Hello all! This series will compare various characters from the Chronicles to Biblical characters. In doing so, it is important to remember that the Chronicles are NOT allegories, the characters are not EXACT representations of Biblical figures. That being said, there are still interesting similarities. For my Lion’s Call debut, I chose to explore the commonalties between…Reepicheep and Elijah!
Okay, okay, I’m guessing I’m getting a few odd stares at the moment. Like I said, the Chronicles are not allegories, so not everything’s going to be similar. And at first glance, Reep and Elijah are two very different people…well, person and mouse, you know what I meant. Upon examining the two, though, we can see that both are very bold. Both are willing to stand up for what they believe in and are not afraid to say what they mean. Neither backed down from what they knew was right, even when the possibility of death stared them in the face.
However, in re-reading Elijah’s story found in the books of I and II Kings, and Reepicheep’s part in Voyage of the Dawn Treader, I found a blazing similarity between the two. Specifically, I saw quite a few parallels between Elijah’s ascent into heaven in a flaming chariot and Reepicheep’s final voyage to Aslan’s country. The account of the flaming chariot scene is found in II Kings chapter two, while Reepicheep’s journey is in the last chapter of Voyage of the Dawn Treader. For starters, both cross a body of water before the final dramatic scene. Elijah must cross the Jordan, whereas Reep sails across the Silver Sea. This is only a minor detail, however. Many other more important similarities are present as well.
Friends and Other Things Left Behind
One of these important comparisons is that both are not alone when they make this final journey. Elijah is watched by his friend and eventual successor Elisha, whil Reep is sent off by Lucy, Edmund, and Eustace, three of those who have taken the long voyage across the seas with him. As the two figures leave, they also leave behind an object of great importance. Elijah leaves behind his cloak, which not only kept him warm, it was a symbol of sorts of his position and authority as a prophet. Reepicheep leaves something behind as well – his sword, which is a symbol of his life, his bravery, and his valiant nature. And finally, at the end of each scene, each is taken to heaven (all right, Aslan’s Country in Reep’s case…same idea!) without passing through death first.s
The End…But Not Quite
And so ends the story of Elijah and Reepicheep…but wait! Is it REALLY the end? For both of these characters are seen again , in scenes of great power and joy. Elijah appears again in the New Testament, alongside Moses and Jesus during the Transfiguration, which can be read in Matthew 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9. Reepicheep is also seen again, greeting the seven friends of Narnia into the New Narnia at the end of The Last Battle. Perhaps these scenes are not as easily compared as the previous two, but I still think that it’s worth the mention.
Was Elijah’s ascension into heaven the inspiration for one of the last scenes of Voyage of the Dawn Treader? Well, only Lewis himself can really answer that question, and I have not yet come across anything he has written that does. (Doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, though!) Regardless, the similarities are remarkable, and worth taking a look into.