After reading this page, it's evident that most commenters are not aware that Lewis wrote the Narnia books specifically to tell younger readers his thoughts about Christian theology without being bound into the narrow structure permitted such discussions in his day. (Or in many others, including the present, if you think about it.) His intent, and the title of the best book about Lewis and Narnia, was to slip his ideas and discussions Past Watchful Dragons. Keep that in mind as you read and analyze the whys and wherefores...
The Other Wiki's article suggests his original intent wasn't that clear-cut (Aslan, for example, was one of the later elements to be introduced).
I do remember reading and hearing quite frequently that all Lewis claimed to have been doing was "writing books [he] would have liked to have read". It's entirely possible this was just talk, but the whole "Chronicles of Narnia = Christian propoganda" slant does strike this humble troper as a somewhat simple and childish theory that hints at conspiracy.
His Christian faith was a big part of his life, so obviously it was going to be a big part of the world he was creating. Like the above troper stated, he was most likely writing books he liked to read, not trying to persuade children to believe what he did.
Aslan blatantly contradicts himself.
He repeatedly tells Lucy, in multiple books, that "no one is ever told "what would have happened". And yet in his speech to the kid in The Horse and His Boy he says, "I will now tell you what would have happened..."
Probably because "No one is ever told..." sounds cooler than "I don't feel like telling you". He does it in Magician's Nephew too.
What speech is that? He never tells anyone what would have happened at any point in The Horse and his Boy. He just tells Aravis and Shasta (in two of the three scenes he appears in) that "nobody is told any story but their own." As for The Magician's Nephew, there he tells Digory what would have happened if he had done something wrong (stealing the apple), whereas Lucy, both times, wanted to know what would have happened if she hadn't done something wrong (not followed Aslan when her siblings decided not to, and eavesdropping on and judging her friend). While telling Digory what sad fate he avoided would theoretically make him feel better, how could emphasizing to Lucy in detail how she screwed up make her feel any better? So, no, he didn't feel like telling her stuff that would make her dwell on her own guilt.
You've said it yourself: "He tells Digory what would have happened if he had done something wrong." I don't see any evidence that it has to do with the way anyone feels in any situation whatever. Guilt and all that don't even enter into it. He says, more than once, that no one is ever told what would have happened. Aslan isn't the type of fellow who goes around making sweeping proclamations like that and not meaning them. To mean by that, "I'm sorry, but I don't want to hurt your feelings by answering your questions," or, "I don't feel like responding to that" (or worse yet, simply flat out lie), is not in character for him, and wouldn't make much sense anyway. It's just an irreconcilable inconsistency that has always irked me. The very, very best that could be said for it is that it is conceivably a classic textbook example of how misunderstanding and lack of clarity are among the many pitfalls of the passive voice in writing: "No one is ever told" = "I never tell anyone", and he instituted this "never tell" policy between the events of Horse and the later stories, but I find it hard to see him ever changing his mind about anything (and I don't mean that in a bad way).
Still, Digory is only told "his own story," or at least how it could have gone. It came across to me as an expanation of why Digory had chosen rightly and reconfirmed that Jadis is getting more than she bargained for. To me it is a completely different situation than any other.
The difference this troper sees is thus: In the case of Diggory, the effects of eating the stolen apple were certain. If someone stole one for ill gain, only bad would come of it, even if there were good intentions behind it. It was a certainty. In the other cases, things were more uncertain. For example, Lucy asks Aslan "If I had gone to you earlier, would all of this trouble been avoided?". In that case, there were many other factors, many other wills at work, and it probably would have been too difficult to say whether or not doing different actions would have helped or caused things to somehow turn worse. There's the factor of human will involved.
The time gap between The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian
The Movie of Prince Caspian accepts that the Pevensies have been gone for 1300 Narnian years. This length of time is never directly stated in the books but implied to be around 1000 years. Doctor Cornelius tells Caspian the Telmarine who conquered Narnia was Caspian the First, and the titular Caspian is Caspian the Tenth. So 9 generations have passed since the Telmarines conquered Narnia. Since this is not a universe where characters are prone to Methuselah Syndrome, that's not enough to stretch across 1000+ years. What happened during the 700-1000 years after the Pevensies disappeared before the Telmarines came?
Well, the length of time is stated in the book. But anyway, just because there have only been ten King Caspians doesn't mean that there have only been 10 kings. In real life, there were two kings between Henry and Henry II, two more until Henry III, two more until Henry IV-Henry VI, three more until Henry VII and Henry VIII, and twenty-four and counting with no Henry IX. There could have just been a longer gap between kings.
Alternately, nothing at all of importance happened. The only people there until the Telmarines came were dwarves, centaurs and talking animals, I wouldn't expect them to make much societal progress.
Because for one thing, Narnia never makes much societal progress at all. From start to finish it's stuck in an Arthurian mythos-style era. For another thing, humans are the ones who like to build towns and cities and whatnot where people congregate and come together and, well, form societies; left to their own devices, the talking animals clearly prefer to just live in simple homes in the woods in their own territory. And lastly, because Aslan basically set Narnia up so that it's supposed to be ruled by a human, and thus always prospers best when it is.
But there were other humans elsewhere in the world, like Archenland and Calormen. Well, maybe they were somehow easier to fend off since they weren't from our world.
Well, they were, but very far removed. The first humans in Narnia included a cabbie and his wife, who stayed there as king and queen. Archenland was ruled by their great great grandkids.
So no humans were running Narnia for several centuries, and nobody was there to put up a fight.
IIRC, the books do not mention how long it was between the Pevensies leaving Narnia and the Telmarine invasion.
The books don't, but Lewis did. There were other kings and queens of Narnia between the Pevensies and the Telmarines (where they came from is not specified, but Archenland seems most likely).
Or from their own country. The Pevensies had several humans in their court, Lord Peridan, for example. It's likely they held council and, since the court wasn't full of power-hungry idiots, they voted and chose one. Or invited someone royal from Archenland, who knows.
Another question: why has no technological development occurred in all that time?
Even if the Telmarines came about in the 1900s or slightly earlier, and even if they did lose all their tools in the journey, why din't they have any advanced knowledge of some sort? For all that the books portray them, they were as primitive as the other inhabitants of Narnia (and its surrounding regions). By way of being ex-pirates in an era only a century from ours, they ought to have the technological edge of the people of their time. And yet no Telmarine seems to take an interest in, say, reinventing steam engines (which, given their era and the use of steam boats, they should have been familiar with) or figuring out how to make basic automobiles and firearms. While they might not have the necessary skills, you'd think that they'd at least give it a try once they took over an entire kingdom and had a crapton of resources to waste. Or atleast keep documentation of their past lives (why they'd know more history about Ancient Narnia than the modern world is just mindboggling). Instead, the Telmarines apparently shed their ties to the modern world, grabbed some spears/swords and went native.
The Telmarines were pirates who stumbled into Telmar from our world by accident with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They had to recreate their society from scratch.
Lewis was a Luddite - all the Inklings were. At least it spared the filmmakers the dilemma of whether or not to depict a 1952 version of advanced technology for 2008 theatergoers. (Then again, who here wouldn't want to see a Zeerust Narnia?)
I've always assumed the magic in Magical Lands negates the urgency to develop new technology.
Does the book specify when the Telmarines come from? Their technology is from about AD 1200, so they could have developed only slightly slower than on Earth, without a major plot hole. The Arab-equivalent Calormenes seem to have no magic, but much more advanced technology than either Narnia or Archenland in Horse and His Boy.
Speaking of which, this troper once saw a theory online that the Calormenes had 19th-century-level technology as of The Last Battle...
I just remember them invading Narnia with spears and war drums.
I assumed the Telmarines must have arrived sometime in the intervening year the Pevensies were gone, so they're from the '40s as well. Makes sense, right? Kings go, Telmarines arrive and take over, thousands of years pass, Kings return.
Well, not necessarily. I've always seen the timeline incongruity thing (between "our" world and the Narnian world) as being somewhat tantamount to time travel, but between two different worlds. It very well could be possible from a resident of "our" world prior to 1900 (The Magician's Nephew) or after 1949 (The Last Battle) to enter Narnia, at any time.
Or the Telmarines entered Narnia earlier in both timelines but spent some time in the West building a civilization and army before invading.
Their ancestors first came from Earth long before the Pevensies (how long is never mentioned, only that the island they came from is now uninhabited) and inhabited the land of Telmar... until the Narnian royals (the Pevensies) disappeared and left it vulnerable to Caspian (I) the Conqueror.
Actually, this just bugs me about most fantasy fiction - they'll throw around terms like "a thousand generations" and yet there is absolutely no technological or scientific development.
Maybe they're just smart; they don't have to deal with global warming or oil shortages.
Long periods of human history have occured where there was virtually no technological development or large cultural change. The Dark Ages and Middle Ages could be viewed as an example.
You mean Hollywood History strikes again. There was serious technological development. I wouldn't be able to see if someone hadn't had the bright idea to invent glasses. Then there was the stirrup. I don't really want to go into how much the stirrup changed things.
Also Horse Collar (sorry - I couldn't find name for other animals), crop rotation, Okham razor (one of fundaments of science), experiments (Roger Bacon), basis of economics (in Scholastics), phylosophy of just ruler (St. Thomas Aquinas).
And clocks were invented in the Middle Ages too. Think what a huge step forward that was.
Hollywood can't help it if most Medieval European Fantasydoes have a Middle Ages-type setting. And they seem to have stirrups.
Also, the Telmarines have all the technology to make guns, or at least cannons, but they still use bows and arrows, and swords (and at least in the movies, catapults). Right at the beginning of Prince Caspian, they shoot off fireworks, so they have gunpowder, and (at least in the movie) there is a point where they have bells ringing, so they have the technology required to cast the cannons. But they don't have a single cannon anywhere in Narnia.
So? The Incas had wheeled toys for centuries, but never thought of putting wheels on a cart. What seems obvious in hindsight required some massive innovation to happen, and the ultra-conservative Telmarine regime that suppressed all the crafts it doesn't like, such as seafaring can't have been a very good working environment for clever engineers.
Minor nitpick here: the Incans never had a reason to put wheels on carts because the largest animal they had was probably a llama, which is nowhere near as good as a horse or a bull for heavy pulling. It was probably more efficient to carry things by hand or drag them around than to try to hitch a bunch of humans to a wheeled cart.
It's still easier to pull a cart than drag things along the floor.
Yeah, you would think they would at least have invented the wheelbarrow.
The Incas lived in the mountains. Many of their travel routes were so steep and/or zigzag as to make wheels more dangerous than feet.
Also, early firearms weren't a clear improvement over bows and arrows. They were difficult and clumsy to load, not very accurate, and had a limited range. They were also unreliable and often more dangerous to the shooter than the target. There was a long period where guns were toys, curiosities, or at best weapons useful for very specialized situations, and bows/crossbows were the preferred distance weapons.
Early firearms didn't replace bows on the battlefield in real life. As a weapon for your basic massed infantry, which could be made passably combat effective with only a short duration of training, firearms (with a 40 to 100 foot effective range) supplanted spears (with a 6 to 10 foot effective range). Indeed, the bayonet was specifically developed to allow the musketman to turn himself back into a spearman when the need arises. In contrast archers were elite units that typically required decades of intensive training.
Furthermore, what would be the incentive to develop more sophisticated weaponry when there is no enemy that poses a threat? The Telmarines of Narnia have, to their knowledge, nearly wiped out the indigenous peoples (and animals) of Narnia, and they've successfully held the stragglers at bay for centuries using existing weapons technology. The cost in materials, infrastructure, and training seems difficult to justify when there is no evident problem to solve.
Some of Narnia's indigenous creatures may have opposed technological progress directly. Remember the Bridge/Fords of Beruna? Europe's first industrial revolution might never have happened, if nature spirits kept rising from the rivers and attacking the waterwheels.
On top of this, knowing about a technology doesn't give one the skills to make that technology. How many people in modern times would be able to figure out the process for finding and mining and smelting steel/iron, without reference guides to help you, then figure out the resulting machinery needed for guns? That the Telmarines have gotten so far as to have swords and armor at this point speaks for their tech advancement.
Where did Mrs. Beaver's sewing machine come from?
Dwarf tech, is my hypothesis.
A better question is how she operates it with her little paws.
Mr Tumnus entertains Lucy with sardines on toast, a great British tea-time delicacy which uses tinned sardines. So where were the Narnian sardine-tinning factories? And can you see a faun wielding a tin-opener?
Of course, the book doesn't say that they were tinned, and there are other ways of preserving fish...
And canned food is also a ridiculously old concept. They've clearly got plenty of metal and plenty of ways to work it. They may have invented tins of food because most Narnian creatures can use tins of food and find tins of food useful, but most Narnian animals can't use a gun nor would they see any particular need to when their natural or more low-tech weapons work better for them.
Where did Mr. Tumnus get jam, if it's been winter for 100 years (no fruit)? Calormen?
Let's face it.
Lewis: Worldbuilding? What's that?
Why does Telmarine technology and culture look so Eropean if there connection to Europe is so remote?
Only half of the few dozen founding Telmarines were Eropean and they were pirates. For example I doubt there was a blacksmith among them so why did they end up creating swords that look so European when they rediscovered metal working? I mean just look at how different Eropean longswords and Japanese katanas are.
Isn't Rilian (and, by extension, all his descendants including Tirian) part Star? And does that mean anything, or is he for all appearances a regular human?
Yes. Probably the only effect is that they are more handsome/beautiful than they'd otherwise be.
Stars' "dancing" and motions apparently either control or affect fate, since Centaurs watch them to tell the future. So it's possible that, at the very least, precognition is a Star's power, perhaps probability control. If this counts for half-Stars too, who knows. The original royals of Narnia interbred with Wood Spirits and such, logic dictates some of both parent's ancestry must pass over, so...perhaps clairvoyance?
Perhaps stars only have any influence on the future while they are doing a star's job.
Why does Narnia's fate hinge entirely on humans from our universe?
As shown in Prince Caspian, the entire non-human population of Narnia can go hang, as far as Aslan is concerned, if the country is not ruled by a human who believes in him. If humans are so special, why didn't he just make his own, or arrange for a replacement set when he got rid of the Pevensie lot?
It doesn't. In thousands if not tens of thousands of years, only a few dozen pass by with any Earth-human main characters in Narnia. It's even mentioned in The Last Battle when Jill wonders to Tirian why so much exciting is always going on in that world, and he mentions that they have tons of history she's never heard of before.
Technically, since Aslan and God are one and the same (Voyage of the Dawn Treader), He did make his own, when He created our world. He didn't bring back any new humans right away after the Pevensies left because, apparently, nobody asked. It's His people's choice whether or not they want His help. Although it would have been unreasonable not to believe in the flesh and blood Pevensie kings and queens, the Narnians lost their faith in Aslan. Voyage of the Dawn Treader also suggests humans' visits to Narnia are more for our world's humans' benefit than the Narnians'.
Lewis was a Christian. Christians believe Jesus is God. If Aslan is Jesus, Aslan is God.
The Emperor is God the Father in the Christian Trinity; Aslan is God the Son.
Indeed, Narnia and all of its peoples are implied to be created by God just to convert a handful of English children into becoming faithful Christians. The inhabitants are just puppets to further Aslan's goal, and he literally could not care less about them. Yes, it doesn't make any sense.
Nice try, but the human inhabitants are all form our world or descended from humans in our world, and the residents of Narnia's world go into Heaven along with the Friends of Narnia. Human visitors save Narnia, adventures in Narnia help the human visitors...
It was humans who first introduced evil into Narnia; accordingly, when Aslan calls humans from our world into Narnia, He is essentially saying, "You broke it, you fix it." That's why all kings & queens of Narnia have to be human. Ruling is a form of service, if the ruler takes his/her responsibilities seriously.
And if the ruler doesn't take their responsibilities seriously, or are The Caligula, or if some non-humans develop the idea of democracy but (depending on the era in Narnian history) still stuck with some unexperienced children from another world, I guess it sucks for them. Apparently Aslan considers making a clever point more important than what his creations may or may not actually want.
Aslan could have easily crushed the Witch under paw, or else ended her world centuries before the story even began (it was functionally dead anyway, since everbody but the Witch had turned to stone). Now instead of immediately doing away with this barren, lifeless wasteland, why does Aslan patiently wait for a few children to free the Sealed Evil in a Can before actually doing anything? Given his reputation for pulling off Deus ex Machina to finish off worlds he considers "dead", why did he leave the Witch's world to fester as Schmuck Bait for any unwary world-hopper?
First of all, Aslan isn't just Crystal Dragon Jesus; it's implied that he's the real deal at the end of "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader." I don't have my book with me and don't remember the exact quote, but he says something like "You came here so that you could get to know me better there." And the whole purpose of Narnia is decidedly NOT to convert a few human children. Have you read "The Magician's Newphew"? The world was originally created for animals; the reason humans got involved is that humans brought evil to the world. That's also why they're so important in Narnia, and my answer to this question. Aslan tells Digory that humans are going to have to help defeat the evil, but he would take most of the burden upon himself.Of course, this could be interpreted to mean Digory's quest for the apple, except that Aslan doesn't pay the largest price for another several thousand years, I think it is. Or at least centuries. Does this help at all?
Very true. Saying that Aslan only intervenes when humans are around is mixing up the cause and effect. Aslan doesn't wait until a human is around to help out with Narnia's problems; he brings a human into Narnia whenever there is a problem that the animals can't fix on there own. Remember that in the Chronicles, ruling is considered a necessary burden (at least by the good guys). So, humans ruling Narnia is actually there punishment for Digory bringing Jadis (i.e. evil) into the world - they broke it, they fix it. Presumably if there was no evil in the world, there would be no need for a leadership hierarchy.
This still doesn't explain why Aslan waited at least ten generations to bring the Pevensies back to Narnia. We see that there have been faithful animals and dwarfs in Narnia all this time; however, it's only when a human who worships Aslan inherits the throne that Aslan deigns to show up, and even then he plays a bunch of psychological mind games for no apparent reason. It's Susan's magical horn that brings the Pevensies back, and they have to wander up and down a cliff for days at a time because Aslan appears to one of them for a split second, and refuses to show himself to the others, and then punishes them for their understandable lack of enthusiasm for the plan "Let's hope Lucy wasn't seeing things and follow her over the sheer cliff face." Rather than, say, putting up a sign saying "PATH HERE". Or just showing himself to everyone at once. Or, indeed, showing up when the Telmarines first turned up and preventing the wholesale slaugher of all the non-human races who were, presumably, still faithful to Aslan, and, as you say, unable to fix the problem on their own.
Actually, it's when a human rallies Old Narnia up to regain their country that He shows up again. This is linked to the fact that Christian God acts when the people who believe in Him cry to him (Sounds familiar?). Considering the time frame, it's entirely possible that by the time they needed Him, their faith wasn't that strong anymore. Blowing Susan's horn not only summoned the kids but began to wake up the Dryads, River God, etc, up, or in other words, woke up Old Narnia. Also, it is implied that it was not that Aslan didn't want them to see him but that that the Pensive, except Lucy, were unable to see him. Susan and Peter are almost forced to do so. In fact, the dwarfs in the Last Battle are exactly the same as they refuse to see Aslan even if he is physically shaking them around.
So Aslan only bothers to help people when he feels they'll bow down to him with enough fervour? I know this is going into theodicy and actual academics have had better debates about this than most of us here can probably manage, but... what an asshole. Superman doesn't insist that the people of Metropolis have absolute faith in him before he saves them, he does it because it's the right thing to do and he's the only person in the vicinity who can do it.
It's called asking for help. Why should help be provided when it isn't desired?
Why should help be withheld just because desperate people are crying for help in general, not help from you specifically?
If a professor has a student who doesn't like him and goes to friends for useless help instead when struggling with their studies, the professor can't force the student to accept his help. If a kid is angry at their parents and turn to friends instead for help when they're in trouble, the parents can't force the kid to accept their help. Needing help but just wishing for it instead of asking for it from the right person doesn't work. Any career counselor tells you that, when you need a job, you don't get one by randomly selecting employers to apply to, or by sitting passively by wishing for the right one to act upon discovering that you need something, but by carefully selecting the right one to petition for what you need.
Aslan withholds his help in such an annoying way presumably because Lewis wanted him to act the same way God does in the real world. Indeed the phrase "He is not a tame lion" in the book seems to correspond to "God works in mysterious ways". Therefore, this debate is essentially one between believers trying to justify God's occasional lack of help, and the skeptics criticizing it. I for one agree that it was a jerk move for Aslan to only show himself to Lucy, and then blame the kids for not blindly believing every little slip of their imagination is the real thing. If it was out of his power to make them see him because they just didn't have enough faith, i.e. he was basically sitting there thinking "Oh no, they can't see me!", he could still have moved closer to them and yelled at them to try harder to get their attention, rather than just giving them one vague hint. (Not very good for dramaturgy and also not very dignified for the mighty mysterious Aslan, but nevertheless logic. Meaning Lewis should have come up with a better reason for why Aslan stays out of the fight for so long.) Likewise it makes no sense to say "Why would you help someone who isn't asking for it?" because the only reason they aren't asking for it is that they don't know you are there. Knowing full well that they would ask your help if they knew you are available, yet still withholding it, is not excusable. Especially if you are an all-knowing God who knows exactly what people want, or a presumably very godlike being as Aslan, and not simply a human who doesn't know for sure if someone really needs their help, as in many examples used above.
Possibly important to note at this point: Aslan never just shows up and makes threats disappear. He relies on his followers to do most of the work (see earlier comments re: "you broke it, you fix it"). Aslan did not allow himself to be seen except by people with sufficient faith, and that served as a litmus test. "Can they see me? No? Then they are not yet ready to do the job I have for them."
Why was the return trip in The Silver Chair so quick?
The heroes spend weeks traveling North before going down into the caves. In escaping from them, they do the entire return trip without even stopping for lunch.
They descended underground below Ettinsmoor in the far North, were captured by the gnomes, and then taken across an underground sea in a journey that the narrator says went on for weeks, sleeping and eating more times than they could count, so long that you began to wonder if your life above ground was just a dream, etc. They were going back under all the land they traveled across up above. Although she apparently came from somewhere up North, the Lady-of-the-Green-Kirtle's fortress was right underneath Narnia, which makes sense, since that was the land she planned to invade. Hence why her tunnel (that they used to escape) led up into Narnia.
What is the name of the world Narnia exists in?
Narnia, of course.
No, though that's clearly what the reader is led to believe in the first couple of books. In later books, like Horse and His Boy, it becomes apparent that Narnia is simply one political body, and not a very important one in the greater scheme of things. A name for the world is never given, when a word is needed, people simply call it "the world." If this seems strange, consider that our name for our world, "Earth," basically just means "ground."
That's not even what we call our world, just a planet in it (which we happen to live on). Since we as humans mostly reject the concept of other worlds, we don't even have a name for our own.
In fact, that causes Jill some confusion in The Silver Chair when Eustace tells her he's never been to Narnia — he spent all his time in Narnia's world at sea and never set foot in the country Narnia.
I don't think they've ever needed a name for it. Most of them seem unaware of the Wood Between the Worlds and the parallel universes it leads to and all that, and would be just as shocked by the reality of other worlds as the humans were, hence Tumnus interpreting Lucy's explanation of such a thing happening as her traveling from a land he's never happened to have heard of in his own world called War Drobe in Spare Oom. I mean, think about it: have you ever thought of giving a moniker to our universe?
I thought it was Bob?
Wouldn't it just be "The Universe". One universe is no different from the other. Magic is powerful in Narnia, and the universe of Charn, but not ours...other than that (really small, if you think about it) difference and some weird homonids (fauns, centaurs, et al) Narnia's universe is a universe like ours. So the planet that Narnia exists on, who knows, but that world, in a multiverse sense, would just be a universe. If anything it would probably have a number, like in Marvel Comics, since that really makes more sense than anything—you can call it Universe 2 if you want, since from our perspective its the second universe humanity has made contact with.
Universe 4, actually, or Universe 3 if the Wood Between The Worlds isn't a full universe and doesn't count.
A better question is where the heck is Telmar supposed to be? In the drawn maps included in the books, it's never shown. Calormen and Archenland lie to the South, Lantern Waste to the west, the Wilds of the North and the Ocean to the East. Telmar is never on the map, unless there's more to the South or the West (between Narnia and the mountains) that's not shown.
It's beyond the Western Mountains. (Prince Caspian, ch. 4)
In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, why doesn't Jadis just kill Edmund as soon as she finds out he's one of the children from the prophecy, instead of trying to play Gotta Catch 'Em All with his siblings? She wants to kill them to keep the prophecy from being fulfilled, so why doesn't she just kill Edmund first? Then there would only be three.
In the book, she considers that. Edmund notices she takes a stance like she's about to kill or attack him (probably turn him to stone) and then "seems to change her mind." Deciding to sacrifice that opportunity for the chance to get him to bring her the other 3 didn't work out in her favor, but it must have seemed smart at the time. 4 dead humans are a better insurance policy than 1, and the terms of the prophecy didn't specify the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve had to be siblings, so killing one wouldn't render the "set," so to speak, harmless.
In the book, she does try this later after learning that the other siblings reached Aslan's camp. She decides that if Edmund isn't there it won't fulfill the prophecy and tries to behead him (he is rescued shortly after).
It's possible that she derives some of her supernatural power from ritual sacrifice, particularly of traitors. Before Edmund had been set loose to join his siblings, he hadn't been a traitor, just a loose-lipped idiot.
this troper has seen both the original (BBC) and the new (Hollywood) version. the BBC was closer to the book then the Hollywood version was. Notably the ages of everyone in the BBC vs Hollywood, being a big thing, I always thought of Lucy as older, and then Hollywood version.....screwed with that immensely....though it might have to with ratings and all that.
In the film Prince Caspian, Peter kills Red Shirts aplenty, but hesitates to kill Miraz
As Miraz, says, "What's the matter, boy? Too cowardly to take a life?", after watching Peter hack 'n' slash his way through hordes of Telmarine redshirts. Because they didn't have dialogue, and thus weren't actual people. Also note that despite having seen the grisly horrors of melee warfare, and having sent good soldiers to their deaths through his own incompetence, he waltzes back to Earth happy as can be.
Peter didn't refuse to kill Miraz out of a moral sense of Thou Shalt Not Kill — he turned around and handed his sword to Caspian. Peter's response to that taunt was "It's not mine to take." Not that that improves the scene. The book made more sense.
Of course the book made more sense, the entire castle raid was added from whole cloth for the movie. It's easy to make sense when it DOESN'T HAPPEN AT ALL.
Nobles having a different moral code regarding other nobles is hardly a new thing. In the middle ages, kings and princes were frequently captured, held in comfort and ransomed, while their soldiers were simply executed. Notice how Sopespian also hesitates to kill Caspian during the battle that follows. Even the Pevensies, who come from WWII Britain, would understand officers receiving different treatment than common soldiers.
Especially since y'know they where the Kings and Queens of Narnia for 15 years.
The Last Battle states that Susan no longer believes in Narnia, dismissing it as a childhood fantasy.
While this might make sense if she were there for only a few weeks or months in Narnia time, she actually lived as queen for a few decades, maturing into an adult woman. She should have at least twenty years of accumulated memories, some of which would be unlikely to be imagined by a young girl, such as going through puberty or the more mundane aspects of ruling a country (albeit one inhabited by talking animals).
Memories are tricky things in fantasy. Just look at what and why the Losers forget in Stephen King's It. The things the mind is capable of doing, well, boggles the mind. Lewis mentions in The Magician's Nephew that when you try to make yourself stupider than you really are, you're unfortunately very good at it. People believe what they want to believe. In this case, if you believe first that there's no such thing as magic and that it's impossible to go through a portal into a Magical Land where Talking Animals and centaurs and fauns etc. are real, then you would have to believe that any memories of such a place must be your imagination.
One of the major differences between the book and the film of Caspian is that in the film, they know how to shoot, duel etc. In the book, they have to remember it as being away from Narnia has made them forget. It's for this reason they all have forgotten about England once they have grown older. 'In one land, the other seems like a distant memory' is how I think it was put at one point.
I believe the wording was a "dream of a dream"
Also, strictly speaking, all we know is that she is "no longer a friend of Narnia" and *acts* as though it were all made-up. The extent to which she really believes this isn't clear.
At the end of Prince Caspian she is told by Aslan that she's never returning to Narnia (unlike Lucy and Edmund who return to that world in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader); also she's fallen in love with Caspian so even if she did go back he'd be long dead so the best, least painful thing to do is to forget she ever went there. She was always the most doubtful of the four siblings anyway, so it was probably easy for her. This reminds me of how Elastigirl went from an Action Girl to housewife in few years once all the heroes were banned: since she couldn't be a heroine she redirected her energy towards a normal life (well, as normal as having a superpowered family can be).
Keeping in mind that there is absolutely no romance with Caspian in the books, this is still a good theory. They all handled the news differently.
Peter is one year older than Susan, Susan is two years older than Edmund and Edmund is two years older than Lucy.
Expanding on this theory a little: In her time as a queen of Narnia, Susan grew up, presumably ruled well, had suitors and possibly lovers, and overall built up a wonderful fairytale life, and suddenly had that snatched away as though it never were. She would have coped with that, especially since she would be sharing with the loss with her siblings, but then they're called back in Prince Caspian. Seeing the evidence of her old life as not only real but in such an abandoned and decrepit state broke her. Narnia had been stolen from her so easily, and, as she finds by the end of the book, it would be taken away again. Rather than face that heartbreak one more time, she sets it firmly aside and focuses on the real world. (If it's not obvious, I have a great deal of sympathy for Susanâ€”from where I'm standing, she just didn't want her emotions to be toyed with.)
"Presumably lovers"? Presuming based on what? I'm assuming you mean "boyfriends", cause I doubt she'd be having extramarital sex. (You mean pre-marital sex, right?)
She certainly has suitors, although the only one we see, the Calormene prince Rabadash in The Horse and His Boy, is not exactly suitable.
Why wouldn't she have had pre-marital sex? Some of the "Problem with Susan" is that she's portrayed as the one who's got the strongest, most active libido. Her "sin" in having pre-marital sex and refusal to "atone" in some way while she's young is a somewhat patriarchal view, but not outside the realm of possibility. "Lipstick and invitations" is code for an active social life, which surely includes some affairs. The other "Friends of Narnia" are either pre-pubescent or lead very monk-like existences.
Susan isn't dead, therefore she cannot go to heaven. QED. Neil Gaiman wrote a short story about it - "The Problem of Susan" (it's not for kids). Involves Aslan/Jadis.
Well, sure, if you want reverence. :p Seriously, though, I think Susanfic may become a genre in its own right.
When I first read the series back in grade school, my interpretation was that Susan not staying in Narnia was a good thing, in that she had moved beyond such childish fantasies, while the others staying was a sign that they refused to grow up. Now, bear in mind that I was unaware at the time that Lewis was such a big Christian, but I still think it's a pretty interesting interpretation.
Lewis himself stated that Susan eventually ended up in Heaven as well, but because she had let herself get distracted by frivolities (e.g. "lipstick and invitations"), she ended up with a more arduous life-journey than did her siblings.
I don't think he made any more definite statement than "perhaps she will get to Aslan's country in the end".
"Once a King or Queen in Narnia, always a King or Queen in Narnia." That's canon. Susan will find her way back—in her own time and on her own terms.
Say not "on her own terms" but "after she has matured enough to accept Aslan's terms" and you'd be on firmer ground IMO. Also reflect that "Once a King or Queen..." etc should entail a lifelong acceptance of the responsibilities of Kingship/Queenship, not just its privileges.
One of the things he mentioned concerning Susan when everyone else "ascended" was that while she was at the time stuck in materialistic hedonism, a young lady may be motivated to rethink and reshape her life after having suddenly lost her entire family.
Susan did seem to be getting treated like a Proper Lady when she was still quite young. She would have only been in her early teens when chosen to go to America with her parents. Being treated like an adult when she was still a child may have forced her to grow up too fast. It's a big part of puberty that the older sibling will stop wanting to play 'childish' games with their younger one. So she threw herself into her new role of being a sophisticated lady who had no time for frivolity - so she convinced herself that Narnia had to be just a silly game she and her siblings once played.
In the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe film the Pevensies change into Narnian clothes and armor when they start preparing for battle. The only native Narnians that wear clothes are the dwarves, whose clothes would not fit children, and the female centaurs, who just wear leather tops. Yet they apparently had some clothes in exactly the right size on hand at the time when the kids got there.
Prepared for the sake of the prophecy? Bought from Archenland?
The Stone Table, where the army was stationed and where they stayed, is within sight of Cair Paravel, where the human royalty used to live.
It actually isn't. Cair Paravel and the Stone table are quite some distance apart (hence the need for the journey from one to the other in Prince Caspian)
In the book, they raided one of Cair Paravel's treasuries before they left, getting their Gifts back, and starting to retrieve their memories (muscular and otherwise) of Narnia. The only thing missing was Susan's horn. Of course, in the book Caspian was like twelve years old...
The OP was talking about in the first film. The children wear their normal clothes until they reach the Stone Table and they change into medieval style clothes. I'm going to assume that there were seamstresses or someone there to make clothes. The encampment didn't just have warriors after all. Aslan got there first and he knew the Pevensies were on their way. It's not entirely unreasonable to suggest he had people make clothes for them in advance. Alternately the seamstresses are just that good and made them immediately when the children arrived. If you look at the dresses Susan and Lucy wear, they're relatively simple.
Susan . . . just Susan.
Even when I was younger and read the books I couldn't understand what was up with Susan. You can't tell me Peter didn't ever get interested in girls, or the two younger ones didn't start to want to dress nice and have other activities. Yes, it's a giant allegory, but why only Susan as a doubting Thomas? To twist the knife fully in, Lewis not only has all of her siblings die, but her PARENTS and all of her Narnian friends as well. Oh, but they get to go to heaven with Aslan; she's stuck in London, alone, with no family and the knowledge that she missed out on paradise. Seems a bit harsh for daring to like boys and make-up.
Regardless of the traits her siblings now liked about her the least, Susan was not being punished for liking boys and make-up. She wasn't even "punished" per se. Her loss of belief caused her to miss the gathering of the Friends of Narnia, and thus to be left out of the loop when they formed the plan to get the magic rings, thus missing the train accident and subsequently going to Heaven at the same time the rest did. Missing this chance was a natural consequence of her choice to cut Narnia out of her life. As to her ultimate future, even Lewis never stated she missed her chance permanently. (Edmund messed up in the beginning, but he was forgiven, as were Eustace and Jill when they screwed up in their quest.)
In fewer words - she didn't go to heaven because she wasn't dead.
Still, setting aside the old "lipstick=damnation" arguments, it's strange storytelling to have a major character suffer (by implication) a horrible fate (losing her whole family) and have it and her so perfunctorily dismissed within the story. I think this may tie in with Lewis's theological belief (shown in e.g. The Great Divorce) that those in heaven can't be at all bothered by the fate of those not there, since that would be inconsistent with the former having perfect happiness. Comes across as rather callous, though.
It is a matter of faith. If you have faith, then you trust God/Aslan/Jesus that He will see to it that everything will work out in the end. As St. Julian of Norwich said, "And all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well." At the end of the Gospel of John, when Jesus prophesies Peter's fate, Peter points to the Beloved Disciple and asks, "What about him?" Jesus tells Peter to mind his own business. Resign as General Manager of the Universe; that's Jesus' job.
On other words: "Lets be callous sociopaths because Lewis thinks people in Heaven should be "unconcerned" with their loved ones". Also, if Christianity supports free will - it doesn't, but you seem obsessed in thinking it does -, then the chances of Susan being in Heaven are at best 50/50. It's a massive gambit.
I'm a bit confused as to how you think Christianity doesn't support free will and who you think is obsessing over it. A quote comes to mind (I really wish I could remember who said it first) "There are going to be two kinds of people at the judgment throne, those that say to God 'Thy will be done' (Christians) and those to whom God says 'thy will be done' (non-Christians)". That's where free will comes in in Christianity. You either choose to follow Christ or to follow your own desires. As for not caring about those still on Earth, I don't know of anyone that's been to heaven and returned to tell us if we get updates on how people on Earth are doing. So, there's no reason to assume we'd know the fate of anyone unless and until they show up in heaven, and there is no possible way for us to intervene on Earth. If you can't influence anything, why would you constantly worry about it? Its only making you miserable and doing nothing to change things. As for Susan, since she has been a believer in Aslan in the past I'd say her chances of getting into heaven would be 100%. If she stays on her current path she might find herself more than a bit embarrassed when she gets there, but she'll get there.
Well, it's really Lewis's job, given that the universe in question does whatever he wants it to. It's not a religious argument, but a storytelling criticism: when major characters undergo traumatic events, it's generally considered worth expending some description on. I don't think even devout Christian authors generally go for "and then his beloved wife breathed her last, which was unfortunate. But all will be well in the end, so meanwhile...". Would make for rather unengaging prose.
It seems to me that Susan doesn't get discussed more because (a) Peter clearly doesn't want to talk about this painful subject, and (b) there are more pressing issues, now that we've all just arrived in Heaven after the end of the world, and are still sorting out what happened to us.
But it's also worth keeping in mind that following WWII there were a lot of kids who had been uprooted from one life (in the cities); send to another one (the countryside — like the Penvensies); and then uprooted from that one to find that parents, relatives or friends who had stayed in the cities had been killed during the war. It's callous, but it was also a very real situation and one that would resonate strongly for a lot of people.
Agreed. Whether it was for theological reasons (as I suggested above) or just overlooking the implications (as in the previous comment), the Fridge Callousness is not so much that the ending, when you think about it, really sucks for Susan per se, as the fact that neither the narration nor the characters seem much to consider or care that this is the case. I'm not wild about the Squick in Neil Gaiman's The Problem of Susan, but he does a good job of pointing this aspect out.
Folks project way too much onto the "Susan problem." Like the above line, "Missed out on paradise." She didn't miss out on it forever, she just missed out on this particular adventure that happened to end in everyone being in heaven/paradise. The original text is, "Peter says, rather shortly, that she "is no longer a friend of Narnia." Eustace adds, "whenever you've tried to get her to come and talk about Narnia... she says 'What wonderful memories you have! Fancy you still thinking about all those funny games we used to play when we were children.'" And Jill says, "She's interested in nothing nowadays except nylons and lipstick and invitations." If you approach the books as being basically "The further adventures of Jesus and Pals" there is a lot more levels going on. It's not the explicit love of nylons, lipstick and invitations. It is the forsaking of Aslan/Narnia/Christianity/Jesus completely. This is an unfortunate aspect of religions (including, specifically, Christianity in this case) in which you are asked to forsake all other religions and beliefs as second the religion. Lots of folks get upset when they used to realize that unbaptized babies died and didn't get into heaven and such due to how "the rules" were setup, for example. If you don't believe in Aslan then he doesn't hook you up. There is a article out there titled "The Problem with The Problem with Susan" that outlines this all a lot better than we have space and time for here on a IJBM page, check it out if the "Susan problem" gets you down.
I believe this is the article you mentioned and, indeed, its a thoughtful and well written article that I endorse, to a point, although it isn't without problems, in particular his first counterargument.
Not trying to derail, but not every Christian denomination believes the same thing, such as the 'unbaptized infants' thing being a problem.
This troper got the feeling that it wasn't Susan's embracing of lipstick and nylons that made her "no longer a friend of Narnia", but the fact that she completely ignored Narnia in favor of them. Some of the other female characters were mentioned to dress up and Jill was specifically mentioned to have saved her pretty robes from Narnia to wear when she went to a fancy dress ball. Probably if Susan had remained a believer it wouldn't have mattered (in other words, it's not "Susan is acting like an adult woman, she sucks" it's "Susan opted to forget about Narnia in exchange for more silly pursuits).
It's generally accepted by the fans that Lewis' treatment of Susan at the end of the series doesn't mean she'll never get to Real Narnia/Aslan's Country. She's not dead, so she may still get there, eventually; that much is accepted. So what really bugs people is not that she doesn't go to Heaven, it's that she didn't go to Heaven at the same time the rest of them did. She wasn't in the train crash because she chose to stay away, that can't be denied. Aslan did not actively keep her out, so in that sense she was not being punished, exactly, for liking make-up and boys and "forgetting" about Narnia. But Lewis clearly intended her to be an example. It makes sense he would include something like that, given that the series is basically An Aesop for Christianity, but the fact that he chose an established character that readers had grown attached to for this end makes it seem like too easy a dismissal and it comes across as rather callous, regardless of the fact that her "ending" is actually fairly open.
My working theory as an eight year old was that C.S Lewis just wanted Peter or whoever to be able to say "We are the seven friends of Narnia," and Susan was the easiest character to knock off. Peter was the awesome idealised English boy hero, Edmund the traitor redeemed, Lucy the magically special author's favourite lots of one on one time with lion Jesus, Eustace had overcome the horribly liberal up bringing that made him a selfish whiny coward, Jill was pretty much a bad-ass battle wench for the time it was written, (Irrelevant, but I always thought that King Tristian had weird semi-romantic vibes with her, which bothered me a lot less as a child)
Even when he called her "Daughter"?
Polly and Digory were there at the beginning, so having them there at the end helped tie the entire series into a pretty package. Oh, and Susan? Susan was team mom. The please be sensible, I don't think that's a good idea, let's not, good thing I can cook, kind of team mom that all Susans at the time had to be. (Swallows and Amazons, anybody?) Even when the main plot of an entire book was based round events developing from some foreigner being in love with her she got no character development. She was always forced to be a function rather than a person. And Lewis wanted a special number. The eight friends of Narnia is a crap line, so he kicked out the one that wasn't as brave/special/permanently excited about how awesome Narnia is. (I was rather a precocious child, in the field of literary speculation anyway) And though I wouldn't swear to this theory now, I still feel sorry for Susan because she never got a chance to be anything else.
Seven is a pretty important number in the Bible; you might have something there.
The number 'Seven' theory might have weight but I'd argue that Polly would be the easiest to 'remove'. She was only in the Magicians Nephew and because of the order the books were written in, Diggory didn't even mention her in later years. She'd be much easier to exclude with barely a "oh I used to have a friend Polly but she doesn't believe anymore/is already dead", than Susan who was a main character in two books and mentioned frequently later on. She wasn't easiest to remove, she was removed to make a point.
Lewis himself stated that Susan eventually ended up in Heaven as well, but because she had let herself get distracted by frivolities (e.g. "lipstick and invitations"), she ended up with a more arduous life-journey than did her siblings.
I don't think he made any more definite statement than "perhaps she will get to Aslan's country in the end".
I've often wondered how much Susan's "abandonment" of Narnia had to do with being a giddy girl and how much it had to do with a simple act of growing apart from her siblings. Here is my theory. Susan, in her position, did something that was perfectly reasonable: she moved on, and tried to forget, presumably because the memories of Narnia would have been too painful for her. Her siblings, on the other hand, did not, and this led to a falling out between Susan and them. They, and the rest of her family, were naturally quite bitter, and perhaps because Susan never gave them an explanation they found acceptable, they attributed her abandonment of Narnia entirely to her being interested in the things most teenage girls are interested in.
Side thought - lack of fellowship, maybe? Consider - Peter didn't get to return any more than Susan did. But, there was a strong divergence between what happened with the two when the next trip (Dawn Treader) took place. Susan was off travelling with her parents. Peter was studying for college...and staying with Professor Kirke while he did so. Even before TMN where we learned who he really was relative to Narnia, Professor Kirke was painted as someone who would and did understand it very well. We're never given such an option regarding the Pevensie parents. It's possible that Peter kept his own memory alive simply through that, during the period where Susan let herself believe it all a fantasy.
I like this theory — particularly as Susan had always been the most sensible and practical of the four, and was never a dizzy airhead as the others claim she's become in The Last Battle. If Susan knew she could never go back to Narnia, then she'd try her best to make a proper life for herself in England, along with everything that implies about getting on in English society (parties, socialising, etc.) It's completely understandable she'd never want to discuss Narnia again, and if her siblings were to keep on bringing it up the best way she could shut them down would be to dismiss it as childish games to their faces — even if she actually did know it was all real. In this light, the comments about her from Lucy, Jill and Polly in the last book seem a lot more like petty sniping (particularly from Polly, with the "She's spent the whole of her life racing towards the age she is now, and she'll spend the rest of her life trying to stay that age" remark — honestly, the Pevensies had never even met Polly until after The Voyage of the Dawn Treader at the very earliest, so it's probable that Polly has barely even interacted with Susan at all.)
Polly may have met the Pevensies directly after 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'. She and Diggory were still friends so its not that far-fetched to imagine Diggory writing to say "Hey, some kids are staying with me and went to Narnia. Come up and visit!" and her popping on the train to come and squee about the kids journey to Narnia and share her own adventures.
You know what happens to Susan? A few days after the train wreck, some official comes to the Pevensie house, where Susan sits in emotional shock, and hands her "your brothers' and sister's personal effects." These include a box containing some green rings and some yellow ones. If she's lucky, she picks up a green ring first. Then she touches a yellow ring. Then she's in the Wood Between the Worlds. She screams and screams and screams. When she's done, the next cycle of adventures starts. Pick a pool, any pool.
Can't a lot of this be chalked up to the unreliability of the other seven as witnesses? They aren't omniscient narrators. Susan was quite a young woman, and had gone through a lot. If she and her pubescent sister four years younger didn't see eye to eye, and Lucy's perspective shaded Jill's (Jill being even younger than Lucy), you could get easily get some misrepresentation out of that.
Everybody always focuses on the "lipstick and invitations" bit, but I don't think that's really where the problem lies. I think the most telling reason for why Susan got left out is more of a maturity issue, as shown by when she says "What wonderful memories you have! Fancy you still thinking about all those funny games we used to play when we were children." The issue isn't that she's being more social, it's that she's basically attempting to deny everything that she experienced because it makes her feel childish, and she wants to feel mature. C. S. Lewis had some strong opinions on people who felt that "being grown up" was an end in itself, and disparaged childish things for that reason. Maybe this quote will shed some light on where he might have been coming from:
“Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
Jadis killed every living thing in her universe, and had never visited Earth before, but didn't die of massive infection in seconds?
Perhaps A) the Deplorable Word only affected living things outside the speaker's body and B) the people of Charn didn't know anything about microbes. Besides, the books obviously are not meant to be hard science fiction. After all, the stars in the Narnia universe are humanoids who evidently have no trouble living in the vacuum of space.
We're told in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe that there's "not a drop of human blood in her". She could easily be unaffected by earth microbes.
I vote the Word only works on complex, multicellular life. If cockroaches can survive nuclear apocalypse...
Jadis only killed every living thing after becoming an adult and developing an immune system. And going to another world would be an infection risk independent of the number of bacteria 'currently' in Charn as they would be different from earth/Narnia ones. Being a witch and is inhumanly strong, presumably with an immune system to match, would be the important factors.
Plus, she was only on Earth for a matter of hours. Even a real-life SCIDS patient wouldn't die of an infection that fast. Then she ate one of the silver apples shortly after coming to Narnia, which probably rendered her immune to disease as part of the immortality package.
Any organisms within her own body would probably be counted as part of her body. All we really are is a massive collection of tiny critters, after all.
Jadis went into her statue-like hibernation intending to leave Charn with whomever awakened her and go rule their world instead. If catching infections is a standard concern for cross-world travelers, she'd probably have been aware of that risk and used her magic to protect herself from it.
Why did the Green Witch have to brainwash Rilian and raise an army?
If, as seems to be indicated, she could use her enslaved Earthmen to overwhelm Narnia with force of arms and the element of surprise... why did she need the true heir as a puppet ruler? Or, since she could evidently use mind control on that kind of scale, why not just use Narnians against themselves?
Some possible explanations: we know that many Narnians put great stock in the idea of the "true king" (as seen in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian) and many are deferential to authority even in the face of harmful decrees (as seen in The Last Battle). Hence having Rilian on her side could make conquering and ruling Narnia much easier for the witch. With regard to the mind control magic - it's presumably a safe guess that for some reason it wouldn't have worked among Narnians en masse like it did with the Earthmen. One could even speculatively tie these together by suggesting that having a king on the throne lends Narnia some protection against widespread magic, as might be implied by TLTW&TW. A related speculation would be that the witch's invasion, for political and/or magical reasons, was being timed to coincide with Caspian's death.
I was going to wonder why just controlling the ruler wouldn't be good enough for her, but now that I think about it, backup never hurts. And the importance of a human king hadn't occurred to me. Actually, that could explain the oddly convenient timing, them being ready to go right when Caspian took off... and Rilian, as a protected Narnian, being the only one who got any time as himself despite presumably getting more personal attention... wow. Fridge Brilliance!
Shared Fridge Brilliance! I've read and loved this series for years and that never ocurred to me!
The Talking Animals also have to be considered — could she mind-control them?
Having a human ruler might also have discouraged the locals from praying for Aslan to come and save them. The Green Witch might've known what happened to her predecessor....
Why couldn't the Lady of the Green Kirtle mind-control all of Narnia like she did the gnomes?
Perhaps the spell only works on goblins/gnomes/whatever?
The spell had No Ontological Inertia upon her death, so it's likely she has a limit on how many people she can actually dominate at any given time.
She didn't seem interested in any other land but the underground one. As long as she had that one, she had what she wanted.
Not really; her whole plan is to conquer Narnia with an underland army and reign through Rilian. She definitely wants the overlands.
Remember that she had to use a fragrant incense thrown onto her fire to begin to weave her mind-control over merely three humans and a marshwiggle, and even though she was in her home territory, the marsh-wiggle on his own was able to thwart her at it. It seems likely that the earthmen were more vulnerable to her powers than "overlanders" would be.
The Telmarines' ethnicity.
It's pretty much assumed, if not stated outright, that the Telmarines are white — Caspian is illustrated as blond, the "swarthy" Calormenes are contrasted with them, etc. But the backstory of the Telmarines, as recounted by Aslan, is that they are descended from a ship of (male, presumably white) pirates and their native Pacific-Islander wives. Now, surely that would mean that all the Telmarines, including Caspian, are half-white half-Polynesian?
Telmar is closest to majority-white Narnia and Archeland - intermarriage with those peoples has reduced the polynesian appearence over the centuries possibly. Also, I don't think any Telmarine except Caspian is particularly descibed, he could have an unsually high pirate-to-native ratio.
Nowhere does it say that the European pirates mated with Polynesian women. Just that they landed in islands in the Southern Sea. In order to look white, they had to have mated with white- possibly blonde- women. Only two islands have blonde natives- Iceland to the north, and the Canary Islands to the south. So it makes sense that they landed in the Canary Islands (historically accurate if they were originally from Spain like the movie portrays them to be) and they mated with the blonde Guanche women. But then, this Troper is 1/4th Canarian and does not expect most people to be aware of this info.
Assuming that the Telmarines were in Narnia (world, not country) for more than 2000 years, which is entirely possible, then the individuals with lighter skin would have had better chances to survive in the temperate climate with cold winters (no vitamin supplements or fresh fruit in winter, remember?), meaning that in the long run the genetics would have ensured that the remaining population would be mostly white.
Except that one of the riddles of Polynesian ancestry is that they are apparently a cold adapted people (high body fat and muscle, short legs etc) living in a warm climate. (This has been interpreted to mean that either a) during Polynesian settlement only those that could survive long, cold sea voyages survived to breed or b) there was a secondary settlement of Polynesia from a region with a cold climate that resulted in the phenotype we see today. - But that's neither here nor there in response to the above question.)
You can't assume the pirates were white or all male. Pirates were English, Spanish, Jamaican, runaway slaves — just about any ethnicity that was in the Caribbean and Atlantic Oceans. With such a mixed bag of genes, Caspian described as being blonde isn't that far-fetched.
What about Susan's Horn?
I can't remember if this was resolved in the books or not, but if, after the Pevensies went back to England in Prince Caspian, somebody blew on Susan's horn for help, wouldn't they be called back to Narnia again? Surely there must have been some troubled times. Wouldn't somebody have blown on it? Was it because of some moral code that says "if Aslan tells a person something, then we will never attempt to contradict that statement?" that prevented somebody from blowing the horn?
The horn's property is just that help of some sort will most likely come when you blow it - it doesn't have to be in Pevensie form. More generally, the books tend to promote the view that travel between the worlds happens if/when Aslan wants it to, and not otherwise. Admittedly Jadis arriving in Narnia in TMN is a fairly notable exception.
The horn brings help in lots of different form, sometimes not even magical. At one point in TLTWATH, Susan blows the horn when she and Lucy are being attacked by wolves. Help arrives when her brothers hear her from over the hill & come running.
Aslan never forbade anyone from blowing the horn, so that last one wouldn't be a reason. The above answer fits with Dr. Cornelius' statement that you never know "what form the help will take." It probably summons whoever is best suited/destined to help in a particular situation. VotDT says Caspian left the horn with his Regent Trumpkin in Narnia in case there was emergency while he was at sea, presumably to call Caspian for help. "The Silver Chair" also shows that Aslan is perfectly willing to summon The Chosen One from our world on his own to help Narnia in a crisis without anyone needing to blow the horn.
Always winter, but never Christmas.
Never Christmas? In a world where Aslan is the christ figure and was born before the world was I should hope there's no Christmas. Whose birthday is being celebrated, and when did the coca-cola santa get here?
We never find out what religious significance, if any, Christmas has in Narnia - it could just be celebrated as a midwinter festival. Father Christmas (who, after all, has nothing to do with the biblical account) showing up is consistent with Narnia as a place where lots of mythological figure from our world - dryads, fauns, Bacchus etc. really exist. (The idea that his modern appearance originated with Coca Cola is an urban myth though). On the other hand, it's not impossible they could be celebrating the birth of Jesus in our world - presumably less significant for Narnia, but a good enough excuse for a party. It's never clear to what extent Narnians are familiar with our world's theology, but they talk about "Sons of Adam" and "Daughters of Eve" and, according to the TMN, had people from Earth there from the very beginning, so there's certainly a plausible mechanism (even aside from contriving random info dumps from Aslan) for them to know about Christmas - if King Frank and Queen Helen celebrated it, the tradition could easily have both spread and survived.
Always winter - what does anybody eat? A single year of crop failure and bad harvests can cause widespread famine; a few years with no harvest at all and the entire population is going to starve to death, and it seems heavily implied that the White Witch has been at it for decades or more.
People have lived in the tundra, Alaska, northern Russia, and other year-round frozen places where you can't plant crops.
Actually, no. Human beings do not traditionally live anywhere that is frozen year-round. Even in Alaska, Siberia, Greenland, etc., there are still times when there is no snow on the ground and plants can grow. Moreover, the native populations of those areas lived as nomadic hunter-gatherers for the most part - not in settled, agrarian societies like Narnia is implied to be.
Narnia is not inhabited by humans at the time of Jadis's reign, and who knows what they eat. It's also possible that magic food rations are doled out by her administration. It's similar to the absolute monarchies seen in Hydraulic Empires. The White Witch is able to keep such a stranglehold on Narnia because even if you'e not being turned into a stone statue, you'll slowly starve to death.
What I can't figure out is where the Beavers obtained the materials for bread, marmalade roll, and other goodies that require foodstuffs that can't grow in the winter. Or for that matter, where the technology for a sewing machine came from.
As for the sewing machine, I have no idea, but the bread, marmalade roll and other foodstuffs could have come from Calormen, Archenland, Telmarine or the other inhabited islands in the same world. White Witch didn't rule the entire world, just Narnia itself.
Where did they get the foodstuffs from? From the grocer's. That's what shops are for - especially in fairy tales. How the shops get stocked, and how Narnia has a monetary system of any kind, and how the Beavers and Mr Tumnus make any money to buy stuff, is left as an exercise for the student. Adults buy things from shops, shops have things in them to buy; all else is confusion. :)
And why are the trees still there? Narnia looked like a forested land during a frozen winter: The trees have all lost their leaves, but they are still standing, and ready to bloom when spring does come after a hundred years. But of course, trees just survive for a few months in that state; they're not equipped to stay alive and in one piece if freezing temperatures persist for years on end. But then, it puts a whole new light on Mr. Tumnus's warning that "some of the trees are on the Witch's side": if the trees couldn't survive the winter without magic to help them survive, then that could be the reason for the trees spying for the Witch.
Christmas is simply a day of the year that people have designated as having special significance. You can ban its celebration but you can't just make December 25th not happen - and for that matter even if you do make it illegal that doesn't always stop people.
Given that Father Christmas really does exist in Narnia and apparently only turns up when it's Christmas, it seems that Christmas is more of a physical state than a calendrical one in Narnia's world. This would be yet another instance of our-world myth and folklore being reality in Narnia.
Who said that Narnia was a spherical planet orbiting a star? It's perfectly possible that calendars don't apply in Narnia during the reign of the White Witch.
I realized not too long ago that the White Witch's winter never ends because Christmas never comes. Christmas is the modern celebration that took over the old Winter Solstice celebration. What's so special about the Winter Solstice? That's when the days stop getting shorter and start getting longer again, so that you know eventually spring will arrive. If you never get to the middle of winter, you can't get to the end.
The Winter Solstice is the return/rebirth of the Sun. Christmas was placed as it was BECAUSE of the various pagan Solstice holidays; think of it as the Christian Winter Solstice. It's a stealth metaphor. By stopping Christmas from coming, Jadis is keeping the Sun ("Son" aka Aslan) from coming back.
I never thought about it that way. Both this and the above bullet are utter brilliance!
It just seemed to this troper like banning Christmas was a more playful way of showing how terrible the Witch was. In the movie especially, when Mr. Tumnus discusses it with Lucy there's a feeling of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, like it was a time for partying and having fun and that all was taken away from them.
It's a figure of speech meaning that they got all of the bad things associated with winter, but none of the good things.
It's not just a figure of speech, because Father Christmas appears (and characters on both sides correctly see this as evidence that the spell is breaking). However, when the spell breaks, it goes from winter to spring in a few hours, so clearly it wasn't actually 25 December.
It's just one of those things, like Tumnus's umbrella and Mrs. Beaver's sewing machine. Lewis wanted a warm welcoming Old Narnia and decided that should include A Very British Christmas. So sue him.
In the book, Father Christmas tells Peter, Lucy and the Beavers that the Witch's magic has kept him away from Narnia for a hundred years. As a child, I simply concluded that this was why there hadn't been a Christmas during the reign of the White Witch — the date still came around, but it wasn't Christmas, because the Spirit of Christmas was being kept away. (I like the "solstice" theory too, though.)
Aside from all the points made above, another thing to consider: Aslan is Jesus. This means he should, presumably, know about everything in our world, including his birth there and the subsequent celebration of it. Since we know Aslan was in the business of teaching others how to know him, so they would "know him better" on Earth, it makes sense that he would want to ensure things associated with his Earthly guise would have a presence in Narnia, to help the Pevensies to make connections and be ready to accept him via the familiar. So even aside from Frank and Helen bringing Christmas with them (and for that matter Polly and Digory), and the Winter Solstice thing, Aslan could have decreed Christmas be celebrated in order to provide that connection back to Earth. Since Father Christmas was actually based off a saint of Earth, this crossed with Aslan's divine powers and the Fantasy Kitchen Sink trait of Narnia would then have made Father Christmas a real, separate being. How did Jadis keep him away? Because, like Aslan, who was the world's creator rather than indigenous to it, she was also an outsider. Not to mention being symbolic of Satan...
When Christianity was taking in converts, to better ingratiate them certain "pagan" festival periods were turned into Christian holidays related to relevant Christian events (since there is no record of when these events exactly happened and the calculation of periods of time was very different anyway. Which is why Christianities two most major events, Easter and Christmas, fall on pagan celebration periods for fertility (new life/rebirth quaintly enough) and Winter Solstice
Passages to Narnia only work once.
Professor Kirk says at the end of LWW that you can't get to Narnia the same way twice. Edmund went to Narnia through the wardrobe once before he went with all of his siblings, and Lucy went in and out of that thing three times throughout the book. What gives?
That wardrobe was very erratic. It didn't even always work for Lucy before the time all four of them went through it.
Presumably Kirke was just expounding on a general principle (which he wouldn't be an infallible authority on in any case) rather than an absolute rule. The more general sense would presumably count the multiple trips as part of a single "adventure" (after all, not too much Narnian time passes between them), with the idea that any different adventure with a different purpose would require a different way of getting there. Although it's subsequently one trip to Narnia per adventure anyway, so the issue doesn't arise.
Yeah, as far as Kirke knew you couldn't get there the same way twice, but he was just presuming this from his own past experience, which was limited to the one-way rings.
Since the gates are controlled by Aslan, in LWW he just kept the wardrobe passage open until he was done with it. Then, the next time he needed to bring the kids over, he created one in the subway since they weren't near the wardrobe.
One, it's called the London Underground or the Tube. Two, it's never specifically mentioned in the book where the Pevensies were when they were summoned by the Horn - but as it was still (probably) WWII, it's unlikely that they would have been in London at the time. Other than that, good point.
Why don't we just accept the rule that "Passages to Narnia Only Work For The Duration of One Novel" and be done with it?
Well, I think a major point of the Headscratchers sections is to discuss whether or not fictional events make sense in-universe, given what we know of it.
People assuming that Jadis and the Lady of the Green Kirtle are the same person.
This Just Bugs Me. Jadis was pretty clearly Killed Off for Real at the end of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and even if her spirit/life-force/whatever had somehow survived, there isn't a scrap of evidence in The Silver Chair for the two witches being the same person, just that they were "of the same sort".
It's because both Jadis and The Lady are analogous to The Devil in their respective books. The fact that it's show that Jadis could be resurrected in Prince Caspian probably doesn't help matters either.
Jadis is notThe Devil. Jadis represents Death. She is referred to as "The Emperor [i.e. God]'s hangman" by one character, she brought death upon everyone in her own home land, she is loosed upon the world in a Pandora's box-like way, she brings a perpetual winter in her reign, killing the land, she is the killer of Aslan...she's Death. Tash is The Devil (or the Antichrist), whom Aslan describes as his opposite in every way. Sorry, but that's one of the misconceptions that just bugs me.
I think this is a possible interpretation, but overstated as an obvious one. Jadis isn't a morally neutral and essentially natural force; she's an actively malevolent outsider. She tempts Diggory (in a garden, with an apple) and Edmund and opposes Aslan as much as she is able. And the "Emperor's hangman" thing seems pretty consistent with a Christian view of sinners ending up with the devil in hell (which also implies the two interpretations aren;t mutually exclusive: "the wages of sin is death" and all that). Plus, for all that Tash obviously occupied this role in TLB, it seems unlikely he was even conceived as a character when LWW was written.
As support of your point, the original meaning of "satan" (note the lowercase) and his role in the Bible was "accuser" or "advocate". Before he was conflated with Lucifer and made out to be the source of all evil, the Tempter, and the ruler of Hell (though even that isn't quite right, he's supposed to be confined and punished there as much as the other fallen angels/demons and damned souls), Satan was merely supposed to test people (as he did Jesus) and be their accuser when they were put on trial for their sins. This fits even better with the idea of being the Emperor's (God's) hangman.
(A probably unnecessary correction) Only in The Movie, it was. In the book, the hag might just have been making an empty boast.
I'm pretty sure it was possible in the book, too, since Peter, Edmund, Caspian, and Trumpkin burst in right when the hag says to draw the circle and prepare the blue fire or something; there was a sense of urgency that they absolutely could not let her do that. Still, not only is there Zero evidence in the books that the Lady of the Green Kirtle is the White Witch, there is no reason for the theory, and it makes no sense: the LotGK is normal human sized, not a giantess; Jadis could not turn into a serpent; the LotGK is not inhumanly pale as salt; and if they were supposed to be the same person, Lewis would have made it clear and explicit. I think this theory started from a Cowboy Bebop at His Computer character guide that stated the White Witch was "completely dangerous, even in The Silver Chair," for some reason, but people usually laugh at mistakes like that, not start taking them seriously.
Might also be the result of the BBC production, which recycled actresses for the two characters. Though to be honest, they're best off getting Tilda Swinton to player her anyway, because the it's evident the movies miss something without her.
Why don't any of the Narnians ever want to come back to our world?
Even setting aside the element of curiosity, Tumnus has a very good reason to want to escape Narnia when he lets Lucy go instead of turning her over to the White Witch. He's going on and on about the awful things she'll do to him, and Lucy says she's very sorry but can she please go home, and he immediately agrees and even escorts her back to the lamppost — and then just says goodbye, with her saying she hopes things turn out all right for him. Shouldn't it have seemed obvious at that point to ask if he could go back with her, at least temporarily, instead of living in misery and fear? (And he knew it was summer where she came from too.)
Been a while for me, but does he even yet understand at that point that she is from another world? Doesn't he still think that Spare Oom is just some foreign place in the same world he's from? If not, it may necessitate a greater act of courage on his part to flee from his own lifelong home into a mysterious new universe of aliens which he knew nothing about than it would be to continue living uncomfortably, yet more safely than most, in Narnia. Also, I don't remember Lucy inviting him. He doesn't seem like the sort that would just presume to ask or demand that kind of thing even under those circumstances.
I second the above statement about how risking his life in Narnia probably seemed less scary than risking it in some unknown Magical Land (in his point of view), but he did indeed think think War Drobe and Spare Oom were just places he never heard of because he didn't study geography enough. As to other Narnians, Caspian did want to see our world, which he finally got to do briefly in The Silver Chair. Professor Kirke also must have warned the Pevensies at some point after their first journey that bringing people from a foreign world to ours could be a very dangerous thing (as he knew from personal experience); it's not exactly a practice to be encouraged. But who's to say that some Narnians did find a portal from their world to ours and used it without ever encountering the characters we follow in the books?
Better the devil you know...
Reepicheep also volunteers to come to our world (though not really out of curiosity) at the end of Prince Caspian, but is vetoed by Aslan. As mentioned in the "same way twice" discussion, there's a fairly strong message in the books that you only travel between worlds if Aslan wants you to, and a lot of the travel consists of being involuntarily whisked to and from Narnia rather than actively choosing it. Seems plausible that the Narnians could be somewhat devout/fatalistic on this point, and figure that if it's not happening then there's probably some good reason for it (note that Caspian worries if his desire to see our world is wrong). Additionally, Narnians' only information about our world (as far as we know) comes from a handful of visitors, most of whom have regarded Narnia as much more exciting place than dull, grey England (early Eustace being an exception, but then everyone thought he was a twerp), so haven't exactly been selling the concept.
Out-of-character, none of the good-guy Narnians ever gets to come to our world because Lewis was saving the "fantasy characters become Fish out of Water in London" gimmick for Jadis's sojourn in The Magician's Nephew.
During the time prior to Lion . . . , was it unending winter in Telmar, Archenland, Ettinsmoor, and Calormen?
It seems pretty unfair that Telmarines, Archenlanders, Ettinsmoor giants, and Calormene all would have to suffer through "always winter never Christmas" just because Jadis has her eyes set on a nation of talking animals. Since it seems fairly likely that they knew about Jadis's claims to be Narnia's queen and about her claims to be responsible for the winter, their hostility to Narnia suddenly seems a lot more reasonable . . .
It occurs to me that might explain why the Telmarines later invaded Narnia and then tried to exterminate all evidence of magic and the fantastical — all they would know about the unending winter is that it was caused by Jadis, Queen of Narnia (they would have no reason to doubt her title), until she was overthrown by four children who didn't seem willing to take responsibility for how the internal squabbles of Narnia had caused a brief ice age for at least three other sovereign nations if not more. And didn't Jadis spend centuries brooding and building up her power as the White Witch of the Wild North (often treated as a part of Narnia, remember) before she finally attacked Narnia? So it makes sense that the Telmarines, once they get their chance, would try to stomp out all magic and thereby avoid another ice age.
Actually, it seems unlikely that Jadis would be content with controlling only Narnia. She probably seemed like a Narnian Hitler ready to conquer Archenland and then Calormen!
In "The Horse & His Boy", the Calormene Grand Vizier explains that they have never seriously considered conquering Narnia before because until recently it was covered with perpetual snow & ice, and moreover was ruled by a powerful enchantress. This would imply that Calormen, at least, was not so covered. It would also explain how foodstuffs got into Narnia despite not being able to grow things (unless the Dwarves had underground hothouses); the Witch probably allowed some trade.
Perhaps, but recall that LWW has Narnian books on whether or not humans are mythical (which frankly seems a bit odd after only 100 yrs). If there is trade it must be pretty minimal and little-known.
Witch-disseminated propaganda, possibly, to keep her subjects from turning to other nations for potential Kings and Queens.
It might also explain why the Calormenes ended up turning to Tash instead of Aslan; although they were suffering from Jadis' winter just as much as anyone else, Aslan seemed to care only about the Narnians.
I was actually thinking the opposite: if they, who worshiped Tash, were doing fine while the Aslan-worshiping Narnians were covered in snow, it probably would have gone a long way towards reinforcing their views that Tash was the true god.
Contrary to Jill's first assumption in The Silver Chair, Planet England-ism doesn't apply to this Magical Land. "Narnia" only refers to the country, not the entire planet on which said country is located. It was not winter on the entire planet or even the entire continent for one-hundred years but only in Narnia (the country, not the planet). Jadis obviously didn't rule over any other countries besides Narnia (the Tisrocs had been ruling Calormen for generations prior to the Pevensies taking the thrones), so there's no reason to assume she extended her eternal winter spell to other countries as well. Was she powerful enough to trap the whole planet or continent in eternal winter? There's no way to know for sure. If she could, why wouldn't she? Because she's an Evil Overlord, not a Card-Carrying Villain who spreads wanton chaos and despair For the Evulz. As has been said above, countries that aren't trapped in eternal winter provide better opportunities for trade.
She wanted to conquer Narnia, IIRC, from the first moment it was formed, and that was fresh out of a humiliating aborted attempt to conquer Earth. She was sore about not getting her chance before and seems to have been biding her time, letting the apple do its work, while she amassed an army. Her grudge was with that specific land.
In The Horse and His Boy Aravis' silly friend says that Narnia is a land full of demons, covered in ice and snow. Presumably, the countries around Narnia were not—this also explains why they were able to obtain food that would not grow in winter.
This only Headscratchers in relation to Bridge to Terabithia, but it's really annoying that Walden Media chose to keep Narnia in-period but not Bridge since, 1)the war is really only used as an excuse to get the kids up to the Professor's house while The Seventies and the whole post-Vietnam mindset looms large in the background of BTT, and 2) They were re-creating America in New Zealand, it wouldn't have been that much harder to throw in a period setting.
Could be a combination of Viewers Are Morons and Values Dissonance. They probably figured that most of the audience would be kids and kids wouldn't understand the social values of the period (Leslie being considered weird for having short hair, her not having a TV, etc). So they decided to modernize it. With Narnia, while it was set in WWII, they really didn't touch on social issues that might be considered confusing to kids.
Even when I was a kid, it bothered me that the Pevensies seemed to have no problem with ditching their parents forever. Angst? What Angst? is a trope for a reason, but still, none of them spares a single thought about what their disappearance might do to their parents, nor do any of the kids seem to miss them. It struck me as more than a bit heartless, though I know it wasn't intended to. Also related to my other Headscratchers—the fact that they seem to have zero problem when they accidentally return to Earth after having grown up and been kings and queens. They miss Narnia, of course, but suddenly finding themselves ordinary children again seemingly has no effect on them.
As you may recall, part of the magic of Narnia (the world) is that it pulls you in with fascination, and makes the world you left seem like a hazy dream. Like when Lucy totally lost track of time on her first incursion into Narnia. It may have a similar but opposite effect on the return to our world, making Narnia seem just like a pleasant, distant memory.
"If they ever remembered their life in this world, it was only as one remembers a dream." Plus, they were kids in a kids' book, and what kid reading it wouldn't think it would be so much cooler to stay and live in a Magical Land forever than have to return to dreary old Earth?
In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, their parents had sent them away and only Professor Kirk would know or care that they were missing. That might be enough to keep them there until they forgot about our world. Afterwards, there's always someone around who knows about Narnia Time. In The Last Battle, they were dead anyway, so they might as well enjoy themselves in Heaven/new Narnia.
Another thing to keep in mind is that, before all four of them go to Narnia, they already knew about Narnia Time to some degree—Lucy had from their perspective claimed to have been gone for hours and hours while only being gone less than a minute, something Professor Kirke notes makes him believe her story is genuine and not a lie since her story would have seemed more plausible if she had hidden for some time before emerging. So with that bit of knowledge, they could have easily concluded there would be plenty of time to rule since it would always be the same moment they left when they returned. And then, as stated above, memories and knowledge of Earth faded so they forgot exactly how long they'd been away, or even that they came from somewhere else.
What's with that bit with the "Luftwaffe" on the main page?
I don't get the joke.
In the movie, the Luftwaffe (...Um, I don't know if you know or not, and I'm sorry if you do, but they're kind of like the German airforce/bombers during WWII IIRC) are bombing London during the opening. The Pevensie's house doesn't get bombed, and none of them die, but the Luftwaffe are still dropping bombs all over London, and there must have been a few death's. Ya know, for kids! Does that help?
Putting the Pevensies on the throne
The whole 'becoming a king/queen fantasy' is enchanting when you're little, but looking back on it it also seems fairly dumb. After all, Aslan just put four children in charge of Narnia, the eldest of whom is thirteen, and none of them knowing all that much about the country they're now ruling, the ones around it and the international relations between them. And yes, it's not as if there haven't been rulers who came into power at that age, but they were typically raised in anticipation of that power, like Caspian. Even King Frank and Queen Helen had the advantage of being fully fledged adults when they became rulers, with experience beyond childhood. (Besides, it wasn't like they were outsiders; everyone was learning along with them.) I'm surprised no one in Narnia, even deliriliously happy at the prospect of the prophecy coming true as they were, stopped to say, 'We thought you'd be taller?'
Following the logic mentioned above under the "What happened during the 1300 years the Pevensies were gone?" WMG, there were other humans in the court of Narnia—not only the council of advisers but the seven Lords who are sent away by Miraz and have to be rescued in book three, and the humans who rule the various islands like the Governor of the Lone Islands. Just because Jadis took these places over (or claimed to) doesn't mean they didn't have their own rulers who were supplanted that could have resumed power when she was defeated. Or they were appointed by the Pevensies. Anyway, the point: with all these rulers, nobles, and advisers around, there were plenty of people who could have taught the four kids how to rule as well as the political situation with the other nations.
Don't forget that their coronation had the personal (and visible) endorsement of Aslan, which would make Narnians a lot less likely to question it.
Nobody needs a therapist, not even Peter.
Prince Caspian, in its Darker and Edgier way, made the warfare considerably more intense. Peter is placed in charge, and leads an assault on the castle which ends in his troops dying in droves. In fact, he has to watch through the portcullis as people, good people, who trusted him, are mercilessly cut down because he screwed up. Then he goes back to England and has a nice childhood. This is not what happens in real life. ( Roméo Dallaire, for example, was driven to attempt suicide because he couldn't save the people who he was supposed to help.) You can have a fun childhood fantasy with bloodless carnage where the hero goes home happy, or you can plunge him into the horrors of war and leave him forever changed. Mixing and matching is just... weird.
Peter has already lived a decent chunk of a lifetime in Narnia during the end of ''LWW', as well as already being shown as taking responsibility for his siblings at points during the war. He is not a "child". Additionally, this is probably not what happens in real life, but I'd be somewhat dubious of somebody's claims that anything other than one particular reaction to something is "wrong"
Yes, there are plenty of real-life examples demonstrating that one can witness the horrors of war and nonetheless lead a happy life afterwards. Perhaps you'd expect (it seems too much to require) that the person be changed somehow by the experience, but a) Prince Caspian isn't the first time Peter has witnessed bloody deaths (happens in LWW, and possibly in his post-book reign) and b) how do we know the experience in Caspian didn't change him? It's not as though we see any substantial chunk of his life following the events of the film.
Peter's British and he'd already lived through World War II in our own world. He didn't have to go to Narnia to have people he knew get killed, or to witness the wanton destruction of places he'd known all his life. And he'd already dealt with feeling helpless to save others; heck, his own brother was fatally wounded at the end of LWW, and only Lucy, not Peter, was able to heal him.
Jadis's origins in The Magician's Nephew don't match with the events of The Silver Chair
Jadis, the White Witch, is established as not being from the Narnian world at all in the book The Magician's Nephew but rather is from the now-dead world of Charn. But in the book The Silver Chair, the Lady of the Green Kirtle is supposed to be a "Northern witch" of the same species as Jadis, even though Jadis is established in The Magician's Nephew as the last of her species (and, indeed, the last of her whole world, as she personally killed off everybody else). It doesn't match up.
I don't think it ever says they're of the same species (though it's possible; Jadis could have had children in Narnia), just that they're both "Northern witches". Jadis was there from the beginning and fled to the far north after the events of TMN; I think it's implied that the witches there are somehow her doing, but that could have simply been a case of her promulgating witchcraft in the region.
It might also be possible that the Northern Witches and Jadis have nothing to do with each other beyond Jadis having spent time in the North, and the Narnians simply lumped all the Witches together. The above seems more likely, though; I always figured that the Lady of the Green Kirtle was a former Bastard Understudy of Jadis or a descendant of one, playing at Dragon Ascendant.
Given that the Silver Chair is thousands of years after TMN, its possible that the Northern Witches are Jadis's descendants. She's the last of her kind from Charn, but she could have had 'lovers' and children in the time since. Also, the bit about her being related to Lilith may just be conjecture on the part of Narnians, since they probably didnt know about Charn.
Arguably, the bit about Lilith could be Fridge Brilliance - it's very probable that the first king and queen, Frank and Helen, knew about Lilith and described the witch as "a descendant of Lilith", either in exaggeration or for symbolism. The Narnians, having no idea who Lilith actually was, just took that as truth and began repeating it amongst themselves.
It's also possible that, while there's no biological relationship between Jadis and the Lady, Jadis might've trained some apprentices in witchcraft while she was building up her power in the North. This would not only explain the Lady's status as a "Northern witch" — i.e. a practitioner of the Northern magics introduced by Jadis — but also where the hag from Prince Caspian acquired her own magical know-how, specifically knowledge of a rite that would resurrect the White Witch.
Growing up in Narnia
Here's the thing that got me when I watched the movie. These kids grew up in Narnia, spending about two decades, from the looks of it, there and they suffer no ill effects when they travel back and are reverted back to their previous age. Imagine how depressing that would be, the reason being a child is so great is because you have no worries or cares, but also because you don't know what you're missing. Presumably, they've all killed a few people, had sex, drank alcohol, ruled over a country, had meaningful long term relationships, and developed tastes and idiosyncrasies that can't be satiated in the real world. I mean they've spent more time in Narnia than they have in the real world at the end of the LWW, and then they just go back.
Probably not sex since there is no indication that they ever married and Narnian society seems healthier more conservative in that respect than ours is.
Alcohol's canon, though: on their return in Vo DT, Edmund and Lucy are happy to drink mead but "Eustace was sorry afterwards that he had drunk any". Highly doubtful that the Pevensies would have been knocking it back Earth-side, though the odd thimbleful on high days wouldn't have been out of the question in polite English society.
There is a fairly well-established idea in the books that time in Narnia makes you more "Narnian" (adult, heroic), and in LWW the crowned Pevensies ultimately start remembering their original lives only as a sort of dream, so you can perhaps handwave this one a bit by suggesting that the reverse occurred to some degree when they returned (although, of course, ultimately regarding the experience as wholly unreal didn't work out so well for Susan...). But this does seem quite a large issue (one of many that arises to some degree from LWW being written as a standalone), and one that the later films, unlike the books, make a few nods to.
Where did the Stone Table come from?
The Magician's Nephew establishes the entire beginning of the world of Narnia, but nowhere is the extremely important and ancient-as-the-world plot device Stone Table mentioned. Furthermore, Jadis is described as some sort of giantess/Lilith hybrid by the beavers, but there doesn't seem to be a way for that kind of creature to make it from our world to Charn. There's just so much that needs to be called Canon Discontinuity between LWW and the prequel that it's mind-boggling.
Agree about Jadis and the more general point, but the Stone Table's absence is at least consistent with TMN not really giving details about the creation of anything specific in Narnia (aside from the lamp post). Calormen, Telmar, the Lone Islands, Father Time, even the walled garden (before Digory gets taken there); we don't get told about any of these appearing.
The Beavers could have been just plain wrong, of course - how would Narnians generally have been in a position to know?
Fridge Brilliance: The Stone Table is a place of death, and nothing in Narnia had died or even knew what death was at the time of its creation. Aslan wouldn't have put something there that would endanger his creations' first hours of innocence, so the Table had to be a later addition to his newborn world.
I know it's Moral Dissonance, but it just really bugs me that Eustace is implied to be the jerkass that he is because he's an Actual Pacifist, a feminist, his school didn't use corporal punishment and his parents were non-smoking vegetarian teetotalers. So refraining from beating your child and smoking will result in him being a total Jerk Ass? Nice Aesop, Lewis.
This troper hasn't read the book, but from what he got from the movie, was that Eustace was a Jerk Ass not because of his formation, but because he focused too much on Science, and absolutely nothing on imagination or creativity, which, even if you're a scientist, you're gonna need them.
1. Nothing mentioned about his interest in science in the book - instead, he harps on about politics and the economy (he criticises the idea of four monarchs of Narnia and contemplates the tax benefits of the dragon's hoard of gold), and 2. See Measuring the Marigolds.
Eustace seemed to be a Jerk Ass for the sake of being a Jerk Ass - basically just a Straw Atheist. He didn't even care about science, from what we're told about him. Just about showing that he's better than others. Lewis simply didn't seem to feel him a character worth exploring before his conversion.
YMMV, I saw it less as "Eustace wasn't beaten as a child, ergo he's a brat" and more "Eustace is never punished for anything and turned out Spoiled Rotten so he's a brat. Yeah, beating kids? Not coolnote By the standards of Lewis's time, corporal punishment - quite distinct from child abuse - was not considered monstrous. Naturally there could be bad authority figures who could not or would not distinguish the two; you'll find plenty in Dickens. But it was expected until very recently that parents would physically chastise children, and so would teachers - and, for instance, the pupils in Stalky & Co seem to regard a caning as something to be avoided if possible, but nothing to be upset about. Harold and Alberta have parallels in Viz's "The Modern Parents", if you know it. Never teaching them how to not be a brat? Also not cool. Again, though, YMMV.
It should be noted that biographies of C.S. Lewis note that he (and his peers) suffered physical abuse at the hands of Robert "Oldie" Capron note Above and beyond the "standards of the day;" Lewis was not in attendance long, as Capron's flogging of one student led to legal action by the boy's parents, which bankrupted the institution. Capron was admitted to a psychiatric ward at the same time. (not to be confused with the child actor), headmaster of the Wynyard School, where he was send after his mother's death from cancer. That the Stubbs refrained from corporal punishment is an oddity, but given Lewis's upbringing, it is unlikely that their lack of physical discipline is sufficient to damn them. Their refusal to discipline at all is another story.
It's also a bit of a stretch to call Eustace a feminist when what he really objects to is Lucy getting privileges he doesn't; he'd have absolutely no problem accepting privileges that Lucy didn't get, if they were offered to him.
I think Eustace's main problem is that he is shallow. IIRC, most of the details Lewis reveals about his upbringing aren't socially progressive, just psychological and physical health fads: having windows open all the time, parents wearing "a special kind of underclothes," etc. He also parrots things he's heard from his elders without being able to really understand them. So he's a pacifist? He's a kid. He's too young to go to war. He has never seriously had to consider the implications of pacifism or of any other demanding life choice. Having no discipline at school (we see in his next appearance that Experiment House abolished corporal punishment and didn't replace it with any other kind of discipline) or at home (I think this is what calling his parents by their first names symbolizes) doesn't help his character either, but he wasn't given much to work with in the first place.
Also, even if we overlook his unpleasant nature, Eustace starts out with a serious disadvantage. Edmund and Lucy remember having been adults, fought in wars, and so forth. He really is just a kid.
Eustace only claims to be a pacifist when he's refusing to fight Reepicheep; he could just be a chicken making up an excuse. His objection to Lucy getting her own room is not feminist, it's clueless (excusable, perhaps, because of his age, but still clueless); she gets her own room not because women deserve more privileges than men but because she is the only woman on board.
Lucy gets the royal cabin while the three boys get a smaller room underneath. Also, she could have roomed with her own brother, which would have made things less crowded for Eustace and Caspian. Caspian seems to be motivated by "chivalry", and Edmund could either be the same or be babying his little sister by going along with it.
Caspian is a knight and High King of a land with a culture where the code of chivalry is kind of a big deal. It neither needs nor requires being put in quotes as an explanation for his motivations.
Eustace is a jerkass not because of his specific beliefs and upbringing (though those are viewed askance by the narrator), but because he thinks they make him better than other people. Undoubtedly, Lewis chose his particular list of characteristics (vegetarian, teetotaling, progressive-school-attending) because he associated them with a type of holier-than-though smugness that he wanted to convey in Eustace. Perhaps a modern equivalent would be parents who are vegan, teach at a liberal-arts college, don't own a television, and only buy organic food (not that any of these traits are specifically negative, but they are commonly used as shorthand for a particular "type" of person).
There are limits on how far you can take Arbitrary Skepticism. He is a man who genuinely believes that his godmother had fairy blood, that he could learn and practice magic and that he owns a boxful of dust from Atlantis that can be converted into rings that allow you to travel into other dimensions - yet he can't bring himself to believe in talking animals?! And that's not the only reason why he's so infuriating: at start he seems to have the makings of an interesting, nuanced character with fleshed out motivations for his amoral actions, but as the story progreses he's reduced to a caricature with no place in the story, except to be Lewis' Straw AtheistButt Monkey. When I read a story called The Magician's Nephew, I expect for the Magician to have some significance in the main plot, as well.
The impression I got was that Uncle Andrew convinced himself it all wasn't real not because he didn't believe in it, but because he was scared of it. He'd spent his whole life looking for magic, yes, but he always kept it at arms' length- remember how he balked at the idea of sending himself to Another Dimension? When he got to proto-Narnia, he was perfectly willing to believe in its rejuvenaitng properties, but the Talking Animals and Aslan frightened him enough that he convinced himself they were mundane animals to deal with it. It might have something to do with the fact that the magic he does is (he thinks) under his control and therefore safe- the Talking Animals obviously aren't.
Or, more crudely, he believed in "impossible" things only when he thought they would get him wealth or power - hence his plans for a profitable health resort utilising early Narnia's rejuvenating powers. Believing in the sentience of the animals would have meant uncomfortable thoughts about them having rights. Real-life human history is full of groups who refused to believe in the full sentience/humanity of other groups for that reason.
Regarding him being a "caricature", I see that as exactly the point. He's a caricature Evil Magician who meets the real thing. And as implied at the end, better to be a butt-monkey than really evil.
Why doesn't Santa give me cool weapons for Christmas?
I feel cheated
One can only assume you haven't been a good little boy/girl. Shame on you.
You'd have to be a good boy/girl to get weapons for Christmas. Can you imagine Santa giving them to bad boys/girls?
The next time you happen to celebrate Christmas in a magical land where the cool weapons are needed to kill evil witches, he'll probably be happy to give you some.
What is the problem with Minotaurs being good?
I've always wondered why some people object to Minotaurs fighting on the heroes' side. They're not like demons, who are evil, they seem more like Fauns or Centaurs, who are sentient and can choose between Good and Evil.
The only objection I can see is that they are mentioned in LWW as evil. That's not much of an objection, since it's clear that whole races are seldom good or evil in Narnia, though there may be strong trends. True, the original Minotaur of myth was a plain old man-eating monster, but centaurs hardly have a spotless record, and Narnia shows only good centaurs. The book of LWW even mentions in passing a man-headed bull in Aslan's army, a sort of reverse minotaur, like a "shedu" from Babylonian imagery.
ONLY FOR THE MOVIES What's the time line between LWW and Dawn Treader?
So, in LWW, the Luftwaffe are dropping bombs all over London, hence why the four are sent away. I was always taught that this was a WWII thing. However in Dawn Treader, Edmund is trying to enlist, and there is talk about how "The Germans" are making it impossible for Edmund and Lucy to go to America to join their parents. Did I just miss something? Was there a time loop that took them back again? Is there a British war that I just haven't learned about? :is confused:
World War Two lasted from around 1939 (in Europe) to 1945. Lewis' timeline states the children were evacuated from London in 1940, like in Real Life. Dawn Treader should have been around 1942, wherein the war was still going on. The real discrepancy might be exactly what age the children are in the movies. Lucy should be ten, according to the timeline, but the movie makes her seem to be in her teens, which does add to the confusion.
Stupid question, but why would Lucy and Edmund (and the other two, natch) be moved from the professor's house to Cambridge? I'm sorry, I just don't see that as a good idea... Add to that the fact that PC inbetween LWW and VoDT shows the four running around the tube and going to school and all... I thought there was a war on? Is this just something that they don't teach in American schools?
Well, the air raids would have stopped by PC, I think. We do still see a soldier in the background, and a war poster, so it's implied that there is still a war going on, but it's not affecting our protagonists that much. At least, that's what I got out of it. :P As for being moved to Cambridge... the movies changed the reason. In the book, Peter had to study for an exam with the Professor, who somehow lost his wealth and now lived in a small cottage with only room for one kid. Susan went to America with her parents as a summer vacation, leaving Lucy and Edmund with Eustace's family. So, they all just ended up scattered. The Last Battle also implies that the Professor's house was destroyed, presumably by a bomb.
Well, the inspiration is obviously the Christian god, and one's willingness to accept a powerful character who sometimes acts as the Deus Ex Machina and sometimes seems to leave people to do it themselves is probably tied to the separate and much bigger question of whether one accepts the Working In Mysterious Ways idea or not. But to keep things Narnia-specific, the children acquitted themselves well in the battle and as rulers, so one could presumably say that, less-than-obvious though their selection was, Aslan had sufficient foresight to realise that they would do so. Plus The Chosen One is a pretty well-worn fantasy trope, so it's not as though the unlikely character(s) saving the world and/or becoming king was an audacious new idea on Lewis's part.
One who's the deity of a children's fantasy book. The first item on the agenda of almost every children's book is "how to give the kids way more agency than real kids should ever have." It's what the kid readers want.
Edmund's Character Derailment in the first movie
This always bugged me. In the book, he begins to realize that Jadis is a psycho after seeing her turn the Christmas party to stone, and changes sides of his own accord. In the movie, he's all buddy buddy with Jadis until she specifically turns on him. Worse yet, he sells out his siblings for a complete stranger who may have been part of a trap (and this is coming from someone who loves the fox in this movie). Who thought this was a good idea?
Just a quick question- which first movie? The old BBC one? Or the newer one? [/hasn't seen either in a while]
Assuming you mean the most recent movie: in the books, the Christmas party takes place after Jadis has left the castle in her sledge to track down the other three siblings and kill them. In the books, then, Edmund's character is worse for that, as it either takes him a lot longer to realize that Jadis is evil or he just doesn't care that the witch is going to hunt his siblings down and kill them. In the movie, Edmund realizes it a lot faster, when (yes) she turns on him immediately and tosses him in the dungeon with Tumnus — and we're shown Edmund feeling sorry for Tumnus. Remember, he only blurts out the plans of the beavers to stop Jadis from torturing Tumnus.
Lord Rhoop, particularly in the Film.
This has been bothering me for a while. Lord Rhoop was alone in Dark Island, fighting off his worst fears. How did he survive the past decade or so without food, and constantly in battle with his worst fears?
(Haven't seen the film, only read the book.) Perhaps it's the nature of that particular Dream World / Dark World. He wasn't "alive" in the sense of having a physical, metabolising body. Or to put it another way, how do people survive in Hell?
Fridge Horror and Nightmare Fuel ... The dreams become flesh, and he has been fighting them off, ergo, he has been eating the dreams he kills.
OP here. So then, does that mean he was eating raw meat?... This got a whole lot squickier..
Regarding the lack of a physical body, that description seems to apply more to the people eaten by the Mist.
OTOH, since all dreams come true(good and bad) a starving person would allucinate/dream food, so he shouldn't have trouble with that either. The raw meat theory is more tragic, though.
I've got an even better one for you. A starving person might dream of food, yes. However, Rhoop was living in a constant nightmare of his own creation, where EVERY type of dream comes true. In such a situation, any good outcome would surely be destroyed by his fears and demons haunting him endlessly, hence his suffering. Even if a delicious banquet appeared before him, would it not be possible that a starving person might dream of being forced to be around vast quantities of food but prevented from eating it in some way, much like there being no water in Hell? Oh, but it gets even better; I'm sure there are plenty of things he would be able to consume. Think about it - what kind of "food" would make an appearance in your darkest nightmares? Something much, much worse than "raw meat", perhaps...
I don't think the book suggests that the ENTIRE island was barren and featureless. There could have been edible plants and fruit trees to sustain oneself on, in between dream onslaughts. Maybe when hungry, he would tend to DREAM of food; and in keeping with the island's properties, it materialized.
Food would turn up from time to time. Unfortunately for Rhoop, he would often realize in the middle of supper that he was naked, and the guests would all be pointing and laughing.
People may dream they are starving, but never that they have starved to death... indeed, since you never truly die in dreams, one of the horrors of Dark Island was that no matter what happened to Lord Rhoop, there was never a merciful death to put a stop to it.
VDT Movie only; What's with the people taken by the green mist?
The green mist apparently requires human sacrifices for some reason, but when it's defeated, several boats of missing people return. What was the point of that, besides giving the film a cheap way to raise tension and pathos? What was the mist trying to do, and why didn't it succeed well enough to at least finish off the people sacrificed to it? It doesn't make any sense, even if you assume that the Wild Mass Guessing about the mist being the White Witch returning or the Queen of the Underworld's first attack, as both of them go for straight-up conquest and neither have any connection to mist or the sea.
Why do you assume that the green mist would destroy the people sacrificed to it? There's no basis for that other than that it's what would happen in most stories. Maybe the point was simply to keep them. Or to not let them die. If they're forever in stasis in the mist, they can't live lives pleasing to Aslan and the Emperor, and they can't go to Heaven at the end of them.
What is this thing? According to Lewis notes Jadis is Satan figure in Narnia and there was no evil in this world before she entered it. Then where the heck did that thing come from? It's a God of Evil in setting in which Christian theology is undeniably true, so no other god aside Christian God should exist, yet here he is, very real. I know he is supposet to represent false gods or gods used to justify horrible acts or something like that, but that doesn't explain his origin in-Universe.
He's some kind of Outsider, just like Jadis. Remember, he doesn't actually walk Narnian soil until he's called, and he doesn't stay for long either. He's a rather uncaring god/demon/bird thing. Worship of Tash probably entered Calormen sometime in the middle period of their civilization, but like Aslan says,(paraphrasing) whoever does good in Tash's name is in reality serving Aslan, and whoever does evil in Aslan's name is in reality serving Tash. While Jadis might be the original Satan-figure, Tash could well be the actual Satan.
There's nothing in the books to indicate where the Calormenes came from, or even if their ancestors were from our own world. It's entirely possible that they, and Tash, originated from a universe where creatures like him are as normal a part of the magical milieu as Bacchus or the river-god are normal for Narnia.
If Aslan is to be taken literally when he says that they are opposites, then Tash may be far worse that Satan. To be truly opposite to Aslan he couldn't be his creation, he'd have to be an being of independent and equal power. Jadis is Lucifer, Tash is some kind of Anti-God.
If Aslan is Jesus and his father is God, who's supposed to be Holy Spirit?
I cannot really believe that Lewis wouldn't include equivalent of thirth part of the Holy Trinity in his series, yet the only thing that seems to be close is Eagle from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
There are different characters in each book who can, from a certain point of view, be called analogous to the Holy Spirit in that they work (directly/indirectly) for Aslan (Jesus) and play a guiding role for the protagonists. The ones that come to mind are the Beavers from LWW and Trumpkin or Dr Cornelius from PC. Haven't read the series in a while, so I can't think of any others right now.
The Holy Spirit is you know, a spirit. If you really wanted a physical representation it would probably Aslan's breath/wind.
Why is Edmund so vilified in TLTWATW?
The first time he meets the Witch, he's almost instantly given magical addictive mind-screwy Turkish Delight. His first information about Narnia comes from Jadis and is influenced by her magic - he's not in his right mind when he develops his loyalty to her. And by extension, why do the Emperor's laws not make a distinction between treason performed knowingly and with full consent, and treason under the influence of evil magic?
Because the Emperor's law is impersonal and clearly wasn't made with this situation in mind. I'd go so far as to say Aslan agrees that it's not a fair system, since he agrees to sacrifice his own life for Edmund's.
The original text doesn't "villify" Edmund as much as it pities him. It doesn't constantly condemn him, judge him, or say he's getting what he deserves; it just describes what he wants, what he's thinking, and how much he's suffering. Ultimately, it partially blames his actions and attitude on his bad schooling. The only time it calls him "spiteful" is when he's teasing Lucy and lies to Peter and Susan about Narnia - the text considers that treatment of his sister worse than betraying his siblings to a homicidal witch. The influence of the Turkish Delight isn't a Get Out Jail Free Card for his betrayal, though; his addiction was a motive, not an excuse. He knew what he was doing was wrong (even if he tried to deny it to himself on the long walk from the Beavers), he just didn't care, as long as it got him a throne and his next fix. But whether he "was in his right mind or not," the Witch certainly wasn't going to let something like common sense and reasonable justice interfere when the letter of the law gave her a claim to his life.
I thought it was because we're supposed to really, really not like him so that Aslan's choice to sacrifice himself for a prat like that resonates all the more.
All good service goes to Aslan, and all evil goes to Tash
This just seems like Aslan washing his paws clean of anyone who, for example, misinterprets him or takes honest service of Aslan too far and becomes The Fundamentalist or a Knight Templar. And what about Emeth, who honestly believed Tash represented all the good ideals he strove towards, and suddenly is told "actually no, you were serving me despite the fact that you know nothing about me and have loved and worshipped Tash all your life"? Lewis doesn't seem to understand the possibility that good people might genuinely believe in a different god (or, if he allowed for the possibility of good atheists, a lack thereof).
The difference between this situation and real world religions is that Aslan and Tash are discrete, approachable entities with defined personalities. Emeth devoutly served an idea of Tash that resembled the real Aslan much more than the real Tash, so he gets accounted a follower of Aslan because Aslan respects those ideals regardless of whose name gets stuck on them. Similarly, doing evil in Aslan's name in the sincere belief that Aslan would approve (as opposed to say, Shift, who paid lip-service to Aslan solely to advance his own position and never really believed in Aslan or Tash) brings you much closer to what Tash apparently looks for in his servants, so you go to Tash. Basically, keep in mind that this is a universe with actual, incarnate embodiments of good and evil, making the whole situation a lot less spiritually nebulous than real life.
This comes straight from Christian theology (see the parable of the Good Samaritan) especially Lewis' take is a particularly forgiving take here. Good (read: God) and Evil are rather like hot and cold in physics, namely that cold does not really exist and is merely a lacking of heat. Ergo nothing can be good that does not reflect God in some way. Therefore if Emeth was a good, noble, and loyal servant who lived a virtuous life... that he didn't do so explicitly for Aslan is of little importance. Emeth didn't need explicit knowledge of God to live in a Godly manner, his heart simply knew that as the only Truth.
Essentially he was always (unknowingly) disloyal to Tash who as not-God is harsh and evil, because you could not be loyal to Tash (or any other false faith) in truth and avoid being some total baby-killer class evil dude. Essentially this underwrites all sorts of virtuous pagans (or athiests or whatever else) because if God is equivalent to virtue all virtue reflects a belief in God, however a person may choose to wrap that. Though Tash is a Satanic figure here the point would remain unchanged if he was just superstition or some human philosopher that got wise sitting under a tree or something.
By the same token using God's name to commit evil is absolutely no excuse, as we see with Shift's whole faux Aslanism for example, as it utterly and vilely distorts the Truth of God. And would (probably) be considerably worse as the Knight Templar should know better, and is fairly literally adding insult to injury.
Also FYI most denominations of Christianity are not quite this forgiving but at least formally consider people ignorant/rejecting of Jesus/God/Christianity to be a tragedy it is their mission from God to help avert via missionary activity. Formal doctrine aside many Christians personally believe an infinitely forgiving God would not hold circumstances truly beyond a person's control against them in the end. Lewis is explicitly of this more forgiving flavor in Narnia.
To me it seemed that this was a fast-paced version of 'seek and you will find'. Emeth seemed to know the character of Aslan, but apparently not his name. The whole 'every good thing is done for Aslan' deal, as I saw it, fit pretty well into the Christian concept that faith, not works, is what saves you. Apparently Aslan can accomplish good even through those who oppose him.
What happens if two people go into the wardrobe about an hour apart and return through the trees at the same time? Or vice versa?
While there's no reaon to expect much consistency, something similar to the first scenario happens in the book when Edmund first enters Narnia: he enters after Lucy, when they meet up the conversation suggests she's been there significantly longer (meeting with Tumnus), they leave at the same time and end up back in our world at the same time.
Lucy and the Dwarfs
In The Last Battle, the Dwarfs are huddled in a corner, still believing they are inside the stable, and are unwilling and unable to perceive their true surroundings. Naturally, Lucy takes pity on them and tries to talk some sense into them. When that doesn't work, she gets Tirian to help, also unsuccessfully. So why didn't anyone explain to her that the Dwarfs are cold-blood murderers? When both Eustace and Tirian show anger at the Dwarfs, Lucy dismisses their complaints. Tirian even calls them traitors worthy of death, but Lucy isn't interested. Tirian has an overdeveloped sense of chivalry, so he just goes along with whatever Lucy wants, no matter how misguided it is, but Eustace could have mentioned that the Dwarfs had just slaughtered several Talking Horses. Even as compassionate as Lucy is, that knowledge should have made her feel different. (This doesn't mean that if Lucy had known the entire truth, then she wouldn't have tried to help the Dwarfs anyway, but at least she could have felt a little bit of righteous anger at their deeds, instead of being blissfully ignorant.) Is everyone else afraid that Lucy is too delicate and naive to handle the truth? That seems doubtful, considering that she's tough enough to fight in a battle and kill enemy soldiers with her bow and arrows, as she did in A Horse and His Boy. Do the others just not really care anymore? That doesn't seem likely either, since they didn't yet know that they were in the Narnian Heaven, and all of the horses most likely came back to life.
As soon as Lucy suggested they approach the Dwarves, Tirian replied something close to that he "had no love for Dwarves today" but would set that distaste aside to please a lady - old-fashioned chivalry by our standards but not by his.
Lucy is just trying to be compassionate and forgiving, which are some of her most prominent personality traits. It's also probably supposed to reflect the idea that everyone, and yes that includes murderers, are to be offered the chance to sincerely repent and be forgiven by God. Lucy is effectively offering them that one last chance at repentance (acting as an emissary of Aslan/Jesus/God), even now that they're essentially already dead, by saying "If you'll just look around you'll see what a wonderful place you could be in instead." Because they choose instead to wallow in their own bitterness (which includes their murdering ways), they are effectively in a Hell of their own making and choice.
Traitors, and the destruction of Narnia thereby.
According to Jadis, if a traitor is not punished (And by implication, if she specifically does not ritually execute them on the stone table) then Narnia will perish in fire and water.
Let us assume that Magician's Nephew takes place in the 1890s. This means that 40-50 years of our time have passed between it and LWW. In the slightly less than one year in our time between LWW and Caspian, 1000 years pass in Narnia. Logically extrapolating this, and assuming the inconsistencies of Narnia Time iron out to an average that's, give or take, 40,000-50,000 years, how, in all of that time, has not one single traitor to any faction managed to avoid discovery or punishment? Even assuming it to be a tenth of that time, 5,000 years and not one successful treason? Even the comparatively short century of Jadis' reign is stretching that a bit. Not to mention the fact that Mr. Tumnus originally worked as a spy for Jadis before defecting to the children and is therefore a traitor himself, but is never executed (Unless you count being turned to stone, but as this appears to be non lethal, non-ritual and he is bought back this seems unlikely to count). So, logically, shouldn't Narnia have perished by now? And with the witch gone, who kills traitors? Do they just get free reign now?
Maybe it doesn't mean just any traitor, but traitors against Narnia as a whole. Edmund was selling out his siblings, the future kings and queens of Narnia, so in a sense he was selling out Narnia's leadership.
Or maybe the traitor-killing isn't necessary anymore ever since Aslan sacrificed himself and invoked the Deep Magic that broke the Stone Table.
Jadis has the right to all traitors, but I don't think it's ever stated that she has to exercise it. The peril to Narnia is presumably only if she does choose to exercise it and is nonetheless denied.
The above statement is correct — Aslan saves Edmund getting Jadis to "renounce her claim on your brother's blood." Plus, remember that Narnia Timedoesn't work as "X years on Earth=Y years in Narnia." In Prince Caspian, 1 year on Earth=1000 years in Narnia; in The Silver Chair, 1 year on Earth=70 years in Narnia.
In Dawn Treader, the difference is even smaller: one Earth year was equal to two Narnian years. And all of this presupposes that, even if there were no magical time-dilation and contraction effects, a Narnian year consists of 365 24-hour days. That could well be a false assumption, rendering any attempt at calculations and formulas (even more) useless.
So, what was in that house at the end of the street that the kids in "The Magician's Nephew" wanted to explore?
Granted, they found a MUCH cooler place to explore in the end, but I kind of want to know if they were right about criminals hiding out there or if it was just them being kids and imagining exotic explanations for mundane but slightly unusual occurrences.
The Deplorable Word
So, ever since I was little I've wondered about this... In The Magician's Nephew, according to what Jadis tells the kids, someone in her world "discovered" the Deplorable Word way back when, and everyone in Charn seemed to know what it would do, hence people were forbidden to seek knowledge of it. Yet obviously no one had ever spoken the word aloud before Jadis did, because, uh... the world would have been destroyed. So how did anyone know what the Deplorable Word would do, or even figure it out to begin with, if no one had ever tried it out?
The entire quote by Jadis is: "It had long been known to the great kings of our race that there was a word which, if spoken with the proper ceremonies, would destroy all living things except the one who spoke it." So merely saying the Word wasn't enough. Some magic was involved to make sure it worked. In Jadis's society, only kings and queens knew magic so the pool of possible users of the Word was slim.
For the more specific question of "how do you know what it does without using it", that basically boils down to how magic works in that universe, and we really don't know. But it seems entirely possible that could be a way of telling what a spell does without casting it, just as we can know enough underlying science/engineering to predict how some technology will perform before it's built or used.
The Island Where Dreams Come True
Why hadn't anyone tried to exploit the Island's true properties. Surely there are those who would desire to bring to life their own worst Nightmares and gather them into one place(the dreamer's ship) and show their worst fears off. That is what I would do with the Island if it existed......
Even setting aside how dangerous that would be, to fairly minimal benefit (would many people really want to risk being tormented by their worst nightmares just to "show them off"?), there's no indication that anyone other than the Voyagers and Rhoop knows where the place is.
how could growing up preclude them from re entering Narnia if they already grew up?
They stayed in Narnia for 15 years remember. Even Lucy should have the life experience of someone pushing 30 by the time she supposedly gets too grown up to go back
For this and many other reasons, I think it's reasonable to assume (even if it's never explicitly stated) that that there was some degree of reverting to childhood after the Pevensies returned from Narnia. It's clearly not as dramatic as the reverse process of forgetting England that happened (although over a much longer timescale) while they were there, since they still remember Narnia pretty well, but mentally speaking they still aren't 30 year-olds trapped in children's bodies thereafter, and certainly don't act like it.
Where were the Archenlanders during the Narnian Winter?
So let me see if I have the timeline right. Aslan creates Narnia (both the nation and the universe in which it exists) and sets Frank and Helen up as King and Queen. Their eldest son succeeds them as King of Narnia, and their second son colonizes Archenland and becomes King there. (The Magician's Nephew) In the centuries after, the Narnian royal line dies out and all humans disappear from Narnia, some interbreeding with nymphs and dryads and such until they're unrecognizable as part-human. The talking animals and other magical creatures presumably self-govern until they're conquered by Jadis. (The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe) HOWEVER, the royal line of Archenland does NOT die out, continuing in a direct line of succession from King Frank, and humanity flourishes there (possibly bolstered by some random Earthicans who stumbled upon portals, like the Calormenes and Telmarines). (A Horse and His Boy) And when the White Witch Jadis shows up and conquers their closest allied nation-state, with whom they have a thousand-year shared history of brotherhood and friendship and to whose throne their royal family has a very strong claim, the Archenlanders... sit on their thumbs for a century hoping that their magical lion-god will someday get around to sorting out the evil Magocracy that's sitting on their doorstep? Do I have that about right?
We don't know what the Archenlanders' reactions were. They may have tried to attack the Witch, only for her army to defeat theirs.
Basically, if Uncle Andrew didn't ever go to the wood between the worlds how could he know that the green ones bring you back?
He didn't. That was basically the point of the sequence where Diggory and Polly try to get into other worlds with the wrong ring. The narrator basically confirms that Uncle Andrew 'was working with things he did not understand' and only really had a vague grasp on the theory of the process. The children were probably quite lucky the green rings worked at all.
Why didn't the king move the dwarves so far appart that they could never reach each other right behind over a chasm so that the shock of the sheer notion of a deep chasm in a stable shocks them to reality(no hole in a stable is that deep)?
It's by no means impossible that they would have rationalised that as well - "felt like I was falling, must have been dreaming" - people sufficiently committed to a delusion can probably come up with an explanation (even a clearly inadequate one) for anything. Perhaps more importantly, no one there is really motivated to go to great lengths to enlighten the dwarfs: they're not a very likeable bunch, and Aslan shows up shortly afterwards to say there's no point bothering.
Who stands for the Jews in Narnia?
While the series itself is about Christianity, it seems odd to me for Christianity to ever exist without the context provided by Judaism. I once thought the talking animals (original inhabitants of Narnia and by extension Aslan's original followers) may have been intended to represent them, but The Magician's Nephew reveals that this isn't actually the case. Was there perhaps ever a civilization who directly followed The Emperor from Across the Sea?