Edmund from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
By Duncan Rize
Edmund is the second youngest of the children in C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
From the beginning of the story Edmund’s attitude is sour and unpleasant. The reader soon learns that he enjoys picking on children who are smaller than him (as Lucy is) and that he lies for his own benefit. Edmund harbors a great deal of resentment towards his older brother because he is jealous of Peter’s respected position and authority. He does not like always coming second to his brother. Many of Edmund’s actions in Narnia are motivated by his desire to show Peter up.
Unlike his older siblings, Peter and Susan, Edmund taunts Lucy unmercifully when she tells him of Narnia. When he first follows Lucy into the wardrobe, he is chasing her out of the basest motives: to torment her further. Thus, from the moment he enters Narnia Edmund behaves in a treacherous, unkind fashion.
Edmund knows nothing of the world of Narnia. When he first meets the White Witch he does not know that she is a very evil Witch. She introduces herself to him as the Queen of Narnia. Edmund feels threatened by the Witch and, at first, his instincts warn him that the Witch is not a kind person. However Edmund ignores his instincts and eats the Witch’s magical food. Once he has eaten her food he is enchanted, can no longer see evil for what it truly is, and soon believes all the Witch’s lies. The Witch promises to make him
High King and to make his siblings courtiers. She promises him more Turkish
Delight if he brings his siblings to her. In his greed, Edmund agrees to do just that.
When he returns from Narnia, Edmund’s behavior goes from bad to worse. He lies and says that he has not been to Narnia and he does not tell his siblings that he has met the Witch. Edmund is so blinded by evil that he refuses to listen to Mr. Beaver when he warns them about the White Witch. Edmund sneaks out of the Beaver’s house and betrays his siblings to the Witch. The Witch treats him much more unkindly the second time he meets her;
now that she has him under her control she is as cruel to him as everyone else. Before the night is out Edmund is cold, wet, exhausted and about to be killed by the Witch. It is not until Edmund speaks up for a family of squirrels that we see a glimmer of kindness in him. He is upset by the thought of the poor little squirrels sitting in the snow, turned to stone. For the first time in the book, Edmund feels compassion for someone other than himself.
After Aslan takes Edmund in and speaks to him Edmund is redeemed. He returns to the nice, kind person that he once was. The reader only learns at this point that he had once been as kind as the rest of the children but had started to go bad a few years ago. Edmund fights valiantly in the battle and is the person who destroys the Witch’s wand, symbolically breaking free of the control she had over him. Edmund goes onto to become so wise a king,
and is known to history as Edmund the Just.
Duncan Rize loves the writings of C.S. Lewis and works with the marketing group at www.LearningByGrace.org. Learning by Grace manages of a number of internationally known online K-12 academies including www.TheGraceAcademy.org, www.TheJubileeAcademy.org, www.TheMorningStarAcademy.org and www.TheNarniaAcademy.org . This article is © 2005 ELRN, Inc. and may be quoted in whole or part as long as the author (Duncan Rize) and source (www.TheNarniaAcademy.org) are credited.