Susan Pevensie (1928-?) was the second-born of the Pevensie children (after Peter), and was the eldest sister. She was known to the Narnians as Queen Susan the Gentle, and was known to be logical (to the point of being stubborn), motherly, and more serious than her sister, Lucy.
During her reign at the Narnian capital of Cair Paravel, she was also known as Queen Susan of the Horn.
BiographySusan was well known for her great beauty, and her incredible archery skills. She was headstrong, talented and intelligent. During the Golden Age, she was courted by many princes of neighboring countries, including Prince Rabadash of Calormen.
After the Pevensie's second visit to Narnia, she was told that she would never again return. During this last visit, there were some indications that Susan was having trouble believing in Narnia. She was the last of the children to believe and see Aslan during the nighttime hike to Aslan's How, and when she finally saw him, he told her she had been "listening to fears", and comforted her.
However, once she was back on Earth, she began to convince herself that Narnia was just a game, and she thought her siblings were silly to continue entertaining such childhood fantasies.
ChildhoodSusan was born in 1928. When she was two, her brother Edmund was born, and when she was four, in 1932, her youngest sibling Lucy was born. It is likely that in 1937, at the age of nine, she began attending a boarding school away from home.
In 1940, when Susan was twelve, World War II began, and the elder Pevensies, who lived in London, sent all four of their children away to to escape the German Blitz bombings over the city. Susan and her siblings were sent to stay in the country with Professor Digory Kirke.
The first morning after the children were at the house, Susan's sister Lucy claimed that she had visited a magical land called Narnia, and Susan and her elder brother Peter began to fear that she might be going insane.
The Winter RebellionSusan's fears were laid to rest, however, when all four of the Pevensie children stepped through a magic wardrobe into a wintry forest, proving Lucy's claims to be factual.
Lucy took them to see Mr. Tumnus, a faun she had befriended on her first visit, but they found his home ransacked, with a warrant for his arrest on the door. The four children then followed a bird into the forest, and met a talking Mr. Beaver. The beaver told them that Mr. Tumnus had been arrested by the usurping Queen of Narnia, The White Witch, who had declared all humans outlawed.
Mr. Beaver invited the children to his dam for dinner, and Susan's objections about going off with strangers were over-ruled by her siblings' desire for food, and their instinct that Mr. Beaver was kind.After a delicious dinner with Mr. Beaver and his wife, Mr. Beaver explained the sorry state of Narnia: the White Witch had usurped its throne, and used magic to make it always winter and never Christmas. He also told them that Aslan, the great King of Narnia, was coming to overthrow the Witch, and that it had been prophesied that they would become the next kings and queens of Narnia.
In the middle of this discussion, though, Edmund had mysteriously vanished. Fearing (correctly) that he had gone to betray them to the Witch, the Beavers and the three children set out to join Aslan's Army at the Stone Table.
During their journey, the travelers met with Father Christmas, who gave each of them royal gifts to recognize their coming. Susan was given a bow and arrows, along with a magical horn, which would bring help to anyone who blew it, wherever they were.Shortly afterward, Peter, Susan, Lucy and the Beavers reached the Stone Table, and met Aslan. Soon after they arrived, Susan and Lucy were attacked by a talking wolf, Maugrim, who was the head captain of the Witch's Secret Police. Despite nearly fainting with fright, Susan blew her horn, to summon help. Peter heard it and ran to her, killing the wolf in his first battle ever. After Maugrim was slain, a second wolf fled, and Aslan sent some of his soldiers to follow it, in the hope that it would lead them to Edmund, which it did. And for Peter's courageous gallantry, he was knighted Sir Peter Wolf's-Bane, in his sister's presence.
The following morning, a rescue party returned from the White Witch's camp, bringing Edmund with them. He was penitent for his betrayal, and all four of them made up.
That same day, the Witch visited Aslan's camp, and claimed Edmund as her "lawful prey", according to the Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time. After holding a private counsel with Aslan, though, she renounced her claim and departed. Aslan immediately ordered that the camp be moved away from the Stone Table, telling everyone that "it will be wanted for other purposes tonight." Susan noticed that Aslan looked sad throughout the rest of the day.
At dawn, they were startled to see the entire table crack into two pieces, as Aslan's body vanished. Moments later, he reappeared, living again, and joyfully declared to them that he had been resurrected by Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time. Aslan then took the girls onto his back, and carried them to the White Witch's castle, in order to release the creatures the witch had turned to stone.After freeing the oppressed, the group returned to the Fords of Beruna, where Peter, Edmund and the Narnians were waging battle against the Witch and her army. Susan fought briefly in the last moments of this battle, and witnessed her brother Edmund's knighting.
After the battle, a Narnian victory, the Narnians traveled east to the castle of Cair Paravel, where Susan was crowned by Aslan as "Queen Susan the Gentle" a few days later.
This took place in 1000 NT, and she and her siblings shared rule of Narnia for the next fifteen years.
Golden Age of NarniaThe period of their reign was known as the Golden Age of Narnia, and Susan was well-loved by her subjects, and had many foreign suitors. Their reign was one mostly of peace, and they enjoyed many banquets, feasts and jousts.
In 1014, Susan recieved a proposal of marriage from Prince Rabadash of Calormene. She and Edmund together visited Rabadash to consider his proposal, but while they were there, they discovered that he was proud, rash and cruel. However, they realised that if they were to simply refuse his proposal, the prince would make her his wife by force. They cleverly devised a plot to escape the city, and sailed back to Cair Paravel, but upon their arrival, they were informed that an enraged Rabadash was marching to attack their ally Archenland.
King Edmund, now grown and a skilled warrior, marched to Archenland's capital, Anvard, with Queen Lucy and an army, while Susan remained behind to rule and defend Narnia in their absence.
After living another year in Narnia, the four monarchs heard news of a magical White Stag in the Lantern Waste, which would give you wishes if you caught him. The Kings and Queens set out to hunt it, and came across the Lamp-post near the wardrobe door, which brought back memories of their life in England. They followed the path to the wardrobe door, and found themselves back in the professor's house, and returned to their young ages again.
1940-1941The children discovered that because Narnian Time is different from ours, their fifteen-year reign in Narnia had not taken any time at all on Earth. They told only the old Professor, with whom they had been staying with (although the children did not know this at the time, he had also visited Narnia as a child).
That autumn, Susan returned to boarding school, and the following year, Lucy prepared to enroll in as well. All four siblings set out for their respective schools, only to be involuntarily pulled back into Narnia on the way.
War of DeliveranceThe four found themselves in an unknown forest on an island. After some exploration, they found the ruins of an ancient castle, and that night, as her siblings prepared to go to sleep, Susan found a well nearby, and a golden chess-piece, which exactly resembled the chess-pieces the four of them had played with during their reign.
This and other discoveries led them to conclude that they were indeed at their old castle of Cair Paravel. They then uncovered the long lost Treasure Room, proving their theory, and armed themselves with weapons. Susan found the bow that Father Christmas had given her, but she had lost her magic horn in the forest during her hunt for the White Stag.
The next day, the four came upon two soldiers trying to drown a dwarf. Immediately firing two arrows, Susan frightened away the soldiers, and she and Peter dove into the water to rescue the dwarf and the boat. After bringing him to land, they asked for the dwarf's story.The dwarf told them that, to them, it had been 1300 Narnian Years since the Golden Age. Telmarines had since conquered Narnia, and driven the Narnians into hiding. The dwarf explained that the Narnians were being led in war against the Telmarines by King Caspian X, the young nephew of the Telmarine usurper Miraz.
Caspian had been given Susan's magic horn, and had blown it, magically calling the four children back to Narnia. The dwarf, Trumpkin, was a scout sent to bring them to the prince.After the children convinced Trumpkin that they would be useful in battle, despite their apparent young ages, through several contests (including an archery contest between Trumpkin and Susan, which she won), the Pevensies and Trumpkin set out to find Caspian. The group got lost several times.
Once, Lucy saw Aslan and tried to get the others to follow him. Her companions, especially Susan, decided against it, and after meeting with several dangers, were forced to turn around and go back the way they had come. That night, Lucy saw Aslan again, and woke her reluctant siblings--who couldn't see the lion--and led them toward him.
The four arrived at Caspian's camp at Aslan's How (formerly the site of the Stone Table), where they split up. Aslan, Susan and Lucy went to wake the hibernating tree-spirits, and bring them to war. After rousing the forests and being joined by Bacchus, Silenus and many Maenads, they entered the city of Beruna. Most of the people who saw them fled, but a few joined them. Shortly thereafter, Susan witnessed the Second Battle of Beruna from afar, though she did not participate.At the end of the battle, the Telmarines surrendered to the Narnians.
After meeting Aslan and the two Queens, Caspian was made a knight, and a few days later, Aslan privately told Peter and Susan that they would never return to Narnia.
At a public assembly later that day, he allowed many of the Telmarines the choice to return to the island on Earth, from which their ancestors had originally come from, having magically stumbled into the world of Narnia.
Susan and Peter led their siblings and many Telmarines through a magic portal back to Earth.
1941-1949The siblings again found that no time had passed on Earth, and accordingly returned to their respective boarding schools. A year after her return from her second visit to Narnia, Susan went on a trip with her parents to America during the summer of 1942.
In 1949, when Susan was twenty-one, her entire family (along with her cousin Eustace Scrubb and several family friends) were killed in a train wreck. Susan herself was not present during the accident and thus survived, but by this time she had forgotten all about Narnia and considered it only a childhood game.
C.S.Lewis had planned to write a book called Susan of Narnia, to reveal what became of Susan after 1949. Unfortunately, Lewis died before he could start writing.
- "Oh, Susan! She's interested in nothing nowadays except nylons and lipstick and invitations. She always was a jolly sight too keen on being grown-up."
"Grown-up, indeed. I wish she would grow up. She wasted all her school time wanting to be the age she is now, and she'll waste all the rest of her life trying to stay that age. Her whole idea is to race on to the silliest time of one's life as quick as she can and then stop there as long as she can."
- ―Jill Pole and Polly Plummer [src]
Susan was practical, motherly, and bossy as a child. Her practical and intelligent nature kept her from some of the child-like imagination, which came more easily to her siblings. She found it hard to believe in the supernatural without the evidence of her senses, and eventually forgot about Narnia altogether.
Susan, true to the title Aslan gave her at her coronation, was very gentle. She did not enjoy her archery match with Trumpkin very much, not because she had any doubt about winning, but because her sweet nature did not like to beat someone who had been beaten already.
When she and her siblings were confronted by a wild Narnian bear, shortly before the War of Deliverance, she hesitated because she was afraid it might be a talking bear. She hated killing things, and stayed as far away as possible from the messy and gory business of skinning meat.
As she grew up, Susan became more and more superficial, and more concerned with her appearance and social life. Later on she forgot about Narnia altogether, deeming it only as a children's game. Because of this Susan never returned to Narina, although this is partially because, unlike her siblings, she did not die in the train accident. CS Lewis did admit that Susan might actually still remember the truth about Narina and could still come back if she admitted to believing, leaving the door wide open and uncertain in regards to her fate.
Skills and abilities
- Archery: Susan was a gifted archer, only partially due to her magic bow. She was hesitant to kill, and rarely went to war, though her aim was marvelous and she is very fierce in battle and extremely protective of the people she loves. It can be assumed that if Cair Paravel was attacked at any point during a war, it would be well-defended by its Queen.
- Swimming: Susan was also a great swimmer; she won prizes for the sport at school, and she used her skills to save Trumpkin from drowning.
- "She's interested in nothing nowadays except nylons and lipstick and invitations. She always was a jolly sight too keen on being grown-up."
"Grown-up, indeed. I wish she 'would' grow up. She wasted all her school time wanting to be the age she is now, and she'll waste all the rest of her life trying to stay that age."
- ―Jill Pole and Polly Plummer (Chapter 12)[src]
Susan was tall and graceful, and considered to be the more beautiful one of her family, with bright blue eyes and long black hair that fell to her waist.
She had many suitors as queen of Narnia, and grown-ups in England always considered her the pretty one of the family.
As she reached adulthood, her hair fell to her feet, but she also got very concerned with her appearance.
Actresses who portrayed Susan
- In the 2005 Disney/Walden Media film of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, as well as the 2008 sequel Prince Caspian, Susan is portrayed by Anna Popplewell and, as an adult, by Sophie Winkleman.
- Anna Popplewell also makes a cameo appearance in the 2010 film of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
- In the 1988 BBC television adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, as well as the 1989 sequel, Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Susan is portrayed by Sophie Cook.
- In the 1979 animated adaptation, Susan is voiced by Susan Sokol.
- In the 1967 version, Susan Pevensie was portrayed by Zuleika Robson.
In the BBC serials, Susan has blonde hair, rather than black hair. She is, however, quite true to her character throughout the series.
In the Disney-Walden adaptations, Susan is shown to have brown hair, rather than black, as portrayed in the books. She is also at least two years older than her book counterpart.
In the Prince Caspian film, a romantic subplot is included between Susan and Caspian, culminating in a good-bye kiss before her departure.
Despite the fact that Susan is known as "the Gentle", and it is stated that she does not go into battle in the book, Susan is shown actively participating in at least two battles in the Prince Caspian film; the Telmarine Castle Night Raid, and the Battle of Aslan's How.
- Chronicles of Narnia - Susan Pevensie. Analysis of the character Susan within the context of the series. Aimed for younger folk.
- Christian response to criticisms of Lewis
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (book, appearance)
- Prince Caspian (book, appearance)
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (book, mentioned)
- The Horse and His Boy (book, appearance)
- The Last Battle (book, mentioned)
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (BBC serial) (1988 TV, appearance)
- Prince Caspian & The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (BBC serial) (1989 TV, appearance)
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (film) (2005, appearance)
- The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (film) (2008, appearance)
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (film) (2010, appearance)
|House of Pevensie|
|Preceded by||King of Narnia||Succeeded by|
|Jadis||1000–1015||unknown, eventually Swanwhite II|
| "Well done, son of Adam. For this fruit you have hungered and thirsted and wept."
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