I know a lot of people don't like Prince Caspian as much as the last film (certainly evident by the ticket sales), but I love it. I love the way that the Pevensies struggle with their frustration at being kids again when they used to be not only grownups, but kings and queens. I love how they struggle with faith in Aslan. I love how the White Witch comes and tempts them, and is defeated by the only Pevensie who really knows exactly what it means to serve her.
To me, the central theme of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is the idea of what it means to be home. Perhaps one of the reasons I love the film so much is that I often struggle with this concept. They say home is where the heart is, and the Pevensies certainly left their hearts in Narnia when they returned to our world. I'm fairly confident in saying most of us would rather live the life of a king or queen in a magical wonderland full of life and joy than a life of rationing and fear of being blown up in WWII era England. But, it's more than that. The Pevensies spent more time in Narnia than they did in our world. They grew to adulthood. They learned what it meant to be kings and queens, commanding respect and honor, and then returned to a world where nobody listened or cared about what they had to say.
Then, after all their hoping and longing for a return to the world they had left behind, they finally return to Narnia. And, when they arrive, they find Narnia subjugated by a foreign enemy, their castle a mere ruin, and so much time has passed that everyone they cared for and knew in Narnia was long dead. They were no longer even the heroes of their own story. And that's the point. Too often we spend all of our time hoping and wishing for a world that no longer exists. We dream of home as this place where everything is always okay, and the world can't get to us anymore, but that's not what home is.
As a college student, I've learned that you really can't ever go home again. Not to say that I don't love my parents or enjoy spending time with them. But, when I do, I'm not home anymore. What was home is now just a collection of memories. I've reached the age where home is going to be whatever I make of it. Ultimately, home is merely a state of mind: the place where you are most comfortable. The place where you truly feel as if you belong.
And that is what the Pevensies found when they returned to Narnia. They didn't find the place they remembered, and they didn't find what they had hoped for, but they did find peace and contentment. I guess another way of saying you're home is saying that you are comfortable in your own skin. We spend so much time and energy chasing after a dream, a fantasy, a mere memory, when all along home is right here waiting for us when we accept that home can only be what we make of it.
“The Promised Land always lies on the other side of a wilderness.”