The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The battle is over rather quickly—Aslan’s army’s first charge kills most of his enemies, and when those still living see that the Witch has died, they either give themselves up or flee the battle. Peter and Aslan shake hands, and Peter tells Aslan that their victory is owed to Edmund, who “had sense” to smash the Witch’s wand rather than attack her outright. Peter, Aslan, and the rest go off to find Edmund, who is “terribly wounded.” Lucy administers some of her magic cordial to Edmund, and then Aslan instructs her to take the cordial and go attend to the others who are wounded around the battlefield so that even more people do not die on Edmund’s behalf.
In the aftermath of the novel’s climactic battle between good and evil, Edmund is at last redeemed. Edmund, despite his treachery and confusion, managed to use his firsthand knowledge of the Witch’s strengths to realize that her wand had to be destroyed first.
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Lucy attends to the wounded while Aslan restores those who have been turned to stone. When Lucy at last returns to Edmund’s side, she finds him much improved, and looking better than he has looked for ages; Lucy feels her brother is his “real old self again.” Aslan knights Edmund, and as the others look on, Lucy asks Susan if Edmund knows what Aslan sacrificed for him; Susan says he does not. Lucy asks if they should tell him, but Susan discourages her from doing so.
Edmund’s redemption is complete after Father Christmas’s tonic works its magic on him. He is back not just to his old self, but to a version of himself who existed long ago before all of his confusion and resentment set in. As such, he is at last knighted by Aslan. He still does not know how much Aslan sacrificed for him, but his sisters fear the knowledge would be too much to bear.
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That night, the siblings and the rest of their troops sleep on the battlefield—Aslan miraculously provides food for everyone. The next morning, everyone marches east to Cair Paravel, and the children are crowned Kings and Queens of Narnia, fulfilling the prophecy that foretold their rule. Aslan reminds the children that “once [one is] a king or queen in Narnia, [one is] always a king or queen,” and urges them to bear their crowns well.
Aslan’s miraculous conjuring of enough food to feed his entire army is reminiscent of Christ’s famous procurement of fishes and loaves to feed his followers in the Bible. Aslan then passes the crown, so to speak, to the four siblings, showing how they have proven themselves worthy heirs to his legacy.
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The children give “rewards and honors” to all their friends, including Mr. Tumnus, Mr. Beaver, and Mrs. Beaver. That night, there is a great feast, and while it is raging on, Aslan slips away. Mr. Beaver assures the worried children that Aslan often comes and goes—he “doesn’t like being tied down,” and of course has “other countries to attend to.”
Aslan’s departure confirms that he is leaving Narnia to Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy—he believes that they have the values and bravery needed to maintain the realm’s prosperity and righteousness. Like Christ, he leaves his followers to carry out his word.
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The siblings govern Narnia for many years, and their reign is long and happy. In the first few years of their governance, they spend much time hunting down those who were loyal to the White Witch and “destroying them,” slowly ridding Narnia of evil. The siblings keep the peace, make alliances with countries beyond the sea, and grow into respected, dignified rulers. Peter is known as a great warrior; Susan is a peacemaker and ambassador; Edmund is known for his clearheaded judgement and sense of justice; Lucy is renowned for her valiance and fairness. Many years pass, and soon the siblings remember their lives before Narnia as nothing but a dream.
By flashing the narrative forward, Lewis shows in very little space how the four siblings, using the knowledge they gained in their early days in Narnia, lead the realm towards the prosperity Aslan hoped they would. They have all grown from the conflict with the Witch—they have become the best versions of themselves, and over the years, have worked together in harmony to ensure that Narnia prospers. By involving themselves in a conflict they were initially wary of, they were able to positively contribute to Narnia’s fate and reap some rewards for themselves as well.
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One year, Mr. Tumnus brings the siblings news that the mythical White Stag has been spotted in the woods—legend has it that the Stag grants two wishes to anyone who catches him. The Kings and Queens ride out on a Stag hunt, and follow the beast into a deep thicket that their horses cannot pass. Peter suggests they all alight from their horses and go forward on foot. Before long, they come to the lamp-post, but it has been so long that they have forgotten all about it; they see it as a “strange device” and wonder if it is a tree made of iron.
In this passage, Lewis demonstrates how Narnia has become the siblings’ reality—the “real” world they left behind is nothing but a faded memory, and Narnia is all that matters. Even the sight of the lamp-post does not jog their memories of their lives back in England.
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Lucy foretells that if they pass the post, they will find “strange adventures or else some great change.” The others all agree with Lucy, but decide to pursue the White Stag past the lamp-post anyway; as Kings and Queens, they decide, they should not be afraid. They proceed onward “in the name of Aslan,” and as they go, they soon find themselves making their way “not through branches but through coats.”
In this passage, the siblings show that their collective fearlessness and intrepidness has lasted through the years—and all thanks to Aslan. They proceed bravely in the direction of something that frightens and unsettles them, just as they did so many years ago when they first came to Narnia.
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The siblings all tumble from the wardrobe to find that it is not just the same day, but the very same hour when they had all gone into the wardrobe to hide; Mrs. Macready and the tourists are still talking in the hall. The siblings decide they must explain to the Professor why four coats are missing from his wardrobe, and so they approach him with their story.
The siblings are disoriented and confused as they tumble back into the “real” world—they have just experienced whole lives lived elsewhere, and now must readjust to the world they left behind while still retaining all the wisdom they’ve gained and the experiences they’ve shared. 
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The Professor believes their every word. He warns the children that they will probably never be able to return to Narnia through the wardrobe, though they will “of course” get back again someday. “Once a King in Narnia,” he says, “always a King in Narnia.” He suggests that the siblings don’t talk too much about Narnia amongst themselves, and should never mention it to anyone else unless that person mentions Narnia first, or alludes to having had a similar journey. He advises them to keep their eyes open for others who seem as if they have been to Narnia, as well.
In the novel’s final passage, Lewis suggests that the Professor has known about Narnia all along—and in a much more intimate way than was previously implied. He encourages the siblings to hold onto their memories and to protect them fiercely, but to always be aware that others may have had experiences similar to their own.
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