The narrative fills in the blanks as to what happened to Edmund during dinner. As the others ate their delicious food, Edmund found that he could only think of the Witch’s Turkish Delight—the enchanted food had ruined his taste for ordinary food. After hearing about Aslan and the Stone Table, Edmund slipped away from the dinner table, feeling the same “mysterious and horrible” sensation he felt the first time he ever heard Aslan’s name. Edmund let himself out into the snow and began to head for the Witch’s house.
Edmund, having tasted the Witch’s enchanted food and heard her lofty promises, has no patience for either “regular” food or the fantastical tales about Aslan and Cair Paravel. Edmund is deeply unsettled, and is lashing out and acting against his own best interests in search of regaining some control over his own life.
Edmund does not want his brother and sisters to be turned to stone, but all he can focus on his desire for more Turkish Delight, and to one day be a Prince, or even a King. He also wants to pay Peter back for being mean to him and calling him a beast. Edmund believes that if he delivers his brother and sisters to the Witch, she will make them royalty in Narnia as well—the Queen was “jolly nice” to Edmund, and he cannot believe that she is as bad as Mr. Beaver and Mrs. Beaver say she is. Edmund tells himself this over and over as he heads through the snow, but deep down, he knows that he is lying to himself.
Edmund is revealed to be motivated more out of selfishness than spite, after all. He wants to gain power over his siblings, certainly, but actually just wants to experience luxury and indulgence for himself. He is so desperate to regain these feelings of control that he purposefully scrambles his own moral compass and lies to himself about what is right and wrong.
Edmund travels through the snow, slipping on drifts and skidding on ice. Wet, cold, bruised, and tired, Edmund comforts himself during the difficult journey by imagining all the things he will do once he is King of Narnia. At last, he reaches the Witch’s house, which is a small castle with long, pointy spires all around it. The house is imposing, and Edmund is afraid, but he knows it is too late to turn back now. He finds his way into the courtyard, and sees the many stone animals there—there is even a stone lion, and Edmund believes that the Witch has already caught Aslan and turned him to stone. Edmund takes a bit of lead from his pocket and draws a mustache on the lion, defacing it, but right away feels badly about his cruel mischief.
Edmund’s struggle against the snowy, bitter cold is symbolic of the literal winter of the soul he is experiencing. Edmund is in deep denial about his own choices and their consequences, and as such is made to suffer the brutal chill of the Witch’s winter even more acutely. When Edmund defaces the lion, he does so in an attempt to feel good about himself again—but the act of vandalism only leaves him realizing that he is unable to ever truly quash the inner voice inside that knows right from wrong.
Edmund continues through the courtyard and comes upon a great wolf at the threshold to the palace. Edmund tells himself not to be afraid, as the wolf is made of stone, but then it rises up and speaks to him. Edmund tells the wolf his name, and tells him that his brother and sisters are at Mr. Beaver’s house. The wolf goes inside to deliver the message, and Edmund realizes the wolf must be Maugrim, Chief of the Secret Police for the White Witch.
Edmund encounters the terrifying Maugrim, one of the Witch’s most trusted companions, and gets an even bigger glimpse of what life at her castle is really like—there is terror around every corner, and it is not the fantastical, jolly place filled with Turkish Delight that he was promised.
Maugrim returns and admits Edmund into the hall. The palace, too, is full of stone statues of the Witch’s enemies. Maugrim leads Edmund to the White Witch—she is incensed that he has come without his siblings. Edmund assures her that the others are quite close, dining in the house of Mr. Beaver and Mrs. Beaver. This seems to please the Witch, and she asks Edmund if he has any more news. He tells her that Aslan is approaching—the Queen, frightened, immediately orders her driver to ready the sledge, and to tie up the reindeers using the harness without bells.
Edmund’s news for the Witch at first seems to excite her—but then, once he announces that Aslan is near, the Witch grows terrified, distraught, and manic, desperate to escape her castle and travel through Narnia incognito, as evidenced by her request to keep her sledge free of jingling bells.