The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The children begin to ask Mr. Beaver where Mr. Tumnus has been taken, and what will become of him. Mr. Beaver explains that Tumnus has been taken to the Witch’s house. Lucy asks what will happen to him there, and Mr. Beaver predicts that he will be turned to stone—rumor has it that the Witch turns all her enemies into statues and keeps them in a vast courtyard. Lucy asks if there is anything they can do to save Tumnus, but Mr. Beaver insists there is no way for anyone to get into Witch’s house against her will and come back out alive. The best thing they can do, he says, is wait for Aslan to arrive.
The Beavers oppose the Witch ideologically, but know that she is too powerful to be stopped by anyone but Aslan. This explains why the Witch has ruled for so long, and been able to exert such total control over Narnia even though she’s not its true ruler.
Themes
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Susan asks who Aslan is, and Mr. Beaver explains that Aslan is the King—the Lord of the whole wood. Though Aslan is very powerful, he is not often in Narnia, and has never been present here in Mr. Beaver’s lifetime, or even that of his father’s. Aslan has returned, though, and Mr. Beaver knows that Aslan will “settle” the White Witch and save Mr. Tumnus. Edmund suggests the White Witch will turn Aslan into stone, but Mr. Beaver finds this idea laughable—Aslan is so powerful that he cannot be challenged by anyone, even the Queen. Mr. Beaver mentions an old prophecy which predicts that “winter [will] meet its death” and sorrow will end when Aslan returns to Narnia to bring spring again.
Aslan—like Jesus Christ—is powerful but rarely seen, an entity who inspires great loyalty and awe despite the fact that he is not physically present in the lives of his followers. Mr. Beaver’s belief in the absolute power of Aslan over the Witch mirrors many faithful adherents of Christianity’s belief in the absolute power of Christ to heal and deliver those in need of him.
Themes
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Mr. Beaver tells the children they’ll understand Aslan’s power when they finally meet him. Lucy asks if Aslan is a man—Mr. Beaver reveals that Aslan is a great lion. The children are nervous about meeting a lion, but excited. Mr. Beaver announces that he has received word that the children will meet Aslan tomorrow at the Stone Table, which is down the river “a good step” from the dam. Mr. Beaver himself will bring the children there—once they meet up with Aslan, they will be able to challenge the Queen. He cites another prophecy which predicts that “when Adam’s flesh and Adam’s bone” ascend the throne at Cair Paravel, evil will be gone from Narnia.
The prophecy about the ascendance of a human—or humans—to the throne at Cair Paravel cements the fact that the children have more power than they originally thought. They are firmly at the center of the battle for Narnia, according to the prophecy, and as such will no doubt be called upon to stand up and fight when the time comes.
Themes
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Mr. Beaver explains that the Witch has tried to disguise herself as a human to make it seem as if she is the prophesized ruler of Narnia. In reality, though, the Witch knows that there are four thrones at Cair Paravel—the prophecy states that two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve will one day sit upon them, and the reign of humans will be the end of the White Witch’s life. This, Mr. Beaver says, is why he had to take them through the woods so carefully—if the Witch knew they had come to Narnia, she would surely be hunting them.
This revelation serves to show why the Witch is so bent on the children’s destruction—they pose a direct threat to the despotic reign she has toiled for years to secure for herself. The children, made “divinely” in God’s image, are the one true threat the Witch’s evil and corruption.
Themes
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Lucy suddenly realizes that Edmund is not sitting at the table. The group looks about frantically for him, but no one remembers seeing him slip out. They all go out into the snow and call for him, but Edmund is long gone. Peter suggests they split up into search parties, but Mr. Beaver protests that there is no point in looking for Edmund—he has betrayed them all, and gone to the house of the Witch. Lucy realizes with chagrin that Edmund has been to Narnia before, though he did not tell her what he did here or who he met—Mr. Beaver knew, though, from the moment he laid eyes on Edmund, that the boy was “treacherous,” and had the look of someone who had met with the look and eaten her enchanted food.
Mr. Beaver has known all along that Edmund is far more troubled than he lets on. Mr. Beaver laments that Edmund was taken in by the Witch’s enchantments, but also implies that once Edmund had consumed the Witch’s food, none of them ever stood a chance. This implies that at least part of Edmund’s conflict—and indeed his betrayal—is beyond his own control, though his inherent desire to gain power over his siblings still stands.
Themes
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Mr. Beaver tells the children that their only chance now is Aslan, and suggests they get on their way to the Stone Table. Mrs. Beaver realizes, though, that Edmund will surely bring the information about the meeting with Aslan at the Stone Table to the Witch, and Mr. Beaver worries that she will attempt to cut them off from Aslan by intercepting them before they reach the landmark. Mrs. Beaver predicts that the Witch will come to the beaver dam first, though; Mr. Beaver agrees, and tells the children it is time to hurry away.
The Beavers, having greater knowledge of Narnia and its conflicts, are able to advise the children as to what to do to remain safely hidden from the Witch’s clutches. They do not trust Edmund, and begin preparing for the worst-case scenario—his shameless betrayal of all their secrets.
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