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We have a familiar fairy tale trope here: a prince is abducted and brought up by a poor family. Shasta meets talking horse Bree. They set out for Narnia, meeting another talking horse Hwin and her rider, the runaway princess Aravis.
Eventually, Shasta is mistaken for the Prince Corin. Later we establish that Shasta is really Corin’s twin brother, Cor. Cor is the rightful heir to the throne and he is the one that was born first. Corin is full of fun and often takes unnecessary risks that land him in trouble. Cor is more cautious but less experienced in battle.
Edmund, Lucy, Peter and Susan are still kings and queens in Narnia. Susan escapes marriage to Rabadash. Lucy, Peter and Edmund are active in the battle with the Calormens. Susan waits behind at the castle. Is this a hint that she is already growing too grand for Narnia?
Aslan appears again. He guides Shasta along a ledge and protects him from falling and he scratches Aravis’s back to show her how a slave girl who was punished because of her would feel.
The four children use a strange language. Are they as Susan will claim in a later novel just playing some sort of fantasy game about Narnia? Also a little odd, they freely drink wine and sometimes stronger alcohol. There is much talk of marriage. Can we interpret this as an archetypal fairy tale?
The book is 240 pages long, in an adult font that is slightly larger than normal. The text is blocked. There are some line drawings which illustrate. There is a map at the beginning of the book.