Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone: Part 2 of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe- Meeting the White Witch

Friday, 16 July 2010

Part 2 of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe- Meeting the White Witch

Having looked at the different ways characters reacted to meeting Aslan in 'The Magician's Nephew', I thought it would be interesting to study also how characters react to The White Witch. The events I describe take place up to the end of Chapter 13.

We have already seen a variety of reactions within 'The Magician's Nephew'. I won't go into great detail here (I don't want to spoil it for anyone who's not read that story'. Suffice to say that some saw great wonder and beauty in her, whilst others saw danger and deception. But how do the characters of 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe' react? For this, I will look at 5 different groups of reactions.

1. Edmund
When Edmund first meets the witch he has no idea who she is. He is impressed by her sledge, but at the same time worried about the way he looks at her. She reacts violently towards him at first, but he is soon too preoccupied with food, drink and promises to remember this. She tempts him and wins. Peter later says that the proceeding betrayal is partly his own fault because he had been so mean to Edmund. This may be partly the case, as Edmund has doubts when he returns to Narnia once more with his siblings. These doubts are pushed aside by anger towards his brother, often unjustified by blown up by ill-feelings. This ill-feeling is multiplied and projected onto his other siblings because of their rejection of the Queen whom he has convinced himself will give him power. But, all too soon, the true nature of the Witch is shown as he becomes useless once more. She breaks her promises and turns against her former prince in one move. Now she is something to be feared, but still he feels that he must do her will. It is only now that Edmund sees what he has lost by making his alliance.

2. Mr Tumlus
We are not present at the moment when Mr Tumlus meets the White Witch, but we do know a lot about his reaction to her. He promises to follow her and to give up any humans that come his way to her. Unlike Edmund, however, this does not seem to be so that he can gain rewards. In fact, if we are to believe what he tells Lucy, then the opposite is true. His actions are motivated by fear, fear that he will be killed, or worse, if he does not do what is ordered of him. It is easy because he has never met a human. Maybe he has heard tales of evil humans, as the beavers claim that there are both good and bad kinds, and is prejudiced against them (we shall never know). But when he sees the kindness in Lucy then he manages to break the Witch's grip over him, even though it means that she will destroy him.

3. Peter, Susan and Lucy
This meeting is passed over very quickly, but it is quite important. All three siblings have heard tales of the evil witch. We are told that they feel shudders running down their backs at the sight of her. And yet they do not run or hide. Why is this? Surely because they have Aslan with them.

4. The rescue party sent to Edmund
They rush in and seize Edmund, knocking the dagger out of The Witch's hand in the process. They have no fear of her! Surely this is true belief in the protective nature of Aslan. They have been sent to rescue Edmund and so they will complete that mission, there is no danger for them! What is interesting here is that just before this meeting the White Witch has been boasting about being able to turn Aslan's army to stone, and yet she hides from a simple rescue party. 

5. Aslan
Of course, this is not the first time Aslan has been The White Witch. When they met before she cowered and ran away. This time she is more confident- the world has been under her control! And yet Aslan also remains confident and sure. He allows her to come amongst his people (all be it unarmed). He talks with her in private. He makes deals with her which he believes she will keep, despite prior evidence. And he is ultimately in control! For he can send her running away with a roar dare she question him!
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