Uncle Andrew comes face to face with real magic – and is promptly overpowered by it.
But first, there’s a brief yet fascinating interlude in the Wood.
“Help! Help! Mercy!” cried the Witch in a faint voice, staggering after them. “Take me with you. You cannot mean to leave me in this horrible place. It is killing me.”
While I don’t believe Jadis is faking it, I don’t think she’s actually dying, either (I sincerely doubt it’s even possible to die in the Wood). She might feel like she’s dying, though, probably because she’s utterly powerless there. Her magic is rooted in death and destruction, so it can’t possibly work in the Wood. It’s frightening enough for ordinary people to suddenly find themselves powerless, let alone one who used her power to literally become Queen of the World.
One good thing about seeing the two together was that you would never again be afraid of Uncle Andrew, any more than you’d be afraid of a worm after you had met a rattlesnake or afraid of a cow after you had met a mad bull.
Then the Witch shifts her focus to Uncle Andrew (ignoring the children), as he’s a more valuable tool.
“Peace! You talk far too much. Listen to your first task. I see we are in a large city. Procure for me at once a chariot or a flying carpet or a well-trained dragon, or whatever is usual for royal and noble persons in your land. Then bring me to places where I can get clothes and jewels and slaves fit for my rank. Tomorrow I will begin the conquest of the world.”
“I-I-I’ll go and order a cab at once,” gasped Uncle Andrew.
I kind of love this chapter. It amuses me vastly.
Digory is not at all amused, however, and is in fact quite terrified that the Witch might stumble upon his mother and scare her to death. Polly agrees to help him out of his predicament, once she’s gone back home to make sure her parents aren’t worried.
Children have one kind of silliness, as you know, and grown-ups have another kind. At this moment Uncle Andrew was beginning to be silly in a very grown-up way.
You see, the foolish old man was actually beginning to imagine the Witch would fall in love with him. The two drinks probably had something to do with it, and so had his best clothes. But he was, in any case, as vain as a peacock; that was why he had become a Magician.
Until next time…