Preface by Elizabeth Baird Hardy
Chapter One. True Royalty: Becoming Yourself in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 21
Chapter One True Royalty: Becoming Yourself in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe “Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen. Bear it well…!” (Ch. 17) he Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950), the first of the Chroni- cles of Narnia to be written and published,1 commences C.S. Lewis’s venture into writing children’s literature. The informing metaphor of this novel is royalty, not so much royalty in station, although this is relevant, but royalty as a metaphor for spiritual identity.2 True royals are servants of the divine, Aslan, the ultimate King of Narnia, and the story centers around questions of “royal” or spiritual identity-formation. Who are the four Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, and who will they become? Pleasure-seekers? Power-seekers? Or royal heirs in a divine kingdom? Why is the White Witch both the Queen and not the legitimate queen of Narnia? If Aslan is the true King, why does he seem to abdicate his rule in dying? In exploring the answers to these questions, the four Pevensies learn the truth that spiritual heroism is a transformative and lifelong commitment. At their coronation, Aslan declares, “Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen. Bear it well, Sons of Adam! Bear it well, Daughters of Eve!” (165). In becoming royalty, the Pevensies grow into “feminine” spiritual heroes. It is a high and difficult calling, a weight to bear, as Aslan says (and as Lewis has said of coronation)...
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