C.S. Lewis himself wrote in the dedication of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to his goddaughter Lucy, “some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”
It may be obvious enough already from my starting point in this post, that the stories that got me through my childhood were those of far off lands, talking animals, courageous kings and fierce queens. The Pevensie children were my best friends. I read other series in my primary school days, Harry Potter, Deltora Quest, all of which continued to make the schooling process that bit more bearable. However none of them had quite the same impact on me as The Chronicles of Narnia. I don’t know about you, but I still get goosebumps when I read Aslan’s name. (Or type it… Goosebumps).
What I love so much about these stories, is how relatable each of the 4 Pevensie children are. Not one of them is perfect, and I could see, and still can, part of myself in every one of them. Let’s start off with Peter shall we? He is the High King after all.
Much like myself, Peter is stubborn. And in some ways that’s a good thing. A strong will and a steady belief is what a good king needs. He’s brave and loyal and has absolutely no trouble getting his point across. But Peter’s stubbornness is also his downfall. He likes things done his way and if anyone questions his methods they’re in for a good argument and more. He won’t back down easily when he sometimes should and he finds it hard to let go and “let Aslan”, so to speak. He tends to feel he has to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, when his brother, sisters and Aslan are there to share the load. I think we’ve all been there, so caught up in all our responsibilities and duties that we fail to see the people around us who are willing to take part in both our pleasures and our pains, or too stubborn to let anyone unburden us. The stubborn, strong willed trait is not only subject to the eldest Pevensie child however, which leads us onto…
Fierce is the what I would say if you asked me to describe Susan in one word. Which is ironic, seeing as her official title is Queen Susan the Gentle. But one can be both fierce and gentle, and Susan pulls it off oh so well. Not to mention she carries the coolest weapon, a bow that never misses, and it’s beautiful too, just like Susan. But while Susan is headstrong and determined, we find that her faith wavers. Towards the ending of The Last Battle, we find out that Susan had become materialistic and believed that their times in Narnia were nothing but games that they played as children. This is possibly one of the saddest things that happens in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles, but there was always hope left for Susan. There’s the hope that she too could repent like Edmund did, she wasn’t on the train, remember? She had been given a second chance. Sadly C.S. Lewis passed away before he could continue Susan’s story, but I like to think that she made her way back to Narnia.
Edmund is probably my favourite of all the Pevensie children for the simple reason of his redemption. Sure, the other kids all changed as they learned and grew, but none of them changed in the way Edmund did. None of them got to experience a true redemption. Edmund’s character goes through a complete change. Unfortunately, I probably see more of myself in the original Edmund, sarcastic, irritable, angry. (I’m not like this all the time, but I’m far from perfect…). Edmund was a bully, especially to Lucy, but once he experienced Aslan’s and his brother and sisters forgiveness, he was kind, compassionate, empathetic and just. His relationship with Lucy blossoms, and he becomes her protector. There are moments even, when Edmund shows better qualities for a High King than Peter. His humility and selflessness make him one of the greatest Kings Narnia has ever seen.
Fearless, adventurous Lucy. True to her valiant title, Lucy embodies everything that is the blind faith and bravery of a child. She stays true to her beliefs when the others think she is making Narnia up, and despite the dangers of Narnia presented to her by Mr. Tumnus, she puts her fears aside to continue visiting her faun friend. If Lucy has a weakness, it might be her inquisitive nature, that’s not saying being inquisitive is a weakness, just that it sometimes get her into trouble. Case and point: Voyage of the Dawn Treader. And while we’re there, her vanity was a weakness for a small part of the series, but like Edmund, she sees her folly and changes her ways.
So, I relate in the way that I have Peter and Susan’s stubborn natures, Edmund’s irritability, and Lucy’s vanity. But I like to think I hold some of their strong qualities too, I like to think that I am adventurous like Lucy, I will be seeking out strange lands later in the year! I hope that I can be as loyal as Peter, standing up for the people he loves and staying true to his beliefs and values, I hope that I am as compassionate as Susan, who loves animals (like me) and can handle a bow (I’m not a bad archer if I don’t say so myself :p), and I hope I can be merciful and forgiving like Edmund in tough situations.One of my favourite lines from The Horse and His Boy, said by Edmund himself is this – “But even a traitor may mend, I have known one that did.”
There are so many other characters that we can learn from in the whole of The Chronicles of Narnia, Mr. Tumnus, Shasta, Aravis, Rilian, even Puzzle the Donkey. And that’s why I will continue to read these stories for as long as can, and Lord willing, if I have children, I will read The Chronicles of Narnia to them too, knowing how Narnia helped me grow in my faith, I would hope that they would help them grow in theirs also. Perhaps if more children grew up with the Pevensies, we’d live in a kinder world.