Narnia comments, including spoilers

Paul Andinach pandinac at tartarus.uwa.edu.au
Mon Sep 18 00:08:21 EDT 2000


On Sun, 17 Sep 2000, Margaret E Parks wrote:

> me (and this is based on reading the books YEARS ago, so if I make
> mistakes, sorry):

It's been years since I last read _The Last Battle_, so I braved the
chaotic jumble of my father's book collection, and wrote this post
with the book at my elbow.

And I think perhaps your memory has played you false.


> inevitable

That's not the impression I get. It's presented as something that
happened to Susan by her own choice.

> she was only allowed in Narnia a few times, for one thing.

Ah. Cause, or effect? Wasn't allowed, or chose not to go?

And in any case, is number of visits the best measure? In its' entire
history, only one daughter of Eve has visited in Narnia longer than
Susan. She spent as much time in Narnia as she did in her own world,
probably. Surely that counts for something.

> For another, she didn't REMEMBER.  She should have been allowed that
> much at least.

I've got to say, I don't remember anything about Susan not
remembering. And I can't find any reference to it in the book.

Oh, here we are: "'What wonderful memories you have! Fancy you still
thinking about all those funny games we used to play when we were
children.'"

She still remembers, but she's convinced herself that her memories
aren't really real. Can anybody but herself be blamed for that?

> She grew up, and so she became practical about things like fantasy
> kingdoms and silly about the things one might expect girls to be
> silly about.

But it's not a necessary result of growing up. It only happened to
Susan; it didn't happen to Lucy, nor Jill, nor Polly.
It happened to Susan because Susan let it happen to her, because she
chose to believe that being grown up was about lipstick and nylons and
not believing in fairy kingdoms.

(Who was it, in this thread, who said he never liked Susan because she
was too sensible?)

"'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 the rest of her life trying to stay that age. Her whole
idea is to race on to the silliest time of one's life as quick as she
can and then stop there as long as she can.'"

> If I remember correctly, this wasn't what happened to Peter; didn't
> he remember Narnia?

It didn't happen to Peter. It didn't happen to Lucy, nor Edmund, nor
Jill, nor Eustace, nor Digory, nor Polly. They all remember, and
believe.

It only happened to Susan.

> I've always hated the sweeping generalizations people make about
> children and fantasy--how children are so open and beautiful to
> life, and adults are closed off.

There isn't a generalisation like that in _The Last Battle_, though.
Digory and Polly are both far older than Susan, and they get through
all right. What happens to Susan isn't because (or merely because) she
got old.

Polly's comment (which I quoted above) suggests that, if anything,
Susan is the least adult of all of them, in the author's opinion.


Perhaps it is time you tried _The Last Battle_ again?

Paul
-- 
"Hold fast to the one noble thing."

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