First Battle of Beruna
|Battle of Beruna|
The First Battle of Beruna as depicted in the 2005 film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
|Great Army of Narnia||Army of the White Witch|
|Commanders and leaders|
|White Witch †
General Otmin †
|Casualties and losses|
|Unknown||Unknown, but heavy|
The First Battle of Beruna is a fictional battle in C. S. Lewis' fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia. It is fought in Narnia at the edges of the Great River near the Fords of Beruna, in the year 1000 according to Lewis' Narnian timeline. It is the climactic battle of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
The Battle is not named in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. It is first called the "Battle of Beruna" in Prince Caspian. The word "first" has been added by Narnia scholars to distinguish from a later battle fought at Beruna in Prince Caspian, first called the Second Battle of Beruna in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Depiction in the book
The battle is fought between the Narnians (led by Peter Pevensie) and the army of the White Witch, following the apparent demise of the great Narnian leader, Aslan. The White Witch's army includes monstrous creatures such as minotaurs, werewolves, and hags. Peter's force is comparatively minor, and prominently represents the races of talking animal, faun, satyr, nymph, unicorn and centaur.
It seemed to Lucy as if the Witch held the upper edge in the battle, petrifying many of Aslan's army with her wand, until the arrival of Aslan's reinforcements. However, at Lewis' first description of the battle scene, the Witch is no longer using her wand (which was revealed to have been broken by Edmund) but using instead her Stone Knife (which she had killed Aslan with the night before). At this point, the White Witch is engaged in a fight with Peter. Suddenly, the newly arisen Aslan, along with Peter's sisters Susan and Lucy, arrives with auxiliaries from amongst those formerly petrified by the White Witch's wand, now restored by Aslan.
At once they invade the battleground and begin to wipe out the remainder of the Witch's forces. While some of the White Witch's army are trampled by the charging reinforcements, those that came with Aslan use their own ways of fighting: dwarves use their battle axes, dogs use their teeth, Rumblebuffin the giant uses his club (and steps on some of the enemy), centaurs use their swords, and unicorns use their horns. Then, Aslan kills the White Witch. When she is discovered dead, one-half of the surviving part of the White Witch's army surrenders and the other surviving half flees (they were later mentioned to have been exterminated sometime after the Pevensie Children's coronation).
At the conclusion of the battle, Lucy uses her Christmas gift, a potion that can heal any wound, on Edmund, who was found under the care of Mrs. Beaver covered in blood, his mouth open, and his face a "nasty green color". Aslan urges her to repair all the injured soldiers on the field to good health, which she does, while he restores all those petrified. The next day, Aslan crowns the four children Kings and Queens of Narnia and Peter the High King.
Depiction in film
1979 Animated Film
Following the death of Aslan, the White Witch had some of her army be on guard duty along the ridge while the rest slept. When it cuts back to the camp, the battle had already begun with each fighter locked in combat.
When the shot returns to the battle, the White Witch starts turning some of the creatures on Aslan's side to stone. Edmund makes his way toward the White Witch and ends up using his sword to break her wand undoing the petrification on the ones she turned to stone. Edmund is then knocked out by one of the creatures on the White Witch's side. As the White Witch prepares to kill Edmund, Peter arrives to fight her.
Just then, Aslan arrives and his roar is heard across the battlefield. Aslan then lunges at the White Witch who turns to dust upon impact. The reinforcements charge towards the battlefield. Upon noticing that the White Witch has been vanquished, her army drops their weapons and takes flight.
BBC TV Serial
Following Aslan's death, the White Witch's army hides amongst the ridges near Aslan's camp as she instructs them not to make a sound until she gives the command to charge. A Lich steps on a stick and is turned to stone.
The White Witch then makes her move as she sends her army down as Peter and the army fight the animated creatures on the White Witch's army. As the battle rages on, the White Witch starts to turn those on Aslan's side to stone. As both sides clash, Edmund uses his sword to break the White Witch's wand. She then stabs the broken half into Edmund. When Peter notices this, he starts to chase the White Witch up the ravine only for Aslan to show up and tell him to stand back. Reinforcements charge the field as Aslan starts roaring. As they are driving the White Witch's army away, Aslan continues roaring until the ground beneath the White Witch starts to shake and she falls to her death. The rest of her army are chased away by Aslan's army.
The 2005 cinematic adaptation features a vivid rendering of this battle, with visual effects provided by Rhythm and Hues Studios using Weta Digital's "MASSIVE" animation program, and creature designs from KNB Effects Group, Inc. Because the action of the book from the murder of Aslan through the end of the battle is told from Susan and Lucy's perspective, Lewis does not have the chance to describe the course that Peter and Edmund take prior to their sisters' and Aslan's arrival. Therefore, the film's battle enhances Lewis' vision by adding these new elements to the warfare.
When Peter is alerted by a Dryad sent by Susan and Lucy that Aslan is dead, he is urged on by his brother to lead the army into war and not back away.
In the next shot, Peter (riding a unicorn) and Oreius the centaur (who appears to be the general of Aslan's army) stand at the head of their troops on the battlefield. They are stationed beneath a high cliff, at the top of which is Edmund, who heads the archers and birds (presumably eagles, falcons, hawks, and gryphons). A gryphon tells Peter that the White Witch's army is coming with "numbers and weapons far greater than our own". On the other side of the battleground, General Otmin (a minotaur who is the general of the White Witch's army) leads his own troops. The White Witch is at his side in her chariot pulled by two ferocious polar bears. She is wearing the mane of Aslan, shaved from his head at his murder.
At the signal of the commanders to begin the battle, Otmin and about half of his soldiers advance across the field. The White Witch, and the other half of combatants, stay back. None of Peter's troops move until he signals his winged animals to attack as the gryphon who spied on the White Witch also joins the winged animals. They fly out and drop boulders onto the enemy to soften them up(in a shot strongly reminiscent of the Nazi air raid from the movie's opening scene) before the main force engages them. Otmin sees them coming and quotes "Look to the Sky." The Black Dwarves use their bow and arrows to try to shoot some of them down. The White Witch signals her harpies to fly up and attack the gryphons and other flying animals in order to minimize losses. After this, Peter and Oreius lead their army out with a mass charge in a flying wedge formation, and they engage in battle with the Witch's troops.
When the shot returns to the battle (it is interspersed with Susan and Lucy finding Aslan alive), the White Witch makes her move as she leads the second wave. A phoenix is sent out from Peter's side only to be chased by a harpy and dodge the arrows shot by the Black Dwarves. Even if the phoenix was able to take down the harpy and had every intention of doing so, Peter felt it best to no longer delay the phoenix and thus kills the harpy by throwing a javelin into its heart before the phoenix can engage it. After Peter killed the harpy by throwing a lance at it, the phoenix self-combusts and spreads its fire across the field temporarily blocking advancement from either side burning any of the White Witch's soldiers that tried to cross it. When the Witch breaks this barrier using her wand, Peter yells to "fall back and draw them to the rocks." As they are riding back, many of the White Witch's soldiers are hit by a barrage of arrows shot by the archers. However, the Black Dwarves started shooting down some of Aslan's soldiers as well while Ginnabrik shoots Peter's unicorn and wounds it. Peter is thrown from the creature. Oreius sees the situation and gallops to attack the approaching Witch with a rhinoceros. An Ankle Slicer wounds the rhinoceros after it knocked down some of the White Witch's soldiers, but Oreius fights and kills Otmin. Oreius goes after the Witch with his two handed sword, and jumps over her. She ducks and engages Oreius. Because of the sword's bulk, he is too slow to block a lunge from her wand and ends up petrified.
At the next shot of the battle, the White Witch has exited her chariot and is walking. She has petrified a satyr and pushes its petrified form to the ground. Then two gryphons attack her, but she wounds the first gryphon by cutting its wing and kills the other by turning it into stone in mid-flight sending it to crash into the ground with some of its debris hitting the soldiers. At the sight of this, Peter warns Edmund to leave the battle quoting "get the girls, and get them home." But Edmund sees the Witch petrifying a faun and a jaguar as she is approaching Peter. Edmund brings out his sword as Mr. Beaver tries to pull Edmund away saying, "Peter said get out of here!" Edmund escapes saying "Peter's not king yet" and he runs to duel the Witch. Edmund is then pursued by two minotaurs. Fauns distract the first one while a gorilla intercepts the other minotaur making the road clear for Edmund. Along the way, Ginarrbrik is overwhelming and is about to kill a red dwarf, but Edmund wounds him by pushing him off the cliff. Edmund is about to face the Witch who was still on her way to petrify Peter. He manages to break her wand in half, making it useless as means of petrification. However, she plunges the sharp end into his stomach and he falls to the ground, mortally wounded. Peter sees this and runs to fight the Witch face-to-face.
As they battle, a roar is heard from above and they both turn to see Aslan and a fresh army arrive to join the battle. As some of the White Witch's tired soldiers are trampled by the reinforcements, Mr. Tumnus knocks down a goblin with another lion running next to him and Rumblebuffin uses his club on two minotaurs. Peter and the White Witch continue to fight and the White Witch gains the upper hand, tripping Peter to the ground with her sword, pins his arm to the ground, and knocks his shield out of his hand. Just as she prepares to kill him, Aslan charges at the White Witch and knocks her back. A moment of eerie peace ensues as the Witch accepts her doom and Aslan kills her. As the reinforcements charge past to scour the battlefield, Aslan tells Peter that "It is finished."
Peter is reunited with his sisters, who immediately notice Edmund's absence. They find him clinging to the last threads of life with a wounded Ginarrbrik preparing to slay him. Susan shoots and kills Ginarrbrik as he raises his axe for the kill, saving Edmund. Lucy attempts to use her cordial to cure Edmund, but seems to fail for a moment as Edmund seemingly dies the moment she pours a drop into his mouth. However, he revives a moment later cured of his injuries. Lucy rushes to heal the wounded soldiers while Aslan revives those who were petrified.
Both armies feature characters or types of creatures that are not mentioned in the book. Such soldiers in Aslan's army are Centaurs, Gorillas, Satyrs, Fauns, Dogs, Badgers, Bears, Cheetahs, Gryphons, Leopards, Jaguars, a Phoenix, Red Dwarfs, Rhinos, Wild Boars, Horses, Eagles, Falcons, and Hawks.
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- Lewis, C. S. (July 1994) . The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. New York: HarperTrophy. p. 15. ISBN 0-06-447107-1.
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