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Jadis in the Wood

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Jadis in the Wood

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Dec 19, 2010 12:52 pm

Going through a re-read of The Magician's Nephew this passage has intrigued me:

The Magician's Nephew: Chapter 6 wrote:Now that you saw her in the wood, Queen Jadis looked different. She was much paler than she had been; so pale that hardly any of her beauty was left. And she was stooped and seemed to be finding it hard to breathe, as if the air of that place stifled her. Neither of the children felt in the least afraid of her now. . . . . . . They both turned and struggled with her. They were stronger than she, and in a few seconds they had forced her to let go. She reeled back, panting, and there was a look of terror in her eyes. . . . . . . . . . . "Help! Help! Mercy!" cried the Witch in a fain voice, staggering after them. "Take me with you. You cannot mean to leave me in the horrible place. It is killing me."


(ellipses indicate irrelevant passages that have been removed for the sake of brevity)

Later on in the chapter, C.S. Lewis gives us this tidbit:

The children were no afraid that Jadis would have something to say to them about what had happened in the wood. As it turned out, however, she never mentioned it either then or afterward. I think (and Digory thinks too) that her mind was of a sort which cannot remember that quiet place at all, and however often you took her there, and however long you left her there, she would still know nothing about it.


It is revealed soon after this that Jadis has lost her power to turn people to dust. So, with this in mind, a few questions arose in my head as I was reading this passage. First off, why did Jadis have this particular reaction to being in the Wood? What exactly was it about the wood, that caused this to happen? Second, was it this weakening of her strength within the wood that "zapped her power" so to speak, crippling her eternally? I ask this, because in no other books does Jadis have the power to turn people to dust; the power never shows up again, and while I understand that this storyline was developed after most of the books were written, we still have to wonder. Do you think that Jadis came out of the wood with all of her powers in tact (therefore implying that some force in our world was able to block her powers [save for her strength])

I have my own opinions, but I'm much more interested in what everybody else thinks (of course. . . I'll spill my guts eventually :P ).
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Re: Jadis in the Wood

Postby Aravis Narnia » Dec 19, 2010 2:07 pm

It may have been a temporary zapping of power due to the woods.

She may have been stripped of this power overall for good.

She may have been made to forget that she has this power. She may still have it, but has no memory of it, so she uses it no more.
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Re: Jadis in the Wood

Postby Adeona » Dec 19, 2010 6:15 pm

I always thought that some of her magic just wouldn't work in our world - or Narnia. Only in Charn, perhaps. Maybe each world has different magic? Kind of like how the apple Digory brought to Earth would not give eternal youth, but could still heal and tasted amazing. I think that only the power of Aslan/Jesus and the magic of the Wood works in all worlds.
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Re: Jadis in the Wood

Postby Ithilwen » Dec 19, 2010 7:15 pm

^^ That's right. It says in the book itself that her power doesn't work because she is in our world. It had nothing to do with the woods. ;) The reason she doesn't turn people to dust in "future books" is, i think, because the future books were written first. She didn't lose her powers. She turned people to stone in LWW with a wand.
That said, the woods had a bad effect on her because she was evil. And the woods were a place of peace for the "good characters". it had a bad effect on Uncle Andrew as well, because he was wicked. Not as much of course, because he wasn't as evil as Jadis.


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Re: Jadis in the Wood

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Dec 20, 2010 10:55 am

Here are a few of my thoughts on the subject (take them for what they're worth ;)) )

Ithilwen wrote:It says in the book itself that her power doesn't work because she is in our world


Could you show some evidence for this? Because like I said, I just read this passage yesterday, and couldnt' find anything stating this. If you can find it, I'd be very interested (and very greateful too ;) )

In my opinion, Jadis reacts so violently to being in the Wood, is due to the fact that nothing ever happens there (and, due to the very definition of its existence, nothing can happen there). I think the knowledge of her helplessness, the recognition of the fact that she is no better than the children and animals that she has called her "minions" is so emotionally damaging to her personality that she becomes physically ill. Jadis is, at her core, a very austere control-freak, and when all of that power and authority is stripped away from her, she crumples up into the nothing that she really is.

As for her "memory loss" concerning the even, it is my belief that the events that happen to her while she is in the wood are so traumatic to her, that she blocks them out (much like post tramautic stress disorder).

I agree with Ithilwen, when she says that the reason Jadis doesn't "blast" people in other books, is merely because C.S. Lewis wrote The Magician's Nephew close to the end of the series, and hadn't had the idea earlier on in the series. I'm also of the opinion of Adeona, when she says that each world has different magicks at work within them. A power that Jadis posessed in Charn doesn't necessarily have to manifest itself in other worlds (which, I suppose, is as good a theory as any as to why Jadis' power seem to be lessened both in our world and in Narnia).

Any ways, those are my thoughts, but I really look forward to reading other people's opinions, and discussing them further ;)
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Re: Jadis in the Wood

Postby Ithilwen » Dec 20, 2010 6:51 pm

DiGoRyKiRkE wrote:
Ithilwen wrote:It says in the book itself that her power doesn't work because she is in our world


Could you show some evidence for this? Because like I said, I just read this passage yesterday, and couldnt' find anything stating this. If you can find it, I'd be very interested (and very greateful too ;) )


Yup! ;) Here's the passage I was referring to --

C.S. Lewis wrote: ...her power of turning people into dust, which had been quite real in her own world, was not going to work in ours.


As you can see, it doesn't say she lost her powers. It says her powers don't work in our world. ;)

DiGoRyKiRkE wrote:In my opinion, Jadis reacts so violently to being in the Wood, is due to the fact that nothing ever happens there (and, due to the very definition of its existence, nothing can happen there).... Jadis is, at her core, a very austere control-freak, and when all of that power and authority is stripped away from her, she crumples up into the nothing that she really is.

I'm pretty sure C.S. Lewis was insinuating that it was the goodness and peace of the woods that was reacting against the evil inside her -- just as Satan or demons would shudder or run away from God's presence. Uncle Andrew also had a negative reaction to the woods, and he isn't exactly an austere control-freak at his core. I think the author was just showing how the good characters had positive reactions there, whereas the bad characters had negative reactions there.
Another example of why I believe that is this. When Jadis is in the woods, she is stooped over, pale, and can't breathe. You said that Jadis reacts badly to the woods in this way, because nothing ever happens there. But Jadis also visits a non-existant world, an empty world -- a black nothingness where no world has been created yet. Even less happens there, because it is nothing. And there, though she does feel spooked, she is perfectly healthy and able to breathe perfectly well.

DiGoRyKiRkE wrote:As for her "memory loss" concerning the event, it is my belief that the events that happen to her while she is in the wood are so traumatic to her, that she blocks them out (much like post tramautic stress disorder).


Could be. :) But it could also be the fact that she usually only thinks about one thing at a time -- the thing that's useful to her. C.S. Lewis described her as terribly practical, and only thinking about the thing that's useful at the time -- an example being the way she would forget about Polly because Polly did her no good. Once Jadis was no longer in the woods anymore, it was no longer troubling her, and her mind instantly shifted to what she was able to do next.


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Re: Jadis in the Wood

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Dec 20, 2010 6:56 pm

Very good post, Ithilwen ;)

Ithilwen wrote:But Jadis also visits a non-existant world, an empty world -- a black nothingness where no world has been created yet. And there, though she does feel spooked, she is perfectly healthy and able to breathe perfectly well.



But the possibility of having something happen was present, even in that non-existent world. In the Wood, nothing ever happens, and (in my opinion) nothing ever can.
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Re: Jadis in the Wood

Postby Ithilwen » Dec 20, 2010 7:07 pm

DiGoRyKiRkE wrote:But the possibility of having something happen was present, even in that non-existent world. In the Wood, nothing ever happens, and (in my opinion) nothing ever can.


In the beginning, I don't think they felt that anything was going to happen. The creation of Narnia didn't start the instant they got there. In the beginning it was a complete and utter nothingness -- just as a nothingness would be even if nothing was ever going to be created there. Before C.S. Lewis started describing something hapenning, he was definitely describing a nothingness where nothing ever happens. And the characters felt that. They felt the darkness, the nothingness, the hoplessness. Jadis, I think, felt it most of all, and even thought "Her doom had come upon her". So she certainly felt it. But it didn't make her sick the way the woods did.


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Re: Jadis in the Wood

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Dec 20, 2010 7:14 pm

I would have to argue that there was something happening, even if the world was empty. After all, Aslan's Country, which had always been, and would always be, must have existed prior to the creation of the world. Therefore, the only thing in the world was something pure and holy, and therefore, the only thing in the world was offensive to Jadis' senses.
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Re: Jadis in the Wood

Postby Lilygloves » Dec 20, 2010 7:38 pm

It is possible that the woods between the worlds was like a neutralizer. That might be what happens, but it's only a theory. C.S. Lewis obviously left a lot of details up to the readers to imagine for themselves.
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Re: Jadis in the Wood

Postby Ithilwen » Dec 20, 2010 8:49 pm

DiGoRyKiRkE wrote:I would have to argue that there was something happening, even if the world was empty. After all, Aslan's Country, which had always been, and would always be, must have existed prior to the creation of the world. Therefore, the only thing in the world was something pure and holy, and therefore, the only thing in the world was offensive to Jadis' senses.


I didn't exactly understand that last bit... But if you mean that the empty world wasn't empty, because Aslan's Country was there, then I would have to disagree with that. The book says that world was completely and utterly empty when they got there. Aslan's Country might have (and probably did) exist at the time, but it certainly was not inside that empty world at the time. I don't think Aslan's Country ever really was in the world of Narnia anyway... I think Narnia just had a sort of gateway to Aslan's Country. After all, in order to get there, you did have to cross a wall of water, and go out of the Narnian world to get there. I think that wall of water kind of divided the world of Narnia from Aslan's Country. So I doubt Aslan's Country would have existed in the empty world before Narnia was created.


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Re: Jadis in the Wood

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Dec 21, 2010 8:08 am

Ithilwen wrote:But if you mean that the empty world wasn't empty, because Aslan's Country was there, then I would have to disagree with that. The book says that world was completely and utterly empty when they got there.


Hmm, but the only evidence that I can think of off the top of my head that supports this statement comes from a Witch who, you admit, wasn't quite thinking straight at the time. Can you find another instance at the beginning of Narnia where the narrative states that it was an empty world, and that nothing is there?

Theologically speaking, to say that Aslan didn't exist prior to the world (which is what is being said by extension, when one says that Aslan's Country didn't exist), isn't really in keeping with Lewis' theology, and therefore doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

If the Narnia within Narnia hadn't existed prior to the creation of the Shadowlands, then there wouldn't have been anything to copy over (golly that sounds confusing :P )
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Re: Jadis in the Wood

Postby sweeetlilgurlie » Dec 21, 2010 11:35 am

I don't think that she means Aslan didn't exist before the world of Narnia began, but that he was simply not in Narnia before it began. This could get confusing. ;))

Basically, Aslan's Country could exist separate from Narnia after Narnia ended. Therefore, the logic that follows was that it could exist separate from Narnia before it began. You could say that the Narnia "within Narnia" was not really inside Narnia at all, but that in LB it could be reached through that land, with the Shadowlands Narnia being a sort of portal to the Real Narnia. Even the copying-over bit could be done just fine, because I'm sure Aslan didn't need the real Narnia right there in the Shadowlands Narnia for him to be able to create a new world.
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Re: Jadis in the Wood

Postby Ithilwen » Dec 21, 2010 7:00 pm

DiGoRyKiRkE wrote:Hmm, but the only evidence that I can think of off the top of my head that supports this statement comes from a Witch who, you admit, wasn't quite thinking straight at the time. Can you find another instance at the beginning of Narnia where the narrative states that it was an empty world, and that nothing is there?

Yes, right after Jadis says it is an empty world, the narrator agrees with her in the next sentence and then goes on to describe what "nothing" feels like.
And it also stands to reason that it is an empty world, since, after all, that world hasn't been created yet. Narnia isn't created until Aslan starts singing, and Aslan has not started singing yet, when Jadis and the others first arrive.

DiGoRyKiRkE wrote:Theologically speaking, to say that Aslan didn't exist prior to the world (which is what is being said by extension, when one says that Aslan's Country didn't exist), isn't really in keeping with Lewis' theology, and therefore doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. If the Narnia within Narnia hadn't existed prior to the creation of the Shadowlands, then there wouldn't have been anything to copy over (golly that sounds confusing :P )


I didn't say Aslan and Aslan's Country didn't exist. In fact, if I remember right, I said they did exist. I explained in my last post that Aslan's Country is not in Narnia -- that there is just a door to His country located in Narnia. God (or Aslan) of course existed before Narnia was created. That pre-Narnian world being a nothingness doesn't stop Aslan and His country from existing outside of it. After all, before our world was created, God and Heaven still existed.


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