"She is a perfectly terrible person," said Lucy. "She calls herself the Queen of Narnia thought she has no right to be queen at all, and all the Fauns and Dryands and Naiads and Dwarfs and Animals—at least all the good ones—simply hate her. And she can turn people into stone and do all kinds of horrible things. And she has made a magic so that it is always winter in Narnia—always winter, but it never gets to Christmas. And she drives about on a sledge, drawn by reindeer, with her wand in her hand and a crown on her head."
Edmund was already feeling uncomfortable from having eaten too many sweets, and when he heard that the Lady he had made friends with was a dangerous witch he felt even more uncomfortable. But he still wanted to taste that Turkish Delight more than he wanted anything else.
This quotation comes at the end of Chapter 4, during Edmund's first visit to Narnia. Edmund finally finds Lucy after first encountering the Witch and eating Turkish Delight. This passage represents the moment when Edmund chooses the Witch's side, instead of the good side. Throughout the rest of the book, Edmund tries to rationalize his belief in the Witch, he deceives himself and ignores all the stories that portray the Witch as evil. He thinks to himself that the Witch was kind to him, instead of trusting his siblings or Aslan This quotation shows that Edmund has full knowledge of the situation and exercises free will. Edmund does not suspect Lucy of lying to him and accepts what she tells him as the truth. Edmund thinks about his greed and then consciously rejects the idea that the Witch is a dangerous foe. This passage crystallizes the moment that Edmund willfully decides to side with the Witch, and shows that his later excuses are just that—excuses.
And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken [his name] everyone felt quite different.... At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.
This passage occurs in Chapter 7, and describes the first time that the children hear the name Aslan. The children's sudden strong reactions demonstrate the mystical power of Aslan. Aslan immediately becomes a mysterious, mystical entity. To Peter, Susan, and Lucy, Aslan feels comfortable and powerful, whereas Edmund grows uneasy at the mention of Aslan. The children have never actually met Aslan, yet they have powerful reactions, contributing to a theme of god-like mystique surrounding Aslan. The differing reactions of the children illustrate the idea of faith. The believers—those with faith—revere Aslan right away, while the skeptic, Edmund, distrusts him. This passage also reinforces the idea that faith is intensely personal. For example, the childrens' unique reactions to Aslan reflect their individual personalities. Edmund reacts with horror because Edmund sides with the White Witch, an enemy of Aslan. Peter feels brave and adventurous after he hears Aslan's name because Peter is a courageous person. Susan has a sweet and gentle nature, and she reacts to Aslan's name as if it is a beautiful, sensual pleasure. Lucy—kind, honest and gay—feels the deep excitement and joy that only a child can understand. It is as if she just woke up on the first day of summer vacation, or Christmas morning, the two greatest pleasures for a child. The childrens' reactions also express the effect that faith in God, or Aslan, will have on each of them throughout the story.
"Aslan?" said Mr. Beaver. "Why, don't you know? He's the King. He's the Lord of the whole wood, but not often here, you understand. Never in my time or my father's time. But the word has reached us that he has come back. He is in Narnia at this moment. He'll settle the White Queen all right. It is he, not you, that will save Mr. Tumnus."
"Is—is he a man?" asked Lucy.
"Aslan a man!" Mr. Beaver said sternly. "Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Don't you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion—the Lion, the great Lion."
"Ooh!" said Susan, "I'd thought he was a man. Is he—quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."
"That you will, dearie, and no mistake," said Mrs. Beaver; "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly."
This quotation comes near the beginning of Chapter 8 and it is our first real introduction to Aslan. According to the passage, Aslan is a type of god-like figure because of his longevity, immense power, and benevolence. Lewis deliberately keeps the parallel vague, contributing to Aslan's mystique. Lewis's vagueness allows us to form an opinion of Aslan before we see him as a Christian symbol. Lewis purposely wants to provide a different perspective to what many people during his time perceive as an aging faith. Aslan's actions and motivations are similar to those of Christ. Lewis wants us to realize that there is no harm in believing in Aslan, just as there is no harm in following Christ. The physical form of the lion does not matter. Lewis uses the form of the lion because of a child's vision of the lion as scary and ferocious. By making Aslan a gentle, courageous lion, Lewis alters the child's stereotype of a lion. Simlarly, Lewis seeks to alter our stereotypes about Jesus Christ and can understand Him on a more tangible level. Mrs. Beaver's comment demonstrates that while we should not be afraid of Aslan, we should still revere and respect him. Jesus, explains Lewis, is someone to awe, but also someone to trust.
"Have you forgotten the Deep Magic?" asked the Witch.
"Let us say I have forgotten it," answered Aslan gravely. "Tell us of this Deep Magic."
"Tell you?" said the Witch, her voice growing suddenly shriller. "Tell you what is written on that very Table of Stone which stands beside us? Tell you what is written in letters deep as a spear is long on the fire-stones on the Secret Hill? Tell you what is engraved on the scepter of the Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea? You at least know the Magic which the Emperor put into Narnia at the very beginning. You know that every traitor belongs to me as my lawful prey and that for every treachery I have a right to kill.... And so that human creature is mine. His life is forfeit to me. His blood is my property... unless I have blood as the Law says all Narnia will be overturned and perish in fire and water."
"It is very true," said Aslan, "I do not deny it."
This quotation appears near the end of Chapter 13. The passage demonstrates that the gods of Narnia do not forgive sins, and every traitor's life is forfeit the Witch. In Narnia, there is no question of whether people believe or do not believe in this rule. They do not question the existence of a higher being or a belief in a rule that requires a life to be forfeit. Lewis illustrates the rigidity and immutability of the laws of the Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. The Emperor resembles the God described in the Old Testament. Lewis suggests that it is through Aslan's, or Jesus's, death that God becomes merciful.
At that moment they heard from behind them a loud noise—a great cracking, deafening noise as if a giant had broken a giant's plate.... The Stone Table was broken into two pieces by a great crack that ran down it from end to end; and there was no Aslan.
"Who's done it?" cried Susan. "What does it mean? Is it more magic?"
"Yes!" said a great voice from behind their backs. "It is more magic." They looked round. There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.
"Oh, Aslan!" cried both the children, staring up at him, almost as much frightened as they were glad....
"But what does it all mean?" asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer.
"It means," said Aslan, "that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward."
This scene, which occurs in Chapter 15, is possibly the most important in the book. Aslan's resurrection is the backbone both of the literal plot of the novel and the Christian allegory. The breaking of the Stone Table signifies the shattering of old, severe traditions. A new age dawns as literally the sun rises in the book. Lewis consistently refers to spiritual and mystical experiences as magic. Using the idea of magic, Lewis couches the story of Christ in terms that children can easily grasp, and he makes the story more vibrant and accessible.
Although the old magic, or traditional religion, of Narnia is Deep Magic, deeper still is the magic that Aslan uses when he sacrifices himself. Aslan does not defy the Emperor's magic. Instead, Aslan follows the tradition and submits himself to the Witch. Aslan's resurrection does not occur because he helps redeem Edmund or Narnia, but because he obeys the Emperor's rules. Aslan follows the old tradition, and is therefore able to then reform the traditions and save Narnia.
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