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Queen Swanwhite, Time Traveler of Narnia?  

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The Rose-Tree Dryad
(@rose)
Secret Garden Agent Moderator

Okay, bear with me. I needed to write a mini essay to get this out of my system. Tongue

A few days ago, a couple Narnia fans on Twitter were talking about Queen Swanwhite, mentioning that supposedly there is a Swanwhite I and a Swanwhite II because Jewel the Unicorn describes her as living before the rule of the White Witch, whereas the Narnian timeline says she lived in 1502 before the Telmarines. This reminded me of @Dot's article from the first of the month about how Lewis had considered a Narnian time travel story and then I had a crazy thought: what if Swanwhite was a time traveler? And then the part of my brain that makes random connections got really fired up and now I'm basically convinced. Silly Giggle

(Yes, yes, we could just chalk up the discrepancy between Jewel's tales and the Narnian timeline to Lewis's supposedly spotty world-building, but that is not FUN. Tongue )

So according to Dot's article, there were a couple of Narnia story ideas that Lewis ended up scrapping one about a child from our world getting into Narnia via framed picture whilst a monster is pulled into ours, and another involving time travel where two children sail backwards through time on a ship. Lewis wrote that the time travel tale was to be "a very green and pearly story."

Obviously, we know that the bit about getting into Narnia through a painting eventually made it into The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and we got a seafaring adventure in that novel, too. But are there any other elements from Lewis's scrapped time travel story that might still be found in the Chronicles? I think so, and further, here's why I think the time traveling tale had something to do with Queen Swanwhite.

1. First off, there's something thematically link-y about time travel and one's reflection remaining in a forest pool for a year and a day. Normal laws of physics aren't applying.

2. It's referenced in PC and plays a key role during the escape from Tashbaan in HHB... the Splendour Hyaline, the Pevensies' sailing ship from the Golden Age. I think this was the ship that was originally meant to sail backwards in time in the scrapped time travel story, and I think it had a lot to do with Swanwhite, too. For one thing, it has a literal swan's head on the prow, and swan wings at the sides. For another, the word hyaline means "a thing that is clear and translucent like glass, especially a smooth sea or a clear sky" ... or like a still pool of water that reflects an image for a year and a day. Or the stillness of the Silver Sea in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. (More thematic links...)

3. Ramandu's Daughter. Swanwhite is "so beautiful that when she looked into any forest pool the reflection of her face shone out of the water like a star by night" and Ramandu's Daughter is so lovely that "when they looked at her they thought they had never before known what beauty meant." If the seafaring time travel story originally involved Swanwhite, then when Lewis scrapped the story and used some of the elements for VDT instead, this character morphed into Ramandu's Daughter who's own father defies Time itself by growing a little younger each day with every fireberry he eats.

4. 1502 is oddly specific when the only description Lewis wrote of the year is a vague "About this time lived Queen Swanwhite of Narnia." Why not 1500, then? I don't have any particular insight about this, I just think it's weird. Giggle

5. IMO, Swanwhite's aesthetic seems like it would probably be green and pearly, as evidenced by this lovely watercolor by Kristi from The Lion's Call:

A lot of disparate threads here, but once woven together, they clearly knit together into a message that says "Swanwhite was a time traveler." Tongue

In all seriousness, I really do think that Jewel's tales of old Narnia were likely story elements that Lewis came up with for Narnian stories but never ended up including. And while it's clear that Lewis wasn't as meticulous with his world-building as Tolkien, that doesn't mean that Swanwhite living before Jadis and the strangely specific year of 1502 was necessarily a mistake on his part... maybe he was winking at us, teasing us. Whether you believe the theory in Michael Ward's Planet Narnia or not, the idea that Lewis was putting hidden meanings in his Narnia stories isn't new. Maybe the curious case of Swanwhite I and II is one of them.

Twitter: Rose_the_Dryad

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Posted : January 8, 2021 8:45 pm
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

But if Jewel got it wrong, then it simply reverts to the approximate dating of the timeline. Or else, if the timeline is wrong (not issued until Hooper was editing, and based on a chart Lewis wrote, but he could well have misremembered what he had previously said).

.'....whispered to her,"Courage, dear heart", and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan's, and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face.'

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Posted : January 8, 2021 11:21 pm
Courtenay liked
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Nut

Do we know that Lewis' original idea for a time travelling story actually was supposed to be related to Narnia? (I don't have the actual quote handy.)

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen

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Posted : January 9, 2021 7:52 am
aileth
(@aileth)
Member Moderator

@col-klink I suppose it would depend; after all, Lewis had other stories in mind also.  Does anyone know whether he wrote down the ideas in this list before LWW was written or after?  Before LWW was written, there really wasn't any Narnia, was there?

@rose I am often fascinated by your hypotheses, even if just to shed a pondering light on an idea Grin and the thought of a time-travelling Swanwhite is not abhorrent.

Of course, I consider that the timeline is a rather doubtful aid.  Not that I question whether Lewis wrote it or not, but I guess I prefer book canon, even if it sometimes contradicts itself.  When the timeline contradicts the books, as in the time gap between SC and LB, I tend to stick with what the book said.  (As an author, I'm often discovering new things about my characters that fail to line up with previous writings.  The difference?  I haven't published yet, so I can wangle and mangle until it does match) 

It is interesting to see how his plot ideas developed and changed.  As to the bits that he never explained, there's not much we can do but speculate and At wits end  

Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away ... my days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle

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Posted : January 9, 2021 11:35 am
The Rose-Tree Dryad
(@rose)
Secret Garden Agent Moderator
Posted by: @coracle

But if Jewel got it wrong, then it simply reverts to the approximate dating of the timeline. Or else, if the timeline is wrong (not issued until Hooper was editing, and based on a chart Lewis wrote, but he could well have misremembered what he had previously said).

I doubt Jewel got it wrong — to ditto @aileth, I think that Swanwhite lived before the Hundred Years of Winter would need to be taken as canon since it's actually in the books. Maybe Lewis had written the timeline prior to finishing The Last Battle and decided to change the era that she lived in Narnia.

... OR she's a time traveler. Grin Dancing Giggle

Posted by: @col-klink

Do we know that Lewis' original idea for a time travelling story actually was supposed to be related to Narnia? (I don't have the actual quote handy.)

Okay, I looked into this, and I don't know why I didn't actually look up the passage in Walter Hooper's Past Watchful Dragons until now. Blush Partly due to the fact that I don't have a copy of Past Watchful Dragons, so I Googled and tracked down the page in the book that talks about these scrapped Lewis ideas. You can view the page legally in a Google preview here. Here's the description of the original time traveling story idea:

Excerpt from (alleged) Lewis plot ideas, reproduced in Past Watchful Dragons by Walter Hooper:

SHIP. Two children somehow got on board a ship of ancient build. Discover presently that they are sailing in time (backwards): the captain will bring them to islands that have not existed for millennia. Approach islands. Attack by enemies. Children captured. Discover that the first captain was really taking them because his sick king needs blood of a boy in the far future. Nevertheless prefer the Capt. and his side to their soi-disant rescuers. Escape and return to their first hosts. The blood giving, not fatal, and a happy ending. Various islands (of Odyssey and St.-Brendan) can be thrown in. Beauty of the ship is the initial spell. To be a v. green and pearly story.

So a few things here...

  1. Soi-disant is French for so-called. Fancy. Bats eyes
  2. You may be right, @col-klink I don't think we can necessarily say that this was supposed to be a Narnia story from the outset, but that doesn't mean that Lewis didn't recycle ideas in it for future Narnian stories. Clearly, an island-hopping seafaring adventure eventually took shape in VDT, as did the magic picture portal idea (which isn't listed as "Narnian" either). Notice, too, that in these Lewis plot scribbles, he's only just beginning to plot the story of Prince Caspian, so it's safe to say that these ideas preceded nearly all of the Narnian canon.
  3. If it's true that Lewis had several non-Narnian story ideas, why did they eventually become Narnian? Did his publisher encourage him to fit them into Narnia because LWW was already so popular with kids and Narnia had name recognition? I rather want to read the alternate universe non-Narnian versions!
  4. The concept of a blood transfusion from the future reminds me very much of Eustace (who was, of course, in VDT) and King Caspian at the end of SC, and a little of old Ramandu growing younger as well.
  5. I knew about the influence of the Odyssey, but not of St. Brendan, and I know almost nothing about the latter... quite curious about reading it now. I notice on the Wikipedia page that one of the chapters involves a "an island that is the 'Paradise of Birds', and the birds sing psalms and praise God" ... that sounds very similar to the birds that come to Ramandu's Island!
  6. "Beauty of the ship is the initial spell" ... if you can think of a more beautiful ship than the Splendour Hyaline, with its swan's head at the prow and wings at the sides, silken sails and great lanterns, and musicians up on the rigging playing flutes so it sounds like music is coming out of the sky, I would very much like to hear of it. Tongue And it really seems like the sort of ship that might have been made to please, or in honor of, a queen. And inspired by her name. Wink Giggle
Posted by: @aileth

@rose I am often fascinated by your hypotheses, even if just to shed a pondering light on an idea Grin

Thank you. Grin Some people have actual pets; I have pet Narnia theories. LOL

Twitter: Rose_the_Dryad

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Posted : January 9, 2021 11:49 am
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Friend of NarniaWeb

According to Hooper in Past Watchful Dragons (I have the book here with me), Lewis compiled the timeline ("Outline of Narnian History so far as it is known") AFTER "having written the books". I don't know if Hooper has any direct evidence for that, though, as he doesn't tell us where Lewis wrote the timeline down or if there's any indication of the actual date that he wrote it. Hooper corresponded with Lewis for years, but only met him in person during the last few months of Lewis's life, so he wasn't there while Lewis was actually writing any of the Narnia books, and with the previously unpublished drafts and other material that he includes in PWD, I'm not sure if he knew for certain when each of them was written.

I take Jewel's conversation with Jill as canon, since that seems to have been written first, and the different date for Swanwhite in the timeline as being Lewis forgetting the details of something he'd written earlier — as he did many, many times during the writing of the Chronicles. There are far bigger inconsistencies in them than this!! Tongue

As for time travel being possible within Narnia itself, there's no evidence in the books that that could happen, but then there's no evidence that it couldn't, so it could certainly make for some interesting fan fiction... Grin  

 

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

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Posted : January 9, 2021 1:38 pm
daughter of the King
(@dot)
Princess Dot Moderator
Posted by: @courtenay

According to Hooper in Past Watchful Dragons (I have the book here with me), Lewis compiled the timeline ("Outline of Narnian History so far as it is known") AFTER "having written the books". I don't know if Hooper has any direct evidence for that, though, as he doesn't tell us where Lewis wrote the timeline down or if there's any indication of the actual date that he wrote it.

I generally compare the Outline to various Histories of Middle-Earth volumes. They consist of notes by the authors that don't necessarily match what is in the published books. It is annoying that Hooper didn't always have evidence to back up what he says happened, but apparently Lewis generally didn't keep notes when he was done with them. Or correspondence for that matter (I'm actually researching the next article and the lack of physical letters for correspondence that definitely happened is extremely frustrating). So Hooper had to go by what else was in the notebooks that he preserved and first-hand accounts from people who Lewis had told what he was writing.

Posted by: @rose

It's referenced in PC and plays a key role during the escape from Tashbaan in HHB... The Splendour Hyaline, the Pevensies' sailing ship from the Golden Age. I think this was the ship that was originally meant to sail backwards in time in the scrapped time travel story, and I think it had a lot to do with Swanwhite, too

Now there is a connection I haven't made before! If Swanwhite lived before the White Witch's reign it's certainly plausible that the design of the ship was inspired by her. Or at least it makes sense in-universe, who knows about out-of-universe. Ah, the good old Watson vs Doyle argument!

As for Swanwhite herself, I've usually interpreted it as a Luthien and Arwen situation. For those unfamiliar with extended LotR canon, Luthien was considered to be on the most beautiful elves ever and her descendant Arwen was also so beautiful she was sometimes said to be Luthien reborn. This is further emphasized by them both loving a mortal man and Arwen's choice to reject immortality and marry Aragorn was sometimes called the choice of Luthien (that might not be the exact phrasing, but you get the idea). So, Swanwhite I was as described by Jewel, and Swanwhite II was a descendant who had the same beauty.

Her living before the Telmarines does of course bring up the question of who reigned after the Pevensies left. Archenlanders returned from exile after they fled the White Witch?

That being said, I do love a good time travel story, and I am disappointed that Lewis' ideas for one never happened. The Dark Tower was probably meant to be a time travel sequel to Out of the Silent Planet but he never finished that either.

Narniaweb sister to Pattertwig's Pal

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Posted : January 9, 2021 2:47 pm
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Nut
Posted by: @rose

You may be right, @col-klink I don't think we can necessarily say that this was supposed to be a Narnia story from the outset, but that doesn't mean that Lewis didn't recycle ideas in it for future Narnian stories.

I'm agreed.

Posted by: @rose

If it's true that Lewis had several non-Narnian story ideas, why did they eventually become Narnian? Did his publisher encourage him to fit them into Narnia because LWW was already so popular with kids and Narnia had name recognition?

I suppose that's possible but I highly doubt it. They all feel so natural the way they are. The Narnian-ness (Narnianity?) doesn't come across as forced.

Posted by: @rose

I rather want to read the alternate universe non-Narnian versions!

Sometimes I do too but then we'd have to give up the versions we have. 😉 

While the initial story idea was doubtless the infant seed of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, I'm inclined to think Lewis intended it to be unrelated to Narnia because it sounds like it has a lot more suspense and (initially) ambiguity than any of the Narnia books. It sounds like readers weren't supposed to be sure until the end which characters were good and which characters were bad. While the protagonists in the Narnia stories are sometimes portrayed as thinking villains, like the LOTGK or Shift, are good guys, Lewis never seem to make a major attempt to confuse the readers. The closest I can think of to a situation parallel to the one described in the quote is when Jadis tells Digory that Aslan must be bad because he's not letting him save his mother, and even in that one, the right answer is pretty clear. (We've had five books or so to get to know Aslan and even putting LWW aside, Jadis has an impressively bad track record in MN alone.) And Lewis did write other fictional works besides Narnia. 

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen

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Posted : January 10, 2021 10:23 am
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coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

Lewis writing a time travel story doesn't fit well in my mind. The different time speeds between our world and Narnia is interesting enough. 

He and Tolkien made an agreement further back, that Jack would write a space travel story (,the Trilogy) and Ron would write a time one, I believe (which he didn't do). 

I do know that since Past Watchful Dragons went out of print,[also the book with the abandoned stories like the draft sequel to Out of the Silent Planet] the Estate's position is not to approve it being uploaded to the internet.

.'....whispered to her,"Courage, dear heart", and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan's, and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face.'

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Posted : January 10, 2021 1:13 pm
Cleander liked
The Rose-Tree Dryad
(@rose)
Secret Garden Agent Moderator

Something else I've always found a bit odd about Swanwhite is her name. All of the kings and queens of Narnia and Archenland have very non-word names, either English names from our world or Narnian/Telmarine names like Col and Cor and Gale and Rilian and Tirian. Swanwhite, on the other hand, is a lot more etymologically reminiscent of, say, Lilygloves or Pattertwig.

If it wasn't such a hard and fast rule that kings and queens of Narnia were always human, I'd wonder if she was actually a human at all! It does make me think, though, that it might be more evidence that she was originally a character crafted for a land/universe other than Narnia. Or that perhaps that Swanwhite wasn't her given name, but a "nickname" given to her by her people based on her appearance.

Posted by: @courtenay

According to Hooper in Past Watchful Dragons (I have the book here with me), Lewis compiled the timeline ("Outline of Narnian History so far as it is known") AFTER "having written the books".

That seems right for me. For one thing, the way that the timeline describes the history of Telmar... in Year 300, it's colonized by Calormenes, and then a mere two years later, the inhabitants have behaved so wickedly that Aslan turns them into dumb beasts and the country lies in waste. That all feels a little haphazard and retconned to me, and not nearly as interesting as the story seems like it might be when Aslan talks about it in Prince Caspian. So I can imagine that Lewis, realizing that he had never explained the reason why Telmar was unpeopled in the canon, added this to the timeline instead.

(IMO, I think what Lewis might have had in mind for Telmar ended up happening in Charn, but that should probably be saved for another thread. And I am probably getting off topic anyway. Wink )

Posted by: @dot

As for Swanwhite herself, I've usually interpreted it as a Luthien and Arwen situation. For those unfamiliar with extended LotR canon, Luthien was considered to be on the most beautiful elves ever and her descendant Arwen was also so beautiful she was sometimes said to be Luthien reborn.

Ooh, I do like this. As an "in-universe" answer, I think it works very well. And Swanwhite being so legendary would also explain why the Pevensies' might have drawn inspiration from her for their beautiful ship. (It kind of makes sense, to style a royal ship after a queen whose legend was always linked with water.)

Someone on Twitter — new member @LensofLewis, if I'm not mistaken — also suggested that Swanwhite might be on the level of a Greek god, being immortal until something or someone more powerful killed her. Tolkien's elves come to mind again here, too.

Posted by: @col-klink

I suppose that's possible but I highly doubt it. They all feel so natural the way they are. The Narnian-ness (Narnianity?) doesn't come across as forced.

I definitely agree with you on that, but one thing I've always noticed, and loved, is how different each Chronicle is from the rest. I think that difference in tone and type of story is what inspired Michael Ward's theory. So it wouldn't shock me if Lewis pulled a lot of disparate story ideas together and made them Narnian... it's true that he wrote non-Narnian fiction, but his only books for children were Narnia, and it seems all of the plot ideas he had for children's books ended up becoming Narnian stories, if they took shape at all. But who can say for sure... annnd I think I'm getting off-topic again. Giggle

Posted by: @coracle

I do know that when Past Watchful Dragons went out of print, and the Estate's position is not to approve it being uploaded to the internet.

Just in case anyone is confused, you can't read the whole book through the Google link that I shared in a previous post it's just a preview, which is protected under fair use laws. The majority of the book is not visible for reading.

I hope the Estate releases a new edition of the book soon! It would be a nice tribute to Walter Hooper.

Twitter: Rose_the_Dryad

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Posted : January 10, 2021 8:23 pm
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Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Nut
Posted by: @rose

All of the kings and queens of Narnia and Archenland have very non-word names, either English names from our world or Narnian/Telmarine names like Col and Cor and Gale and Rilian and Tirian. Swanwhite, on the other hand, is a lot more etymologically reminiscent of, say, Lilygloves or Pattertwig.

That's a really interesting point. My best explanation is that contrary to the timeline, Swanwhite lived in a time after MN and before LWW, which we know very little about, and human names were different then.

 

Posted by: @rose

it's true that he wrote non-Narnian fiction, but his only books for children were Narnia, and it seems all of the plot ideas he had for children's books ended up becoming Narnian stories, if they took shape at all.

But didn't he have all those plot ideas after he'd written just one or two Narnia stories? So they represent a time when his modus operandi for writing children's stories was less set in stone.

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen

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Posted : January 10, 2021 9:09 pm
Courtenay liked
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator
Posted by: @rose

Something else I've always found a bit odd about Swanwhite is her name. All of the kings and queens of Narnia and Archenland have very non-word names, either English names from our world or Narnian/Telmarine names like Col and Cor and Gale and Rilian and Tirian. Swanwhite, on the other hand, is a lot more etymologically reminiscent of, say, Lilygloves or Pattertwig.

 

If it wasn't such a hard and fast rule that kings and queens of Narnia were always human, I'd wonder if she was actually a human at all! It does make me think, though, that it might be more evidence that she was originally a character crafted for a land/universe other than Narnia. Or that perhaps that Swanwhite wasn't her given name, but a "nickname" given to her by her people based on her appearance.

I like the thought of its being a nickname. Before I read that sentence I had just thought, that perhaps she had a human name, but that the beasts (or some of them) referred to her by this term. It could be instead of her actual name, or as an extra name, like the Romans did or as in LWW 'King Edmund the Just, Queen Susan the Gentle'... so, 'Queen _____ Swanwhite'.

.'....whispered to her,"Courage, dear heart", and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan's, and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face.'

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Posted : January 10, 2021 9:31 pm
The Rose-Tree Dryad
(@rose)
Secret Garden Agent Moderator

I just thought of something else about the idea that perhaps Ramandu's Daughter more-or-less took over the role that Swanwhite (hypothetically) played in Lewis's seafaring time travel story... "the reflection of her face shone out of the water like a star by night" and Ramandu's Daughter is, of course, a Star's daughter.

... What if she was Ramandu's Daughter's MOM?!

I am getting too carried away with this, guys. I must be stopped. ROFL

Posted by: @col-klink

But didn't he have all those plot ideas after he'd written just one or two Narnia stories? So they represent a time when his modus operandi for writing children's stories was less set in stone.

If you look at the page in the Google preview, you'll see he's sketching out a plot that's titled SEQUEL TO L.W.W., which offers a rough description of Prince Caspian. Obviously he didn't know that the only children's stories he was going to write would end up being Narnia stories, or that he was going to write seven Chronicles, but it's interesting that that's what ended up happening considering he didn't seem set on it at the time. (And I'm quite content with my beloved Chronicles, though part of me is still very curious about a non-Narnia children's story written by Lewis. Giggle )

Twitter: Rose_the_Dryad

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Posted : January 10, 2021 9:34 pm
Cleander
(@the-mad-poet)
NarniaWeb Junkie

OK, this thread blew my mind. I feel like there's not too much to add, though, since everyone seems to taken this speculation farther than I could.

The idea of Swanwhite time-traveling would make an AWESOME book though!

(For those who are curious about Lewis's reference to St. Brendan: Brendan was an early Irish monk who is said to have sailed to North America, encountering sea serpents and floating islands on the way. One interesting note: some North American tribes were later discovered to have use a very strange, circular skin boat, which closely resembled the Irish coracle. Perhaps Lewis was thinking of this later when he randomly threw in Reepicheep's coracle?)

I also did not know about the blood transfusion element of the original draft. Just when I think I've heard all there is to hear about these stories, something else pops out!

This post was modified 2 months ago by Cleander

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Posted : January 10, 2021 10:01 pm
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Friend of NarniaWeb
Posted by: @rose

If it wasn't such a hard and fast rule that kings and queens of Narnia were always human, I'd wonder if she was actually a human at all!

Ah, but is it really a hard and fast rule that they're ALWAYS human?... there's another bit where Lewis isn't totally consistent across all seven books. At the end of The Magician's Nephew, in which of course we've seen two humans from England crowned the first King and Queen of Narnia, we're told:

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. (emphasis added)

That stands to reason, as of course there were no other humans remaining in Narnia after Digory, Polly and Uncle Andrew left, so the only way for Frank and Helen's children to have children of their own would be for them to marry magical beings who are human-like enough to be able to produce offspring with a human... either that or commit incest, which I'm sure Lewis would NOT want to advocate. Shocked

We do know that other humans entered Narnia or the neighbouring lands at times, outside the ones whose adventures we follow in the books, though the only instance we're specifically told about is when "Pirates from our world take possession of Telmar" (year 460 in Narnian time). I've always speculated that there must have been some other instances of people from our world settling in Narnia permanently, as otherwise there's no way the human population of Narnia could have survived very long at all. After a few generations of marriages to nymphs and wood-gods and river-gods, the royal family of Narnia would have almost no human blood left, unless some more humans came into the mix somewhere!

But my point here is that if Swanwhite did live "before the days of the White Witch and the Great Winter" (as we're told in The Last Battle), and was descended from Frank and Helen's children, then she wasn't purely human — some of her ancestors, maybe even most of them, were nymphs (Naiads, maybe?) and wood-gods and river-gods. Which would perhaps explain her legendary beauty (dare I say "beyond the lot of mortals"?) and her reflection remaining in the water for a year and a day! Wink  

That makes me think it's more likely that Swanwhite DID live before the days of the White Witch, and that Lewis simply made a mistake in putting her between the Pevensies and the Telmarine kings when he wrote his later timeline. We don't know who (or what) ruled over Narnia between the Pevensies and the Telmarines — maybe more humans got into Narnia that we don't know about? But as the Golden Age of Narnia was now over and there implicitly weren't any rulers after that who came anywhere near matching up to the Pevensies in greatness and goodness, it doesn't make as much sense to have such a mysterious and magical figure as Swanwhite being Queen in that time.

In fact, ever since I first saw that inconsistency between the book and the timeline, I've wondered if Lewis didn't simply mix up the two almost-legendary-sounding figures he has Jewel describe to Jill in LB — Swanwhite the Queen and Moonwood the Hare. If you look at the timeline, Moonwood the Hare is placed around the year 570 (well before the White Witch returns in 898) and Swanwhite around 1502. Swap those two around — so that we have Swanwhite living around 570 and Moonwood around 1502 — and there's no longer any inconsistency at all.

So... maybe Lewis, when writing the timeline, remembered he'd thrown in a mention in LB of two intriguing characters from Narnia's earlier history, and decided to put them in the timeline as well, but forgot which one of the two he'd said lived before the White Witch? That's what makes the most sense to me, at least... Giggle  

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

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Posted : January 11, 2021 2:40 am
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