The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Written by: C. S. Lewis
Central Theme:
Genre(s): Allegorical Fantasy
Series: The Chronicles of Narnia
Followed by: Prince Caspian
First published: October 16, 1950
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The first written, first published, and most famous of the seven Chronicles of Narnia. Some forty years after the events of the Prequel The Magician's Nephew, four brothers and sisters (Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie) pass through a magical wardrobe owned by "Professor Kirke" into the land of Narnia which has been cursed with eternal winter by Jadis, the White Witch. In accordance with prophecy, the children, helped by Aslan (Turkish for "Lion"), defeat her, and are jointly crowned as the four Kings and Queens of Narnia. After fourteen years, the children accidentally return through the wardrobe, reverting to childhood. The action of The Horse and His Boy takes place during their reign.

Tropes used in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe include:
  • An Ice Person: The White Witch.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Susan in the Walden Media film remarks that a beaver shouldn't be speaking, never mind that she's just traveled through a wardrobe into a magical land.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: For all four Pevensies.
  • Being Evil Sucks: This realization spurs Edmund to make his Heel Face Turn.
  • Big Bad: Jadis.
  • Big Badass Wolf: Maugrim.
  • Big Brother Bully: Edmund is this to Lucy.
  • Big Good: The kids are the main characters, but Aslan is the one who saves the day. Even lampshaded by the Beavers.
  • Blitz Evacuees: The Pevensie children.
  • Break the Haughty: Edmund. That is all.
  • Creepy Souvenir: The whole garden of people/animals the White Witch has turned into stone. In the Walden Media film version, she also wears Aslan's shaved-off mane into battle.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Aslan.
  • Dark Action Girl: The White Witch, so very much.
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Professor Kirke.
  • Don't Try This At Home: Every time someone climbs into the wardrobe, to the point where one begins to wonder if it's an inside joke or a Running Gag.
  • Dreaming of a White Christmas: Subverted in that in Narnia, it is always winter and never Christmas. And when Christmas finally does come, it heralds a thaw.
  • Evil Albino: The White Witch.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold
  • Evil Tastes Good: Edmund and the Turkish Delight.
  • Exclusively Evil: Dwarfs, Wolves, Minotaurs, Hags, Harpies, Giants and all the other races that are loyal to the witch. This would technically make them evil but these races probably obey the witch because none of them are brave enough to try to backstab her and usurp the throne for themselves.
    • Mostly, but subverted by dwarfs, a giant, and even wolves rescued from the Witch's castle, who later fight for Aslan.
    • The movie had the dwarfs divided between sides.
    • In this, it's being true to the later books. Prince Caspian and The Last Battle have dwarfs divided between the sides of good (Trumpkin, Poggin) and evil (Nikabrik in Caspian and the rebels in The Last Battle). The dwarfs' appearances in other books are even farther from the doctrine of dwarfish depravity; indeed, if you only read those books you'd think the dwarfs are just another of the many Always Lawful Good races in Narnia.
    • Giants are also divided between good and evil in later books.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Aslan.
  • Faeries Don't Believe in Humans, Either: Tumnus the faun reacts this way to Lucy the first time he meets her, and owns a book called Is Man a Myth?.
  • Follow the White Rabbit: A robin leads the children to Mr. Beaver.
    • Inverted later when they are hunting for a stag, and it leads them back to the gate to the normal world.
  • Food Chains: See G-Rated Drug below.
  • Furry Confusion: The BBC Series has people in animal costumes, actual animals and animated creatures all on the screen at once. At one point, Maugrim even appears to shapeshift into a regular wolf, though he's supposed to be a regular wolf anyways.
  • G-Rated Drug: The White Witch's Turkish Delight. Word of God states it's an analogue for sin.
  • Gender Equal Ensemble: Two boys (Peter and Edmund) and two girls (Susan and Lucy).
  • Genre Savvy: All the Pevensies, seeing as they're children who are pretty familiar with fairytales, and (rightly) assume a fairytale world will work according to fairytale rules. For example, their decision to follow the robin is based on Peter's observation that robins are always good birds in books.
  • Grim Up North: It's grim everywhere in Narnia due to the Hundred Year Winter, but particularly near the Witch's Castle in the north.
  • Heel Face Turn: Edmund, for the second half.
  • Ice Palace: The Witch's castle.
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm X: In the Walden Media film:

Peter: We're not heroes.
Susan: We're from Finchley!

  • Interdimensional Travel Device: The wardrobe allows travel between Earth and Narnia—sometimes.
  • It Was a Gift: Father Christmas's gifts to the Pevensies.
  • Jerkass: Again, Edmund. He later becomes a Badass Normal during the final battle.
  • The Messiah: Aslan. He's also a Messianic Archetype, a rare twofer.
  • The Mole: Edmund, for the first half, although it is revealed to the reader at the start of the plot thread.
    • Jadis also fooled Edmund into thinking she was on his side long enough for him to lure his siblings to Narnia.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Edmund's reaction when the White Witch turns a dinner party to stone for refusing to deny it was provided by Father Christmas over his protests. At that point, Edmund realizes the evil he has sided with and wishes with all his heart that he could undo what he has done. Fortunately, Aslan later helps him do just that.
  • The Noun and the Noun: And the noun.
  • Portal Slam
  • Pretty in Mink
  • Rain, Rain, Go Away
  • Retcon: Maugrim, the wolf servant of the White Witch, had his name changed to Fenris Ulf in earlier American editions (which also changed Peter's first title from "Wolfsbane" to "Fenrisbane"). They then went back to using Maugrim.
  • Reverse Mole: Fox in the Film of the Book.
  • Running Gag: The first few chapters are insistent on reminding you what a very foolish thing it is to lock oneself into a wardrobe.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Edmund and Lucy, with more on Edmund's part, due to the fact that he enjoys tormenting her. Fortunately, they got better.
  • Species-Coded for Your Convenience: The book splits talking beasts more or less along the standard lines between those on the side of the Witch and those on the side of Aslan. This doesn't show up so much in the rest of the series when Narnia was united, but "evil" animals don't show up much at all then.
  • Spring Is Late: By about a hundred years.
  • Supernatural Aid: Father Christmas's gifts to the Pevensies.
  • Taken for Granite: The White Witch's power.
  • Tender Tears: Susan and Lucy.
  • They Still Belong to Us Lecture: The Witch tries to reclaim Edmund after his Heel Face Turn by telling the other heroes that he is a traitor and his blood is her property.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Aslan tells the others to stay back and let Peter fight Maugrim alone.
    • Directly echoes the story of Edward III saying of his son, the Black Prince, at the Battle of Crécy, "Let the boy win his spurs." (the spurs were a symbol of knighthood).
  • This Is Your Brain on Evil: One of the consequences of Edmund's G-Rated Drug usage.
  • Uncanny Valley: Mr. Beaver advises the Pevensie children that if something claims to be, used to be, or may become human, "keep an eye on it and feel for your hatchet."
  • The Vamp: The White Witch for Edmund.
  • Victory-Guided Amnesia: After being crowned Kings and Queens of Narnia, the children slowly forget their old life on Earth—until one day, while out riding...
  • Weapon of Choice: Father Christmas's gifts to Peter, Susan, and Lucy include a sword and shield, a bow and quiver of arrows, and a dagger respectively.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The dinner party that led to Edmund's Heel Face Turn is never mentioned again. Aslan being omniscient and all or perhaps Edmund told him, he probably gave them a visit to restore them, but who knows?
    • Lewis got a What Happened to the Mouse? letter from one of his readers (or the reader's mom) and hastily wrote back a Word of God that of course the animals at the dinner party got turned back, just not on stage, and he was very sorry the child was distressed about the issue.
  • Winter Royal Lady: Although not fitting the title part of the trope, she fits the other parts.
  • Woman in White: The White Witch.
  • World War II: In the background; treated more prominently in the first film.
  • You Imagined It: Subverted; none of the Pevensies were concussed or on hallucinogens at the time.