In chapter three Lucy returns from Narnia, is disappointed when the Wardrobe yields no magic, Edmund takes his first steps in the snow, and we meet one of the key figures for the rest of the book.
Without further ado, on we go; into the land of Narnia.
The title of this chapter is ‘Edmund And The Wardrobe’. This serves to reassure us that others will find Narnia as we read the next few pages whilst Lucy cries and the wardrobe is found, by the others, to be entirely ordinary.
What a dreadful thing! Imagine experiencing something so magical so clearly and then when you tell someone they half believe you, but when they investigate they find no evidence of it. No woods. No snow. No fawn. For standing for what truth she believed in we must commend Lucy; especially after the confusion of the strange ratio of the elapsing of time, and for it to be her siblings that she stood up to also. What a dreadful thing. So dreadful that the poor girl cries and remains downcast for the following sunny, bright days.
Thankfully, her curiosity and belief remain mostly intact, so she takes the next opportunity when she is free from people to discover whether it all really was real. Edmund is also presented with an opportunity. An opportunity to tease Lucy. Throughout this chapter we ae shown glimpses of, and great hints at, Edmund’s cruel and self-serving nature – and to what he may do in the future.
Now, here in this passage, we are given for the first time a viewpoint separate from Lucy’s. We follow Edmund on his travels into Narnia, and he is a rather different character to her. While she found beauty, wonder, and magic in the new and mysterious land around her, he finds loneliness, fear, and a conscience. He begins to notice his unkindness and apologises aloud, but when he receives no answer this is quickly replaced by a stereotypical young boy’s line of:
“Just like a girl”.
Some may say this is CS Lewis’ sexism clearly presented, but I would simply call it character. It adds another depth of flaw to Edmund.
Then we hear bells ringing, and some reindeer pulling a sledge draw into view. Before now I considered these reindeer to be decent sized, but having seen Shetland Ponies (thanks to my fiancée’s love of horses) I now realise how dinky these must have been. The description surrounding this sledge, the dwarf, and the Witch shows to me that Edmund is impressed by material things rather than the nature around him. The pompous show put on by the Witch and her small entourage impresses him so much that he wishes to impress her also. This placement of description is an example of CS Lewis’ skilled writing as he executes a switch of point of view while also providing us with a show of Edmund’s character.
Finally, I wish for us to consider what the Witch represents. Satan. The Devil. That is quite clear in these books, and even here – just in this chapter and the next – it shows. The material presentation. The claiming of royal office. The preying upon impressed minds. The less than subtle threats, the slyness, and then supposed friendship as the metaphorical arm is placed ‘comfortingly’ around Edmund in the next chapter. CS Lewis nails the character so well that you can almost see the horns poking out from either side of her crown.
In the next chapter we have a conversation between the Witch and Edmund, and Lucy returns to find him also in Narnia. I hope that it has been an interesting read. I am fully open to all feedback.