Content Note: Nazis, Violence, Discussion of the terms "Anger" and "Hate" in the comments
Narnia Recap: The Pevensie children and Trumpkin have met Aslan. Aslan took the girls off for a romp with Bacchus, but sent the boys and the dwarf into Aslan's How to deal with what they find there.
Prince Caspian, Chapter 12: Sorcery and Sudden Vengeance
One of my private pleasures is the video game spoof reviews and riffing on The Escapist site. The Unskippable videos combine all the wonderful that is MST3K plus video games, and I enjoy Yahtzee's Zero Punctuation videos, even if I would never in a million years recommend them to anyone else who didn't share my exact sense of humor. (They're standard dudebro humor with all the many, many trigger warnings that implies.) But despite the dudebro humor, I do enjoy the scattered references to classic literature and the general curmudgeony take-down of video games, many of which I've either played myself or (more frequently) have watched my Husband and Stepson play.
Today as I read Chapter 12 in Prince Caspian, I find myself thinking of Yahtzee's video review of Valkyria Chronicles. The game is a turn-based combat game, set in a thinly disguised anime version of the European front during World War II, and which I've had the pleasure of watching Husband play extensively before he eventually got bored and wandered off somewhere. The protagonist cast didn't exactly set the world on fire for me, and I confess I mostly found them rather irritating and annoying, so it was particularly amusing to me when Yathzee pointed out in his video the Unfortunate Implications of that sentiment:
Valkyria Chronicles helped me come to two distressing realizations about my self. Firstly, that I might technically be a Nazi sympathizer, and secondly that turn-based strategy is something I might be able to get into. ~ Yahtzee
The implication here is that if one ends up sympathizing with the Nazi-Expy Antagonists and disliking the Allied-Expy Protagonists, then therefore one must be technically a Nazi sympathizer, no?
Well, no. It's a joke, of course, and I laughed, but this is where allegories get a bit fiddly: an allegory is not the same thing at that which it is allegorizing. Aslan is not the same thing as Jesus, and one is free to hate Aslan deeply and passionately without opening oneself to the accusation that one therefore hates Jesus. There are a number of reasons why this is true, not the least being that few allegories capture their subject perfectly, and nuance and complexity is often lost in the translation from concept to allegory. And then, of course, there is the issue that the author's conception of the subject may be very different from the reader's conception of the same, which means that even if a "perfect" allegory could be composed from the author's point of view, the reader may still beg to differ. And so on.
Yet all of this is a long way of saying that today's Narnia chapter made me pause to wonder if I was "technically" a Satanic follower as C.S. Lewis likely would have defined it. Because gods help me if Nikabrik and his merry band don't score quite a few sympathy points from me in this chapter, despite the fact that I'm pretty sure they're not supposed to. Whoops me, I guess.
Peter, Edmund, and Trumpkin approach the entrance to Aslan's How and are halted by two badger guards who immediately accept the legitimacy of the High Kings, and make homage to the two boys. Light is provided, and Trumpkin leads the way into the inner sanctum of the How, where the war council meets.
I have to say that I question the tactical decisions on display here. I don't know much about war planning, but it seems to me that if the numerically-superior enemy has your army near-surrounded and deeply at a disadvantage, maybe you don't want to spend a lot of time in an underground hole that only has one egress? It seems like it would be pretty easy for the enemy to capture the How. Maybe they're safe Because Deep Magic or something.
Although, I will take a moment here to say that this whole How business makes no sense to me. The narrative makes a big point of telling us that the caves sprang up some time after Aslan's death and the Pevensie's recall to England, and there are mysterious runes on the cave walls that look older than the Pevensie's reign and yet cannot possibly be so, and if all this is an allegory for something specific, I will admit that it is lost on me. So I'll move on.
The Dwarf went on ahead and then turned to the right, and then to the left, and then down some steps, and then to the left again. Then at last they saw a light ahead—light from under a door. And now for the first time they heard voices, for they had come to the door of the central chamber. The voices inside were angry ones. Someone was talking so loudly that the approach of the boys and the Dwarf had not been heard.
“Don’t like the sound of that,” whispered Trumpkin to Peter. “Let’s listen for a moment.” All three stood perfectly still on the outside of the door.
Also the magical cave has doors installed. I kind of want there to be a legend chiseled into the door: Ashanti's Door Installation. Nothing but the best for your magical mystical memorial cave! Call for a price quote.
And I want to make a point here, and that point requires spoilers. So here is this chapter in a nutshell: Trumpkin and the boys listen to Nikabrik argue that since the High Kings (and Aslan) haven't returned, they should call on the White Witch. Tempers escalate and a battle happens. That's Chapter 12 summarized.
So my point is this: I really dislike "let's listen in" plots. The only time I have ever (to my recollection) enjoyed a "let's listen in" plot it was at the skillful hands of Douglas Adams, who could pull off daring feats of writing that most of the rest of us can only dream of. I deeply, deeply, deeply dislike "let's listen in" plots and 99 times out of 100 it's better for everyone involved if the would-be eavesdroppers just walked into the middle of the room/clearing/concert hall/what-have-you and announced their presence.
This is one of those times.
The entire Chapter 12 is about the fact that the High Kings (and Aslan) haven't come back. Caspian is almost killed over this argument; several other people are killed over this argument. All Trumpkin and the boys had to do when this became apparent was to walk in and say, "Hey! We're here! Also, Aslan is outside with the girls." That tiny little act would have spared Caspian from being wounded (and nearly killed) and could potentially have saved the lives of Nikabrik and his two companions. Plus it would save us having to read a tedious argument about whether the High Kings (and Aslan) are going to come back. As if this book wasn't tedious enough already. But, and this is really the sticking point, THERE ARE THEOLOGIES TO BE MADE. So sit back and enjoy your theology, while remembering that it's all served second-hand through eavesdroppers who -- had they acted earlier and more decisively -- could have saved lives. Oh joy.
“You know well enough,” said a voice (“That’s the King,” whispered Trumpkin), “why the Horn was not blown at sunrise this morning. Have you forgotten that Miraz fell upon us almost before Trumpkin had gone, and we were fighting for our lives for the space of three hours and more? I blew it when first I had a breathing space.”
“I’m not likely to forget it,” came the angry voice, “when my Dwarfs bore the brunt of the attack and one in five of them fell.” (“That’s Nikabrik,” whispered Trumpkin.)
“For shame, Dwarf,” came a thick voice (“Trufflehunter’s,” said Trumpkin). “We all did as much as the Dwarfs and none more than the King.”
“Tell that tale your own way for all I care,” answered Nikabrik.
It's not a good sign when we're four paragraphs in and I'm already on Nikabrik's side.
And it's not because yay Nikabrik near so much as it is because boo Trufflehunter. There's no way that Trufflehunter isn't being completely misleading here; "one in five" fallen dwarves is a factual number that either did or didn't happen, and if Nikabrik is lying, it would be infinitely easier to provide the correct numbers. (The Narnian army seems fairly small and has been sharing a tightly confined space for some extended period. There's no reason why Trufflehunter couldn't have a decent recollection of how many dwarves in the army were wounded or dead. Especially since that's the sort of thing war councils tend to dwell on.)
Since Trufflehunter doesn't correct or dispute the "one in five" number, then I'm inclined to assume that Nikabrik is being accurate. In which case Trufflehunter's ass-kissing statement about how EVERYONE did as much as the dwarves and ESPECIALLY the king really grates my teeth because I don't care how waif-fu Caspian is, if one-fifth of him isn't seriously wounded or dead, then no, he hasn't 'done as much' as the dwarves. He may have killed as many Telemarines, but he hasn't suffered and sacrificed as much. That's not to blame him -- it's a good thing if Caspian is a good soldier and doesn't have a glass jaw -- but pretending that Nikabrik was talking about Damage Done when he was obviously talking about Damage Received is really poor form in an argument.
So already I'm on Nikabrik's side and imagining that Nikabrik is rightfully pretty pissed off. This is, after all, his friends and relations that he's talking about, and Trufflehunter has glossed over their deaths in order to place his lips more firmly on the local prince's posterior. In the meantime, we honestly don't even know if Trufflehunter has lost anyone in this war so far -- there were enough badgers up and walking to place them in charge of guarding Aslan's How, at least.
“The help will come,” said Trufflehunter. “I stand by Aslan. Have patience, like us beasts. The help will come. It may be even now at the door.”
“Pah!” snarled Nikabrik. “You badgers would have us wait till the sky falls and we can all catch larks. I tell you we can’t wait. Food is running short; we lose more than we can afford at every encounter; our followers are slipping away.”
“And why?” asked Trufflehunter. “I’ll tell you why. Because it is noised among them that we have called on the Kings of old and the Kings of old have not answered. The last words Trumpkin spoke before he went (and went, most likely, to his death) were, ‘If you must blow the Horn, do not let the army know why you blow it or what you hope from it.’ But that same evening everyone seemed to know.”
“You’d better have shoved your gray snout in a hornets’ nest, Badger, than suggest that I am the blab,” said Nikabrik.
And then there's this. Nikabrik is trying to lay out the problems with the current situation so that he can then propose a solution. Trufflehunter keeps trying to side-track the discussion and cast blame. Neither of these things are helpful, and this is the point at which I'd be voting Trufflehunter (who is only here because he was one of the three who originally found Caspian) off the war council entirely.
When Nikabrik points out that help has not arrived, possibly because the horn was blown at the wrong time or has no magic in it, Trufflehunter wants to make a racist statement about how the Beasts are more steadfast and faithful in the old ways than the Dwarves. Not. The. Time. When Nikabrik points out that they need to act quickly because their army numbers are dwindling (what happened to all the steadfast beasts?), Trufflehunter wants to start looking for a scapegoat to blame the camp rumors on. Because no one could POSSIBLY have figured something was up when the doctor stumbled into camp with nothing but an horn (looking suspiciously like Queen Susan's Horn of Legend) and then two high-ranking members of camp left on secret missions on the same day that Prince Caspian blew the horn for no reason at all. No, there has to be a leak on the war council because no one could figure that little puzzler out.
And since the leak can't be Trumpkin (he was the one who cautioned against leaks) and can't be Prince Caspian (because he can do no wrong) and can't be Doctor Cornelius (because he doesn't know anyone in camp to talk to) and can't be that chatty squirrel they sent off to the lamp-post (because he's been forgotten) and can't be Trufflehunter (because he's the one making accusations), we all know who it supposedly must be. No wonder Nikabrik is ruffled by the blatant accusation.
“Oh, stop it, both of you,” said King Caspian. “I want to know what it is that Nikabrik keeps on hinting we should do. But before that, I want to know who those two strangers are whom he has brought into our council and who stand there with their ears open and their mouths shut.”
“They are friends of mine,” said Nikabrik. “And what better right have you yourself to be here than that you are a friend of Trumpkin’s and the Badgers? And what right has that old dotard in the black gown to be here except that he is your friend? Why am I to be the only one who can’t bring in his friends?”
“His Majesty is the King to whom you have sworn allegiance,” said Trufflehunter sternly.
“Court manners, court manners,” sneered Nikabrik. “But in this hole we may talk plainly. You know—and he knows—that this Telmarine boy will be king of nowhere and nobody in a week unless we can help him out of the trap in which he sits.”
Oh-my-god, I agree with Nikabrik. I do. I can't help it. If they're really going to build their war council around friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend rules as though this were a potluck dinner and not, you know, an actual effective war council, then Nikabrik should have a couple of guest invitations to hand out to all his besties. (And if they aren't treating this like a potluck dinner, then Trufflehunter should have been formally removed five minutes ago.) Why is Doctor Cornelius here? Why aren't there representative members of each race in the army, making sure that supplies are handed out evenly and that troop movements are even feasible logistically? ("No, sire, the Talking Sloths can't loop around and encircle the troops. It's physically impossible.") Why is the entire war council a boy, his tutor, a badger who found him in the woods, and a dwarf that was there when the finding happened?
And I don't care how Caspian styles himself on his school notebook in the evenings (Mister Prince Caspian, King of Narnia), he's a boy of indeterminate age and almost no real-world experience who has managed to single-handedly lead his army into a ruinous defeat because he listened to an astrologist centaur who insisted that the only honorable, star-approved method of fighting was open combat on a glorious field of battle rather than guerrilla tactic raids on outlying cities and gathering allies over a wider swath than "everyone on our street block". Caspian may have been born with a silver ticket to the war council in his mouth, but that doesn't make Nikabrik any less right in saying that he's a glorified figurehead who has managed to stick himself between a rock and a hard place.
It's probably worth pointing out again here how much I love Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" (which is pretty clearly to me a conversation with Narnia as well as a good series in its own right) because child protagonist Lyra recognizes that she's a kid and actually asks adults for advice and help. Go figure, and certainly quite realistic from my own childhood. I suppose Lewis meant for Caspian's speech here to be very badass and kingly, and he does have a point about inviting complete strangers to the war council (in which case you hold off on the business stuff and ask them to introduce themselves, how hard is that?), but he comes off here as more spoiled than anything else and like he's picking his war council members not based on what they can contribute tactically but rather on whether or not they meet various personality requirements. And I don't find that kingly at all.
“Perhaps,” said Cornelius, “your new friends would like to speak for themselves? You there, who and what are you?”
‘Worshipful Master Doctor,” came a thin, whining voice. “So please you, I’m only a poor old woman, I am, and very obliged to his Worshipful Dwarfship for his friendship, I’m sure. His Majesty, bless his handsome face, has no need to be afraid of an old woman that’s nearly doubled up with the rheumatics and hasn’t two sticks to put under her kettle. I have some poor little skill—not like yours, Master Doctor, of course—in small spells and cantrips that I’d be glad to use against our enemies if it was agreeable to all concerned. For I hate ‘em. Oh yes. No one hates better than me.”
Clearly this is a terrible person because (a) she's female, (b) she has an unpleasant voice, (c) she's ugly, and (d) she's disabled, but I can't help but notice that this is the most polite person we've seen so far in the book. Presumably it's meant to be insincere false politeness (although she won't remain alive long enough for us to tell that for certain), but it's probably not a good sign that my first impression of Ms. Hag here is that I like her more than every other character in the book (excluding Susan and Trumpkin) combined.
“Well, Nikabrik,” he said, “we will hear your plan.”
There was a pause so long that the boys began to wonder if Nikabrik were ever going to begin; when he did, it was in a lower voice, as if he himself did not much like what he was saying.
Remember children, if you take away nothing else from the Narnia books, keep in mind that evil people always know they are doing evil. And they dislike doing evil because they know that evil is bad, but they do it anyway -- not because they have good reasons for their actions or because they are genuinely misguided, but because they are stubborn. And this is true whether you're seeking shelter with the woman who gave you magical candy or whether you are objecting to walking all over a dangerous forest in the middle of the night or whether you are proposing to make a deal with the devil in order to ensure the survival of your species.
“All said and done,” he muttered, “none of us knows the truth about the ancient days in Narnia. Trumpkin believed none of the stories. I was ready to put them to the trial. We tried first the Horn and it has failed. If there ever was a High King Peter and a Queen Susan and a King Edmund and a Queen Lucy, then either they have not heard us, or they cannot come, or they are our enemies—”
“Or they are on the way,” put in Trufflehunter.
I would like to take this moment to remind everyone that Nikabrik has -- for all that I can see -- made a good faith effort to try the horn plan, and would have been happy enough to go along with the results of the horn plan had it actually worked and brought back the High Kings and/or Aslan. I would also like to point out that there are three people listening to this conversation who could reveal that the horn plan worked at any moment if they wanted to step out of the shadows and announce themselves.
“The White Witch!” cried three voices all at once, and from the noise Peter guessed that three people had leaped to their feet. “Yes,” said Nikabrik very slowly and distinctly, “I mean the Witch. Sit down again. Don’t all take fright at a name as if you were children. We want power: and we want a power that will be on our side. As for power, do not the stories say that the Witch defeated Aslan, and bound him, and killed him on that very stone which is over there, just beyond the light?”
“But they also say that he came to life again,” said the Badger sharply.
“Yes, they say,” answered Nikabrik, “but you’ll notice that we hear precious little about anything he did afterward. He just fades out of the story. How do you explain that, if he really came to life? Isn’t it much more likely that he didn’t, and that the stories say nothing more about him because there was nothing more to say?”
“He established the Kings and Queens,” said Caspian.
“A King who has just won a great battle can usually establish himself without the help of a performing lion,” said Nikabrik.
I reckon it's a good thing that the narrative has already asserted that Nikabrik knows he's a wrong evil snot-fart-head, because otherwise I might be convinced that he's got a good point here from his point of view. Once again, the Aslan narrative simply doesn't make sense. The White Witch ruled Narnia for one hundred years and never in that time did Aslan do anything to oppose her until the English children showed up, and even then he was only in Narnia for a few days before disappearing again. The Pevensies have been gone for thirteen hundred years, and never in that time -- as far as anyone knows, and you'd think it'd be the sort of thing people would remember and mention -- has Aslan visited Narnia.
That's fourteen hundred years that Aslan has not been in Narnia, barring a few days during LWW. The land has undergone one hundred years of deathly winter, and three hundred years of brutally effective genocide, and never in that time has Aslan seen fit to pop in and help his subjects. And in those few days when he was there, the only thing he did do was save Edmund from a death that was orchestrated by the Emperor and the White Which, and show up to the final battle just in time to tip the scales.
And here is where it's worth pointing out again that the allegory isn't the same as the subject it is allegorizing. It makes sense (for various flavors of Christian theology, but I'm going to speak very generally here, as long as it's understood that there are almost as many interpretations of Jesus as there are Christians) for Jesus to not show up for the past thousand years or so because Jesus' purpose isn't the same as Aslan's purpose. Jesus' purpose wasn't to save the physical life of a single person, but Aslan's purpose was precisely that. Jesus' purpose wasn't to dethrone temporal rulers and bite their heads off, but that was precisely Aslan's role in LWW. As such, I think it's perfectly reasonable for me -- and Nikabrik -- to demand to know why Aslan isn't showing up to save physical lives and depose temporal rulers in the here and now without, by allegorical extension, asking the same thing of Jesus Christ.
If Aslan is a spiritual entity in Narnia, he's a spiritual entity that can only be communed with in the fleshy presence of same. He isn't, for example, someone you can pray to and have an answer returned even if he is physically absent. He's not someone who can minister to two different people on the opposite ends of Narnia at the same time. And he only shows up when English school children are in the vicinity. This doesn't mean he's not a god, but it does mean that he's not a terribly useful one for, say, Narnians over the past fourteen hundred years or so. And it also means that his existence is pretty easy to reasonably doubt, when he only seems to exist under a very narrow set of circumstances.
[...] “But she got on all right with us Dwarfs. I’m a Dwarf and I stand by my own people. We’re not afraid of the Witch.”
“But you’ve joined with us,” said Trufflehunter.
“Yes, and a lot of good it has done my people, so far,” snapped Nikabrik. “Who is sent on all the dangerous raids? The Dwarfs. Who goes short when the rations fail? The Dwarfs. Who—?”
“Lies! All lies!” said the Badger.
“And so,” said Nikabrik, whose voice now rose to a scream, “if you can’t help my people, I’ll go to someone who can.”
“Is this open treason, Dwarf?” asked the King.
“Put that sword back in its sheath, Caspian,” said Nikabrik. “Murder at council, eh? Is that your game? [...]”
And then there's this. Good dog, there's this.
I don't mind that Han shot first. I don't. I'm fervently against Han revisionism. It makes sense to me for Han to shoot first. But it makes sense to me because I don't think we're supposed to see Han as an unambiguously good guy at that stage. At best, he's a fundamentally good person in a fight-or-die situation; at worst, he's not much better than the people hunting him, but he has a significant character arc over the trilogy that causes him to grow and become a better person. Honestly, I think both interpretations (and the spectrum in-between) work well within the movie trilogy. But never have I felt that Han -- at the point of the shooting -- was meant to be a great guy who we were all supposed to unreservedly cheer for and who needed no growth whatsoever as a character, roll credits, call it a day, etc. Han shot first at the beginning of the series, but Han ended the series as a different person altogether.
Caspian doesn't grow. Heck, I'm not sure Caspian even talks after this chapter. I think he mostly makes sounds during the Peter-Miraz duel, and when Aslan crowns him Caspian says some piffle that totes proves he'll make the bestest king ever. But that's not growth. There's no growth here, as far as I'm concerned.
So we have the curious situation where Trufflehunter has repeatedly and aggressively verbally attacked Nikabrik, accused him of being an information leak, interrupted him, and really -- no pun intended -- badgered him to the point where he raises his voice. (And what is he raising his voice about? The slaughter of his friends and loved ones on the piss-poor combat plans developed by the Boy Wonder and the very badger who is verbally hounding him. Not an emotionally neutral topic, by any means.) And in response to this, Prince Caspian draws his sword at council.
This is the guy who is going to be king of Narnia? A kid who listens to astrology over sound tactical advice, a kid who picks his war council based on who his bestest friends are, a kid whose idea of argument de-escalation is to pull out a deadly weapon? I'm sure he and Aslan will get along splendidly, but if this is where the monarchy is headed, count me out.
“Stop, stop, stop,” said Doctor Cornelius. “You go on too fast. The Witch is dead. All the stories agree on that. What does Nikabrik mean by calling on the Witch?”
That gray and terrible voice which had spoken only once before said, “Oh, is she?”
And then the shrill, whining voice began, “Oh, bless his heart, his dear little Majesty needn’t mind about the White Lady—that’s what we call her—being dead. The Worshipful Master Doctor is only making game of a poor old woman like me when he says that. Sweet Master Doctor, learned Master Doctor, who ever heard of a witch that really died? You can always get them back.”
I'm just going to say it: Team Hag. Judge me all you want, she's more polite and/or more cunning than anyone else on the Caspian side, and I prefer a polite and/or cunning evil hag queen to spoiled little boys who think chopping off the heads of allies in the middle of a council meeting is an appropriate response to a heated argument. Because that latter one is also evil in my book, and I'd rather have someone who is honest about being evil (and polite!) than someone who thinks he's the bee's knees in the Goody McGooderson department but is really just plain Rudely McEvilpants.
“So that is your plan, Nikabrik! Black sorcery and the calling up of an accursed ghost. And I see who your companions are—a Hag and a Wer-Wolf!”
The next minute or so was very confused. There was an animal roaring, a clash of steel; the boys and Trumpkin rushed in; Peter had a glimpse of a horrible, gray, gaunt creature, half man and half wolf, in the very act of leaping upon a boy about his own age, and Edmund saw a badger and a Dwarf rolling on the floor in a sort of cat fight. Trumpkin found himself face to face with the Hag. Her nose and chin stuck out like a pair of nutcrackers, her dirty gray hair was flying about her face and she had just got Doctor Cornelius by the throat. At one slash of Trumpkin’s sword her head rolled on the floor. Then the light was knocked over and it was all swords, teeth, claws, fists, and boots for about sixty seconds. Then silence.
Please take note that evil is ugly, deformed, dirty, and frequently female. For the record. Evil is also black, as in the case of Nikabrik the Black Dwarf, and/or animalistic as is the case with our Were friend.
They all heard the noise of someone striking a match. It was Edmund. The little flame showed his face, looking pale and dirty. He blundered about for a little, found the candle (they were no longer using the lamp, for they had run out of oil), set it on the table, and lit it. When the flame rose clear, several people scrambled to their feet. Six faces blinked at one another in the candlelight.
OH MY FUCKING STARS AND GARTERS, C.S. LEWIS, OF ALL THE THINGS I WOULD LIKE YOU TO EXPLAIN IN AN ASIDE TO YOUR PLODDING, HORRIBLY PACED, THEOLOGICAL TRACT DISGUISED AS A NOVEL, THE *LAST* THING I CARE ABOUT IS WHY THEY ARE USING CANDLES INSTEAD OF OIL LAMPS.
How about you explain how this spoiled kid and his sycophantic badger are going to rule Narnia worth a damn once Aslan disappears after the coronation? How about you explain why Peter and Susan can't come back in a way that makes any sense beyond Because Puberty, and while you're at it, explain why they shouldn't be utterly outraged at being discarded like they're nothing more than cat-toys? How about you explain any number of things not related to CANDLES AND OIL LAMPS?
*huff* *huff* *huff*
“It’s the High King, King Peter,” said Trumpkin.
“Your Majesty is very welcome,” said Caspian.
“And so is your Majesty,” said Peter. “I haven’t come to take your place, you know, but to put you into it.” [...]
“I am sorry for Nikabrik,” said Caspian, “though he hated me from the first moment he saw me. He had gone sour inside from long suffering and hating. If we had won quickly he might have become a good Dwarf in the days of peace. I don’t know which of us killed him. I’m glad of that.” “You’re bleeding,” said Peter.
“Yes, I’m bitten,” said Caspian. “It was that—that wolf thing.” Cleaning and bandaging the wound took a long time, and when it was done Trumpkin said, “Now. Before everything else we want some breakfast.”
“But not here,” said Peter.
Well, thank goodness that Peter is here to put Caspian in his rightful place and not take it from him, because we wouldn't want our Great White Savior to have to earn his place or anything. (And I suppose it would be too much to ask for the Narnians to have any say whatsoever in who rules them. I imagine that the Narnians who aren't keen on being ruled by the human child of their genocidal conquerors can just git out.)
Though it's such a shame that Nikabrik might have been good if they'd won quickly, possibly by not making foolish combat decisions based on over-estimating the strength of your own troops, or by blowing that horn a little sooner, or maybe Aslan not farting around invisibly in the mountains in order to make the point that Susan is THE WORST, or maybe by Peter and Edmund and Trumpkin announcing themselves five whole minutes before they actually did. But these things happen.
And, of course, it's a relief that they have The Help to clean the bodies out of the council chamber (and not ask any uncomfortable questions about what happened) so that the royalty don't have to get their hands dirty with the yucky corpses and all those little disgusting details.
Privilege, thy name is Caspian.