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Dr. Cornelius and Caspian's Mother  

Col Klink
NarniaWeb Nut

In Prince Caspian, Dr. Cornelius says that Caspian's mother was the only Telmarine who was ever kind to him. Why would that be? The only reason why the Telmarines would be unkind to Cornelius would be if they knew he was half dwarf and I assumed no one knew that. (While we don't see much of Miraz, what we do see indicates he wouldn't give the doctor an important job, like tutor to the crown prince, if he knew about his lineage.)

I'm cynically inclined to assume that C.S. Lewis was just trying to establish the Telmarines as the bad guys and Caspian's parents as unusually good, without really thinking the logistics through. But does anyone have any other explanations?

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen

Posted : March 20, 2020 5:27 am
Wanderer Between Worlds
NarniaWeb Nut

Hello Col Klink,

That is a very interesting question that I had never thought about before! I think that there could be an additional reason as to why none of the Telmarines were kind to Doctor Cornelius. Doctor Cornelius is described as “the smallest, and also the fattest, man Caspain had ever seen…” (PC chapter 4). Doctor Cornelius’s strange appearance alone may have warranted ill treatment directed towards him. In any society, misfits are treated with curiosity (even in Narnia). Often, they are treated with contempt if the society is particularly cruel. From what I gather, Telmar is more brutal than Narnia but less so than Calormen. What Lewis tells us of Telmarine society seems to indicate that it is extremely dull and that everyone is encouraged to play their part and nothing more, as evidenced by the reprimand Gwendolen receives for even daring to mention something fantastical (But Miss Prizzle, there’s a LION!”). Doctor Cornelius is anything but dull, and although he hides his lineage and plays the part of a boring Telmarine tutor relatively well, his appearance and the merriment in his eyes were probably enough to garner ill treatment.

As to why Miraz hired Corenelius in the first place, Miraz needed a tutor for Caspian and perhaps Doctor Cornelius was either the most knowledgeable or the most convenient tutor around. Miraz already despised Caspian, and he strikes me as the kind of person who wouldn’t care about who tutored his nephew, just as long as Caspian was kept out of the way, taught to be a good little Telmarine boy, and forgot Old Narnia.

While Lewis still might be trying to establish Caspian’s family as unusually good, there could be other reasons for the dislike of Doctor Cornelius. These are just my thoughts on why the Telmarines may have hated Dr. Cornelius although maybe I’m reading into it a bit too much! :)

"I am,” said Aslan. "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”

Posted : March 21, 2020 10:53 am