Thoughts Inspired by Prince Caspian

“It would never have worked anyway,” Susan says to Caspian as she prepares to leave Narnia for the last time. Is this supposed to make him feel better? Or herself, for that matter? 

I’m sorry, Caspian. I know something of sadness in romance. Brandon Heath sings “falling in love is a beautiful thing….” Perhaps it is. But in my experience, usually to fall in love with someone is to end up hoping in vain. Eventually, my love is nearly starved out, dying for lack of oxygen. It might seem helpful to say: well, it wouldn’t have worked out, anyway. We would’ve driven each other crazy. He’s too logical for me, etc. But is that the best way to deal with unrequited love? 

Maybe it’s better to grieve the disappointments truthfully. To say I loved, and I lost, and it sucks. Old, crumbled excuses as to why it would not have worked are overrated. Maybe Susan and Caspian sense this, too, for instead of just walking away as she was starting to do, Susan turns back, and gives her farewell with a kiss that prompts Lucy to say, “I’m sure when I’m older, I’ll understand.” And then the quotable line from Edmund: “I’m older, and I don’t think I want to understand.” 

I think I might understand.

I know that the Caspian/Susan romance was not in the book, but I don’t actually have an objection to it being created for the movie. I don’t know how C.S. Lewis would feel about it, and I will not presume to decide that. However, there is a quote from Lewis that fits in perfectly with this subject of loving and losing.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

“To love is to be vulnerable.”

There’s not always a happily ever after. Life is beautiful and tragic. It is hard and glorious. The prince doesn’t always go searching for Cinderella. Broken relationships do not always end in reconciliation. As an idealist, this is not something that is easy for me to be okay with. Growing up, perhaps I should have read more books that didn’t end with the pieces neatly tied up at the end. Those bittersweet endings are often truer pictures of reality.

If King Caspian laments the loss of Queen Susan, we should let him. It is valid for him to feel like someone special just walked out of his life. Because she did, and the pain is real. And now he must live the story of beauty plus sadness. He will heal, but he doesn’t know that yet. None of us know the ending when we are living the middle of the story. 

A Lament of King Caspian
Written by another Susan (me)

Ah, the memory of Queen Susan brings me
To lament. For she was called away
And to a world beyond my Narnia
She went. Oh delightful one, why have
You flown?

When I blew her horn in desperate,
Panicked fear, I merely tried to
Save my life, but Aslan sent hope
And beauty here. Through what followed,
I have grown.

She stirred up strength, made me
Braver. Perchance I may have
Done the same for her, and gained
Her favor. But once again, I
Feel alone.

I grieve, for in truth, I have loved
And lost. Yet in my breast somehow
A lingering joy has settled despite
The cost. In her parting kiss, I am more
Fully known.

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