Goals aren’t too hard to accomplish when they include rediscovering my favorite Narnian characters. One 2017 goal was to reread the Chronicles of Narnia, and I’m quite excited to have accomplished this goal less than 2 months into the new year. 🙂
Rereading these classics, I grew to know the characters in an entirely new way. While I had read The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe and The Horse and His Boy several times, I had never read The Last Battle or Prince Caspian. So while I brought plenty of prejudice to my rereads, I also discovered completly new aspects about Narnia.
So, without further ado, here’s a ranking of my favorite Narnian characters – from least to very favorite. Feel free to leave your own ranking in the comments!
Narnian Characters – Ranked
(Least to most favorite)
Uncle Andrew, the Sniveling Magician
The kids continually call him ‘Cowardly’ and you can’t disagree. While Uncle Andrew is responsible for letting us humans into Narnia, he certainly doesn’t deserve the distinction. He runs from Aslan, won’t listen to the animals, and treats his nephew abominably. Not to mention attempting to flatter the white witch.
The White Witch
Imperial Majesty Jadis, Queen of Narnia, Chatelaine of Cair Paravel, Empress of the Lone Islands, etc. etc.
The white witch is a scary villain. She kills her entire world, just to gain her throne. She manages to get into Narnia, where she immediately tries to kill Aslan. She claims to be human, but doesn’t posses a single human attribute, other than hatred. She steals the fruit of immortality, tricks Edmund into eating magical Turkish Delight, and sacrifices Aslan.
So, she’s an effective villain we are happy to see vanquished.
She looses to Uncle Andrew for least favorite, simply because she’s not as cowardly.
I haven’t figured out why people like this mouse character so much. If he were human, no-one would tolerate his attitude.
As CS Lewis wrote, “His mind was full of forlorn hopes, death-or-glory charges, and last stands.”
His constant line-in-the-sand life attitude is incredibly grating.
But he’s so cute! That’s what my friends keep telling me. Apparently overstuffed egos are ok if the ego holder looks like a stuffed animal. I just can’t like Reepicheep, hard as I try. It pains me to move him further down my list of characters, because I sometimes wish he were never in the stories. (I’m a borderline Narnian heretic, I know)
Writing this, I’m reminded of my mom’s warning. What you find most annoying in others, is probably your own character flaw.
Self-described bolt of Tash. Smart enough to find a way to invade a small kingdom, not smart enough to respect Aslan.
Famous last words….”Let the earth gape! Let blood and fire obliterate the world! But be sure I will never desist till I have dragged to my palace by her hair the barbarian queen, the daughter of dogs, the __”
And then he was turned into a donkey. But the end of his story is the best part. He turns back into a human, under Aslan’s instruction. But he can never leave his city, so he doesn’t wage war. During his reign, his people call him Rabadash the Peacemaker
But after he’s dead? Rabadash the Ridiculous
Polly and Diggory
Someone has to come after the memorably terribly characters. Polly and Diggory aren’t awful, they simply stir up a lot of trouble, Diggory wakes up the White Witch from her enchantment, Polly takes the ring from Uncle Andrew.
They make mistakes, but if it weren’t for these two, Narnia would never have opened to the human world.
Also, Diggory is the professor in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And CS Lewis said the Professor was based off JRR Tolkien, so score for Diggory.
“My name,” said the girl at once, “is Aravis Tarkheena and I am the only daughter of Kidrash Tarkhan, the son of Rishti Tarkhan, the son of Ilsombreh Tisroc, the son of Ardeeb Tisroc who was descended in a right line from the god Tash.”
She’s a combination of prejudice, class, and adventure. She’s resourceful, sometimes at the expense of others. It takes a while to warm up to Avaris, but she’s willing to give her life for Narnia. Not only does Aravis risk her life to take word of Rabadash’s plan to Archenland, but she leaves everything she has ever known. Her home is wealthy – servants, jewels, entertainment. She’s willing to start life over as a foreigner, in a land her own people consider barbaric.
And she’s a gifted storyteller.
I only wish her story didn’t end in The Horse and His Boy.
I was a bit iffy on Susan. She’s alright for a while, but she starts going sour. She sails to Prince Rabadash’s home turf – her own choice. But when Edmund starts to fret that the prig Prince may force her to marry him, she dissolves into tears. Literally falls on the couch and cries until Tumnus comes up with the solution.
Really, Queen Susan?
And then Susan won’t believe Lucy when they return to Narnia. Erg, I want to thump Susan on the head. Peter and Edmund didn’t see Aslan, either. But they didn’t grumble and complain an entire day. As Edmund kept saying, (paraphrased), ‘Susan, Lucy was right before. We better believe her now!’
But, The Last Battle mired Susan’s fate.
“My sister is no longer a friend of Narnia”
High King Peter says this, and all the children castigate Susan’s pension for fashion and boys over Narnia.
But liking boys and lipstick isn’t Susan’s real problem.
Susan no longer believes in Narnia. And while CS Lewis encouraged his readers to finish Susan’s story (maybe he intended to himself?) her disbelief is disquieting.
On the other hand, Susan was just left in England. Completely Alone. Her entire family is now in Aslan’s county at the end of the Last Battle, and Susan is just left. Does she recover her belief? Find Aslan again? Die of grief? What happens to Queen Susan?????
If you get turned into a Dragon, you have two options. Use your fire breathing powers to exert your new found authority or be super, uber helpful to your former crew.
For choosing option B, Eustace ranks above Queen Susan.
There’s no doubt Eustace is one of the most annoying characters you can ever encounter. He’s whining, snobbish, and stubborn. But after the dragon incident, his reformation is a relief. While he still has his slip-ups, Eustace is a much better fellow.
I love how his character change works back in England, too. He’s no longer a bully, nor does he stand idly by while Jill Pole is bullied. In fact, through helping Jill, he’s able to return to Narnia.
Before Caspian was born, there were already 10 King Caspians. That puts a lot of pressure on Caspian, even before his Uncle tries to kill him, or he runs into the woods, or is taken captive by dwarves, or faces a loosing war to his uncle.
But Caspian never bends or breaks under all this pressure. He doesn’t hesitate to turn down the offer of Dark Magic. He trusts Peter’s option of man-to-man combat with his uncle. And most importantly, he knows he’s not ready to be King.
“Welcome, Prince,’ said Aslan. ‘Do you feel yourself sufficient to take up the Kingship of Narnia?’
‘I – I don’t think I do, Sir,’ said Caspian. ‘I am only a kid.’
‘Good,’ said Aslan. ‘If you had felt yourself sufficient, it would have been proof that you were not.”
Caspian stays faithful – even after sailing to the very edge of Aslan’s lands. He’s grieved to leave Edmund and Lucy forever but he doesn’t shirk duty. And years later, when his son goes missing, he is still a faithful king.
Bree and Hwin
I can’t imagine how hard it must be to be a captive Narnian horse. Hiding your true identity, being treated like a regular dumb horse. But Bree and Hwin don’t loose their Narnian spirit, even after years of captivity. They don’t forget their homeland, but patiently wait a chance to escape.
Bree is absolutely lovable. While a bit foolish and vain, he’s eager to do right. And Hwin’s gentleness is a beautiful addition to her story. I love the moment she first meets Aslan.
“Please,” she said, “you’re so beautiful. You may eat me if you like. I’d sooner be eaten by you than fed by anyone else.”
“Dearest daughter,” said Aslan, planting a lion’s kiss on her twitching, velvet nose, “I knew you would not be long in coming to me. Joy shall be yours.”
Protecting his siblings, reigning in Narnia, dueling with a usurper. Peter truly deserves his title, Peter the Magnificent.
I love Peter’s character. He’s never an over-confident, bossy older brother. He loves his family and he’s willing to give his life for Narnia. I can’t imagine realizing Aslan is dead and then riding off into battle against the White Witch.
Her army is bigger than yours. She has magic. You’re on her death list.
You’re barely a teenager. And you know you can escape to safety any moment by returning to the Wardrobe.
But Peter never seems to lack courage. He fights for his family. He stands for Narnia. And he believes in Aslan.
I absolutely adore Tumnus. He wins your heart with his interactions with Lucy, his kindheartedness and hospitality.
And Tumnus isn’t just kindhearted and hospitable. He’s also brave and wise. My own speculations now, but going from what the Beaver’s said, Tumnus got word to us before he was arrested. The Beavers were able to shepherd the children, because Tumnus believed. It’s been winter in Narnia for over a 100 years, and Tumnus is the first to see a human. A Daughter of Eve – a small, helpless, kind, innocent girl. Tumnus knows the White Witch will reward him for the girl, but he believes. There’s been no word of Aslan for decades, but Tumnus acts.
Also, in The Horse and His Boy, it’s Tumnus who verifies Rabadash’s plan to force Susan’s hand. And while Edmund frets, Tumnus devises a plan for the Narnian party to escape Calormen.
Everyone needs a friend like Tumnus.
These last 5 characters have been incredibly hard to rank. Each of them are so special, and mean so much to the story.
Edmund is a beautiful picture of grace. I love the title Aslan gives him – Edmund the Just.
Edmund experiences evil. He’s been bewitched and betrays his family. His valiance is unquestioned. It’s Edmund who destroys the Witch’s wand and is nearly killed for his bravery. Also, Edmund never questions Peter’s place as High King. He serves him loyally, throughout his entire life. In the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, when Caspian is very near to loosing his head, Edmund falls back on his Aslan-given authority. And if that authority has no sway, Edmund reminds Caspian (paraphrase) I really serve my older brother. He’s the High King, he has the final say.
But the most special, heartwarming moments for me, is Edmund’s love of grace and justice. Edmund never forgets his failure and forgiveness. While others may be quick to judge, Edmund knows grace. He’s constantly willing to give that grace to others.
“It is very true,” said Edmund. “But even a traitor may mend. I have known one that did.”
I appreciate Lucy now so much more than I ever did. Maybe, because as an adult, childlike faith is incredibly more precious.
Anyway, multiple times I set the books down, completely overwhelmed by Lucy’s relationship with Aslan. Her full-hearted, undying love, trust, and awe of Aslan. He is everything to her, she can’t imagine living without Aslan.
I love Lucy’s excitement about Aslan, even her feelings when she first heard his name.
It’s not till that evening, she finally gets to speak to Aslan. Her faith is weary, starved and quiet. And Aslan’s words warm me.
“Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.”
“That is because you are older, little one,” answered he.
“Not because you are?”
“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”
From the first wonder-filled moment when Lucy stumbles into Narnia, to the last tear-filled goodbye, Lucy is the heartthrob of the Narnian adventures.
Most of the Narnian characters grew on me. I either heartily disliked them or was indifferent. But since I first listened to The Horse and His Boy, I have loved Shasta. He’s a combination of spunk, fear, and ignorance.
Maybe, because Shasta is where I would be in Narnia. Terrified of a lion, whining, abandoned. Eager to find a home, but jealous of Aravis and Bree’s affection.
There are so many different things to love about Shasta.
I’m terribly disappointed there’s never been a Horse and His Boy movie. To me, it’s the most relatable Narnian book, simply full of real life experience. And the characters are well-rounded and relatable. If I had to choose some Narnians to bring back into my real life, it would be Shasta, Bree, Hwin, Aravis and Edmund.
I love Shasta because he’s willing to try. He’s lived in a small fishing village his entire life, only to suddenly discover he’s being sold as a slave. In one night, he meets a talking horse, learns about the mysterious North and sets out. Now this journey is dangerous. He could be hunted down and killed for stealing. But Shasta is a true Narnian, even though he doesn’t know it yet. Better to live as Narnian freeman than die a Calormene slave.
And Shasta is so miserably human. As an orphan, he has a victim mentality. While it’s easy to laugh at him, it’s understandable. He seems to lose everything. His friends seem to abandon him. Lions keep chasing him down. He’s a lost teenager.
By this point, if you haven’t read The Horse and His Boy, I seriously hope you are questioning your life choices. My favorite conversations with Aslan are in this book. And the adorable villain, Prince Rabadash makes an appearance or two.
So, don’t just take my word for it. Discover my favorite character, Shasta, for yourself.
At this point, you may be asking – where does Aslan rank? But I can’t rank Aslan in with the characters. There’s no Narnia without him. He is the theme that interweaves the entire 7 books. I’ve interspersed my favorite conversations, his moments with my favorite characters throughout this entire list. He touches each character, and through each moment you learn more about him. Of course, Aslan would rank above the characters, because essentially Lewis made him to be the Creator of Narnia
“It isn’t Narnia, you know,” Sobbed Lucy, “it’s You. We shan’t meet you there. And how can we live never meeting you?”
“But you shall meet me there, dear one.” Said Aslan.
“Are – are you there too, Sir?” asked Edmund
“I am,” said Aslan, “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.