“I didn’t cry when I got my Oscar [for The Queen], but I cried then [when applauded by baggage handlers at Heathrow Airport]. I had my Oscar in my bag, so I got it out. I was shameless, but they loved it.”
I always kind of laugh when people get into the “Susan’s treatment is proof that C.S. Lewis was a misogynist” thing, because:
Polly and Digory. Peter and Susan. Edmund and Lucy. Eustace and Jill.
Out of the eight “Friends of Narnia” who enter from our world, the male-to-female character ratio is exactly 1/1. Not one of these female characters serves as a love interest at any time.
The Horse and His Boy, the only book set entirely in Narnia, maintains this ratio with Shasta and Aravis, who, we are told in a postscript, eventually marry. Yet even here, the story itself is concerned only with the friendship between them. Lewis focuses on Aravis’ value as a brave friend and a worthy ally rather than as a potential girlfriend–and ultimately, we realize that it’s these qualities that make her a good companion for Shasta. They are worthy of each other, equals.
In the 1950s, there was no particularly loud cry for female representation in children’s literature. As far as pure plot goes, there’s no pressing need for all these girls. A little boy could have opened the wardrobe (and in the fragmentary initial draft, did). Given that we already know Eustace well by The Silver Chair, it would not seem strictly necessary for a patently ordinary schoolgirl to follow him on his return trip to Narnia, yet follow she does–and her role in the story is pivotal. Why does the humble cab-driver whom Aslan crowns the first King of Narnia immediately ask for his equally humble wife, who is promptly spirited over, her hands full of washing, and crowned queen by his side? Well, because nothing could be more natural than to have her there.
None of these women are here to fill a quota. They’re here because Lewis wanted them there.
Show me the contemporary fantasy series with this level of equality. It doesn’t exist.
In honour of International Women’s Day, let’s just remember the good queens of the Chronicles of Narnia series.
Queen Helen of Narnia: the first queen. Called into Narnia because her husband happened upon it, and it was only natural that she was there beside him. She spoke up when Polly was too afraid. Like most, while in England she was rather ordinary, in Narnia she proved every inch a queen.
Queen Susan the Gentle (a.k.a. Susan of the Horn): A doubter turned a believer. She was a child, but she was a queen: a leader, a diplomat, and even a warrior if need be. (You can’t tell me the bow/arrows were never ever used in battle. I know she didn’t “like to ride in the wars” but that doesn’t mean she’d never fight, or never defend her home.) She cared for her subjects. She ruled the Golden Age of Narnia with her brothers and sister by her side.
Queen Lucy the Valiant: Entered Narnia like a dream, but did not doubt herself when others did. Steadfast. Loyal. True. Not just brave, but Valiant. A small child to begin with, but undoubtedly a queen. She fought because she loved her country, loved her people. She never gave up. She was a beacon of faith and hope, much like the lamppost itself.
Queen Aravis of Archenland: A Calormene runaway, though initially she plotted much worse for herself. Teetering between prideful and confident, she was nobody’s fool. She sought empowerment by looking down on Shasta, but found empowerment by working beside him in their quest. Always noble, but never thought she’d be a free queen.
Queen Lilliandil: Although unnamed in the books, she had a huge effect on everyone who met her. Dazzling beauty, but she would not be taken in. She knew her worth; the star’s daughter. Ruled well by Caspian’s side, and raised her son to be a righteous man. Mourned by all when she was lost.
That is not to mention so many of the wonderful ladies in Narnia, (and to ignore the fact that even those who were never royalty such as Jill and Polly were described as Queens once they got to the True Narnia/Aslan’s Country.) But I think we need to take a moment to appreciate all these different women who became queens in different ways.
Because we might feel kind of ordinary sometimes, but we have the power to live as queens: Loyal. Just. Valiant. Kind. Confident. Beautiful. Wise.
Am I the only one who thinks, that the band Queen is underrated nowadays? Especially from the 90’s + generations (I am from the 90’s myself).
I just need to hear those old songs from the 70’s and find so many precious songs that “nobody” knows about because they’re not included in “the greatest hits 1, 2 and 3”.
Just take a look at “Seaside Rendezvous”. Freddie and Roger are imitating kazoos, clarinets and trumpets with their bare voices and especially the kazoos sound exactly like kazoos it’s nearly incredible.
And the fact that every member was writing songs is unique isn’t it?
narnia femslash - greek mythology au: helen x jadis
hell wasn’t a vat of fire until she arrived. lovely lady of spring brought life into the world of the dead. the land was no longer covered with the coldness of death but rather the hope of a new beginning. lady of eternal damnation loved her so. she could hardly handle the months they spent apart, agonizing as each day passed whether spring would return to her land of the dead. but spring always returned. and with a fresh rose that damnation gilded so as not to let death touch the things that spring has brought.