Thursday, August 02, 2007

Keeping the Faith

Musing on the end of Harry Potter and its reflection on its reading audience brought to mind another much earlier children's series, "The Chronicles of Narnia" by C.S. Lewis. The last book of the series, "The Last Battle", had possibly the saddest thing I have read in any fairy tale.

If you're familiar with the series, you'll recall that the first book, "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" introduced its heroes the Pevensies: Peter, Edmund, Susan, and Lucy. Close to the end of "The Last Battle", they make another appearance, minus one. And so the lead character in "Last Battle," King Tirian, asks:

"...if I have read the chronicles aright, there should be another. Has not your Majesty two sisters? Where is Queen Susan?"

"My sister Susan," answered Peter shortly and gravely, "is no longer a friend of Narnia."

"Yes," said Eustace, "and whenever you've tried to get her to come and talk about Narnia or do anything about Narnia, she says 'What wonderful memories you have! Fancy your still thinking about all those funny games we used to play when we were children.'"

"Oh, Susan!" said Jill, "she's interested in nothing now-a-days except nylons and lipstick and invitations. She always was a jolly sight too keen on being grown-up!"

"Grown-up, indeed," said the Lady Polly. "I wish she would grow up. She wasted all her school time wanting to be the age she is now, and she'll waste all the rest of her life trying to stay that age."

And that struck me as a mite sad. To be thrown out of a fairy tale just like that, or rather, to voluntarily leave and forget all that was.

We all must grow up, I suppose, but we should never forget where we came from, never forget that at one point, it was all Real, and that in many ways, it still is Real, and we all go back to it someday. We must Keep the Faith.

“I tell you unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”.


  1. this was the one thing that i really found disturbing about narnia when i finished reading the entire series as a kid. susan is left behind because she likes lipstick? it's a kind of moralizing in this christian tale that i've since found odious

  2. Well, no, not that she likes lipstick, but because that's just about all that she cares about. Not only has she forgotten Narnia, but she denies it ever existed.

    Not to say that she didn't make it back to Narnia at all...that we don't know. If she does, the path is now different.