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Why does Edmund lie about Narnia?

PostPosted: May 15, 2018 4:11 pm
by Valiant_Nymph
I was rereading LWW, and I found something confusing. Lewis tells us that Edmund lies to Peter and Susan about having gotten into Narnia (in his first entrance, where he met the White Witch), because he didn't want to admit that Lucy was right. But isn't it also counterproductive to his goal of getting all of them back to the Witch so she can make Edmund a Prince? There was no reason to think they'd all get in eventually, so he was kind of blowing his chances of getting them all to her by lying.

It seems even more complicated when they all get into the Wardrobe when hiding from the Macready, and Edmund is eager to get out before the others realize it is a magic wardrobe. The movie takes a different approach on this point, and shows Edmund actively encouraging the others to get into the wardrobe (which seems to make more sense if he wants to get back to the Witch).

Anyways, just curious if anyone has any thoughts on this point.

Re: Why does Edmund lie about Narnia?

PostPosted: May 16, 2018 8:13 am
by aileth
Perhaps the power of the Turkish delight was less noticeable outside the wardrobe? But even then, did Edmund maliciously plot to falsify Lucy's statement? I doubt that; spiteful, yes, but scarcely deliberate. It seems more likely that it was a symptom of his inner condition at the time--the lie appeared reflexive and (somewhat) involuntary--not the first one by any means.

We have to remember that he was in a muddled, resentful state and had been for a considerable time (as mentioned when Lucy administered the cordial). At core, he was not a thorough cad; once he had repented and been redeemed by Aslan, he was restored to what he ought to have been all along.

Re: Why does Edmund lie about Narnia?

PostPosted: May 17, 2018 3:42 am
by King_Erlian
I think part of the reason why Edmund lied to Peter and Susan is because the portal to Narnia had closed at this point and they all saw the back of the wardrobe. So it was clear that they weren't going to get into Narnia right there and then, and for all Edmund knew, the wardrobe might have sealed itself off for ever and any return to Narnia would have been impossible. If Edmund had been thinking that, his disappointment that he wasn't going to become a prince after all might have kicked him into doing something spiteful; also, if the "wardrobe adventure" was truly over, he probably thought it would be best to deny any knowledge of it to his elders rather than have them think he was mad. Add to that the fact that he was feeling pretty sick after all the Turkish Delight and his mood would definitely have been pretty sour.

It's also possible that he was actually rather frightened of Jadis, despite the sweets and the promises, and was afraid of encountering her again; so when they were hiding from the Macready, he didn't want to risk getting into Narnia again.

Re: Why does Edmund lie about Narnia?

PostPosted: May 22, 2018 12:58 pm
by Valiant_Nymph
Hmm those are interesting points King Erlian and aileth! Thank you. I wonder why Edmund would go back at all if he were scared of the White Witch though.

My conclusion is that the immediate embarrassment of having to admit that Lucy was took precedence over hopes of becoming a king (which were more abstract in that moment).

Let me know if anyone has more thoughts.

Re: Why does Edmund lie about Narnia?

PostPosted: Jul 14, 2018 9:47 am
by Ryadian
I've always wondered if Edmund inwardly knew that the witch was up to no good, and as King_Erlian said, he was a little afraid of her. When he was in Narnia, she was right there and could put the full pressure on him, not to mention there was the Turkish Delight in full effect. Once he was back home, he could put it all behind him like a bad dream... if Peter and Susan continued to disbelieve Lucy about Narnia.

Another possibility is that he knew that if Lucy was proven right about Narnia, she'd also be proven right about the Queen being a "horrible witch". Whether or not he had any inkling that Lucy was right, the last thing he wanted was for Peter and Susan to believe that the Witch was someone to be avoided, if he wanted to get them to her house. So, he lied to make Lucy look unreliable, and didn't really think this plan farther ahead than that. (Admittedly, I've played a few bluffing games where I've tried a similar trick... sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. ;) )

Once he was back in Narnia, though, he was outed as a liar almost immediately, and the children all got to see the Witch's work in action when they went to Mr. Tumnus's. He no longer had any chance of convincing them, but given the way they treated him, he also had no desire to admit he was wrong, and wanted all the more to be proven right. So, back into the Witch's power he went.

I'll admit I don't really know how much the Turkish Delight plays into this (there's a thread open around here somewhere about that topic, I believe :P ). I'm not even entirely sure we need it to justify Edmund's actions. We know it played a part because the book says so and Mr. Beaver is even able to identify Edmund as someone who has eaten her food. But at the same time, I feel like a lot of this just fits in with the character of Edmund we've seen up to this point - a selfish, bullying sort of boy, but not necessarily the kind to think ahead. He just got in way over his head and didn't realize or admit to his own mistake until it was far too late.

Re: Why does Edmund lie about Narnia?

PostPosted: Aug 11, 2018 10:32 am
by HelenP
Hi everyone,
Has anyone thought about Edmund's situation in his own family? He is the "odd one out" kid, jealous of Peter the eldest, Susan, the acknowledged beauty and Lucy, the youngest kid sister (Peter's favourite sister). He doesn't fit into the siblings and is also mixing with the wrong sort of kids at his school.
Now, when Peter and Susan ask him about getting into Narnia he lies to make Lucy look stupid and babyish (making up a pretend world), to make himself look grown-up and superior and to hide his encounter with Jadis. He's also put on the spot by the questions - he doesn't want Lucy to get all the glory about finding Narnia - the obvious choice for him is to rubbish her story and hope he won't get found out!
Any thoughts?

Re: Why does Edmund lie about Narnia?

PostPosted: Aug 11, 2018 1:22 pm
by Col Klink
I took the fact that Edmund briefly tries to get everyone to leave the wardrobe (right when they start noticing the temperature and the dampness) to indicate that he knows on some level that he shouldn't bring his siblings to the Witch's house and he wants to avoid the temptation. Or it could be that he really doesn't want anyone to know he lied about Lucy. But that kind of complicated characterization is hard to do in a movie so I think it's a good thing they changed it for the movie.