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Cair Paravel

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Cair Paravel
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Cair Paravel as it appears in the 2005 Disney/Walden film.
The Chronicles of Narnia location
Created byC. S. Lewis
GenreJuvenile fantasy
TypeCastle
Notable charactersKing Frank and Queen Helen
High King Peter the Magnificent
Queen Susan the Gentle
King Edmund the Just
Queen Lucy the Valiant

Cair Paravel is the fictional castle where the Kings and Queens of Narnia rule in The Chronicles of Narnia. It is the location of the four thrones of High King Peter the Magnificent, Queen Susan the Gentle, King Edmund the Just, and Queen Lucy the Valiant.

Description in The Chronicles of Narnia[edit]

Cair Paravel is first mentioned in the book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It is a castle, sitting on top of a hill above a long stretch of sandy beach, where the Great River of Narnia flows into the Eastern Ocean.[1]

C.S. Lewis described the castle as follows:[2]

The castle of Cair Paravel on its little hill towered up above them, before them were the sands, with rocks and little pools of salt water, and seaweed, and the smell of the sea and long miles of bluish-green waves breaking for ever and ever on the beach.

Among the titles claimed by Jadis, the White Witch is that of "Chatelaine of Cair Paravel". However, she does not dwell there. The subversive prophecy current among inhabitants of Narnia is that eventually "Two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve" would be enthroned at Cair Paravel.


When the four Pevensie children (Peter, Susan, Edmund, Lucy) become Kings and Queens of the country after the defeat of Jadis, Cair Paravel becomes the seat of the court of the Pevensie children and the capital of Narnia.

In the book Prince Caspian, which takes place many centuries of Narnian time after The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (but only a year in our time), Cair Paravel is a ruin on an island. It is here that the four Pevensies return to Narnia, although it takes them a while to realize where they are. In The Silver Chair it is told that Caspian X the Seafarer had rebuilt the castle by the end of his reign.

In The Last Battle Cair Paravel is surrounded by a city. It is eventually captured by a surprise sea-borne attack and sacked by troops of the Tisroc of Calormen, last mentioned as being "full of dead Narnians and living Calormenes".

Cair Paravel is later destroyed along with the rest of Narnia, but has its counterpart in the "Real Narnia" to which protagonists arrive.

Inspiration[edit]

Dunluce Castle

Beginning in 1906, young C.S Lewis (1898-1963) visited the northern Irish seaside near Portrush many times.[3][4] In later years, Lewis remembered the sounds of the sea, the cliffs rising above it, and the ruined medieval towers of Dunluce Castle which many authors have speculated may have inspired his creation of Cair Paravel.[3][4][5]

References[edit]

  1. Duriez, Colin (2013). The A-Z of C.S. Lewis: An Encyclopaedia of His Life, Thought, and Writings. Lion Books. ISBN 074595586X. Cair Paravel is like the Court of Arthur, with a round table, and embodies the idea of equal rule. Lewis may have been inspired by the description of the Arthurian court at the beginning of the medieval poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  2. Lewis, C.S. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The castle of Cair Paravel on its little hill towered up above them, before them were the sands, with rocks and little pools of salt water, and seaweed, and the smell of the sea and long miles of bluish-green waves breaking for ever and ever on the beach. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  3. 3.0 3.1 Poe, Harry Lee (2019). Becoming C. S. Lewis (1898–1918): A Biography of Young Jack Lewis. 1. Crossway. p. 138. ISBN 1433562731. In its glory, Dunluce would have been the model of a kingly castle, but Lewis saw it in ruins, as the four Pevensie children saw Cair Paravel upon their return to Narnia in Prince Caspian. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  4. 4.0 4.1 Duriez, Colin (2013). C. S. Lewis: A Biography of Friendship. Lion Books. ISBN 0745955878. I have some vague memories of the cliffs round there and of Dunluce Castle, and some memories that are not at all vague of the same coast a little further on at Castlerock where we used to go in the old days. (letter from Lewis to Arthur Greeves, written in 1915) Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  5. "Ruined UK castles spring back to life". CNN. 19 November 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2020. ...the dramatically situated clifftop Dunluce Castle (pictured above) in County Atrium, Northern Ireland...... Its otherworldly look is said to have inspired CS Lewis, author of the "Chronicles of Narnia" series. Apparently, the ruins formed the basis for the Narnian castle of Cair Paravel.


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