[Narnia Content Note: Misogyny, Ableism, References to mental illness, My personal soapbox re: the planetary interpretation of Narnia and why I feel like it minimizes the rampant sexism and racism]
Narnia Recap: The trio have been brought to an underground palace and are being entertained by the Black Knight.
The Silver Chair, Chapter 11: In The Dark Castle
I find it odd, and with no sense of whether or not we are supposed to find it odd, that no name is given for the Black Knight until he turns out to be Prince Rilian. I went back to the previous chapter to check, and he greets the trio and then says, essentially, "hey, I know you!" and Jill says, "oh, were you the black knight who never spoke" and he says "yeppers" and they go on from there. They don't ask his name. I don't think he asks their names. They just sit down to eat dinner and he tells them his life story and the narrative calls him "the Knight" over and over and wow does this seem really strained and unnatural.
I suppose this is because Lewis couldn't be bothered to come up with a fake name that he wasn't planning to use for more than a few pages, but this has the effect of making the protagonist trio seem even more incurious and rude than before. They mentioned looking for a "Rilian" and the knight said "nope, never heard of 'im" and that was apparently it for them. There's absolutely no attempt to connect with this man who may well hold the power of life and death over them. There's certainly very little nod to the fact that humans are supposedly pretty rare in Narnia (the Animals outnumbered the Humans in the boat-departure scene) and that they are looking for a human man the size and shape and age and build of exactly this guy.
I'm sad there there isn't a moment where Eustace realizes that this guy looks a lot like Caspian as he remembers and knew a few months ago, with maybe a strong sprinkling in of that star-girl whose name he never caught. I guess Lewis was just trying to scoot by the implausible disguise plot-point as quickly as possible. (Note: Was Rilian's description never circulated, in all those years he was missing? No wanted-posters? Puddleglum should know what the missing prince looks like. Hell, the kids should know, except that Aslan and the Owls didn't see fit to tell them. I have issues with this!)
WHEN THE MEAL (WHICH WAS PIGEON pie, cold ham, salad, and cakes) had been brought, and all had drawn their chairs up to the table and begun, the Knight continued:
They. What. Where does. They're underground! It's hotter down there! The book said so! How is cold ham-- how did it get here and why is it cold? Where are the pigeons and salad and cakes-- Is this just to contrast that the goblin people eat "bad" food and the English man eats "good"-- You know what, I don't care. Cold ham. Sure.
(WHO DID THE COOKING. THIS MATTERS TO ME.)
“You must understand, friends, that I know nothing of who I was and whence I came into this Dark World. I remember no time when I was not dwelling, as now, at the court of this all but heavenly Queen; but my thought is that she saved me from some evil enchantment and brought me hither of her exceeding bounty. (Honest Frog-foot, your cup is empty. Suffer me to refill it.)
HOW. HOW ARE THEY NOT SAYING "OH WELL CLEARLY YOU'RE THE PRINCE WE ARE LOOKING FOR."
This is. This. I just can't. I have lost the ability to can. Humans are supposed to be rare in this world. They haven't met a human except a glimpse of Caspian before he sailed off. And, okay, maybe the Green Lady (WHO WEARS GREEN) might seem human to them except that the Prince just insisted that she's immortal, which WHOOP WHOOP RED ALERT SOUND. How are they not at least considering that this guy might be that Prince wot went missing. How.
And this seems to me the likelier because even now I am bound by a spell, from which my Lady alone can free me. Every night there comes an hour when my mind is most horribly changed, and, after my mind, my body. For first I become furious and wild and would rush upon my dearest friends to kill them, if I were not bound. And soon after that, I turn into the likeness of a great serpent, hungry, fierce, and deadly. (Sir, be pleased to take another breast of pigeon, I entreat you.)
My god, I just don't even. He is reminding them of the giant serpent thing and no one even notices. You remember? The giant serpent who killed the queen and wrought the prince's disappearance and brought calamity and ruin upon the land? That one? THAT ONE THAT PUDDLEGLUM HAS FORGOTTEN ABOUT?
(Little lady, eat one of these honey cakes, which are brought for me from some barbarous land in the far south of the world.)
Presented without fucking comment.
Now the Queen’s majesty knows by her art that I shall be freed from this enchantment when once she has made me king of a land in the Overworld and set its crown upon my head. The land is already chosen and the very place of our breaking out. Her Earthmen have worked day and night digging a way beneath it, and have now gone so far and so high that they tunnel not a score of feet beneath the very grass the Updwellers of that country walk. It will be very soon now that those Uplanders’ fate will come upon them. She herself is at the diggings tonight, and I expect a message to go to her. Then the thin roof of earth which still keeps me from my kingdom will be broken through, and with her to guide me and a thousand Earthmen at my back, I shall ride forth in arms, fall suddenly on our enemies, slay their chief man, cast down their strong places, and doubtless be their crowned king within four and twenty hours.”
I've stopped trying to make sense of Lewis' villains except that I kinda haven't stopped and never will. How was this supposed to work? If the Witch is resigned to marrying the Prince anyway (possibly because she has had a Swan Princess moment*), then why not play the part of someone who "found" the Prince and ask for his hand from Caspian? I really have zero faith in Caspian to see through this ploy! Or, hey, "find" him while Caspian is gone now, and hope that the bias for human rulers will pressure Trumpkin to stand down.
Really, literally any plan seems better than "conquer place by force". If she was planning to do that anyway (for lulz?), then what does she need the Prince for? Does he just give really good foot-rubs? I demand a backstory on this, and it's kind of interesting that Lewis doesn't seem to have thought to provide one. Apparently we're just meant to accept that, sure, a woman with phenomenal cosmic power would want a hypnotized boytoy with her because reasons?
“It’s a bit rough luck on them, isn’t it?” said Scrubb.
“Thou art a lad of wondrous, quick-working wit!” exclaimed the Knight. “For, on my honor, I had never thought of it so before. I see your meaning.” He looked slightly, very slightly troubled for a moment or two; but his face soon cleared and he broke out, with another of his loud laughs, “But fie on gravity! Is it not the most comical and ridiculous thing in the world to think of them all going about their business and never dreaming that under their peaceful fields and floors, only a fathom down, there is a great army ready to break out upon them like a fountain! And they never to have suspected! Why, they themselves, when once the first smart of their defeat is over, can hardly choose but laugh at the thought!”
“I don’t think it’s funny at all,” said Jill. “I think you’ll be a wicked tyrant.”
“What?” said the Knight, still laughing and patting her head in a quite infuriating fashion. “Is our little maid a deep politician? But never fear, sweetheart. In ruling that land, I shall do all by the counsel of my Lady, who will then be my Queen too. Her word shall be my law, even as my word will be law to the people we have conquered.”
Please note that none of our heroes entertain the idea that the man in a magic land who claims to be under an enchantment might be enchanted. The fact that he's never thought of this, is clearly troubled by it, and then immediately seems to forget about the thing he was previously so struck by could be an indication of personality quirks or could be that the man who claims to be enchanted is enchanted!! Throwing that out there.
I kinda get the feeling that Lewis wrote his characters to be stupider than pet rocks so that the kids in the readership could be all "ooh! ooh!" at figuring out the mystery first, but this is a fine line and he is leaping right over it.
“Where I come from,” said Jill, who was disliking him more every minute, “they don’t think much of men who are bossed about by their wives.”
“Shalt think otherwise when thou hast a man of thine own, I warrant you,” said the Knight, apparently thinking this very funny.
WHAT IS THIS EVEN. (I'm so glad that Jill was finally given a chance to talk so that she can be the sexist voice in the party. Great shield there, Lewis. Well done.) This objection makes no fucking sense in the context of this conversation. Not, "But look, Bob, the people you conquer and murder aren't going to like being ruled by this woman, even if you do," but rather, "u hav no ballz, boytoy". It would literally have made more sense if Jill had said "oh yeah, well you're ugly".
The fact that a king who was ruled by his wife would be looked down upon in a misogynistic society (BTW ENGLAND HAD SEVERAL AWESOME LADY-QUEENS BUT WHATEVER) literally has zero bearing in this discussion and doesn't prove Jill's point about tyranny at all and is (as demonstrated) easily knocked down, but on the other hand the line is awesome in the sense that the book means this to be truth, coz damned if Rilian is gonna be bossed around by a mere lady once he's properly un-enchanted. No sir.
And of course this is very awesome in the context of a world where Queen Susan's initial description was that kings wanted to marry her, and Queen Lucy's was that princes wanted to marry her, and the last queen--the mother of the missing prince--has no name. Nor does the witch of this book. When you name a thing, you grant it a realness that these women simply are not given.
[soapbox] And this is one reason why I really do not give a flying donut fuck about the theory that Lewis was secretly a genius who wrote everything in code and if you align everything up with a transparent decoder sheet that has the solar system stenciled on it, EVERYTHING MAKES SENSE. And if everyone would just read this book by this white guy... no, thanks. No offense to Ward or to the fans of this theory, but I personally could not be more disinterested in what one white man has to say about another white man's book. Not when that book has heaps and heaps of racism and sexism in it, and the construction offered by the latest white man is being employed by many of its supporters to push all that aside as though it were nothing.
Because, seriously, even if I found it remotely plausible that Lewis could have boiled that much meaning into a series that was dashed off at a rate of 7 books in 5 years--and I will here note that symbolism takes time, care, dedication, and heaps and heaps of rewrites--and even if this isn't a case of Lewis writing a bunch of books in a hasty style that rendered them reasonably decent at first glance and hugely problematic at second (AS SO MANY THINGS ARE) and that humans came along behind him and found patterns, because humans do that very thing, even if all that... so what?
If Lewis really did boil a deep and meaningful planetary symbolism into his books that makes all the contradictions "make sense" (where here we mean "not make sense at all, but now somehow justifiable because his symbolism was more important to him than his story, although why the reader should accept that as an excuse is being carefully avoided as a topic"), I still do not care. Because all the planetary symbolism in the world cannot and will not erase the sexism and racism in this series. No, not even if the sexism and racism was somehow rilly-rilly necessary in order to make the symbolism work. It would still not be okay. I am not, and never will be, okay with people sitting around the Narnia discussion table basking in white male Christian privilege and saying that it's okay that a series where women are almost exclusively wives and mothers (and sometimes, very rarely, almost as good as a boy!) and witches and nameless, and the female protagonist exists only to marvel at the men and spout sexist attitudes on behalf of the author, and that's okay because planetary symbolism are cool.
If you like the planet theory, fine, but that doesn't change the fact that these books are packed with racism and sexism. It doesn't. It can't. And when someone, anyone, derails a discussion of said sexism and racism with "oh, but if you would read Michael Ward..." then they are basically saying that people are wrong to be harmed by Lewis' sexism and racism because obviously we should sweep all that aside because magic decoder ring. Or at the very least, they are asking that people derail in order to talk about the thing they personally find interesting because all this racism and sexism is so much yawn.
Don't do that. Don't be that guy. Thanks. (To my friends who find the planetary theory interesting and don't derail discussions about sexism in the books to talk about it, carry on and sorry if this seemed directed at you.) [/soapbox]
Back to the book.
I like the detail that enchanted Rilian is either "right" in the sense that Jill will think differently when she has a man of her own, in which case women really do want to boss their men around, or he's wrong (because enchanted) in which case women really do want to be dominated by men. Women cannot win in this exchange.
“But with my Lady, it is another matter. I am well content to live by her word, who has already saved me from a thousand dangers. No mother has taken pains more tenderly for her child, than the Queen’s grace has for me. Why, look you, amid all her cares and business, she rideth out with me in the Overworld many a time and oft to accustom my eyes to the sunlight. And then I must go fully armed and with visor down, so that no man may see my face, and I must speak to no one. For she had found out by art magical that this would hinder my deliverance from the grievous enchantment I lie under. Is not that a lady worthy of a man’s whole worship?”
“Sounds a very nice lady indeed,” said Puddleglum in a voice which meant exactly the opposite.
And that's literally the end of the conversation. Rilian compares his lady-love to a mother figure, which is so many levels of toxic, and Puddleglum is sarcastic because of course he is, and literally no one seems to wonder at this whole "no one can see my face" detail despite the fact that there is a famously missing human and here is a human whose keeper is taking great pains to hide him from the world. Nothing to see here, move along.
Then Rilian says that he's about to reach the enchanting hour, and Eustace (NOT JILL, JUST GONNA KEEP POINTING THAT OUT) asks if they can stay and watch.
“Friends,” he said, “my hour is now very near. I am ashamed that you should see me yet I dread being left alone. They will come in presently and bind me hand and foot to yonder chair. Alas, so it must be: for in my fury, they tell me, I would destroy all that I could reach.”
“I say,” said Scrubb, “I’m awfully sorry about your enchantment of course, but what will those fellows do to us when they come to bind you? They talked of putting us in prison. And we don’t like all those dark places very much. We’d much rather stay here till you’re … better … if we may.”
“It is well thought of,” said the Knight. “By custom none but the Queen herself remains with me in my evil hour. Such is her tender care for my honor that she would not willingly suffer any ears but her own to hear the words I utter in that frenzy. But I could not easily persuade my attendant gnomes that you should be left with me. And I think I hear their soft feet even now upon the stairs. Go through yonder door: it leads into my other apartments. And there, either await my coming when they have unbound me; or, if you will, return and sit with me in my ravings.”
What. So. Okay. It was a cold dinner with no servants, and... somehow? the food came up to them and the dirty dishes were cleared away and yet none of the goblin-people noticed (or cared?) that the prisoners were still hanging out with the Prince instead of in the dungeons like they think the Queen-Witch will prefer. Now the prisoners are just going to go missing, and no one is going to think twice of that. Okay?
They followed his directions and passed out of the room by a door which they had not yet seen opened. It brought them, they were pleased to see, not into darkness but into a lighted corridor. They tried various doors and found (what they very badly needed) water for washing and even a looking glass. “He never offered us a wash before supper,” said Jill, drying her face. “Selfish, self-centered pig.”
“Are we going back to watch the enchantment, or shall we stay here?” said Scrubb.
“Stay here, I vote,” said Jill. “I’d much rather not see it.” But she felt a little inquisitive all the same.
“No, go back,” said Puddleglum. “We may pick up some information, and we need all we can get. I am sure that Queen is a witch and an enemy. And those Earthmen would knock us on the head as soon as look at us. There’s a stronger smell of danger and lies and magic and treason about this land than I’ve ever smelled before. We need to keep our eyes and ears open.”
I am super glad that we have a girl-protagonist for this book, ya'll, I feel very fulfilled in my lady-brain. I also love that Puddleglum is "sure" that the Queen is a witch and enemy (HOW DID HE GUESS, WAS IT THE PART ABOUT HER HAVING AN ARMY POISED TO TAKE OVER NARNIA OR WAS IT THE PART WHERE SHE HAS A MAGIC CHAIR AND WORKS MAGIC? EITHER WAY, HE IS VERY ASTUTE.) but that doesn't stop him from being openly sarcastic and snotty to everyone. Remember, kids, just because you're in a tense situation with a powerful enemy doesn't mean you should have to be polite.
“Come in, friends,” [the Knight] said, glancing quickly up. “The fit is not yet upon me. Make no noise, for I told that prying chamberlain that you were in bed. Now … I can feel it coming. Quick! Listen while I am master of myself When the fit is upon me, it well may be that I shall beg and implore you, with entreaties and threatenings, to loosen my bonds. They say I do. I shall call upon you by all that is most dear and most dreadful. But do not listen to me. Harden your hearts and stop your ears. For while I am bound you are safe. But if once I were up and out of this chair, then first would come my fury, and after that”—he shuddered—“the change into a loathsome serpent.” “There’s no fear of our loosing you,” said Puddleglum. “We’ve no wish to meet wild men; or serpents either.”
“I should think not,” said Scrubb and Jill together.
“All the same,” added Puddleglum in a whisper. “Don’t let’s be too sure. Let’s be on our guard. We’ve muffed everything else, you know. He’ll be cunning, I shouldn’t wonder, once he gets started. Can we trust one another? Do we all promise that whatever he says we don’t touch those cords? Whatever he says, mind you?”
“Rather!” said Scrubb.
“There’s nothing in the world he can say or do that’ll make me change my mind,” said Jill.
“Hush! Something’s happening,” said Puddleglum.
The Knight was moaning. His face was as pale as putty, and he writhed in his bonds. And whether because she was sorry for him, or for some other reason, Jill thought that he looked a nicer sort of man than he had looked before.
“Ah,” he groaned. “Enchantments, enchantments … the heavy, tangled, cold, clammy web of evil magic. Buried alive. Dragged down under the earth, down into the sooty blackness … how many years is it? … Have I lived ten years, or a thousand years, in the pit? Maggotmen all around me. Oh, have mercy. Let me out, let me go back. Let me feel the wind and see the sky … There used to be a little pool. When you looked down into it you could see all the trees growing upside-down in the water, all green, and below them, deep, very deep, the blue sky.”
Pale as putty... nicer than he had looked before... Maggotmen. Ten years, which is the amount of time the missing prince has been missing. I don't even. I value my brain too much to look at that passage any longer. Moving on.
There's a whole bunch of begging for them to release him, which I'm not going to quote, and a nice piece about how if someone will but give him a sword, he will "take such revenge on Earthmen that Underland will talk of it for a thousand years!" And I love how the narrative really cannot make up its mind whether the goblin-people are miserable slaves in unwilling service to the witch (they are) or if they seem to be colluders such that Rilian's hatred of them is justified.
Because you can't really have it both ways. If they're miserable enough that even Jill notices it, then Rilian can't really be legitimately wanting to slay them here and now. Of further note: he does not reference wanting to slay the witch (or serpent) who enchanted him. Just her slaves. Who are miserable. So that's great. He's aware that she is the cause of his problems--he notes that the trio are not "witches" and that he's the "pawn and tool" of "the most devilish sorceress that ever planned the woe of men"--but he doesn't ask for a sword to kill her. Just the goblin-people.
I don't know what to say about that. Something needs to be said. But I don't have words anymore for the racism in this series. Most I just shake my head and kinda want to cry a little because this shit is seriously fucked up.
The prisoner’s voice was now rising into a shriek. “Let me go, I say. Give me my sword. My sword! Once I am free, I shall take such revenge on Earthmen that Underland will talk of it for a thousand years!”
“Now the frenzy is beginning,” said Scrubb. “I hope those knots are all right.”
“Yes,” said Puddleglum. “He’d have twice his natural strength if he got free now. And I’m not clever with my sword. He’d get us both, I shouldn’t wonder; and then Pole on her own would be left to tackle the snake.”
Editors. They find Freudian things and fix them. They're wonderful people.
“Once and for all,” said the prisoner, “I adjure you to set me free. By all fears and all loves, by the bright skies of Overland, by the great Lion, by Aslan himself, I charge you—”
“Oh!” said the three travelers as though they had been hurt. “It’s the sign,” said Puddleglum. “It was the words of the sign,” said Scrubb more cautiously. “Oh, what are we to do?” said Jill.
It was a dreadful question. What had been the use of promising one another that they would not on any account set the Knight free, if they were now to do so the first time he happened to call upon a name they really cared about? On the other hand, what had been the use of learning the signs if they weren’t going to obey them? Yet could Aslan have really meant them to unbind anyone—even a lunatic—who asked it in his name? Could it be a mere accident? Or how if the Queen of the Underworld knew all about the signs and had made the Knight learn this name simply in order to entrap them? But then, supposing this was the real sign? … They had muffed three already; they daren’t muff the fourth.
An editor would probably have also struck that entire paragraph. Work it into dialogue or trust the reader to figure it out, don't summarize the whole point of the chapter and especially don't do it by repeating plot points that were either (a) brought up less than a page ago or (b) thrashed to death in earlier chapters.
I love that reference to "lunatic", always keeping it classy with regards to mental illness in these books. I also love that the Queen has her slaves bind the Knight (which in itself seems like a reason to release him? if you're so certain that she's a witch and an enemy, Puddleglum, then why are you abetting the enemy, hmm?) and yet might have had him memorize the signs in order to trick the trio into releasing him... when she could just have her slaves release him. Or not tie him up in the first place.
“Oh, if only we knew!” said Jill.
“I think we do know,” said Puddleglum.
“Do you mean you think everything will come right if we do untie him?” said Scrubb.
“I don’t know about that,” said Puddleglum. “You see, Aslan didn’t tell Pole what would happen. He only told her what to do. That fellow will be the death of us once he’s up, I shouldn’t wonder. But that doesn’t let us off following the sign.”
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA, I here remind you all that Puddleglum is famous for saying a thing that a lot of Christians really loved and found to be deeply meaningful as an expression for their personal beliefs. That's the next chapter. In this chapter, he's essentially arguing that we shouldn't use our brains or have any sense of self-preservation. We should just unquestioningly follow orders that come from god, and if we die in the process, well, that's his prerogative and not something we should be concerned with.
I find that to be incredibly concernful as a statement of faith.
They all stood looking at one another with bright eyes. It was a sickening moment. “All right!” said Jill suddenly. “Let’s get it over. Good-bye, everyone…!” They all shook hands. The Knight was screaming by now; there was foam on his cheeks.
“Come on, Scrubb,” said Puddleglum. He and Scrubb drew their swords and went over to the captive.
“In the name of Aslan,” they said, and began methodically cutting the cords. The instant the prisoner was free, he crossed the room in a single bound, seized his own sword (which had been taken from him and laid on the table), and drew it.
“You first!” he cried and fell upon the silver chair. That must have been a good sword. The silver gave way before its edge like string, and in a moment a few twisted fragments, shining on the floor, were all that was left. But as the chair broke, there came from it a bright flash, a sound like small thunder, and (for one moment) a loathsome smell.
I love that while Jill was doing nothing (GIRL PROTAGONIST), she also wasn't hiding the Prince's sword or at least holding it away from him or something.
Then he turned and surveyed his rescuers; and the something wrong, whatever it was, had vanished from his face.
Remember, kids, you can tell if someone is evil solely by the feelings their face gives you.
“What?” he cried, turning to Puddleglum. “Do I see before me a Marsh-wiggle—a real, live, honest, Narnian Marsh-wiggle?”
“Oh, so you have heard of Narnia, after all?” said Jill.
OKAY TIME THE FUCK OUT. I wasn't going to make a big thing of this, but this is the fourth sign:
Fourth; you will know the lost prince (if you find him) by this, that he will be the first person you have met in your travels who will ask you to do something in my name, in the name of Aslan.
So, first of all, when Puddleglum said:
You see, Aslan didn’t tell Pole what would happen. He only told her what to do. That fellow will be the death of us once he’s up, I shouldn’t wonder. But that doesn’t let us off following the sign.
He was wrong. (Editors! Second drafts!) Aslan didn't tell Jill what to do. Literally the only thing he said was that the first person who asks them to do something in his name is the lost prince. He didn't say she should actually do that thing. And I wasn't going to make a big deal out of that because who am I to ask for consistency in my books, BUT now Jill is all "oh! you've heard of Narnia then?" when the whole point of the "sign" they just followed was that this is the lost Prince of Narnia. So, yes, I am pretty damned sure he's heard of Narnia, Jill.
Possibly Lewis meant for her to say "oh! you remember Narnia now?" but that is not what she said and I'm beyond giving the benefit of the doubt for this mess.
“Had I forgotten it when I was under the spell?” asked the Knight. “Well, that and all other bedevilments are now over. You may well believe that I know Narnia, for I am Rilian, Prince of Narnia, and Caspian the great King is my father.”
“Your Royal Highness,” said Puddleglum, sinking on one knee (and the children did the same), “we have come hither for no other end than to seek you.”
They're kneeling now that he's announced who he is. The thing that they supposedly already knew he is. I seriously think Lewis forgot his own signs and thought Aslan said something like "the first person who asks you to do a thing in my name, do it". That would make more sense for this scene, at the very least.
“And who are you, my other deliverers?” said the Prince to Scrubb and Jill.
“We were sent by Aslan himself from beyond the world’s end to seek your Highness,” said Scrubb. “I am Eustace who sailed with him to the island of Ramandu.”
The trio already said they were here looking for Rilian. They said that earlier. How does the prince remember some things that happened under his enchantment but not others? In Chapter 13, when they are trying to work out how to escape, we'll be treated to this:
Rilian explained that there were quite a lot of outlets by which one could get to the surface; he had been taken out through most of them at one time or another.
So he remembers that he was enchanted, but he doesn't remember saying that he had never heard of Narnia. He remembers his trips to the surface world, but doesn't remember the people he met a couple hours ago and who he has spent all evening with.
Incidentally, I didn't cut anything there; Rilian asks "who are you?", and Eustace introduces himself, and Jill and Puddleglum don't. I guess they weren't as high up on the social ladder as "I knew your dad"?
“I owe all three of you a greater debt than I can ever pay,” said Prince Rilian. “But my father? Is he yet alive?”
“He sailed east again before we left Narnia, my lord,” said Puddleglum. “But your Highness must consider that the King is very old. It is ten to one his Majesty must die on the voyage.”
I hate Puddleglum so much. I really do.
“Ten years!” said the Prince, drawing his hand across his face as if to rub away the past. “Yes, I believe you. For now that I am myself I can remember that enchanted life, though while I was enchanted I could not remember my true self. And now, fair friends—but wait! I hear their feet (does it not sicken a man, that padding woolly tread! faugh!) on the stairs. Lock the door, boy. Or stay. I have a better thought than that. I will fool these Earthmen, if Aslan gives me the wit. Take your cue from me.”
And with that final note of racism worked into the narrative, we end Chapter 11. You guys. This book is so much worse than I remembered. Every time we start one of these, I'm like "I used to have a lot of frustrated feels with this book, but I think it has redeeming portions" and then we get into it and I'm like "omfg what is this shit even rage rage rage", and it's such a slog through the racism and sexism. Here is a kitten.
* The Swan Princess is literally the greatest work of art ever created by human endeavor and I am definitely not just saying that to troll my friend. (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.)
[clip at 3 minutes in]
ROTHBART: What I really want is... is your father's Kingdom.
PRINCESS ODETTE: Take it then, you have enough power.
ROTHBART: Nah, tried that already. Once you steal something, you spend your whole life fighting to keep it. But, if I marry the only heir to the throne... We'll rule your father's Kingdom together, legally. King and Queen.