- "I'm game if you are."
Adventures With Magic Rings
Digory's Uncle Andrew
Polly was born in 1889, in England. For her early life she lived in London, possibly in the Colney Hatch district. In 1900, she met Digory Kirke. Polly and Digory became friends, and frequently met to play together in the attic, which connected all of the row-houses on their block. They read books, had games, and play acted all sorts of things, until one day they decided to use the attic to try to get inside the empty house at the end of the row. Somehow, they must have miscounted the steps because they found themselves, by accident, in the study of Digory's Uncle Andrew.
Andrew had made a set of magic rings, which he believed could transport whoever wore them to another world. Uncle Andrew tricked Polly into trying on a ring, despite Digory's warning, causing her to disappear. Because a yellow ring, which Polly had, could only take a person away, and only a green ring could bring one back, Andrew blackmailed Digory into following after her with two green rings.
The Wood Between the Worlds
The two children then found themselves in a curious place that has become known as the Wood Between the Worlds. In this place there were many trees, but also many small, perfectly round pools of water, each one looking exactly the same. There was no night or day here, and time did not seem to exist.
It was through one of these pools, which led back to Earth, that Polly and Digory had reached this place. Curiosity getting the better of them, they agreed to try another pool, and see where it led.
Fortunately, Polly thought just in time to mark the pool, which they knew would lead back to their own world, before they left. Otherwise they could have remained in the Woods forever, trying pool after pool, and never getting back to Earth. Digory took his knife and scrapped the turf along the edge of the pool away, revealing a rich dark soil so that they would know which way was home.
Digory gave Polly the second green ring, and explained to her exactly how they worked. Together they chose a pool, and holding hands they jumped into it. When they came up, they were in the world of Charn. Nearby they found a hall full of people, but they did not move or breathe, and looked as if they were stone. All were dressed in rich garments, were marginally taller than humans, and had faces both grave and beautiful. At the front of the hall was a golden bell on a stand, with a mallet resting nearby, and an inscription that read: -
Make your choice, adventurous Stranger;
Strike the bell and bide the danger,
Or wonder, til it drives you mad,
What would have followed if you had.
Polly, who was uncomfortable with the whole thing, expressed her desire to leave with the yellow rings, and not worry anymore with the bell. Digory, however, could not resist. Holding Polly back by the wrist, he reached out with his other hand and struck it. The sound of it was clear and sweet, but it did not die out. Instead it grew louder and louder until it filled their ears, and indeed the entire hall.
Just when the two of them thought that it was over, a voice that did not belong to them spoke. It was a woman, who had been as still as the others, but had sat a bit taller. Now she was awake. Her name was Jadis, and she told the children the story of how she and her sister had fought over the rule of the City of Charn, until Jadis had learned the Deplorable Word, and used it to destroy every living thing in her world, except for her.
The two children did not like the sound of this, but they had made the mistake of telling her that they came from another world, and she had deduced that theirs was younger, and that she wanted to go there. As soon as their hands were free, they tried the rings and were in the woods, but Jadis had come along by grabbing onto Polly's hair. In the Woods, Jadis lost all of her power and beauty, so much so that the two children were stronger than her. As they were jumping into the pool back to Earth, Jadis managed to grab on to Digory's ear, and thus she came into London.
Chaos in London
Once she left the woods, her weakness was gone. On Earth, Jadis was stronger, more beautiful and more powerful than she was even in her own world. Because of the plainness of Uncle Andrew's study around her, she seemed exceedingly more so.
Andrew was terrified of her, as once she realised that he was no proper sorcerer, she claimed him as her slave. She ordered him to call a "chariot" for her, one drawn by a dragon, and when it arrived, a small riot took place in the street. Jadis ripped a lamppost in half with her bare hands, which she kept a hold of, and several people were all caught up with one another, leading the children to realise that they had to stop the Witch.
Digory ran to her, while Polly held onto him and managed the ring, transporting them all back to the Woods. When they reached there, they saw they had brought not only Jadis with them, but Uncle Andrew, the Cabby, and the Cabby's horse, Strawberry, as well. Switching quickly to the green rings, they planned to take Jadis back to Charn. However, when they arrived, they found the place utterly dark, and Jadis herself clarified that they were not in Charn, but in some kind of nothing, where there was only darkness.
Suddenly, out of the darkness, a voice began singing. It grew stronger and louder, and was joined by many more voices. Soon, they saw a great Lion, and Jadis was so infuriated that she threw the iron bar she had taken from the lamppost at him. It hit square between his eyes, but bounced harmlessly away to the ground, where it grew into a new lamppost, and in the future that whole area around it would be known as Lantern Waste.
They all watched, enraptured as the Lion sang, and things came up from all around them, a bright round sun, green things, and animals. The Lion they learned was Aslan, and he gave the beasts around him the gift of speech, and the land for themselves, so they could love and think. He named the country Narnia.
Many other things happened while they were in Narnia, not the least of which was when Aslan banished Jadis to the furthest reaches of the land, or that Strawberry became a talking horse, and was even given wings, so his name was changed to Fledge. The Cabby was not left out either, for his name was Frank, and he became the first King of Narnia, under Aslan.
As for the children, Polly and Digory traveled on the back of Fledge to a walled garden in the Western Wild, to retrieve a magical silver apple. This apple, once it was planted, grew into a tree that would protect the young land of Narnia from Jadis.
Polly and Digory were then returned to England, where they remained friends for the rest of their lives.
The Seven Friends of Narnia
Over the following decades in England, Polly became an elderly woman. She maintained contact with the other Friends of Narnia, and was present with them when the apparition of Narnia's King Tirian appeared to them at dinner.
She had little part to play in what happened after, but was waiting with Lucy, Jill, and Eustace for Peter and Edmund to return with the rings that the youngest of them would use to try and get back into Narnia. Thus, she was involved in the train accident, and sent to the green field along with the others.
The field, they found later, was part of Aslan's Country, and there Polly was a young woman again. Digory also regained much of his youth, and before long all of the Seven Friends were reunited with old Narnian's next to whom they had fought, and some of whom they had watched die.
Aslan told them all of the railway crash, and explained that this meant they would stay in this country for as long as they wished. In this way, it is explained, the end of Narnia was only the beginning of the many more adventures that awaited them.
In the upcoming Broadway musical, the role will be played by Julia Udine.