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Thoughts from Narnia
by Alan Thorimbert
03/20/12
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It's odd how the Pevensie children receive their kingly and queenly titles. Peter becomes known as the Magnificent, Edmond the Just, Susan the Gentle and Lucy the Valiant. C.S. Lewis does a remarkable and somewhat odd thing here. Through reading the book or by watching the movie one comes to understand that Peter is not Magnificent, Edmond is certainly not just, Susan is anything but Gentle and Lucy is not valiant. And yet C.S. Lewis through Aslan gives the children these titles.

You see Peter has moments of fear. We see him spitefully tare Edmond apart at the beginning of the book for really simple things and we see him underestimate his strength. Peter according to his title is supposed to be impressive and awesome, but we don't see him as that. In the case of Edmond, he is supposed to be Just, and yet he betrays his family for only a few short bites of Turkish Delight (which I've tried and have found truly disgusting). Susan is called the Gentle but she loves to tell people what to do. Even her older brother Peter finds himself being ordered to act in a certain way by her. Lucy though loving and caring is often afraid to voice what she knows to be true. How does that fit in with the picture of being Valiant? We especially see this in Prince Caspian, where she can never convince the others of Aslan's presence.

However, C.S. Lewis has not only gotten their titles wrong but has given each child a title that would be far better suited for another child. It is Lucy who should be known as the Gentle and Susan is brave and valiant. Likewise it is Peter who has a strong moral code and should be the Just. Even Edmond in his dreams of grandeur (which eventually leads to his downfall) could be considered magnificent. So what is Lewis doing?

Perhaps he is showing us how God takes our weakness and our sins and covers them with his righteousness. In the Gospel, Jesus' death and resurrection accomplishes two things. As Jesus takes on our sin and the penalty of it we receive his righteousness, the perfect life that HE lived. It is so easy to see in the Narnia series, how Aslan becomes a sacrifice for Edmond and the rest of Narnia, but where do we see the Pevensie children and the Narnians receive the perfection that Aslan as the Christ figure is suppose to have?

Maybe Lewis is doing something really subtle with these names. Maybe he is hinting at that though the children are anything but these things, through Aslan they are. It should not be surprising that it is Aslan who first gives them these titles. It is as if he's saying yes I know that you are not Magnificent or Just or Gentle or Valiant, but walk with me and have faith and you will be all that. It certainly makes sense why Aslan takes aside the children separately throughout the Narniad. Perhaps those meetings are the beginning of the children journey to truly become what their titles describe them to be. It certainly is something to think about.


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