Don’t let that title fool you. They get off the island without any incident whatsoever on the last page or so. This chapter is really about the children convincing Trumpkin that they are who they say they are, and moreover will be of value to his cause.
“Do get on and say whatever you’re going to say,” said Edmund.
“Well, then – no offense,” said Trumpkin. “But, you know, the King and Trufflehunter and Doctor Cornelius were expecting – well, if you see what I mean, help. To put it in another way, I think they’d been imagining you as great warriors. As it is – we’re awfully fond of children and all that, but just at the moment, in the middle of a war – but I’m sure you understand.”
“You mean you think we’re no good,” said Edmund, getting red in the face.
“Now pray don’t be offended,” interrupted the Dwarf. “I assure you, my dear little friends – “
“Little from you is really a bit too much,” said Edmund
They each end up proving themselves to Trumpkin in their own fashion. Peter is the first to come up with a plan, and generally acts in a High Kingly manner, coordinating challenges by which the others can show their worth; Edmund volunteers to challenge the Dwarf to a sword duel (but making it sound like a simple sparring match); Susan is far less eager to challenge him to an archery contest; and finally (though not by Peter’s design), Lucy heals a wound Trumpkin received in the “sparring match” using her cordial. Needless to say, he concedes defeat.
“Well, I’ve made as big a fool of myself as ever a Dwarf did. No offense, I hope? My humble duty to your Majesties all – humble duty. And thanks for my life, my cure, my breakfast – and my lesson.”
Susan acts kind of like she was dropped out of a Jane Austen novel – apologizing for beating Trumpkin and all. She does seem to be more like Queen Susan the Gentle now – all four of them are acting more like Kings and Queens than they were at the beginning (the Narnian air is getting to them). Edmund doesn’t seem to be much more “Just”, though, so that can’t be the only thing at work. Honestly, I think Lewis just didn’t know what to do with her in this book (aside from making her uncomfortable). She’s the most “girly” of the four, so while he can play up Lucy’s “Valiant” character (and faith in Aslan) all he wants, I think he had trouble seeing anything remotely masculine in Susan, so he just turned her into Archer Girl, with the caveat that she never actually kills anything because she’s too kindhearted. Archery is the only truly helpful thing she’s done so far, but I sincerely hope that Lewis will ultimately explain what’s going on with her (since I can’t quite recall if he actually gets into her character in this book or I’m just thinking of the movie).
On a lighter note:
“Look here,” said Edmund, “need we go by the same way that Our Dear Little Friend came?”
“No more of that, your Majesty, if you love me,” said the Dwarf.
“Very well,” said Edmund. “May I say our D.L.F?”
[…] (And after that they often called him the D.L.F. till they’d almost forgotten what it meant.)
Because we need someone to constantly make fun of, and Edmund isn’t a fool anymore!
Until next time…