Narnia: Consenting to Leave

[Narnia Content Note: Genocide, Religious Abuse, Chivalry, Racism, Slavery]

Narnia Recap: In the last movie installment, everything is so much better.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, 1:34:00 - THE END

I meant to get this up on Thursday but Real Life was all HAHA NO.

So. When we last left our heroes, Eustace had been turned back into a boy and saved everything forever. And after the EVIL MIST is defeated, there are the boats with all the sacrificed slaves alive and well and better, and Gael and Rhince swim out to Helaine, who continues to have a name. I approve.

And since we're about to kick the kids out of Narnia forever (well, in the case of Edmund and Lucy, anyway), and since the movie-makers correctly realized that this is something that really ought to be setup as desirable to the characters involved if there's to be any chance of this not being a hugely downer ending, then the reuniting of Helaine with Gael and Rhince prompts all the meaningful looks between Edmund and Lucy so that they can think about how much they miss their parents. Which doesn't really justify being kicked out of Narnia, because their parents are still across the ocean chilling in America, but...uhm, they tried?

Eustace, meanwhile, is hanging out in the middle of the ocean for reasons I don't really understand. If Ramandu's Island--which is where he was, laying swords on tables and saving the world, like you do--dissolved, then that's going to make it hard for Caspian to see Lily again, and additionally there are three very soggy Lost Lords treading water somewhere and not being picked up for retrieval. But! Eustace being in the ocean makes it sensible for Reepicheep to leap in and join him in order to discover that the sea-water is sweet and obviously this is a vast improvement over the book.

So clearly since the end of the world is right there, everyone just piles into an away-mission boat and sails into the sea of lilies. And Caspian is there, too, which will be narratively satisfying in a minute so that's nice. The ride in the boat is sweet, and I kinda forgive the movie for not explaining how everyone on the Dawn Treader was apparently all "see ya later!" because realistically, no explanation for how we got from point A to point B was going to be good. Anyway, on the boat, Eustace says he feels like he was a better dragon than a boy and that is just all the blubs.

Caspian et. al. pulls up on the doorstep to the end of the world and marvels at the big wall of water. Aslan appears beside them and it feels very natural; none of this fried fish and talking lamb nonsense. Caspian asks Aslan if his father is in Aslan's country and lion-god ducks the question and says, basically, "eh, you won't know until you look", and unlike the book Caspian is given a choice here: he can either go back and be king or go forward into Aslan's country. For a long moment it looks as though he's going to go forward, but he turns away with tears in his eyes and says that he's spent all this time woobying over the stuff he lost (his dad, the Lost Lords, etc) and hasn't properly taken care of the things he was given as a responsibility (the entire kingdom of Narnia). And he promises to be a better king.

And holy hell, it's like someone read these books and realized that Caspian is a braying pile of privilege and that maybe that should be resolved in a personal arc. I APPROVE.

Continuing the theme that Consent Is Groovy, Edmund actually suggests they go home instead of Aslan just kicking them out. Lucy asks Reepicheep "May I?" and gets consent before the hug. Eustace cries over not seeing Reepicheep ever again and thank you because that genuinely is super sad and we never really got the same reaction shot from Lucy and Mr. Tumnus even though it would have been perfectly natural for it to come up during Prince Caspian. "Will I not see you again? Ever?" Eustace cries and we all cry too.

Then they walk through the watery tunnel exit--to repeat, they leave Narnia under their own walking power rather than being quickly flung out without warning--and there are hugs and all I can think is how much better this ending is to the one in the book. And all it took was for the privileged guy to learn that personal responsibility is a thing, and for the people who kept having their consent trodden upon to instead have their consent openly elicited and freely given. How novel!


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