Shasta manages to survive the battle (mostly by playing dead). That’s really all he accomplishes in the battle, which makes perfect sense considering that he’s probably never held a sword in his life. I’d ask what Corin was thinking if it weren’t so obvious that he’s not thinking.
Lucy and Edmund and Peridan were busy with their plans for the battle and though Lucy once said, “But where is his goosecap Highness?” Edmund only replied, “Not in front, and that’s good news enough. Leave well alone.”
Corin and Shasta catch up on one another’s adventures, and Corin teaches Shasta to use the reins. When he asks about Queen Susan, Corin says that she stayed at Cair Paravel.
“Queen Susan is more like an ordinary grown-up lady. She doesn’t ride to the wars, though she is an excellent archer.”
This was conveniently forgotten in the latest movie adaptations. Still, I imagine this was another one of those things Lewis probably got letters about.
“They smell battle,” said Corin, pointing at the birds. “They know we’re preparing a feed for them.”
Shasta didn’t like this at all.
Lewis is skilled at describing exactly two perspectives of a fight: Someone lost in the sea of battle, and the general history-book overview. He sticks to these for the Battle of Anvard, to great effect.
And now a gallop. The ground between the two armies grew less every moment. Faster, faster. All swords out now, all shields up to the nose, all prayers said, all teeth clenched. Shasta was dreadfully frightened. But it suddenly came into his head, “If you funk this, you’ll funk every battle all your life. Now or never.”
After we’ve experienced Shasta’s fear and confusion, we remove to a bird’s-eye view back with the Hermit, who uses his pool to see what’s going on in the wide world. He gives a play-by-play of the battle as the Narnians join the fray, which conveys the information efficiently enough, although it’s probably the one scene that really makes me wish someone would make a movie out of it already (EDMUND VS. RABADASH). Methinks Lewis learned from his mistakes in Prince Caspian (read: he now knows he can’t write a sword duel blow-for-blow).
We return to Shasta as the battle is wrapping up, and discover Rabadash hanging by the back of his mail-shirt on a hook on the wall after the aforementioned duel with Edmund.
“Let me down, Edmund,” howled Rabadash. “Let me down and fight me like a man; or if you are too great a coward to do that, kill me at once.”
“Certainly,” began King Edmund, but King Lune interrupted.
“By your Majesty’s good leave,” said King Lune to Edmund. “Not so.” Then turning to Rabadash he said, “Your royal Highness, if you had given that challenge a week ago, I’ll answer for it there was no one in King Edmund’s dominion, from the High King down to the smallest Talking Mouse, who would have refused it. But by attacking our castle of Anvard in time of peace without defiance sent, you have proved yourself no knight, but a traitor, and one rather to be whipped by the hangman than to be suffered to cross blades with any person of honor.”
Then Lune gives Shasta a big bear hug, and Shasta is once again thoroughly confused.
Until next time…