- "And soon after that a very strange person stepped out from among the trees into the light of the Lamp-post."
- ―Chapter one[src]
Tumnus - affectionately known as "Mr. Tumnus" and later as "Master Tumnus" - was a male Faun, a former servant of the White Witch, and later, a high official in Narnia during the Golden Age. He was the first Narnian encountered by Lucy Pevensie when she came through the wardrobe, and the two struck up an immediate friendship.
Tumnus was described as being just a little taller than Lucy. Like any Faun, he had the legs of a goat, which were covered with curly, glossy black hair, and he had a tail. His upper body was that of a man, with reddish skin.
He wore a red woollen muffler round his neck, and had a strange but pleasant little face, with a short pointed beard.
BiographyTumnus was the son of a Faun who fought against the White Witch.
It's unknown exactly when his father did this, as he may have fought during the Age of Winter, or, because Fauns are said to have long life-spans, he may have fought against her army when she first conquered Narnia itself.
Tumnus didn't believe he and his father were alike in any way. It's likely he said this because his father was willing to give his life for the freedom of Narnia, while Tumnus at the time was working for Jadis. The two, however, looked very much alike.
Along with many other Narnians, Tumnus was bent by fear to obey the laws of the White Witch Jadis, one of which was to inform her of, or deliver to her, any Daughters of Eve or Sons of Adam that were found in Narnia. This was to prevent the fulfilment of the Golden Age Prophecy, which the Witch knew meant her downfall.
Although Tumnus resented the rule of the Witch, he was afraid to disobey her. He planned to lull Lucy to sleep, kidnap her, and take her to the Witch.Lucy and Tumnus had tea, afterwards he played her a tune on his Narnian flute, of which he was quite an accomplished player, and she nodded off. However, he could not go through with the immoral plan.
His talk with Lucy made him realize what a heinous act it would be to betray her. Bursting into tears, he apologized to Lucy, told her about the Witch, and risked his life to help her escape back through the Wardrobe to Earth.
Lucy visited Tumnus again on her second visit to Narnia, and inadvertently brought her brother, Edmund Pevensie, with her.
Unfortunately, Edmund ended up meeting the White Witch, and unwittingly told her everything about Tumnus helping Lucy escape...etc.
After she dealt with Edmund, she sent her police to arrest Tumnus. He was taken to the Witch's castle for a supposed "trial".
When the four Pevensie children arrived in Narnia together, they visited Tumnus' home and found it trashed, but also that a foreboding note had been left.
"The former occupant of these premises, the Faun Tumnus, is under arrest and awaiting his trial on a charge of High Treason against her Imperial Majesty Jadis, Queen of Narnia, Chatelaine of Cair Paravel, Empress of the Lone Islands, etc., also of comforting her said Majesty's enemies, harboring spies and fraternizing with humans.'
Signed MAUGRIM, Captain of the Secret Police, LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!"
It is unknown what Tumnus' trial consisted of, or if he ever truly received one, though it is known that Jadis turned him to stone.
Tumnus was rescued and 'unpetrified' by Aslan when, after his resurrection, he liberated the Witch's castle and 'unpetrified' all the Narnians in it who had been turned to stone, by breathing on them.
Tumnus may have fought in the First Battle of Beruna, though he may also have supported the Narnian revolutionaries in other ways. He remained a close friend of the four Pevensie monarchs throughout the Golden Age.Tumnus served as advisor in the Narnia court, and travelled with King Edmund and Queen Susan while the two monarchs were visiting Tashbaan to arrange a possible alliance with the Tisroc family. When the situation in Tashbaan became dangerous, when Prince Rabadash fell in love with and demanded Susan to marry him, Tumnus helped plan their escape upon their ship, the Splendor Hyaline, which they used to return to Narnia.
The last reference to him, is him giving his reported sighting of the White Stag, which initiated the hunt that resulted in the four Pevensies' disappearances from Narnia (having returned to Earth).
He reunited with Lucy and the rest in Aslan's Country, after Narnia was destroyed.
Tumnus’ age at any given point in his story is difficult to determine, and it was never explicitly stated how long fauns typically live. A number of clues are offered, but lead to no solid conclusions:
- When Tumnus first encountered Lucy Pevensie, he was not certain what she was, and said that he had never met a human before.
- It wasn’t clear if he was telling the truth, or whether his curiosity was a tactic to gain Lucy’s trust, but it offers a hint to his age- if there were no humans in Narnia during the Age of Winter (something later implied by Mr. Beaver), it’s possible that Tumnus was over a hundred years old at the time.
- Tumnus regaled Lucy with stories of the nighttime feasts and festivals held in Narnia before the White Witch came to power.
- Although it’s possible that he never experienced such festivities himself and was simply repeating what he had heard from others, he does describe them in quite vivid detail, hinting that he personally participated. If this is true, then it would confirm that he was indeed over a hundred years old at the time.
- By the end of the Golden Age, when the Pevensie monarchs disappeared from Narnia, Tumnus was noted as being a “middle-aged faun”, but his exact years were not stated.
- In the BBC adaption, Tumnus is played by actor Jeffrey S. Perry.
- In the The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe film, Tumnus is played by actor James McAvoy.
- In the book, it was Mr. Beaver who told the Pevensies that Aslan would return to them someday, and that he was no tame lion. But in the LWW film, it was Tumnus who said it.