The spiritual lessons that can be learned from The Chronicles of Narnia at any age are too numerous to name. Within the pages of CS Lewis’ beloved fantasy are good adventures and many insights into the Christian theology he used as the setting for the fantasy worlds he built. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; The Odyssey of the Dawn Treader; The horse and his boy and the rest should be read by children and their parents for the edification and entertainment of both and a wonderful education in Lewis’s “simple Christianity.” What they shouldn’t be read is some sort of insight into good governance or civic life, for it’s only in hindsight that it becomes clear that Narnian politics is absolutely deranged .
I mean, what the hell? The White Witch may have been a cruel dictator who always had winter and never Christmas, but you know what else she was? An adult. It’s very clear she had to go, given her habit of turning her citizens to stone without even the semblance of a trial, but come on. Let’s look at the replacement plan logically here. The idea was to fire the White Witch and replace her with her children! Two little boys and two little girls! And not only any children, but four siblings new to the area with virtually zero knowledge of the country or its people, let alone experience of governance.
Look, obviously Lewis is predisposed to be monarch-friendly and that’s his right, but that’s what we’re talking about here. This land of talking animals, many of whom have deep knowledge of Narnian lore, has just risen and given unchecked power to the first four children bored enough to wander to the back of a cupboard and carry on. You couldn’t conjure up a more arbitrary political framework if you tried. Big disaster.
“Well, it’s a prophecy.” OK, is that prophecy nothing to say about representative leadership? It’s hard to see what knowledge a 10-year-old British child who defines the character trait is a willingness to sacrifice his family for the most disgusting dessert his island has ever had the misfortune to invent would have on resolving disputes between mermaids and talking squirrels. If the children of Pevensie want to live in Narnia, more power for them. Who wouldn’t? But can’t power be more than growth and self-realization variety, instead of real, tangible power?
And it’s not limited to Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy who, let’s face it, ended up becoming seemingly beloved monarchs. But there was clearly no contingency plan for what would happen if they all got out of Narnia one day. It’s obviously a bit difficult to imagine a succession of power when your four leaders are siblings, but that’s no excuse not to try. Why not Mrs Beaver? She looks like she has a good head on her shoulders and has the advantage of having, you know, lived in Narnia and, not to stress the point but, is a adult.
In short, the Narnian policy is a disaster. It’s no wonder the place keeps falling apart. The only mystery is why they all keep turning to a group of tweens to get them out of the latest mess.