- "The sky was extraordinarily dark - a blue that was almost black. When you had seen that sky you wondered that there should be any light at all."
- ― [src]
The World of Charn is the general given name given for a world separate from Earth and Narnia whose actual name remains unknown. The name "Charn" comes from the world's capital city. It was once a world accessable from the Wood Between the Worlds, but the pool dried up when the world ended. It is important both as the birthworld of Queen Jadis, the last ruler of the Empire of Charn (and later the White Witch of Narnia), and as the subject of a cautionary history concerning the eventual ends of unrestrained corruption. Other known cities of the World of Charn, besides Charn, include Felinda, Sorlois, and Bramandin (all of which were mentioned by Jadis, and likely conquered by Charn).
The sun of Charn was old and reddened, and the sky so dark blue as to be nearly black. When asked, Jadis said it had "always been so," for at least thousands of years. Also in the sky was another celestial object that may have been a distant moon or planet, or possibly a second, very dim star. The air of the world was thin and cold. There was no water visible, as all rivers were dried up, and no living things existed. It is possible that, before Jadis destroyed all the world's life, it may have had a different appearance: according to her own description, it had had, within her own lifetime as Queen, an exceedingly glorious appearance, teeming with life and activity.
Charn once supported a vast civilisation of humanoids (of an unknown species) that were an average of seven feet tall and known to have giantish heritage; otherworlders simply called these taller-than-human people "giants" despite them not being genuine full-blooded giants. It is possible the people of this world were a hybrid species of giants and jinns, the latter giving them magical ability (such as Jadis).
The Hall of Images of past rulers in the royal palace indicated that Charn originally began with a golden age of wisdom and benevolence, but eventually turned away into corruption, cruelty and evil. Apparently Jadis was the nadir of this degeneration, as her appearance is the most intimidating of all. Aslan calls Charn "accursed" and a "strong and cruel empire".
The ruined capital city of Charn, which the children landed in, stretched to the horizon, "as far as the eye could see".
The explanation for this is that all life on the planet Charn was destroyed in a single petulant act of evil magic, the utterance of the Deplorable Word, by Jadis. It is unknown how long ago this occurred before Digory and Polly's visit, but long enough for stone palaces to fall down and stone statues to erode away. Perhaps this was long enough for the great river of Charn to dry up, or perhaps this was an ecological consequence of the destruction of life.
By the time of their visit, the planet was an ecological dead-end, a sterile world in which the only living thing was Jadis herself, who had placed herself in magical suspended animation in her palace, the House of Charn, awaiting possible rescue by chance visitors from other worlds. Jadis placed herself at a long table among the figures of other seated royals in a chamber called the Hall of Images.
During their accidental visit, Digory succumbed to curiosity or magic, and rang a magical bell that woke Jadis. She was able to leave Charn with Digory and Polly.
Sometime after the children and Jadis left (we don't know how long because of the time difference between worlds), Charn the world was destroyed, "...as if it had never been." Although this seems to have been done by Aslan, as it was the logical end for a world that was finished, lifeless, and had a dying sun. It was simply the final natural consequence of the evil that the Charn civilization had done.
In the Wood Between the Worlds, Aslan showed Digory and Polly a cratered grass thicket that once held the pool where the magical portal to Charn had been. He told them of Charn's fate, and warned that a similar fate could befall Earth if "tyrants who care no more for joy and justice and mercy than the Empress Jadis" acquired power similar to that of the Deplorable Word. "Let the race of Adam and Eve take warning."
The description of the rulers of Charn being initially wise and benevolent, but later becoming corrupted, cruel and evil breas a parallel with Númenor from J. R. R. Tolkien's works, where the inhabitants of Númenor were initially wise and benevolent, but later became corrupted and evil, resulting in the destruction of their realm by the Valar, as punishment for the Númenoreans' evil deeds.