Skip over navigation

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

C. S. Lewis

Chapter 15: Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time

Chapter 14: The Triumph of the Witch

Chapters 16–17

Summary

Immediately following Aslan murder, the Witch's forces leave to prepare for battle. Aslan's dead body remains on the Stone Table. Susan and Lucy come out from their hiding spot and cry over his body. Shamed and humiliated, the girls are unable to face Aslan. Susan and Lucy manage to remove the muzzle from Aslan, but they are unable to untie the cords around his body. Susan and Lucy spend the rest of the night in a miserable daze, and cry until they cannot cry any longer.

"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."

Eventually Susan and Lucy return to Aslan's body and see mice scampering over him. Susan raises a hand to scare them away when Lucy notices that they are actually nibbling at the cords and trying to untie him. The mice leave as dawn arrives, and Susan and Lucy walk around aimlessly as the sky brightens. The girls look at Cair Paravel when the first ray of gold breaks out over the horizon. At that moment, Susan and Lucy hear a deafening crack. They whirl around and see that the Stone Table has broken in half. Aslan has disappeared. Lucy asks if this is more magic, and a voice behind her answers that it is, indeed, more magic. Susan and Lucy whirl around again and see Aslan, alive. Susan and Lucy rush to Aslan, and Susan asks him if Aslan is a ghost. Aslan alleviates their fears with one warm breath. To answer their question, Aslan explains that the Witch was right, that the Deep Magic had decreed that all traitors' lives are forfeited to the Witch. If the Witch had looked back before the dawn of time, she would have learned that when a willing, innocent victim is killed by a traitor, the Stone Table will crack and death will be reversed. Elated by this revelation, Aslan leads Susan and Lucy on a wild romp through Narnia.

Once Aslan, Susan, and Lucy are finished playing, the stoic Aslan announces that he has lots of work to do. Aslan tells the girls to ride on his back. Susan and Lucy have a wonderful ride through Narnia, and marvel at the scenery and how quickly Aslan travels. Eventually their journey brings them to the Witch's house. Aslan leaps over the gates in one tremendous bound and enters the courtyard with the silent stone statues.

Analysis

Lewis does not describe the fate of the mice that gnaw away at Aslan's cords, but he writes it in future books. Most of the animals in Narnia speak English. The mice, however, never speak. In all of the books following The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in the Chronicles of Narnia, mice have the gift of speech. Aslan explains that the mice can speak because of kindness they showed when they freed him. Aslan, like God, will reward all good deeds, even deeds by the poorest and lowliest creatures. The mice are exalted through this act of kindness and transfigured by their generosity and good will.

Aslan's resurrection clearly parallels the resurrection of Christ. Moreover, the Stone Table on which he is sacrificed evokes the stone tablets that Moses brought down from Mount Sinai—and Lewis acknowledged that he had Moses's tablets in mind when he described the Stone Table. The strange symbols and runes carved into this unimaginably ancient artifact seem to be relics of an old Narnian religion, the religion the Witch invokes when she calls upon the Deep Magic. Indeed, the Witch says that the Deep magic is carved into the Stone Table itself. When the Stone Table breaks, the event signifies the end of an era. Narnia undergoes a transition from an old, unforgiving faith to a new, vibrant, and compassionate one. The same thing can be said to have happened when Christ rose from the dead: God's old covenant with man was replaced with a new covenant. Aslan's suffering and death both renews and transforms the Deep Magic that governs the universe of Narnia.

Although Lewis clearly intended Aslan's story to suggest Christ's Passion (the Passion is the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ), the two stories are not exactly parallel. Lewis repeatedly explained to his readers that he did not simply transplant the Gospel story into a new setting. Instead, he imagined what the life of a redeemer might be like if another world needed redemption. The most important difference between the stories is that Christ died to redeem all humankind, while Aslan dies to save one life. However, even this difference between Aslan's and Christ's stories reinforces the overall Christian message. In God's eyes, one human life is as significant as all human lives. The story of Aslan thus stands on its own to a certain extent, both reflecting and restating Christian themes.

There are other differences between the two stories. Aslan rises the morning after he is killed, whereas Christ lay in the tomb for three days, a highly symbolic number in Christianity. Aslan immediately whirls into action the moment after he rises, speaks to Susan and Lucy, and then storms the Witch's castle. Christ did not reveal himself to his disciples for a long time. In Narnia, once Aslan rises from the dead, the world returns to normal. The Christian legend explains that human beings must wait to go to heaven to experience such perfection. Jesus' resurrection was not immediately followed by a new social order and the abolishment of evil. Although Lewis refers to the Christian story, he adapts it to fit the fantasy world of Narnia. Thus, Lewis creates a unique variation on an ancient tale and preserves the individuality of the magic kingdom of Narnia.

More Help

Previous Next
Lack of Characters

by callum715, September 02, 2012

In the section with a more in-depth analysis of the more major characters, it doesn't contain any in-depth analyses of the other Pevensie children, which are arguably major characters.

0 Comments

17 out of 22 people found this helpful

Correction for Chapter 15~

by WeyHey, May 12, 2013

Um, just saying, in chapter 15 it says here that Lucy said: "Is this more magic?", when it was actually Susan who said that in the book.
:3

0 Comments

4 out of 6 people found this helpful

Correction for Chapter 15~

by WeyHey, May 12, 2013

Um, just saying, in chapter 15 it says here that Lucy said: "Is this more magic?", when it was actually Susan who said that in the book.
:3

0 Comments

2 out of 8 people found this helpful

Follow Us