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Lady of the Green Kirtle

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LOTGK
Unknown
Character information
Years alive

unknown to 2356

Gender

Female

Species

undefined; Serpent/Human

Relatives

none

Affiliation

Underland

Appearances

The Silver Chair

The Lady of the Green Kirtle, also called the Queen of Underland, the Green-Witch, the Witch-Queen, or (to differentiate her from the White Witch) the Emerald Witch, was a beautiful but villainous sorceress who ruled the Shallow Lands, a country she had magically created underneath Narnia, Ettinsmoor and the Wild Lands of the North. Her origins are extremely mysterious, though it is known she had the extraordinary ability to transform into a great green serpent.

246

The Lady of the Green Kirtle and her Black Knight, mounted on their steeds Snowflake and Coalblack.

She plotted to one day capture Narnia, which involved the abduction of Prince Rilian, son of Narnia's king Caspian X, and also resulted in the death of Rilian's mother, the Narnian queen, in Narnian year 2345.

The Green Witch, with the motive to take over Narnia with an army of Earthmen and rule behind a puppet King Rilian, kept Prince Rilian in captivity for several years, imprisoning him through an ongoing enchantment that she regularly renewed using a magical device called the silver chair.

She owned a white horse called Snowflake, which she rode sometimes in Overland, while Rilian rode his horse Coalblack.


Biography

The Witch's origins, or even her true name, are unknown. She did, however, claim that she was of a divine race that knew neither age nor death, had been born in ancient times, and had been present when the Ruined City of the Ancient Giants was still standing. She may, therefore, have been connected with the fall of the city in the Witch Country, west of the Wild Lands of the North. She was apparently an ally (and possibly a frequent visitor) of the Gentle Giants who lived in Harfang. At some point she conquered the realm of Underland, and then the further lower realm of Bism, forcing the gnomes of Bism to serve her absolutely.

Underland

A map of Underland, the Witch's Realm

At some point the Witch set her sights on the southern realm of Narnia, deciding to take it for her very own. In the furtherance of that goal, she (as the Green Serpent) attacked and killed the Queen of Narnia, the wife of King Caspian X. When the Queen's son Prince Rilian rode out to avenge his mother, the Witch appeared to him in human form, seducing him and eventually persuading him to join her. Once he agreed to come to her, she set an enchantment on him so that he would forget his country and become entirely submissive to her. These events took place around 2335, when the prince was around twenty and newly knighted.

For ten years, the Witch kept Rilian under her spell. For one hour of every day, he would remember who he really was, and at these times she would bind him to an enchanted Silver Chair to prevent him from escaping. At the end of the hour, he would forget again, and then together they would plot to attack Narnia and take it for their own. During this time, the Witch also enchanted the Prince into asking her to marry him.

121

The Lady of the Green Kirtle in serpent form, trying to kill Rilian.

After ten years, their plans to burrow into the realm of Narnia and take it with an army of gnomes were nearly done. One day the Witch discovered three travelers, two humans and a marsh-wiggle, blindly attempting to rescue Rilian. She sent them away to the house of Harfang, knowing that the giants there would cook and devour them. A few days later, the Witch spent a night supervising the last of the diggings. Upon her return to her own city in Underland, she found Rilian free and aware of the true situation, and with him his rescuers, the two humans, Jill Pole and Eustace Scrubb, and Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle, who had escaped the giants.

She pretended to be welcoming, and tried at first to use magic to enchant them all, weakening their minds with the scent of magic powder and thrumming an instrument while asking impossible questions and twisting their answers. She was almost able to convince all four that there was no world other than her Underworld. However, after some time spent setting a spell, she was defeated by Puddleglum, who bravely stamped out her fire and soundly declared his and the human's minds free of her spell. Outraged, the Witch turned herself into a serpent again and attacked Rilian, but was hacked to pieces by the Prince, Eustace, and Puddleglum.

After her death, the gnomes were freed and returned to Bism, and the realm of Underland was turned into a local attraction for adventurous Narnians.

Appearance

The Witch was certainly beautiful and charming. At all times, she wore a fluttering poison green-colored dress. When she turned into a serpent she appeared to have poison-colored skin, as a result of the train of her dress becoming part of her during her transformation. Her voice and laugh are said to be lovely and trilling while she enchanted people.

Character

The Witch was both proud and shrewd, as many witches are. She seemed to have an air for dramatic spell-casting and enchantments, her plans being elaborate and ostentatious. She was extremely cruel and could be very dangerous when aroused. She had, however, much patience, and was able to control her emotions and reactions most of the time.

Skills/Powers

The Green Witch exhibited her own unique power, by being able to transform herself into a giant green serpent. She also possessed a mandolin-like instrument, which she used to produce a monotonous thrumming that made it hard for people to think clearly, causing its listeners to feel sleepy. A similar effect was also achieved by a green powder that she threw on the fire, which produced a sweet, drowsy smell. These two used together, along with her words, nearly caused Eustace, Jill, Rilian and Puddleglum to forget all about Narnia and England. She may have used the same combination of magic when she originally enslaved Rilian. However, her enchantment of Rilian was not lasting, and had to be renewed each night by binding him to the silver chair. Additionally, the Lady of the Green Kirtle did not age, although she could be killed by other means.

Appearances

  • The Silver Chair (book, appearance)
  • The Silver Chair (BBC TV Show, appearance)

Film Portrayals

Lady verde

Barbara Kellerman as Lady Green in the BBC version of The Silver Chair, 1990

  • In the BBC 1990 TV version of The Silver Chair, she was played by Barbara Kellerman, the same actress who played the White Witch.

Trivia

  • The Lady of the Green Kirtle is sometimes believed to have been Jadis, the White Witch, in a resurrected state. This theory is probably provoked by the fact that in the BBC television series, Jadis and the Lady of the Green Kirtle are both played by Barbara Kellerman, or because some editions of the Chronicles of Narnia say she appears in The Silver Chair in its character section.
  • In Prince Caspian, Nikabrik, the Hag and Werewolf believe that Jadis is resurrectable. Though Jadis was killed by Aslan, she had eaten an apple from the Tree of Youth, allowing her immortality. However, Aslan himself said that Jadis was dead, despite other factors. It is more probable that Jadis and the Lady of the Green Kirtle were separate beings, as their personalities, as well as appearances, were different: Jadis was more cold, dignified, and was physically pale, while the Lady of the Green Kirtle was obviously quite showy, certainly more bubbly, and altogether seemed to have much more "colour." The two are mentioned (as separate individuals) to both be "Northern Witches." This supports the theory that she might have had similar goals to Jadis, insofar as ruling over Narnia.
  • Her behavior is similar to that of a huldra from Norse mythology. The huldra is an alluring seductress who lures men underground. These men sometimes forget that they are human (like Rilian forgot he was a Narnian). Her appearance, however, is not like that of a huldra. They have cow or fox tails and/or a "hollow back."
  • She is like Morgana le Fay in the Arthurian Legend, as both are powerful sorceresses and transformed into a serpent before they were killed.
  • In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader 2010 film version, in the DVD commentary, it is confirmed that she is the one responsible for the Green Mist. The producers/directors mention that they needed a villain, and that it was never stated in the Silver Chair book whatever happened to all the people that went missing, looking for the prince. Plus, she had to have been bringing in people for a long time to dig that tunnel from her kingdom to Narnia.

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