When You Read The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
I remember when people were talking about how The Voyage of the Dawn Treader didn't lend itself to a cinematic format because of its episodic structure, some said that it worked in a book because you could always stop at the end of a chapter and pick up the book later. Honestly, I never really feel like doing that when I read VODT. I mean, sure, I do stop sometimes between chapters because I have a life. But the fact that a conflict on one island had been wrapped up at the end of a chapter never made me not want to read the next one right away. After all, I enjoyed one. Why not enjoy another as soon as possible?
How about you guys? Does the episodic nature of the book make you less eager to continue reading it? (I wouldn't be surprised if it did, because I have slightly odd reading tastes. I probably read more episodic books than "normal" books.)
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
Does the episodic nature of the book make you less eager to continue reading it?
No, I don't ever remember feeling that way when I've read it before. In fact, I had trouble putting it down the first time I read through it. I read it in just a couple of days, which was really fast for me, and I never felt like I should stop at the end of each chapter. I was thirteen at the time, a little old to be reading Narnia for the first time, but I was especially hooked on VODT. It was so exciting, I wanted to know what was going to happen next. That wasn't the case for some of the other Narnia books, though. With HHB, I had trouble even reading through the first chapter. I was so confused, wondering who Shasta was and when Narnia would actually come into the story.
I still can understand why some people may feel that way about its episodic format, that it works well to stop at the end of each chapter. I've felt that way when reading other books, but VODT was never that way for me.
I remember that at the end of each chapter of Voyage of the Dawn there is usually something which leaves you wanting to read the next chapter. For example, you are left with Eustace seeing his own reflection as a dragon in a pool of water, and of course you will want to know what happens next. So each chapter of the book is connected with suspense. I think it works as a movie when the loose ends are linked together.
Now that I've read Dawn Treader as an adult, I must say — certainly on my most recent re-read — it DID strike me as very episodic and a bit contrived in some ways. I mean, how convenient that in the midst of the uncharted eastern seas, they just keep on running across island after island at just the perfect time, even with no maps to guide them (much less sat nav!! )... But that isn't an unusual narrative structure for a children's book, and when I was a child, I never even noticed or questioned it. And I certainly don't love it any the less, as it has some of the most beautiful and dramatic and memorable scenes of all the Chronicles. I would say it does lend itself to an episodic screen adaptation more than a film, but I reckon a good director could still successfully do it as a film WITHOUT changing the plot beyond recognition. At least, I hope Netflix will feel that way about it...
"Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed."
When I read the book the first time, I was in the sixth grade (so about 11 or 12 years old); I used to read the Narnia books while I was waiting for the bus. So for me, VDT's being episodic was never an issue - I would reach the end of a chapter, and it would be time to go home. Every way was a "cliff-hanger". Now last month I just finished re-reading LWW - we'll see how VDT goes this time around. 😀
Yes, I'm a mouse... I mean, a geek!