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A better title for Prince Caspian?

PostPosted: Aug 17, 2019 12:06 pm
by The Rose-Tree Dryad
Prince Caspian is my favorite of The Chronicles of Narnia (at least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it :))) but I'll readily admit that it's my least favorite title in the series. A while back I was reading an excerpt from Jack: A Life of C. S. Lewis by George Sayer, and in describing the history of LWW's sequel, the biographer says that Lewis wasn't particularly fond of the title either:

[Lewis] put the [first draft of The Magician's Nephew] aside, thinking that he might later rework it, and instead began to write a story about children drawn across space and time by magic and told from their point of view, rather than from that of the magician. The theme is described by the original title, Drawn into Narnia. The writing went quickly and well, so that it was finished by the end of 1949 and eventually published as Prince Caspian.

The title adopted, Prince Caspian, was suggested by his publisher. Jack was reluctant to accept it, as it did not in any way suggest the theme of the book. But he had to be content with a subtitle, The Return to Narnia.


Do you think Prince Caspian is a fitting title for the novel, or is there something else that would have worked better? Is the subtitle needed? What about the alternate titles Drawn into Narnia or A Horn in Narnia?

I imagine that fellow Inkling J.R.R. Tolkien had already called dibs on it by the time Lewis was writing the sequel, but — though it may be a little too sweeping and epic to follow The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — I think The Return of the King, or something that conveys the same meaning, might have been an intriguing title. Is the titular king the young Caspian, meant to take back the throne from his Uncle? Or is it High King Peter, come back to Narnia out of the ancient past? No, it's Aslan the Great Lion, King of the wood, who has returned in a blaze of glory to wake the trees and bring back the old days of the Narnian kingdom! \m/

So that comes to mind. The only other idea at present is The Prince and the Poplars. ;)) Any thoughts or ideas?

Re: A better title for Prince Caspian?

PostPosted: Aug 17, 2019 1:15 pm
by Geekicheep
I love that idea, Return of the King! I actually like that better than Lewis' original idea of "Drawn into Narnia" - that's like one chapter, if that. But really, I think Prince Caspian works. The story really does revolve around him; his fascination with what Narnia was like before the Telmarines took over, his escape, and all his adventures before he takes his rightful place on the throne. I have a few ideas on other names that would be decent, but IMO Prince Caspian is better.

Re: A better title for Prince Caspian?

PostPosted: Aug 17, 2019 1:50 pm
by Col Klink
Great topic! While Prince Caspian is a relatively boring title, I'd like to say that I'm glad Lewis didn't use "The Return to Narnia." None of the other books mention Narnia in the title so I feel this shouldn't either.

Many of the titles mention an important prop in the story, such as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair. So something like The Queen's Horn might work. But that would give away that Susan's horn is going to be important. (I guess that's the problem with all titles.)

How do people feel about The Second Battle of Beruna as a title?

Re: A better title for Prince Caspian?

PostPosted: Aug 17, 2019 2:49 pm
by narnia fan 7
I don't dislike Prince Caspian as a title. I mean, it's not the most interesting or eye-catching title, but it's not bad.

As for alternate titles, I can't really think of anything. Not a big fan of The Return of The King just cause it's taken. ;)) I do kind of like the sound The Queen's Horn though.

This is sort of off topic, but I find it interesting that while Lewis never actually put "Narnia" in the title of any of the books, he always seemed consider titles with "Narnia" in them. Narnia and The North for HHB, The Last King of Narnia and Night Falls on Narnia for LB, and Gnomes Under Narnia for SC (he also apparently considered The Wild Waste Lands for SC, witch I actually really like.) Ultimately I'm glad he never did put Narnia in any of the titles, I like it just being in the name of the series way better.

Re: A better title for Prince Caspian?

PostPosted: Aug 17, 2019 5:24 pm
by DiGoRyKiRkE
What an interesting topic! I'd honestly never thought of the title. It does ring a bit hollow, but I always liked it.

I suppose if it were to be renamed, I'd like it to follow along the title of LWW... Something like:

"The Prince, The Horn, and The Return to Narnia."

Re: A better title for Prince Caspian?

PostPosted: Aug 18, 2019 9:27 am
by coracle
I suppose it's okay to have one book named after the leading human character?

Re: A better title for Prince Caspian?

PostPosted: Aug 18, 2019 6:32 pm
by Cleander
How about The Rebel Prince? Or perhaps The Return of the Lion?
The Lion Rises ?:D
The Fall of Telmar?
A Sword in the Forest?

OK I'll stop now before the tomatoes start flying. :D

Re: A better title for Prince Caspian?

PostPosted: Aug 22, 2019 2:06 pm
by The Rose-Tree Dryad
I should clarify that I don't dislike the title Prince Caspian, it's just my least favorite. ;)) While one does wonder who this new character is, I think it's easily the least wondrous of the titles.

Interesting to ponder everyone's ideas and what might have been! :D I wonder if Prince Caspian having a different title would have had some sort of butterfly effect on history? ;))

The Return of the Lion crossed my mind as well, Cleander — it's a bit of a spoiler, but out of all the chapter titles, I think it stands out as the most suitable, with maybe Narnia in Danger as another possibility.

I do like the idea of a title involving Queen Susan's horn, especially since Lewis's original title was focused on the children being drawn back into Narnia and the horn was the catalyst. The Enchanted/Magic/Ancient Horn, or some other variation, might have worked for what he was going for. Thinking about your suggestion, DiGs, I rather like The Prince and the Magic Horn — it borrows a bit of LWW's cadence without sticking to a formula.

narnia fan 7 wrote:This is sort of off topic, but I find it interesting that while Lewis never actually put "Narnia" in the title of any of the books, he always seemed consider titles with "Narnia" in them.


I hadn't made that observation! That's really interesting. I also prefer having Narnia appear only in The Chronicles of Narnia and not the titles; I think it makes the tales more intriguing and myth-like.

Re: A better title for Prince Caspian?

PostPosted: Aug 22, 2019 6:25 pm
by waggawerewolf27
narnia fan 7 wrote:As for alternate titles, I can't really think of anything. Not a big fan of The Return of The King just cause it's taken. ;)) I do kind of like the sound The Queen's Horn though.


Actually you are right about the Queen's Horn, though. LWW describes the three most important elements of that book. A side issue in that story is Father Christmas giving three of the Pevensies Christmas presents, & explaining what those presents do. VDT explains a journey, LB is self-explanatory, as is HHB, whilst MN, whilst it does have a sneaky resemblance to the Magician's Apprentice, a Disney work, also fits. The Silver Chair title is a bit of a McGuffin, more of a symbol of Prince Rilian's captivity than anything else. The same might be said of Queen Susan's horn. Was it ever even used in LWW? The Christmas presents Lucy & Peter got were instantaneously useful in LWW, though I'm not sure that Susan used her bow & arrows. What of the Christmas presents in PC? Susan's horn, which, it seems went missing at the end of LWW, practically drives the action in Prince Caspian. Or does it?

Re: A better title for Prince Caspian?

PostPosted: Aug 25, 2019 12:14 pm
by Reepicheep775
The trouble is that I would want to reference the idea of lost magic because I think that would reflect the tone of the book the best, but then when I start to think about titles e.g. The Sleeping Forest they all sound sleepy and kind of boring. Not the sort of thing that is going to make the book fly off of the shelves. :p

Of the suggestions, I like The Queen's Horn quite a bit. The Prince and the Horn is good too. I think a reference to Susan's horn would have been a good idea.

Re: A better title for Prince Caspian?

PostPosted: Aug 27, 2019 1:25 am
by King_Erlian
As I've said previously on another thread, I don't like the subtitle "The Return To Narnia" because it gives the game away that the world the children travel to is Narnia, when Lewis spent the first few chapters creating some sense of mystery as to where they were. This was only the second book in the series to be published and for all anyone knew, Lewis could have been writing "The Pevensie Chronicles" rather than the Narnia Chronicles, with the children travelling to a different world each time and encountering Aslan in a different form each time.

Re: A better title for Prince Caspian?

PostPosted: Aug 27, 2019 10:32 am
by hermit
Prince Caspian was the first book I read. I'm actually quite happy with the title, but if you want an alternative The Prince and the Horn sounds quite good. Actually that sounds a bit like an E. Nesbit title.

Re: A better title for Prince Caspian?

PostPosted: Aug 29, 2019 8:48 pm
by Geekicheep
I kind of like that, hermit. It's a bit subtler than "the Queen's Horn" or "Drawn into Narnia", but it does point to that symbolism that plays an important role in the story. It also reminds me of the other books (HHB, SC, even LWW); as someone else said, the main characters and iconic "props" seem to find their way into the titles a lot. So that would be a bit more consistent with the rest of the series than "Prince Caspian" without downplaying Caspian's important role in the book.