Into the woods to find the Faun!

I just had to do that once, so I figured I’d get it out of the way right off the bat xD  Moving on!

I notice that there’s quite a bit of dialogue in this book, and this chapter is particularly dialogue-heavy.  It makes sense, considering that this is the first time all four of them have been together for the entire chapter, and half of them are in Narnia for the first time.  Lewis uses dialogue pretty effectively to make the discovery of the wood stand out from the earlier incidents with Edmund and Lucy.  Although it seems like nothing much is going on in this chapter (they don’t appear to run into anyone), there is a good deal of character interaction/development among the four children, not to mention a fair amount of foreshadowing.

Let’s start with Peter and move down the ranks.

First of all, I love how the moment he realizes that they’re actually in Narnia, the first thing Peter does is apologize to Lucy for not believing her in the first place.  He immediately takes charge, not physically leading them all the time, but certainly listening to everyone else’s ideas and taking them into account – or rather, listening to the girls and trying his best not to throttle Edmund for being a “poisonous little beast”.  He was already getting on Peter’s nerves back when the existence of Narnia still seemed dubious (at best), and once he realizes that Edmund was both a horrible human being and a liar, he doesn’t simmer down enough to actually listen to him until the very end of the chapter.

As for Susan, I might have been a bit unfair to her in the first chapter when I said she didn’t have much personality.  In the past two chapters, she’s proven herself to be quite sensible, although considering that she couldn’t be older than 11, I’m still not sure if I buy that.  Of the four children (or even out of all the protagonist children in all the books), she’s easily the least like a real child, and she’s the only one that doesn’t really get any “on-screen” development (at least not in this book).  Anyhow, she keeps the peace between Peter and Edmund, mainly by focusing everyone on the task at hand.  She is the one who proposes wearing coats from the wardrobe:

“I am sure nobody would mind,” said Susan; “it isn’t as if we wanted to take them out of the house; we shan’t take them even out of the wardrobe.”

On the other hand, she’s also the first to suggest going back when they realize that Narnia might actually be a dangerous place for them.

And then there’s Edmund.  At the beginning of the chapter, he’s trying to distract everyone and get them out of the wardrobe once it becomes evident to him that the doorway is open, so to speak.  He’s clearly nervous about running into the Witch again, considering that he doesn’t say a word after that until he fears that they’ll miss the lamp-post (the only landmark he knows), but of course he says this out loud.

The moment the words were out of his mouth he realized that he had given himself away.  Everyone stopped; everyone stared at him.  Peter whistled.

“So you really were here,” he said, “that time Lu said she’d met you in here – and you made out she was telling lies.”

Needless to say, this doesn’t improve Edmund’s mood.  He sulks, complains, and tries to get them to leave Tumnus’s cave as soon as they get there, but of course no one listens to him.

Lucy is quick to accept Peter’s apology, and she’s imaginative, but proves herself a reliable guide when Peter makes her the leader of the expedition.   As soon as Lucy realizes that Tumnus was arrested by the Witch’s Secret Police for helping her, she’s the one who insists that they have to stay and see if they can rescue him.  Then she spots a Robin and gets the idea that it might be able to understand them, so she asks it where Tumnus is, and they end up following it away from the cave.

As for the foreshadowing, the appearance of the Robin itself (the first bird we’ve seen in Narnia) hints at the coming of spring.  There’s also a straight up reference to “Jove” (Jupiter), which if you’ll recall, is the ruling planet for this book (not to mention the “royal” planet, since Jupiter is the head of the Roman pantheon).  Even their coats are described “like royal robes”.

But after they’re been following the Robin for a while, Edmund gets Peter to listen to him (notably out of earshot of the girls).

“We’re following a guide we know nothing about.  How do we know which side that bird is on?  Why shouldn’t it be leading us into a trap?”

“That’s a nasty idea.  Still – a robin, you know.  They’re good birds in all the stories I’ve ever read.  I’m sure a robin wouldn’t be on the wrong side.”

“If it comes to that, which is the right side?  How do we know that the fauns are in the right and the Queen (yes, I know we’ve been told she’s a witch) is in the wrong?  We don’t really know anything about either.”

“The Faun saved Lucy.”

“He said he did. But how do we know?  And there’s another thing too.  Has anyone the least idea of the way home from here?”

“Great Scott!” said Peter.  “I hadn’t thought of that.”

Yeah, sorry Edmund.  Even if she weren’t a witch, I wouldn’t be too quick to join the side with a secret police force.  But at any rate, they’re officially lost by the end of the chapter, so there’s no chance of getting back to the wardrobe in the foreseeable future.

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