Edmund Pevensie

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Edmund Pevensie
Narnia character
Skandar Keynes as Edmund Pevensie (2008).jpg
Race Human
Nation England
Gender Male
Title Edmund the Just, King of Narnia
Duke of Lantern Waste
Count of the Western March
Knight of the Noble Order of the Table
Birthplace England, Earth
Family
Parents Mr & Mrs Pevensie
Siblings Peter, Susan and Lucy Pevensie
Family Eustace Scrubb (cousin)
Major character in
Portrayals in adaptations
1988 BBC miniseries: Jonathan R. Scott, Charles Ponting (older)
2005 Walden/Disney film: Skandar Keynes, Mark Wells (older)
2008 Walden/Disney film: Skandar Keynes
2010 Walden/Fox film: Skandar Keynes

Edmund "Ed" Pevensie is a fictional character in C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia series. He is a principal character in three of the seven books (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader), and a lesser character in two others (The Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle).

In the live-action films, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Edmund is portrayed by actor Skandar Keynes. Actor Mark Wells portrays an older Edmund at the end of the first film.

In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Edmund betrays his siblings to the White Witch while under her influence, but as the story goes on, he accepts the error of his ways. He is redeemed with the intervention of Aslan and joins the fight against the witch. Fulfilling an ancient prophecy, he becomes King Edmund the Just, King of Narnia and, with sisters Susan and Lucy, co-ruler under High King Peter. Edmund is described in one book in a scene in Tashbaan as being part of a group of men 'as fair-skinned as [Shasta], and most of them had fair hair',[1] although whether Edmund is one of the fair haired ones is not clear. Certainly in the illustrations of him in the final book [2] he is drawn as having fair hair.

Name[edit]

Edmund (from Anglo-Saxon, Eadmund, derived from words meaning wealth and protection) is a male given name.

Pevensie takes perhaps after Pevensey, on the southeast coast of England, which is the site of a medieval castle that figures importantly in British history at several points—primarily, indeed, as the site where Duke William of Normandy (William the Conqueror) arrived in England during the Norman invasion in 1066; He would go on to become the King of the English after his decisive 1066 victory over Harold II Godwinson in the Battle of Hastings. In Rudyard Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill (1907) at least one of the characters refers to Pevensey as "England's Gate", which the celebrated wardrobe in Lewis's books quite literally becomes. The surname "Pevensie" does not actually appear in the Chronicles until the third published book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Biography[edit]

Prior story[edit]

Edmund was born in 1930 and (according to the film series)lived in Finchley, England, and he is 10 years old when he appears in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. By The Last Battle he is 19 years old.

Characteristics[edit]

Though Lucy is specifically described as being "golden haired",[3] she, Susan, and Peter are depicted in the illustrations with dark hair, while Edmund is usually blond. By contrast, in the most recent film adaptions Edmund is played by British actor Skandar Keynes, who is of both Lebanese and Turkish ancestry; he therefore is depicted as having darker hair and eyes than all of his siblings.

Edmund is the most developed character in the series, beginning as a spiteful and mean-spirited boy in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. By the end of the book, and throughout the rest of the series, Edmund is seen to be loyal, courageous, logical, and mature. In his adult life, as a king of Narnia, it is revealed that he handles many of Narnia's negotiations and transactions, as seen in The Horse and His Boy when Shasta runs into Edmund in Tashbaan the capital city of in Calormen, where he has accompanied Susan to discuss a marriage proposal from Prince Rabadash. Edmund becomes protective particularly of Lucy, and acts as a voice of reason to Peter, who is more apt to become carried away.

On his return to Narnia in Prince Caspian, he makes friendships with with both Prince Caspian and Reepicheep, which develop further in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Edmund is haunted by his betrayal in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe throughout the rest of the series. This is more evident in the films, in which Edmund personally foils the White Witch's return and he is tempted by her on an the Dark Island upon which a person's worst fears are revealed.

Edmund is one of the most well developed characters in the books by virtue of his moral and spiritual journey from traitor to King, to serious and trustworthy young man. His role and presence in the books varies but overall his character is serious. He acts as confidante and confessor to his cousin Eustace in the novel The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, as negotiator and counsellor for his sister Susan and warleader for Narnia in scenes in the novel The Horse and His Boy. In the movie series, he provides some of the comic relief, along with characters such as Reepicheep and the Beavers.

His popular name is King Edmund the Just, but at the end of the letter sent to Miraz in the novel Prince Caspian his official title is: "Duke of Lantern Waste and Count of the Western March, Knight of the Noble Order of the Table". In the movie version of The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe he is simply crowned the "King Edmund of The Great Western Woods".

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe[edit]

In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Edmund is one of the main characters, at the age of 10 years old, and the character who develops the most over the course of story.

It is implied in the book that Edmund started life as a likeable person, but then changed for the worse and began to act meanly after attending a new school. However, in the 2005 film adaptation of the book, it is implied that he is upset that their father was forced to serve in the war and that they are sent away from home as a result. In the 1988 BBC version, the reason for his change in behavior is not mentioned.

Edmund makes unjust and hurtful comments to Lucy when she first finds the entrance to Narnia through the wardrobe, and is the second of the Pevensie children to go to Narnia, after following Lucy to mock her during a game of hide and seek.

He walks some distance into the forest, convinced that he will find Lucy, but instead he meets the White Witch (who introduces herself as the Queen of Narnia) and eats some enchanted Turkish delight, which causes an addiction in the person who eats it. As a result, he promises the Witch that he will bring his siblings to her castle, not knowing that she intends to kill them all to prevent the fulfillment of a Narnian prophecy. Lucy did mention the White Witch in a subsequent conversation and Edmund realised that the witch was none other than the "Queen of Narnia", but the magic of the Turkish Delight was so strong that he was determined to go back to her for more.

Upon returning, he denies having been in Narnia, not wishing to admit that Lucy's story had been true.

It is when all four of the Pevensie children later go through the wardrobe that he lets slip that he has been in Narnia before. He and the other three children are taken under protection of Mr and Mrs Beaver, but while the others are having an in-depth conversation about the arrival of Aslan, Edmund sneaks away to the White Witch's castle, where he expects to be made a prince and later a king.

However, his opinion of the Witch changes dramatically when her changed demeanor in her own home becomes obvious. She harshly berates him for coming alone, only offers him hard bread and cold water for his efforts, does not shelter him from the cold on her sledge and further demonstrates her cruelty when on their journey to the Stone Table, they encounter a group of creatures enjoying a feast provided by Father Christmas. When the creatures continue to affirm that Father Christmas is their benefactor and has entered the land, a clear sign of her waning power, she turns them to stone over the protests of Edmund. (In the 2005 film after Maugrim catches the fox which helped the beavers and the other three Pevensies elude him, the witch turns the fox to stone and hits Edmund for withholding information about Aslan and his army. In the 1988 BBC version, the scenario shown is the original that is portrayed in the book.)

He has now realized to his horror the evil with which he has allied himself, and would give anything to be with the others. The sledge eventually stalls as the snow melts (another sign of the witch's crumbling power), so they have to continue their journey on foot. They eventually stop in a wooded valley, where the Witch prepares to put him to death as a traitor. She ties Edmund to a tree and draws her knife, but a rescue party sent by Aslan arrives, frees him and brings him to his siblings and the rest of Aslan's army. Edmund becomes fully reformed after a long conversation with Aslan who afterward commands the Pevensies to consider the matter of their brother's misdeeds resolved.

The next day, the Witch arrives and reiterates her claim to Edmund's life. She and Aslan work out an agreement that Aslan will die in Edmund's place (though the other Narnians do not know this), but unknown to her, the magical nature of this contract allows Aslan to be brought back to life. Susan and Lucy witnessed Aslan's sacrifice and resurrection.

While Aslan and Edmund's sisters race to free the cursed prisoners in the Witch's castle, Edmund consolidates his reformation by aligning himself with Peter's army in battle, where he plays a critical role in neutralizing the White Witch's most dangerous advantage, her wand, and is gravely wounded in the attempt.

However, he is saved from death by the timely arrival of reinforcements led by Aslan, who leaps upon the Witch and kills her and by Lucy, who gives Edmund a dose of a magic cordial which can quickly heal any injury. The remnants of the enemy then either give themselves up or take to flight.

Eventually, a completely reformed Edmund Pevensie is crowned by Aslan as King Edmund, co-ruler of Narnia with Queen Lucy, Queen Susan and High King Peter, and is knighted as Duke of Lantern Waste, Count of the Western March, and Knight of the Noble Order of the Table.

After fifteen years in Narnia, he and his siblings return to England, where they all magically appear as children again.

Prince Caspian[edit]

Edmund and his siblings return to Narnia to aid Caspian, rightful King of Narnia, against King Miraz the Usurper. He convinces Trumpkin the dwarf that they are the Kings and Queens from the legend by defeating him in a sparring practice. He later helps Peter and Trumpkin defend Caspian against Nikabrik, a hag, and a werewolf, which Edmund kills. Edmund is also there to witness Peter's duel against Miraz. In the book Edmund is around 11 years old at the time of their return, but in the movie he is probably between 13 and 15 years of age.

He has since become more caring and protective of Lucy, and is the first person to believe her when she sees Aslan, supporting her against the disbelief of Trumpkin and her other siblings. Edmund is shown in a more positive light in this book than in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. His demeanor is more cooperative and loyal, even under the guidance of Peter, who is unprepared for the new Narnia and its current status. He rarely stands up to Peter openly but often subtly takes charge.

In the movie, Edmund proves to be much more mature than Peter and Caspian both, but he stays out of their arguments. Edmund is indispensable in all the battles, to Peter especially; sneaking into Miraz's castle ahead of the army to signal that it was safe to enter, and presenting Peter's proposition for a duel to Miraz and goading him into accepting, thereby buying them time. Also in the movie, he is able to stop the White Witch from being brought back from the dead by forcing his sword into the ice wall through which she is trying to re-enter Narnia and he smashes it. Peter continually robs Edmund of the credit he deserves by insisting, "I had it sorted." This does not appear to bother Edmund until halfway through the movie when, after preventing the White Witch's return, he says to Peter, "I know. You had it sorted," before walking away.

Edmund, along with Trumpkin, Reepicheep, and others, provides some comedic relief throughout the story.

In destroying the White Witch once again, it can be thought that Edmund has at last overcome his dark past with her, which seemingly everyone but him has long since forgotten. It can also be thought that Edmund's repeated heroism and nobility is an attempt at compensating for betraying his siblings, regardless of whether or not they still hold it against him.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader[edit]

Edmund, Lucy and their cousin Eustace enter the world of Narnia through a magic painting, and end up in the ocean. They are rescued and brought on board the Dawn Treader, where they are reunited with King Caspian, who is on a quest to search for the missing Lords that his uncle had sent to explore other lands some years before. This is Edmund and Lucy's last adventure in the world of Narnia since Aslan told them they were getting too old to come back. By this point Edmund's character has matured a great deal which can be seen in the way he deals with his cousin Eustace and in the power struggle with Caspian. Edmund and Lucy are noticeably close in this installment, as can be seen in the way they defend each other against Eustace. When Eustace changes his behavior after being changed back from a dragon, Edmund mentions his own betrayal and says that Eustace was not worse than he was.

In the book Edmund is around 12 or 13 at the time of their return, but in the movie he appears to be between 15–17 years of age.

In the 2010 film, Edmund is haunted by a green mist in the form of the White Witch and becomes jealous of Caspian's status as the current Narnian king (being overruled by him). He and Caspian become violent at one point, over the enchanted pool that turns everything submerged in it to gold, which Lucy quickly breaks up and reprimands them both for. After this, Edmund no longer appears to be bothered by Caspian's status as king. He is also greatly distressed when the Dufflepuds appear to have taken Lucy, and when he believes Eustace to have been eaten by a dragon, which shows the deep affection and sense of protection he has for his family. He is also the person who imagines and defeats the sea serpent, and helps Caspian to rescue the slaves from Narrowhaven slave market on the island of Doorn.

At the end of the film Edmund is more composed than Lucy when it is revealed they will not be returning, and consoles her, saying that it may be time anyway; while he is obviously deeply moved and distressed, it is clear that he suspected this would be the case. In the very last scene, back in England, he looks back and grins knowingly at Eustace, which suggests a camaraderie between the two that had not been there before.

The Horse and His Boy[edit]

King Edmund, Queen Susan and Tumnus the Faun are visitors in the country of Calormen, where Prince Rabadash wants to force Susan to marry him. Mistaking Shasta for the missing Prince Corin of Archenland, Narnia's ally, Edmund scolds the young boy for running off and making everyone worry. The Narnians manage to escape thanks to Mr. Tumnus' clever plan, which leads Rabadash to convince his father that they should take Narnia by invading Archenland.

Shasta meets King Edmund once again in Anvard. Edmund gently reminds Shasta that he should not eavesdrop, but is clear that all is well. Edmund and King Lune of Archenland lead the fight against the Calormene army and defeat them.

Edmund's own redemption lends him perspective during the judgment of Rabadash; despite the fact that Rabadash has acted treacherously, Edmund argues against killing him, saying "Even a traitor may mend. I have known one who did."

The Last Battle[edit]

After seeing a vision of King Tirian of Narnia pleading for their help in England, Peter and Edmund go to the Ketterleys' old home in London to dig up the magic rings that Professor Kirke buried in the yard as a boy in The Magician's Nephew to be used by Eustace and Jill to reach Narnia. They are waiting for the others at the train platform when the accident happens.

When King Tirian sees the Seven Friends of Narnia in his dream/vision, he thinks that, as with Peter, that Edmund 'had already the face of a King and a warrior'.

Edmund accompanies everyone, except Susan, into Aslan's country. Like his brother and younger sister, he is killed in the train crash and is transferred to Aslan's country, where they all live forever.

Portrayals[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lewis, C.S., "The Horse and His Boy", p. 61
  2. ^ Lewis, C.S., "The Last Battle" p.134
  3. ^ Lewis, C.S., "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" p.181
  • Ford, Paul (2005), Edmund Pevensie (in The Companion to Narnia: A Complete Guide to the Magical World of C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia), HarperSanFrancisco, ISBN 0-06-079127-6 

External links[edit]