Chapter 9: In the Witch's House
Lewis shifts the story's point of view to Edmund. Edmund left the Beavers' house after the children had already devised the plan to meet Aslan at the Stone Table. During Edmund's long walk through the ice and the snow, he works hard to convince himself that the Witch is on the right side and everyone else is wrong. He persuades himself by focusing on Turkish Delight. Edmund also thinks about the modern changes he will make in Narnia after he becomes a prince. When he reaches the White Witch's castle he finds a courtyard filled with stone statues. The first one he sees is a lion, which he believes to be Aslan. He assumes that the Witch has already triumphed over Aslan and turned him to stone. Edmund enters the castle and encounters a wolf named Maugrim, the chief of the Witch's Secret Police. The wolf fetches the Witch and Edmund tells her everything he heard at the Beavers' house. The Witch is shaken by the news that Aslan is in Narnia. The Witch summons her servant, a dwarf, and commands him to prepare a sledge (a strong and heavy sled).
Chapter 10: The Spell Begins to Break
Susan, Peter, Lucy, and the Beavers quickly leave the house and travel to the Stone Table. It is a long walk over rough terrain, and the children are exhausted. Mr. Beaver leads them to a dry, earthy cave where they can rest for a few hours. They awaken to the sound of bells and assume that they are hearing the Witch in her sledge. Mr. Beaver darts up to the surface to see which way she is headed. A moment later, he calls down to them to come out, because it is not the Witch after all.
When the children exit the cave, they find that it is Father Christmas, or Santa Claus. Santa Claus explains that Christmas has finally arrived and that the Witch's power is weakening. He gives everyone a gift. Santa Claus gives Mrs. Beaver a new sewing machine and tells Mr. Beaver that his dam has been mended. Santa Claus then gives gifts to the children, but they are tools, not toys. Peter receives a sword and a red shield with a gold lion emblazoned on it to defend himself in battle. Santa Claus gives Susan a bow and arrow "to be used in time of greatest need," as he does not intend her to fight in battles. He also presents her with a horn that she can blow that will help save her from danger. Santa Claus offers Lucy a dagger that is also to be used in time of greatest need. When Lucy protests that she is brave enough to fight in battle, Santa Claus gravely tells her, "Battles are ugly when women fight." He also gives Lucy a bottle of magic cordial and explains that a few drops of will heal any injury or ailment. Then Santa Claus gives them all marvelous food and tea and dashes off to bring Christmas to more people, animals, and creatures.
Edmund's long argument with himself about whether the Witch is really good and kind is a sign that he is becoming more treacherous and deceitful. Before, he made his morally wrong decisions half-consciously and did not think through them carefully. Previously Edmund had a nagging doubt that the Witch was not on the right side, but now he actively convinces himself to believe that she is on the right side. Edmund embraces the Witch's evil and cruelty and cannot turn back. Edmund still dreams about the Turkish Delight, but now he also thinks about getting even with Peter, keeping his sisters down, and making laws against beavers and dams and fauns and anyone else he senses to be on opposing side. Edmund's corruption has gone far beyond simple greed and gluttony. Although Turkish Delight started the process, Edmund's corruption continues due to his own free will.
Lewis does not make overwhelm us with symbolism, but he makes some clear connections between Aslan and Christ. In the story, the Aslan character arrives simultaneously with the advent of Christmas, which is the birth of Christ. The figure of Santa Claus is deeply established in legends and stories in our world, providing a strong link between the traditions in the fantasy world of Narnia and our world. Lewis, however, never makes the Narnian world a shadow of our own. Instead, Lewis only includes the figure of Father Christmas to bring an immediate, positive response from children reading this story. Although the figure of Father Christmas is the same between the worlds, they each have different roles. On Earth, Father Christmas is part of a joyous tradition and provides fun diversions like gifts. In Narnia, where there is danger and high stakes, his tone is more serious, and his presents are "tools, not toys."
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