reepicheep that they shared responsibility for him being captured and sold into slavery (and that he himself was not to blame) if only by virtue of their withholding important information from him.
I also like the fact that "the children" (i.e., Lucy and Edmund, and presumably Reepicheep is roped into that description) "tried to stop Eustace talking as if everyone except himself was to blame", because as far as I can see Eustace is right. I mean, he did agree to go on the walk in order to get off the ship, but I don't remember anyone telling him that he might be captured by slavers. He may well not even know about the existence of slavery in Narnia, given that he was sick and below deck when we were informed about the pirates in the area.

So the three people with a vast deal more experience with Narnia and its Might Makes Right ways offered to take Eustace on a pleasure trip without informing him that the area was mightily dangerous and that they were foolishly ill-equipped in the event of a scuffle. I rather imagine that Eustace has a legitimate grievance to air. Now, I can also imagine that Lucy and Edmund might not want to hear it right now -- and especially that it might increase their distress in the slave ship and distract them from coming up with a useful plan to escape -- but that doesn't change the fact that I think Eustace has right on his side in this particular event.

And I say that not just because Eustace wasn't warned beforehand about the danger that Lucy and Edmund apparently didn't foresee (since they went on the trip without any concerns for their own safety). This whole situation can also be laid somewhat at Caspian's doorstep because he knew about the pirate ships in the area and saw no real reason to do anything to stop their pirating or to help the people they were capturing and selling into slavery.

And now Eustace is right about the fact that Caspian has "been enjoying [himself] somewhere while the rest of us were prisoners." That is precisely what Caspian has been doing. We were very specifically told that Caspian "could not help finding the rest of the day enjoyable". And we were told that very specifically so that we would not blame Caspian for doing that very thing.

Eustace either didn't get the memo that Caspian is blameless, or (if he did) he is refusing to accept those authorial orders. I agree with him on that. And I am frankly quite flabbergasted that Lewis would use slavery in order to demonstrate (again) how worthless and objectively awful Eustace Scrubb is. Can I just say that again in big underlined letters? Lewis included a Cozy Slavery in his book in order to (among other things) demonstrate how unlikable a character supposedly is for not being wanted by slave buyers.

You know how rape is not a compliment? Well, slavery isn't a compliment either. THIS SHOULD NOT BE HARD TO UNDERSTAND. What the fuck, C.S. Lewis? What the fuck? This sort of thing -- this reduction of something Genuinely Awful to a compliment -- can really only happen when the person doing it is so divorced from the genuinely awful thing that they can't even imagine it as a reality or what it would be like to live through it. The same disregard for slavery as a Real Thing which allows Lewis to use it as a metaphor for welfare is at the root of his willingness to employ it as a way to rank his protagonists objectively by awesomeness: "Caspian was bought first because he's the best and Lucy and Edmund were snapped up next because they're pretty damn awesome and then Reepicheep was purchased after because he's super cool and Eustace wasn't wanted at all because he sucks, la la la." ~ C.S. Lewis, apparently. ◀ What. The. Fuck. 

And this is just one more reason why Lewis literally could not have had Caspian free the slaves first and have them march to the castle in triumph with the Last Slaves being made First and the First Governor being made Last. Because that setup will not and can not work when you make being "last" shorthand for "being shit". Eustace is the last of the last, the slave that no one wants, not even for free. And he is the last of the last, according to Lewis, because he deserves to be. His lastness is a condition of his awfulness, a karmic retribution for being a bad English boy and a non-believer in Aslan. Contrary-wise, Caspian's firstness is a condition of his awesomeness, a karmic reward for being a born Arthurian king and suckled at the religious cult of Aslan from a young age.

In Narnia, the first will be first and the last will be last because that is how god-Aslan intends it. That's literally how morality works in this world. And it's why we couldn't have freed the slaves to begin with or focused on them instead of Caspian because they are By Definition less than Caspian. Caspian is the First, the King, the Protagonist. The slaves are Last and are either "first of the last" if they have worth and quality like Lucy and Edmund or are "last of the last" if they are valueless like Eustace.

I just don't even.

   That night they had a great feast in the castle of Narrowhaven and then, “Tomorrow for the beginning of our real adventures!” said Reepicheep when he had made his bows to everyone and went to bed. But it could not really be tomorrow or anything like it. For now they were preparing to leave all known lands and seas behind them and the fullest preparations had to be made. The Dawn Treader was emptied and drawn on land by eight horses over rollers and every bit of her was gone over by the most skilled shipwrights. Then she was launched again and victualed and watered as full as she could hold—that is to say for twenty-eight days. Even this, as Edmund noticed with disappointment, only gave them a fortnight’s eastward sailing before they had to abandon their quest.
   While all this was being done Caspian missed no chance of questioning all the oldest sea captains whom he could find in Narrowhaven to learn if they had any knowledge or even any rumors of land further to the east. He poured out many a flagon of the castle ale to weather-beaten men with short gray beards and clear blue eyes, and many a tall yarn he heard in return.

So, just to be totally clear, they are basically looting the Lone Islands. Caspian literally rolled up into the castle with an army, suggested that the castle guards loot the cellars before either swearing allegiance to the new Duke or clearing out without back pay for lost wages, and he is now living it up by eating his fill of the stored provisions. And tomorrow and for the next week or so, they are going to continue to feast off the people and employ them as laborers in order to shiny up the ship and stuff it with provisions for their journey and they're not going to pay for any of this because Caspian is the rightful king and that makes all the Lone Islanders his personal slaves.

Well, not his slaves. That would be wrong, of course, and Caspian has been a slave long enough (five whole minutes!) to understand that. Instead, they just owe him their labor whenever he decides he needs it and he doesn't pay them in return because being a king means getting unpaid labor from your underlings whenever you want it. Or if he does pay them, he pays them with the tribute that they owe him for not attacking them. Or with the taxes they pay to Bern that are supposed to be funneled back into the country infrastructure and welfare. The point is that Capsian is owed this labor, and the obedience it implies, as well as all the food and wine he can stuff down his gullet and into his hull because he is the legitimate king by virtue of his dad. It's good to be the king. [CN: Link to appropriate Mel Brooks movie quote that is Not Safe For Work.]

   Bern could only tell them that he had seen his six companions sail away eastward and that nothing had ever been heard of them again. He said this when he and Caspian were standing on the highest point of Avra looking down on the eastern ocean. “[...] But I wish your Majesty wouldn’t go. We may need your help here. This closing the slave market might make a new world; war with Calormen is what I foresee. My liege, think again.”
   “I have an oath, my lord Duke,” said Caspian. “And anyway, what could I say to Reepicheep?”

I really cannot imagine why Bern should think that Caspian would care one little whit if the rulers of Calormen (or Pug's pirates or Gumpas' supporters) decide to loot the Lone Islands after Caspian is done looting them. Nothing in Caspian's behavior thus far suggests that he is likely to care about this.

Caspian's first thought upon seeing the Lone Islands was to ask Lucy and Edmund how the islands came to belong to Caspian. He thought nothing of making an amusing joke (assuming he wasn't outright serious) to Reepicheep about coming back with "a larger army" if they needed to reconquer the islands. He wasn't so hampered with worry for his friends that he didn't enjoy himself feasting with Bern and his family; he wasn't so anxious to free his friends that he didn't make an unnecessary and risky detour to the castle in order to shake down the governor for money and horses. He centered the slave trade on himself so that he could invisible the real victims, grant unjust mercy to their victimizers, and deliberately ignore any question of redeeming the Lost Slaves from the nation of Calormen. And he has spent the last however many days looting the supplies of the islands so that he can sail off with their harvest in his hull.

Nothing in this narrative -- nothing in this book -- suggests that Caspian cares for the inhabitants of the Lone Islands except insomuch as they can be used to enrich himself. Even freeing them from slavery was something he only considered doing after it personally touched him; before that, he was happy to wink through his fingers at slave ships and pirate kidnappers because he had his own urgent quest to follow. And now that he has freed them from slavery in a way that left domestic threats (Gumpas and Pug) in power and abroad threats largely unappeased, he's going to sail off into the sunset while patting himself on the back for being such a crackerjack ally.

I can see no reason to believe that Caspian cares about the Lone Islanders or what fate befalls them. Which is why it's not surprising to me when Caspian here confirms that he doesn't.


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