Having reread C. S. Lewis’ novel, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” I was struck by several facets of the story which I hope to draw out over the next few articles.
(As a side note: if you haven’t read this novella, you should treat yourself. The story is well-told, and there are some truly memorable scenes you’ll not soon forget—especially the characters’ interactions with Aslan (who personifies Christ). It’s a beautiful story–and your children will enjoy it too!)
If we’re on the heading to the Fountainhead of Joy, I think it wise to consider two chief flaws in Edmond—that of pride and also unhealthy appetites (or desires).
If you’ve not read the novel, Edmond is one of four siblings during WW2 who discover a magical wardrobe that connects them with a world known as Narnia. Seemingly a winter wonderland (without Christmas), Edmond encounters a mysterious Witch who gives him his seemingly heart’s desire, Turkish delight, and the subsequent promise that he will be Narnia’s future king—if he brings his other three siblings to her (referred to by those in Narnia as sons of Adam and daughters of Eve).
As the second from youngest, Edmond is shown to be a very bad boy. Due to his poor behavior and ugliness of character, Edmond is, among his siblings, the most chastised and scrutinized. This all leads to him being resentful and rebellious. At the story’s beginning, there’s something off about him. Edmond personifies the worst of us with his fallen nature in full command.
Stepping through the wardrobe on his own, Edmond meets the Witch. And although he senses the danger she poses, that is overridden by her promises that he will be made king of Narnia—if he follows the dictates of the witch and brings back his siblings to visit her. Coupled with this is the beginnings of addiction when Edmond’s wish of having Turkish Delight becomes reality. From this point forward, Edmond is driven by his damaged pride—wanting to get back at his siblings, especially Peter—and by his lust for Turkish Delight.
In fact, his desire for Turkish Delight fuels his actions despite the danger and discomfort to himself. And he is willing to put his siblings in danger to get more of the dessert. The issue of stubborn pride in Edmond separates him from his siblings–and from Aslan. In the story, he wants to be king—to run things—but also to see his brother Peter pay. Also, Edmond suffers distorted thinking regarding Aslan’s nature and motives.
The Bible describes pride as the root of all sin. Any sin you can name will eventually be rooted in pride. Whereas humility and surrender knock down erected barriers against others including the One, pride acts as a barrier that can be impossible to penetrate. In the case of Edmond, it’s not until he faces the hellish ways of the witch and his subsequent miserable state that the pride-wall begins to crumble. And it’s only as his hunger to be free from the witch becomes too great to resist that he forgets about his lust for Turkish Delight. Sometimes, feeding our appetites can be detrimental to our spiritual connections to the One.
In time, Aslan restores Edmond and reminds his siblings that the past is past and not to be spoken of again. Edmond is graciously accepted by Aslan despite his betrayal. Unknown to Edmond, though, is the fact that Aslan must take Edmond’s place and be killed to satisfy the Deep Magic, referring to what i believe harkens to the Ten Commandments. To break even one Commandment would mean judgement. For Edmond’s sin, then, someone must pay–either Edmond or Aslan. In a noble manner (and without even telling Edmond), Aslan sacrifices himself to save the child’s life and future. It’s a beautiful, moving story.
The Bible is replete with stories of persons who sold their spiritual birthrights due to one moment of weakness or compromise. Let us learn to corral our appetites/desires rather than be corralled by our appetites/desires. Our love and service to the King must come first. And pride must be exchanged for humility and surrender. Christ is our eternal example of humility. And like Christ, we must keep our eyes fixed on Abba-God—not on our appetites in an unhealthy manner.
–Sean Elliot Russell
Author of inspirational novels “The Jesus Boy” and “Shiloh’s Rising.”