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|
|Edmund Pevensie||Ginarrbrik †|
|Unknown (5,000 in the 2005 film) ||Unknown (15,000 in the 2005 film) |
|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 and one of several battles in the Chronicles of Narnia.
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 puts some of her army on guard duty along the ridge while the rest sleep.
When the shot returns to the camp, the battle has already begun and the White Witch starts turning some of the creatures on Aslan's side to stone. Edmund makes his way towards the White Witch and ends up using his sword to break her wand, preventing her from turning any more of Aslan's army into 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, crushing her to death on impact. The reinforcements charge towards the battlefield. Upon noticing that the White Witch has been vanquished, the remaining members of her army drop their weapons and take to flight.
BBC TV serial
Following Aslan's sacrifice, the White Witch's army hides among 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. Edmund and some of his army, however, have spotted some of the Witch's army in the distance, and are not as unprepared for the charge as the Witch might have expected. The Witch and her army finally charge forward just as Aslan is preparing to lead the restored statues and freed prisoners from her castle.
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 and the Witch prepared to turn yet another of Aslan's army into stone, 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. Her remaining allies are chased from the battlefield by Aslan's army. Edmund and other injured members of Aslan's army are revived by Lucy's cordial.
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 sacrifice 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's 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". Though Orieus tries to ease Peter's concerns about how "numbers do not win a battle", Peter is still nervous of the impending conflict. 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 with orders from the White Witch to take no prisoners. 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 yells to his forces to "Look to the sky." The Black Dwarves serving as archers try to shoot the attackers down. The White Witch signals her airborne troops, via harpies, to counterattack the Narnian flying forces in order to minimize losses. One harpy and gryphon get locked in combat and crash to the ground resulting in a mutual kill. After this, Peter and Oreius signal the main Narnian forces with the battle cry "For Narnia, and for Aslan!" initiating a mass charge by the Narnian forces in a flying wedge formation, and engage in combat with the Witch's troops. Otmin, seeing them coming, shouts "Forward!" and has his forces engage them as they approach.
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 reserve wave. A phoenix is released from Peter's side by one of the female centaur archers, dodging enemy fire and airborne troops, while Peter kills a Harpie that attempts to stop the phoenix 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 the advance of the second enemy wave in hopes of providing relief for the already outnumbered Narnian army, bogged down in combat with the massive first wave of the Witch's troops, burning any of the White Witch's soldiers that try to cross it. When the White Witch breaks this barrier using her wand, Peter, anticipating the numbers of the combined force of the Witch's troops, yells the command to "fall back and draw them to the rocks", where his archers are stationed, hoping to pick of some of the enemy, thereby wearing down some of the enemy numbers. As they are riding back, many of the White Witch's soldiers are hit by a barrage of arrows shot by the Narnian archers, including Red Dwarves and the female centaurs. However, the Black Dwarves started shooting some of Aslan's retreating soldiers as well while Ginarrbrik 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 black rhinoceros. An Ankle Slicer wounds the black rhinoceros after it knocked down some of the White Witch's soldiers, but Oreius fights and kills Otmin, sacrificing his two one-handed swords to stab and kill Otmin in his exposed back. 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, intending to petrify him to ensure the prophecy is never fulfilled. 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 White 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 disarms him and plunges the sharp end into his stomach, leaving him to fall 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 of Narnian reinforcements arrive to join the battle, to the Witch's shock that Aslan is alive after she personally slew him. As some of the White Witch's tired soldiers are trampled by the ground shaking wave of Aslan's 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, as she barely has time to look up and see him pounce at her. A moment of eerie peace ensues as the Witch accepts her doom and Aslan decapitates 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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