The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

by

C. S. Lewis

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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Chapter 14 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
As soon as the Witch leaves, Aslan tells everyone that it is time to move away from the Stone Table—it will soon “be wanted for other purposes.” Aslan’s attendants begin taking the pavilion apart and packing up, and by the afternoon, they are on the march northeast. Aslan warns Peter that after the Witch has “finished her business” at the table, she will return to her palace and prepare for a siege. He instructs Peter in a few different plans of battle—Peter points out that Aslan will be there himself to lead the charge, but Aslan tells Peter that he cannot promise that to him.
Aslan seems to be preparing Peter to take over his command, signaling that something is terribly wrong. No one knows what Aslan and the Witch discussed, but clearly Aslan is worried about his own fate and his ability to successfully lead his army against the Witch.
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As they reach their new encampment and begin to unpack, Susan and Lucy notice how sad Aslan looks. Indeed, as the camp comes together, Aslan’s poor mood begins affecting everyone, and that evening, supper is a quiet, solemn meal. After dinner, Susan and Lucy lie in bed tossing and turning; neither can sleep. Lucy confesses that she has feeling as if something horrible is hanging over her, and Susan admits to feeling the same. They are both worried that something dreadful is going to happen to Aslan, and decide to go out and look for him.
The meal Aslan and his army enjoy together is reminiscent of the Last Supper—Jesus Christ’s last meal with his disciples the night before his Crucifixion. Susan and Lucy have a bad feeling about things—they are emotionally intuitive in a way their brothers are not, and have a special kind of wisdom which allows them to relate to Aslan in a different way.
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Susan and Lucy creep out of their tent and see Aslan walking away into the wood. They decide to follow him, and are surprised when they find themselves tracking him down the exact route they took earlier away from the Stone Table. The girls think that Aslan looks tired and weak. Eventually, Aslan turns around and sees them—he asks why they are following him, and the girls tell him they could not sleep. They ask if they can continue accompanying him, and Aslan admits he would be grateful for their company. They can come, he says, but only if they promise to stop when he tells them to, and let him go on alone.
Though Aslan is an imposing and intimidating figure, revered as the powerful King of Narnia, he is humble and weak in this moment. He is grateful for Susan and Lucy’s company—they can offer him a kind of comfort and support nothing else can, demonstrating their unique emotional warmth and wisdom.
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Susan and Lucy beg Aslan to tell them what’s the matter; he replies only that he is sad and lonely. At the top of the hill where the Stone Table sits, Aslan instructs the girls to stop following him and keep themselves from being seen. The girls cry bitterly, knowing that something terrible is about to happen, but agree to let Aslan go on alone.
Though Susan and Lucy know something is wrong, they also know that if Aslan is powerless to stop whatever is coming, they are, too. They let him go on alone, but do not abandon him, and stick around to bear witness to whatever happens to him rather than hide from it.
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Susan and Lucy hide in the bushes and watch as Aslan approaches a great crowd standing around the Stone Table. It is a crowd of the Witch’s army—Ogres, wolves, spirits of evil trees, Incubuses, Wraiths, and other terrible creatures. The Witch is in the center of them all, standing by the table. Seeing Aslan, she announces that “the fool has come,” and orders her henchmen to bind him up fast. Susan and Lucy look on in horror as the evil creatures bind Aslan tightly, shave his mane, and beat him, taunting him for being a “Poor Pussy” and nothing but an overlarge cat. The abuse worsens, and the creatures muzzle Aslan, spit on him, and kick him.
This scene mirrors the Passion of the Christ. Aslan, who is willingly sacrificing himself to the Witch in order to deliver Edmund’s sins, is dragged through a crowd of his enemies and is beaten, taunted, and humiliated. Though Lewis surely wants to inspire tension in his readers, if they know the story of Christ, they know that even if Aslan meets with death, it may not be his end.
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At last, the Witch’s minions drag Aslan up onto the Stone Table. The Witch sharpens her knife, and then approaches Aslan. She gloats about how she has beat him at last—his death will be in vain, as once he is dead, no one will be able to stop her from killing Edmund. The Witch tells Aslan that he has given her Narnia forever; she wants him to “despair” in that knowledge before he dies. Susan and Lucy look away, unable to bear watching as Aslan is killed.
It seems that the Witch has triumphed over Aslan, and indeed all of Narnia. The Witch wants to debase Aslan as deeply as possible before finally killing him, as Christ’s enemies wanted to do to him.
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