Susan and Narnia

C. S. Lewis, his worlds, and his faith.

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Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Feb 25, 2010 3:45 am

Pattertwig's Pal wrote:To many people the idea of other worlds seems childish, and Susan does not want to be childish. She is trying to make herself seem grown-up by distinguishing between when she was younger and perhaps by trying to make the others seem childish in comparison to herself


Now this is a terrific point. It explains so much Susan's relationship with Lucy, doesn't it? Lucy, after all, is the baby. Why take more notice of her than big sister Susan? Oh yes, Susan is fond of her sister, but she is also the sort of person who wants to look down on others younger than herself.

Pattertwig's Pal wrote:She might even fear not being accepted by others.


Another good point. Gaiman has her moving around in a rather glamorously high-brow crowd, in which talk of Narnia would seem to be weird. Until the rail accident, of course.

Pattertwig's Pal wrote:After Susan has witnessed Aslan’s death and resurrection, she doesn’t want to talk about. Lucy thinks Edmund should know but Susan doesn’t think so. Susan and Lucy do a lot with together with Aslan but Susan really does not really have any alone time with Aslan. She is afraid to meet Aslan in PC because she doubted.


And I think this is the clincher which has been dancing at the back of my mind. :D Gaiman's, too, I think. Susan doesn't want to discuss Edmund's near death. She doesn't want to face the reality of the episode of the Stone Table, let alone that Aslan in essence died to pay Edmund's debt to the White Witch. What exactly did Susan see when Aslan leaped on the Witch? Why didn't Susan want to discuss the events with Edmund? And why was she so willing to stop Lucy discussing anything after seeing her cure Edmund with the cordial? Is there something Susan is not facing?

Talking Rat wrote:Wagga -- oops, yes, you're right, that was Edmund and Lucy he said that too. But I think we could assume he said something similar to Peter and Susan.


I'm not so sure. We heard what Aslan said to Lucy and Edmund at the end of Voyage and the Dawn Treader. But when they asked about Eustace, he asked if they really needed to know that. At the end of Silver Chair, Aslan tells Jill and Eustace that the next time they visit Narnia they will have come back to stay. Aslan does tend to dole out information on a 'need to know' basis, doesn't he? He may have said something similar to Susan and Peter, but then he might have said something a bit different. And Pattertwig is right. Where in the books did Susan ever meet Aslan alone, without siblings, cousins or others in attendance?

220CT wrote:@wagga: I think you misunderstood my use of the word "independence." It's not independence vs. dependence. Why? Everyone is dependent on someone or something. Everyone needs some kind of help. None of us are truly independent, for that would make us gods unto ourselves. If we're dependent on one person, we're independent of another.


Well that is one way of looking at the situation, isn't it, from your point of view. :)
Arguably yes we are. After all, on the Dawn Treader everyone is dependent on the ship to get them where they want to go. But I was seeing Susan from my point of view also. Is she a passenger, passively, even resentfully, taken along, dependent on the skills of the crew, as if she is a captive. Or is she a crew member, actively and independently exerting every bit of will and skill she has to help the ship reach its destination?

In Prince Caspian, although Susan did co-operate at first, she did act more and more like a passive and dependent passenger, and not an active and thoughtful fellow crew person. When they all reached the gorge where Lucy saw Aslan, undoubtedly Susan was too tired to think clearly, and if truth be known, she just wanted to curl up and go to sleep.

Peter thought he had a plan, and Trumpkin felt he should back Peter up, much as he had already backed up Caspian before leaving Aslan's Howe. Peter thought it was the best way to go, even though Edmund mentioned that it would be fair to believe Lucy this time. He even apologised to Lucy for his choice.

But how could he go along with Lucy when Susan took the line she did, making his the casting vote? For one thing Susan was never going to agree with Lucy, if there was someone more senior around, and Trumpkin said he would follow the high king, however he decided. For another thing, Susan just didn't want to think at that juncture. Easier to follow Peter's original plan, however wrong he was, than to admit that Lucy could have been right. I think that it was at this point she had definitely started to 'listen to fears'. And subsequently, after the Narnia romp, she had already learned all she was ever going to from her stays in Narnia.

Edited to add a further thought about Susan: Even by 1949, when C.S.Lewis set 'The Last Battle', UK, in particular, was still having rationing, during what would be known as an age of austerity and scarcity, a consequence of the destruction of WW2 it had endured. Maybe in the light of such general privation, Susan's preoccupations with worldly things did seem a lot worse and more frivolous then than they would be considered twenty years later, in 1969, let alone now.
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Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby Pepper Darcy » Jun 24, 2010 8:52 am

I wonder, maybe the idea of Susan is someone who appears to be a Christian but they aren't? Susan appeared to be a friend of Narnia, but she wasn't in the end, in the 'final test'...? Maybe?
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Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby Warrior 4 Jesus » Jul 07, 2010 4:39 am

Or just someone who was a Christian and then later rejected Christ.
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Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby 220chrisTian » Jul 22, 2010 11:40 am

@Warrior & Pepper: I think both things you mentioned are possibilities regarding Susan's true relationship to Aslan. We just don't know which one.

Pattertwig wrote:Susan and Lucy do a lot with together with Aslan but Susan really does not really have any alone time with Aslan. She is afraid to meet Aslan in PC because she doubted. Peter talks with Aslan in LWW when he is shown Cair Paravel and again about the battle plans. He is knighted by Aslan. Edmund has his talk with Aslan after he is rescued. Lucy meets Aslan in the woods (PC) and talks with him in the magician’s house.

wagga wrote:And Pattertwig is right. Where in the books did Susan ever meet Aslan alone, without siblings, cousins or others in attendance?

I want to respond to these observations because I came across an entry last week (July 15) in the classic devotional Streams in the Desert. It’s called “Set apart” and the key verse is Matthew 14:23: “He went up into a mountain apart.” Below is a portion. Click here for the whole thing.
One of the blessings of the old-time Sabbath was its calm, its restfulness, its holy peace. There is a strange strength conceived in solitude. Crows go in flocks and wolves in packs, but the lion and the eagle are solitaires. Strength is not in bluster and noise. Strength is in quietness. The lake must be calm if the heavens are to be reflected on its surface. Our Lord loved the people, but how often we read of His going away from them for a brief season. He tried every little while to withdraw from the crowd. He was always stealing away at evening to the hills. Most of His ministry was carried on in the towns and cities by the seashore, but He loved the hills the best, and oftentimes when night fell He would plunge into their peaceful depths. The one thing needed above all others today is that we shall go apart with our Lord, and sit at His feet in the sacred privacy of His blessed presence. Oh, for the lost art of meditation! Oh, for the culture of the secret place! Oh, for the tonic of waiting upon God!

"Every life that would be strong must have its Holy of Holies into which only God enters."

How well this describes Lucy’s night meeting with Aslan in PC! She goes off by herself and finds him alone in the forest. They spend quiet time together. And as they do, strength enters Lucy to do the task Aslan requires of her.
PC, chapter 10 wrote:But there must have been magic in his mane. She could feel lion-strength going into her. . . .’Now you are a lioness,’ said Aslan.

Even Lucy’s meetings with him in VDT [the magician’s house, the albatross whispering ‘courage’ to her] fit. They’re all alone times with Aslan. :)

As Pattertwig mentioned above, others have alone time with Aslan: Peter and & Edmund in LWW, Reepicheep and Caspian in PC and VDT, Eustace in VDT, Jill in SC, Shasta in HHB, Emeth in LB, etc. They’re one-on-one meetings. But Susan never really has that time alone with the Lion, at least not recorded in the books. This may be the reason she forsakes Narnia and her siblings at the end of LB. Without alone time, Susan has no spiritual strength. :(

This is all vital because Aslan himself, as the devotional notes, likes to be alone. It’s his nature: “the lion and the eagle are solitaires.” In LWW, Aslan goes alone to the Stone Table, after he tells Susan and Lucy to leave him. At the end of the book, he again goes off by himself. And others warn they must not disturb or try to find him. Strength is in spending time alone with Aslan (Christ).* :)

*I know it's supposition, not allegory, but you get the idea. ;)
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Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby Rilian The Disenchanted » Jul 27, 2010 12:34 pm

I think Susan gets in Aslan's Country. Remember the end of Last Battle, when they are all in the New Narnia and are reunited with the Narnian heroes of old at the orchard on the Green Hill. Lucy noticed her parents (who also died in the traincrash) in the New England from there. So even the parents of the Pevensies went to Aslan's Country, without ever having visited Narnia or seeing Aslan. If Susan lives a good live in England (wich i bet she will, puberty is only a short,difficult period in life) and believes in Jesus, she will be reunited with her family.
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Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby DamselJillPole » Jul 27, 2010 2:07 pm

Rilian The Disenchanted wrote: If Susan lives a good live in England (wich i bet she will, puberty is only a short,difficult period in life)


Susan in LB would be in her early 20's like 22 or 23, her puberty stages would be long gone by then.

I too think that one way or the other Susan can get into Aslan's Country aka Heaven. It's just at the moment when LB takes place losing your entire family like that at her young age will have a deep repressed dramatic effect that can lead Susan into harsh despair and greater disbelief in both loss of faith, hope and wanting to live. Over time she might still party to get rid of pain and then she might look back on some regrets if Aslan proceeds the right man towards her path and changes her for the better, she could lead a normal life and look back on her childhood memories and remember.
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Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby Valiant » Aug 02, 2010 4:49 pm

You know, I think there are many people in the world who know God is real, but do not want to believe it. I know because at times in my life I have been like that. You know God is real, but you are upset or want to stay in sin or whatever, that you would rather not accept the truth.

I think this is the case with Susan. How could she forget being a Queen for 15 years and returning to Narnia after that again? She tells the others to stop being silly with the games they played as children, but I think she is really covering her own feelings on the matter.

She wants to forget about Aslan. I assume the Pevensies are Christians, however I would think Susan has forgotten about religion at this point. So it isn't only God in the form of Aslan, but God completely and Lewis tells us by showing that she only cares about earthly thing (nylons and lipstick.)

I think people either don't understand this when they complain about it (Pullman, Rowling, etc.) There may also be people who do see this, and recognize this fault in their own lives, and as a result are angry that this is being pointed out to them or sympathize with Susan as they see her in them.

I was always sad as a child with this, however Susan still has a chance. The fact she lost her whole family may bring her back to God or push furthur away (as any trial or tribulation in our life can do.) Lewis did not condem her to hell, she has hope. As well, I think that as a result, the story does not end "too neatly." Its a bit open, yet conclusive. And, Susan in nthe books stands for those who have fallen away from their faith, which probably represents most of us in some point in our life
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Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby DamselJillPole » Aug 09, 2010 7:53 am

^ That's the thing, it was her whole family in a way. The only family we all know she still has is her Uncle Harold and Aunt Alberta. This is something that would push her further away from God for a while. Edmund's reactions in movie LWW showed that while missing his father, he was distant then the rest of the family and became a traitor, imagine that in Susan's view.
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Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby Valiant » Aug 13, 2010 12:43 pm

^^ My problem with movie Edmund is that they made him more of a confused kid than a real bully. I wish they made him a bit meaner because I was sympathizing with him too much!

I hope that they don't make this mistake with Susan (try to justify her actions.)

It may be safe to assume Susan has stopped communicating with her family, or at least the ones who have gone to Narnia. But the accident may make her realize what she was doing and as a result bring her back to Aslan/God. Its not Narnia she has really forgotten, its Aslan (as by extension, God.)

People cry out that this is an injustice, but why would Aslan bring her back to a place (Narnia) that she does not want to believe in. Why would God bring us to a place (heavan) if we do not want to go there?
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Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby sandyentersNarnia » Nov 04, 2010 1:27 am

As she said in PC about her being used to London (or England), she is vulnerable to the real world than Narnia. She is kind of realistic, and doesn't want to mess herself up. She is ,maybe, easily carried away by the real things than those that are "unreal".
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Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby StarAsterisk » Jan 11, 2011 8:20 am

Thanks for sharing this with us, you have really done your reasearch!

So, why does Susan not enter Aslan's Country? Clearly beacuse she has denied Aslan. If she doesn't akknowlege him, he won't aknowlege her.


Will she ever? We are not told this. It could go either way. I like to think that she will grow out of her faithlessness and come back to Aslan. We are not told one way or the other.


What are the reasons for her faithlessness? I suppose she has always been weaker in faith and more of going along with the others than leading. She isn't a very strong person. She is alwasy trying to be "realistic", as the said in LWW, and the thought of Narnia is hardly "realistic" in her shallow eyes. She had a hard time beleiveing even while in Narnia, so her faith totally fizzles out when back in England.
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Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby DamselJillPole » Jan 15, 2011 12:57 pm

sandyentersNarnia wrote:As she said in PC about her being used to London (or England), she is vulnerable to the real world than Narnia. She is kind of realistic, and doesn't want to mess herself up. She is ,maybe, easily carried away by the real things than those that are "unreal".


I don't think in the books she became realistic to real things around her. It was more her concentrating on the unimportant things in life. Susan in the books was never into adventure or these things that really had to do with living life. To me she didn't come off as taking chances by the bull most of the time like a normal human being should do. Granted this characteristic of hers changed in the movies, but I don't like her in the films, she's made too perfect and i like her flaws better in the books.
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Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby SleepingDragon » Apr 16, 2011 12:10 pm

I original made a new thread for this post but I didn't realize that that this thread was here. I seemed for fitting to repost it since a discussion about Susan's fate was already started. I already deleted my old thread
Even though I've only read LWW I know what happens to Susan in TLB. I can't speak for the book version of the character but honestly, I don't think that Susan's fall makes any sense within the context of the movies. Let me explain.

Susan's practicality came off as a defense mechanism to cope with the war. She wanted to be in control of her life when it was turned upside down. Now when Susan enters Narnia her mindset is challenged by things she couldn't understand. However, she falls in love with Narnia more and more as the plot progresses. By the end she learns to have faith in something irrational while still retaining her logical mind. As a result she becomes a much stronger person than she was before.

Things get very interesting in Prince Caspian. Despite the fact that she said that the think family should focus on their lives in England, I got the impression that leaving Narnia was much harder for her than she let on. When they return she is one of the first to run into the ocean so it's obvious that she's glad to be back. After a while though, she realizes that she will have to deal with the pain of leaving again and she starts to question if Narnia is worth believing in if she'll just end up hurt in the end. However by the end of the movie her experiences and the light romance with Caspian (There not soulmates or anything. Just a teenage crush. I wanted to clarify that because people a bit sensitive about this subject) allow her keep loving Narnia and to come to terms with the fact that she won't return. Maybe it's just me but it seems to end on a positive note for her.

Susan's whole character arc is about finding faith and the worth of retaining that faith. If she looses it in the end than everything that she went through was entirely pointless. It would seem very forced if movie Susan rejected Narnia based on her past character development. Also, I believe that a nice dose of logic will strengthen someone's face. If Susan discovered Aslan's other name, I imagine that she would take an intellectual/theological approach to Christianity. I don't think her fall would make sense in the movies but I could just be desperate to see a character I love get the happy ending I think she deserves.

I'm planning on writing a character analysis for each Pevensie of the films and posting them on the forum so I'll go into more detail on my claims then. Until then I hope this provides for some meaningful discussion.
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Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby Elanor » Apr 20, 2011 8:28 am

I totally agree with all of that, Sleepingdragon - from Susan's character in the movie, it makes no sense to have her fall away, and people who aren't familiar with the books will be completely taken by surprise. Instead of being the one doubting in PC, which prepares everyone a little bit more, Peter is, while she is the only one who believes in Lucy. Major fail . . :P
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Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby Evelyn » Jun 09, 2011 1:03 pm

I was so excited to write what I think that I skipped reading a lot of what people said on this page. Most everything I've read here is really good!

Here's what I think: obviously, Susan has always been logical, somewhat unbelieving and smart (though not really wise). In LWW, she learns to believe, she watches Aslan die. After coming back, Susan must give up on Narnia, since we see her in PC trying to convince her siblings (and also herself) that our world is best and the only place they should call home etc.

Why did she give up on Aslan? I'm still trying to figure that out. Maybe because she thinks he doesn't love her because he allowed them to leave? Maybe because she fighting her logical self, that says he never cared about her at all? I'm just brain storming here. But one thing is clear: she never learned Aslan's name in our world or she didn't want to learn it or bother with him anymore. That's why I believe the others went to Aslan's Country (or New Narnia? kind of both I think.) is because they found out what Aslan's name is in our world and then strived to live a life worthy of him in our world.
So, I think Susan did find out that name, and I truely think that she lives/lived for him. But why didn't she understand like the others? I still don't really have a clue! I think most of what people have said here is spot on.

Also, one thing that my sister and I noticed: Aslan saves Edmund (obviously) when he dies for him. He saves Lucy in PC when she's riding the black horse (he may have saved he more times than this that I didn't notice). He saves Peter in LWW when he's fighting the witch. But there is no time that he altemently saves Susan. Like someone said, they don't have very much one-on-one time. I don't know if that has anything to do with it all.

Thanks for a great topic! I love sharing my thoughts.
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Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby Elanor » Jun 09, 2011 2:56 pm

Thank you, Evelyn! You made some excellent points, and it was a very interesting read! :)
I agree that in the movies, Susan and Aslan don't have much "one on one" time; I don't think there was enough development of their relationship.
Evelyn wrote:After coming back, Susan must give up on Narnia, since we see her in PC trying to convince her siblings (and also herself) that our world is best and the only place they should call home etc.

Now I don't think that Susan was giving up on Narnia; I think she missed it just as much as the rest of her siblings (this is perspective on the movie, remember), but she realized that they were not in Narnia, that there wasn't a whole lot of a chance that they would get back in, and that they had to be content with life in their own world. That does sound pretty logical/smart.
She comes back to Narnia, loves it, and is sorry, but accepting of the fact, that she and Peter don't need to go back. She has learned all she needed too, and she goes off the scene.
And then the tiny hint in VDT, that she is falling away; personally I don't think that's much of a hint, it's pretty much natural feelings, and I think that when/if they show that she's fallen away, the audience will be completely taken by surprise.
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