Digory and Polly finally manage to get Jadis back to the Wood, but they also happen to bring a few tagalongs.
“Oh, oh, is this delirium? Is it the end? I can’t bear it. It’s not fair. I never meant to be a Magician. It’s all a misunderstanding. It’s all my godmother’s fault; I must protest against this. In my state of health too. A very old Dorsetshire family.”
“Bother!” thought Digory. “We didn’t want to bring him along. My hat, what a picnic.”
Uncle Andrew has slowly morphed into an alternate universe version of C-3PO – if C-3PO were extremely selfish and kind of evil.
Also along for the “picnic” is the cabby and his horse, who conveniently steps into a neighboring pool for a drink such that Digory and Polly can get them into a different world.
“Perhaps this is Charn,” said Digory. “Only we’ve got back in the middle of the night.”
“This is not Charn,” came the Witch’s voice. “This is an empty world. This is Nothing.”
And really it was uncommonly like Nothing.
Now that the party’s assembled, let’s see how each of them reacts to this new environment! It’s soon apparent that the Cabbie is the bravest and most sensible of the adults, taking charge of the situation as best he can. Jadis clearly understands more of what goes on than she admits aloud. Uncle Andrew has devolved into full-on flight mode, trying to get Digory to take him back; he’s really a coward when it comes down to it. Digory, Polly, and the cabhorse react about as you’d expect.
In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice began to sing. It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it. The horse seemed to like it too; he gave the sort of whinny a horse would give if, after years of being a cab-horse, it found itself back in the old field where it had played as a foal, and saw someone whom it remembered and loved coming across the field to bring it a lump of sugar.
I love this book so much. Anyhow, the Voice sings the stars into being, then the sun, and it is glorious. Interestingly, Tolkien also employed the whole “music forms the universe” thing in his Middle-earth creation myth (published in The Silmarillion).
But the Witch looked as if, in a way, she understood the music better than any of them. Her mouth was shut, her lips were pressed together, and her fists were clenched. Ever since the song began she had felt that this whole world was filled with a Magic different from hers and stronger. She hated it. She would have smashed that whole world, or all worlds, to pieces, if it would only stop the singing.
The Witch’s magic is born of death, but it can’t hold a candle to the magic of Life.
By chapter’s end, we’ve discovered the singer – a Lion, of course.
Next time: The founding of Narnia…