Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mercy and Cruelty in Narnia

An excerpt from my book The Heart of Narnia ...

Filled with maniacal passion, the White Witch sharpens her stone knife in preparation for the killing of the great Lion. She revels in her victory. The fool, Aslan, has decided to die in the place of the traitorous Edmund. A crowd of wolves, ogres, wraiths, and other foul creatures surround the Witch, anticipating the cruelty to come. The Witch does not disappoint.

Aslan, who offers no resistance, is rolled onto his side, his paws tied and his mouth muzzled. As he is being dragged to the Stone Table, the Witch orders a further humiliation: The glorious mane of the beast is shaved. Hideous creatures hit, kick, and spit at the Lion. At last, Aslan, creator of Narnia and son of the Emperor-beyond-the-Sea, is tied to the sacrificial table.

The Witch cannot resist one last torture, albeit a psychological one, prior to the sacrifice. She leans over Aslan and whispers that after she has killed him, she will kill Edmund anyway and reign over Narnia forever. Then her knife begins its work.

In Narnian terms, the White Witch is the epitome of cruelty. She cares for only herself and the power to rule. With Aslan out of the way, she is eager to defeat Peter’s army, the only thing (or so she thinks) that stands in the way of her victory.

Just as she ruled in Charn as the Empress Jadis many years ago, so she desires to rule Narnia now. Ironically, in The Magician’s Nephew, when Jadis is in a weakened state, she cries out for assistance, appealing for mercy. She may not follow the Golden Rule, but when the situation suits her, she is certainly willing to appeal to an ethical standard.

Copyright © 2008 by Robert Velarde


Karla said...

Hi, I haven't dropped by in a while. I am trying to recall the title of the C.S. Lewis book you once told me was what you considered his best. It was a literary criticism book. Could you remind me of that title? Thank you.

Robert Velarde said...

Let's see, that would have to be An Experiment in Criticism. The ideas are primarily about literature, but are applicable to art, music, etc. It's one of my favorites.

Karla said...

Thanks. I think he wrote that early on in his literary career. I recently read Jack's Life written by his step-son.