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Achenlander Discrepancies between the books

High King Pete The Magnificent
(@highkingpete)
NarniaWeb Nut

Hi all! This is in response to a recent thread I was reading that got a bit off topic to Archenlanders in Narnia. I'm still a bit confused however:

Were Archenlanders true allies of Narnia during the events of LWW?

Is there any more information about Archenland before the events of HHB?

Where did the Archenlanders come from/ and or is there any more information on how their ruling families are established?

Any additional quotes would be awesome 🙂

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Topic starter Posted : April 8, 2021 2:49 pm
Courtenay liked
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

All that we can draw from the books is that Aslan created the greater Narnia, including the parts described in MN, and in HHB.Any humans in it were brought in by Aslan from our world, or descendents of such people.

The humans who lived in Archenland, who became well known to the Pevensies some time during their 15-year reign, must have been descended from the first King and Queen, Frank and Nellie (Helen).

The books don't tell us if there were any humans left in Narnia after the Pevensies left. Perhaps Highborn Archenlanders were invited to sit on a Cair Paravel throne (one at a time, since the four were only needed to fulfil the prophecy).

Lewis gave us no other information in the books. The timeline only tells us how the Telmarines got into Narnia. Archenlanders aren't mentioned in PC (I think).

 

 

There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.

"...when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."

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Posted : April 8, 2021 7:57 pm
Geekicheep
(@geekicheep)
NarniaWeb Nut

This is one of those wonderfully awesome, and simultaneously a bit annoying, unsolved mysteries of Narnia.  The vast majority of these questions can only be answered through a combination of logic and speculation.  And that's fun!  I love topics like this (lol).

As far as where they came from, I imagine other humans came to Narnia - we how the Telmarines got there, and the people of Calormen undoubtedly had to come from out world as well.  At least I hope so; it is possible they're all descended from King Frank and Queen Helen, but I think it's more likely that other families were involved in making them a country.

As to whether or not they were true allies of Narnia during the events of LWW, that's an interesting question.  I'm sure they helped fight in the battle the Witch won - assuming she conquered Narnia the usual way, by force.  The question then becomes, when exactly was the prophecy of Cair Paravel first announced?  Because if people knew about it when the Witch took over, there would be a mass exodus out of Narnia.  If she knew that the only threat to her eternal reign was humans, then all humans would be hunted down and dealt with.  We know in LWW that Tumnus had never seen a human before, so obviously at some point the Archenlanders must have realized they were no longer welcome.  I've written quite a bit of (unpublished) fan fiction about the time between MN and LWW, and one story in particular comes to mind, where the main character takes his family and tries to flee to Archenland.  I won't bore you with that tho (lol).

But back to Narnia canon, even with our limited knowledge, it's a bit of a common-sense thing IMO.  Let me ask you this: would YOU want to go visit a country where you're likely to get killed just for being human?  I don't think so.  Maybe in the first few years of her rule, there were some brave enough to try and help support a resistance movement, or smuggle some valuable stuff in/out of Narnia, or look for their missing loved ones, but why else would anyone go there?

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Posted : April 8, 2021 9:06 pm
High King Pete The Magnificent
(@highkingpete)
NarniaWeb Nut

I'm now very interested to see if there's any more details to parse out about the Archenlanders (the kingdom's obsession with twins in HHB, what's up with that? lol) Thank you for the thoughts, I'm going down a rabbit-hole to know more now.

Posted by: @coracle

Perhaps Highborn Archenlanders were invited to sit on a Cair Paravel throne

Your theory interests me because I had always assumed that the Archenlanders were always a separate group of people, even Islanders from the Eastern sea that had just come across the shores and decided to build a small kingdom close to Narnia, at the beginnings of Narnian history (maybe inbetween the time when the Silver Apple tree was standing, and borders weren't necessarily a thing yet. If they were descended from Frank and Helen, would they be truly human? And then unable to fulfill the prophecy in LWW?

I had also thought, and read this somewhere but for the life of me I can't find the source (just not my original idea), that during the Battle of Beruna and the whole business of the witch, the Archenlanders survived their own civil war, which led Lune to be king. I think there is a hint of this in HHB, some political drama let Cor to be on a boat far away from his royal father, so I'm assuming that was leftover from a 'supposed' civil war that kept the Archenlanders away, although again there's no real evidence for this. On a side-note, even thought it's sometimes a bit frustrating when Lewis is vague, but sometimes it's so freeing to imagine our own scenarios! But thank you for the thoughts!, I hadn't considered this angle at all. 

Your thoughts are so interesting @geekicheep! And I'm glad you find these scenarios to be similar to logic puzzles as I do, albeit weird history logic puzzles with no real answer.

Posted by: @geekicheep

Because if people knew about it when the Witch took over, there would be a mass exodus out of Narnia.

I never even thought of this mass exodus of humans, so much Narnian lore that could be explored here if there were more detail about this. I can imagine the creatures of the forest having to say goodbye to their good friends, but at the same time does the prophecy really prevent any humans coming back? It seems a bit hard to believe that there were no Archenlanders (4 siblings) whom the Narnian's might've recruited for help. If it truly was impossibly dangerous, and only in naivete they would come into Narnia, it seems to me to be a truly tragic scenario. 

Posted by: @geekicheep

I've written quite a bit of (unpublished) fan fiction about the time between MN and LWW, and one story in particular comes to mind, where the main character takes his family and tries to flee to Archenland. 

I'm genuinely interested to read this! I might message you about this as well lol, I'm sure it's well thought-through. On my end, my sibs and I have made countless wild theories pertaining to the Narnian universe (some more silly than others) but more serious ones as well, and I'd love to discuss those without too much laughter : P

Your last thoughts I feel conclude my own as well. I don't think a long-term resistance could've been mounted by the Achenlanders (if they existed in LWW), being a small and maybe struggling kingdom and all that. They must've been afraid of drawing attention to themselves by the Witch, which make me think that they were very relieved to hear the news of Aslan on the move, and my own personal theory, Aslan may have gathered a few units, volunteered and blessed by the present Archenlander ruler to fight side by side with King Peter. My secret hope is that in the Walden movie, juuust out of frame, were a brave group of Archenlander infantrymen, right by our loyal Satyr regiment Smile .

 

 

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Topic starter Posted : April 9, 2021 3:21 pm
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Friend of NarniaWeb

I know this sounds like a cop-out answer, but it really does boil down to the fact that, at the time he wrote The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Lewis apparently hadn't yet thought of Archenland, or Calormen, or any of the lands beyond Narnia itself — at least not in any great detail. So any ideas of "where were the Archenlanders during the events of LWW", etc., have to involve a bit of retconning. Wink  

Going in publication order, Archenland in fact gets its first mention in Prince Caspian. It appears at the very bottom of the map at the start of the book (the first map of Narnia to be published), though with no details shown, and it comes up when Doctor Cornelius is telling Caspian to flee for his life:

"... Try to get across the southern border to the court of King Nain of Archenland. He will be good to you." (p. 58 in the Puffin edition)

So we know that Archenland, during the reign of Miraz, would have been willing to harbour Caspian as a refugee. Cornelius's confident statement implies that he himself, as a half-Dwarf, knows King Nain and trusts him. It sounds like the Archenlanders were sympathetic towards the Old Narnians who were living in hiding in the Telmarine era. If you look at the map in Prince Caspian, Trufflehunter's cave and the Bulgy Bears' home are very near the Archenland border. Perhaps most of the surviving Old Narnians lived in this area, not willing to leave their homeland if they could avoid it, but wanting to be close to the border of a friendly country in case they were ever left with no choice but to flee? That makes sense to me.

The best "head canon" I can think of for all this is that Archenland, unlike Narnia, maintained an unbroken line of kings (or queens!) descended from Frank and Helen, and they never forgot their allegiance with Narnia from the beginning. As to what they were doing during Narnia's Long Winter under the White Witch, my guess would be that only Narnia was affected by it — the seasons and life in general in Archenland continued as normal — but all that snow and ice completely blocked the passes through the mountains between Narnia and Archenland. So the two countries were totally cut off from each other for those hundred years, and none of the humans in Archenland could have got through to fulfil the prophecy of the four thrones. (Perhaps, as others have hinted, since they were no longer 100% human by then — they were presumably descended from nymphs and wood-gods and river-gods as well, like the early Narnian monarchy — they wouldn't have counted as "Adam's flesh and Adam's bone". Which would explain why the Witch apparently didn't see them as a threat to her reign.)

Mind you, in looking up all these things, I've just discovered yet another massive discrepancy — one I hadn't noticed before — between the Chronicles themselves and the Narnian timeline that Lewis wrote later. (I don't think there's any exact record of when he wrote it, but according to Walter Hooper, who first published it, it was after Lewis had completed all seven books.) In The Magician's Nephew, this is what we're told about the founding of Archenland:

King Frank and Queen Helen and their children lived happily in Narnia and their second son became King of Archenland. The boys married nymphs and the girls married wood-gods and river-gods. (p. 170; this is where I'm getting the assumption that the Archenland monarchs too, after the first generation, were only part-human)

But in the timeline:

(Narnian year 180) Prince Col, younger son of Frank V, leads certain followers into Archenland (not then inhabited) and becomes first King of that country.

So was it Frank and Helen's son who founded Archenland a few decades (presumably) after Narnia's creation, or their great-great-great-grandson 180 years later??

This is what I mean when I keep saying there are inconsistencies and discrepancies in what Lewis wrote that we fans are never going to be able to reconcile for good... D\'oh No idea (But that doesn't make me love the books any the less!)

"Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed."
(Prince Caspian)

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Posted : April 10, 2021 9:27 am
icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Junkie

Is this really a discrepancy though?

Look at the real world, both present and historical - do all friendly nations immediately come to the rescue of others during times of crisis? Absolutely not.

Why would the kingdom of Archenland just let Narnia suffer under the whims of a brutal dictatorship for 100 years? Probably for the same reason the entire world has let the people of North Korea suffer under the whims of brutal dictatorship for the last 70 years - because intervening is deemed to be too dangerous, and everyone has got their own best interests to look out for.

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Posted : April 10, 2021 11:14 am
High King Pete The Magnificent
(@highkingpete)
NarniaWeb Nut

I think my question of whether Archenland was a true ally of Narnia has been solved: the Archenlanders have always been a sympathetic ally, not always being able to provide the resources/labor/energy into becoming more involved in the Revolution.

Posted by: @courtenay

Perhaps most of the surviving Old Narnians lived in this area, not willing to leave their homeland if they could avoid it, but wanting to be close to the border of a friendly country in case they were ever left with no choice but to flee?

This makes sense to me as well! It brings up another image, like the exodus of Narnian humans and perhaps some Archenlanders out of Narnia when the Witch ruled (this geekicheep mentioned) to the Narnian people always on the border of staying or leaving. Is that why the tensions were so high between the remaining Old Narnians in PC? They were disjointed by coming from opposite sides from the Golden Age, and even some on their respective 'sides' may have left them to board in the homes of their sworn Narnian enemies. An interesting and wandering thought, I hope that some future adaption can pull off shorts in order to explore these theories/time periods.

Posted by: @courtenay

snow and ice completely blocked the passes through the mountains between Narnia and Archenland. So the two countries were totally cut off from each other for those hundred years,

This was my absolute favorite part of your theory! It makes such a difference in imagery and really helped me imagine how politically and physically isolated the Narnians were cut off from the Archenlanders, and possibly even some Island nations. However, this does make me wonder if there were any coordinated attacks by the WW against the Archenlanders during this time, maybe to remind them of their place as part of the outside world, or maybe to feel out their strengths and weaknesses. Do you think this could be a reason why the Archenlanders felt cowed by the WW? The Narnia lore YT channel Cleander mentioned in a post a week ago, in the episode The Life of Jadis Part II, seemed to suggest based on evidence from the books that the WW was content with ruling over her own kingdom and keeping them in her icy clutches, not really adventuring to have it out with the Archenlanders. But I wish there was some evidence pointing towards some intimidation tactics with the Secret Police that might've kept the Archenlanders out, since it seems to go along with some warfare and territorial techniques practiced by ancient civilizations. 

Posted by: @courtenay

So was it Frank and Helen's son who founded Archenland a few decades (presumably) after Narnia's creation, or their great-great-great-grandson 180 years later??

Ok, wow! Applause You're a true Narnian historian @Courtenay! I haven't done any deep searching into the Timeline, and I am unsure of the complete accuracy of Hooper's version, but it really makes me wonder how these discrepancies could've been missed and why they are not as widely debated.

I guess it doesn't really matter whether the Archenlanders were related to the Narnians through the descendants of Frank and Helen. Like you said, it's very open to interpretation. I personally choose to believe they were Islanders caught between the two cultures of Tashbaan and Narnia, perhaps descended from sea-faring folk whether that means pirates or even mer-folk. A very vague beginning for such a close neighbor of Narnia. I think my next project will be trying to map out an Archenlander timeline, wish me luck with that! At wits end

Posted by: @icarus

because intervening is deemed to be too dangerous, and everyone has got their own best interests to look out for.

Ah, Icarus, even thought I want to agree with you just on the premise of common sense, my heart wants to believe in the loyal friendship between the two nations! You're completely correct, in that in times of war and strife, and even in terms of best interest in peacetime, counties are more likely to look after their own; even more plausible with a country as small as Archenland. BUT, I have an argument for you (I promise it's not based on lovey-dovey alliances that are emotionally tethered), but referring back to HHB. 

In HHB, after the quick run back to good old Cair Paravel, King Edmund, Queen Lucy and King Lune and even Cor and Corin engage in protecting Archenland, after hearing news that this is where Rabadash is striking first. (King Pete is engaged in the North with the giants, poor guy misses all the fun Straight face ).

I'm assuming they leave Queen Susan in charge to stronghold Cair Paravel while they are battling in case of invasion, but leaving their castle and people alone with troops to help Lune might not seem to be the best move, in terms of your argument. While the other side could be argued, by preventing the attack of Rabadash at Archenland and defeating him there, they are making a military efficient move far away from their own kingdom and using less resources with the Archenlander army. But I'd argue in favor of the bravery and compassion the Narnians display to voluntarily leave their castle with only one Pevensie to guard it, it's a risk they are willing to take for the Archenlanders. The two armies seem to very comfortable siding with one another, and refugees are seeming to always be welcome in Narnia, so I'm going to go out on a limb to assume that Archenlanders and Narnians have tried to support one another in war, however they can even if the effort is little.

I'm sure there are countries who offer minimal support when that's all they can offer, do you think that's a reasonable argument? I could see it either way tbh, because it's very vague to begin with. Hmmm  

 

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Topic starter Posted : April 10, 2021 7:46 pm
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Courtenay
(@courtenay)
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Posted by: @highkingpete

Ok, wow! Applause You're a true Narnian historian @Courtenay!

Thanks, but I'm really just an Aussie girl who's been hooked on these books since age 4 1/2 and sometimes has too much time on her hands... Giggle  

Posted by: @highkingpete

I guess it doesn't really matter whether the Archenlanders were related to the Narnians through the descendants of Frank and Helen. Like you said, it's very open to interpretation. I personally choose to believe they were Islanders caught between the two cultures of Tashbaan and Narnia, perhaps descended from sea-faring folk whether that means pirates or even mer-folk. A very vague beginning for such a close neighbor of Narnia. I think my next project will be trying to map out an Archenlander timeline, wish me luck with that!At wits end

The Archenland monarchy was definitely descended from Frank and Helen — it's just that Lewis is inconsistent over whether it was the younger son of Frank I, or the younger son of Frank V, who founded the kingdom!!

(Incidentally, in matters like these where there's a discrepancy between the books and the timeline — the other major example I know of is whether Queen Swanwhite reigned before the Pevensies or after them — I personally take the books as canon, rather than the timeline. So if I were writing fan-fic or indeed the script for a new fill-in-the-gaps adaptation, I'd take it that Frank I's son founded Archenland and Swanwhite came before the Pevensies. But that's just my preference and there's no right or wrong here, as we've no way of knowing what Lewis himself would have said if anyone had asked him about these inconsistencies! The fact that they exist, though, proves that he didn't plan out the entire history of Narnia, Tolkien-style, before writing the books, and he obviously did occasionally make mistakes or misremember a few details of things he'd written about earlier.)

The rest of Archenland's human population, though, we don't know about — they can't all have been descendants of Frank and Helen, at least not without some serious inbreeding... Shocked I like to imagine that other humans from our world did find their way into Narnia and the surrounding countries from time to time, including in the very early days of those lands — probably through the kinds of "chinks and chasms" that Aslan mentions at the end of Prince Caspian when explaining how the Telmarines' ancestors first came to Telmar. So there would have been some extra boosts to the human population along the way, to make sure they weren't all related.

We know that the human race in Narnia, including the original line of monarchs, DID die out some time before Jadis returned as the White Witch (in Narnian year 898, according to the timeline, with the Long Winter beginning in 900), as humans have been reduced to the status of myth in Narnia by then. Tumnus's bookshelf includes the title Is Man a Myth? and the Beavers declare "there's never been any of your race here before". Obviously when that last line was written, Lewis hadn't yet thought of the rest of the history of Narnia. But it would make sense if the original Narnian monarchs, and any other humans in the country, had all died or left Narnia a long time before, perhaps a few centuries earlier, to the point where most Narnians in the Witch's time weren't even sure whether humans really exist at all. We don't know how or why this happened, but it certainly left a gap for Jadis to exploit once the tree of protection was dead and she'd gained enough power to come back as an icy tyrant.

I'm assuming that in Archenland, on the other hand, the original monarchy and the rest of the human population continued the whole time, since we don't have any reason to believe otherwise. Maybe Archenland was always a stable and peaceful country, protected by steep mountain ranges to both the north and the south (and a huge desert between the southern range and the next inhabitable region, i.e. Tashbaan), and that's why we never hear much about its history? It's fascinating to think there's this smaller kingdom next to Narnia and closely allied to it, and yet we know hardly anything about it... I sometimes wish Lewis could have written a few more HHB-style books that fit in between the other Chronicles and fill us in on the intervening history. At least it gives us fans lots to wonder and speculate about!

"Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed."
(Prince Caspian)

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Posted : April 11, 2021 1:44 am
Cleander
(@the-mad-poet)
NarniaWeb Junkie

A bit late to this discussion, but I thought I'd add that we do know Archenland existed well before the events of LWW, not only because of the mentions of Frank's son founding it, but because it is also mentioned that Calormen was founded by Archenland renegades ( which also clears up the speculation about said Calormenes coming from out the world).

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Posted : April 11, 2021 9:32 pm
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Friend of NarniaWeb
Posted by: @the-mad-poet

A bit late to this discussion, but I thought I'd add that we do know Archenland existed well before the events of LWW, not only because of the mentions of Frank's son founding it, but because it is also mentioned that Calormen was founded by Archenland renegades ( which also clears up the speculation about said Calormenes coming from out the world).

Oh, definitely. I only meant it didn't yet exist in Lewis's imagination (as far as we know) when he wrote LWW, which explains why it doesn't get any mention in that book. In the "within-story history", of course, we know it existed from early on — which is why we're left speculating on what the Archenlanders were doing during the events of LWW, since Lewis never fills us in retrospectively on that. 

"Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed."
(Prince Caspian)

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Posted : April 12, 2021 6:03 am
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Nut
Posted by: @highkingpete

The two armies seem to very comfortable siding with one another, and refugees are seeming to always be welcome in Narnia, so I'm going to go out on a limb to assume that Archenlanders and Narnians have tried to support one another in war, however they can even if the effort is little.

A great deal of time has passed between the main events of LWW and that scene. I doubt that it's supposed to reflect their relationship then. You can still argue that there's not enough time for them to get that close that fast, but you could also argue there's no enough time for the Narnian citizens Shasta meets to grow so complacent about an attack.

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Posted : May 15, 2021 8:02 am
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

These inconsistencies do just exist, and we either let two things remain side by side, or we ask the Estate to give something definitive. 

If Jack had not been so unwell in his later years, he could have ironed out a number of these, as he planned to. 

There are no notes, and no backstory tales, so I think it unlikely that they will ever be sorted out. 

The most useful thing I can imagine is an annotated version of the Chronicles, with sidenotes or footnotes  written (or at least authorised) by Douglas Gresham.  A bit like a study Bible!

There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.

"...when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."

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Posted : May 15, 2021 3:06 pm
SonofStone
(@sonofstone)
NarniaWeb Regular

      Interesting to note, and I know I'm quite late here, but I thought I'd throw this in anyway, when it comes to the "discrepancy" of Archenland not being in the LWW, I personally believe there is a very simple explanation for this, and here it is. Archenland, it seems, was somewhat smaller than Narnia, or at least no bigger, we also see that, around the time of the golden age, they weren't really anymore powerful than Narnia either. This would lead me to believe that  when it came to messing with Narnian affairs, Archenland would be smart enough to hold back. What I mean is that the WW had all of Narnia under her heel, and it took Aslan to free it, nobody else could (or did). So, seeing as we have already established that Archenland was (probably) no stronger than Narnia at this time, make no mistake, they weren't fools, they would have been smart enough not to go in and start a war that they would have surely lost, and who knows, maybe they had fought (and lost) right along side the Narnians when the which first showed up. "But" you might say "how come they didn't come to Narnia's aid when Aslan showed up and put the four children on their thrones?" Well, if you think about it, all that happened really fast, to fast for the alliance with Archenland to be renewed, and they couldn't spare a messenger anyways! That is my argument when people say "Their is a hole in Narnia!" Well, there may be, but that's not one, and lets see you try and design a world as good as that, I bet it would have a few holes in it!

 

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Posted : May 15, 2021 7:13 pm
Varnafinde
(@varna)
Princess of the Noldor and Royal Overseer of the Talk About Narnia forum Moderator
Posted by: @coracle

The most useful thing I can imagine is an annotated version of the Chronicles, with sidenotes or footnotes  written (or at least authorised) by Douglas Gresham.  A bit like a study Bible!

Oh, I would definitely buy that one! I've got The Annotated Alice and The Annotated Snark (from Lewis Carrol's works), and it's great to get the comments in those notes.


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Posted : May 18, 2021 4:18 am
Cobalt Jade
(@cobalt-jade)
NarniaWeb Regular

Actually there were NO other countries mentioned in LWW until the end, where, like an afterthought, it is said that the nobles and royalties of countries beyond the sea came to pay the Pevensies court. These countries aren't mentioned by name. But we can assume they were Galma, Terebinthia, and the Seven Isles, as mentioned in Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Archenland lay over the mountains, not over the sea, so where it was during the Long Winter, and during the Pevensies' reign, is still up in the air.

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Posted : May 30, 2021 1:29 pm
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