Narnia re-read. The Horse and His Boy Chapter fifteen. Rabadash the Ridiculous.

Synopsis: The victors discuss how to deal with Rabadash. When he refuses their mercy, Aslan punishes him.

Something a little odd happened on my re-read of this chapter. When King Lune welcomes Aravis to Anvard, I felt really emotional. I don’t remember this happening when I was young. Maybe it’s because Aravis must have felt so utterly relieved to be put so at ease after worrying what would happen to her. Maybe it’s because I’ve developed a soft spot for the formal speech employed from time to time in Narnia, when noble people are being courteous to each other. Maybe it’s because Lune is so down-to-earth and fatherly, and my own lovely father is no longer with me. I suspect it’s a combination of all three.

When Cor is initially pleased that his parent hears a story of his heroism, then increasingly embarrassed after multiple re-tellings, I think anyone can relate. Parents feeling proud is lovely, but they do love to re-tell a tale to everyone and anyone they meet.

Lucy and Aravis instantly like each other. I imagine each would like the other’s straightforwardness. This passage, again, is often cited as an example of Lewis’ sexism. Although I don’t deny that Lewis did write and say sexist things (I’ll explore this fully in an upcoming post) I never read this section in that way as a child. This was only my personal reaction to it, but as I read it all I thought was, ‘I wish I could be their friend, and have some fancy castle rooms set up just for me.’ Gender never featured in this for me, but I was lucky enough to grow up in a house where everyone was a feminist, so maybe that was why.

‘Even a traitor may mend. I have known one that did.’ This quote is all over the internet (instagram, pinterest etc). It really resonates with people. We’ve all done things we regret, but all hope to be given a second chance.

Apes are mentioned here, being described as dishonest. This will become more significant in LB. Is there a folklore precedent for this? I couldn’t find one but it would seem likely.

Rabadash was in a comfortable room with good food, but we are told he had a terrible night due to his own sulkiness. This is similar to Uncle Andrew in MN, in that situations do affect us, but our perception of and response to them are what often decide our state of mind.

My disproportionate dislike of Corin continues with his plea to box Rabadash and his taunting of the Calormene.

According to Downing’s ‘Into the Wardrobe’, Lune calling Rabadash a ‘pajock’ references Hamlet, where Hamlet is about to call someone an ass, but instead uses this term. This is relevant considering Rabadash’s imminent fate.

After reading this book when young, I was determined to learn to waggle my ears. It’s a useless skill but one that Narnia taught me, nonetheless.

‘Lightning in the shape of scorpions’ reminded me of Doctor Evil’s sharks with laser beams from the Austin Powers films.

I don’t know why Rabadash is turned into a donkey rather than any other animal. Maybe because ‘ass’ is a synonym for ‘fool’. Maybe for no particular reason. I have read elsewhere online that it is due to the unpleasant associations the name of  this animal has in arab culture, so was used as a final insult to the ‘middle eastern’ Rabadash. I hope this isn’t the reason. (See my separate post on race issues in HHB.)

I did look in my local library for a good history of Calormen. Naturally, I was disappointed.

A grand feast is the quintessential Narnian ( or Archenlandish) way to celebrate. The setting, with lanterns hung around the moonlit lawn only make it more appealing. Similarly, I love the evening dinner on the Camomile Lawn in Mary Wesley’s book of the same name, or the birthday party in the Weasley’s back garden in Rowling’s Harry Potter. Eating outside, with friends, somewhere warm enough to stay out late, is such a lovely thought.

I’d absolutely love to hear the full version of the lay of Olvin (did anything in Narnia ever sound so Tolkien-esque?).

I’ve always been puzzled by the fact that Lucy tells the others the story of the Wardrobe here. Not long after HHB’s events, the Pevensies are utterly mystified by the lamppost and have no recollection of their origins in our world. How did change this occur?

When Corin says that ‘princes have all the fun’, it always makes me think of the British princes, William and Harry. I wonder if that’s how Harry feels?

Why did Corin box the bear? Why did this make it ‘un-lapsed’?

For some reason (most likely my personal prejudice against Corin) I was always pleased to know that Cor was the more accomplished and dangerous warrior. I’m sure he wouldn’t have boasted about it either.

Personally, I was happy to know that Cor and Araris got married, but I’ve seen people online both agree and disagree with it. It’s the classic ‘buddy/romantic comedy’ result: two very different people forced to work together, where they start off disliking each other but then change their minds. Some people think it is too hastily ‘tacked on’ to the story to be convincing. Others ‘ship it’ and have written plenty of fanfiction on the subject. I just liked the thought of two characters I liked settling down together; why, I’m not sure.

 

 

 

 

Narnia re-read. The Horse and His Boy Chapter fourteen. How Bree became a wiser horse.

Synopsis: Aslan visits Aravis, Hwin and Bree. Shasta’s true identity and backstory are revealed.

Aravis has by this point spent much of the book demonstrating her courage, intelligence and self-control. However, she has also been snobbish and rude. But we see, from her desire to apologise to Shasta, that she has grown and changed.

Bree, however, demonstrates the kind of self-deception Lewis is so adept at skewering, but the reader knows the real reason why he is delaying his return to Narnia. His lesson is yet to be learned. He blusters and makes excuses, and adopts his patronising style of speech when explaining about Aslan: ‘You’d hardly understand at your age.’

Are Aravis and Hwin unable to speak simply due to the shock of seeing Aslan, or does he intend for them to be temporarily ‘struck dumb’ while he appears to Bree.

I suppose that the arguments that Bree makes about Aslan not really being a lion, about it being metaphorical, are reflections of arguments people have made against the Christian idea of God becoming a human in the form of Jesus. Bree is Narnia’s doubting Thomas; Aslan tells him: ‘Do not dare not to dare. Touch me.’ Bree is shown the realness of Aslan, and is terrified and ashamed. However, he learns what he needed to know, and is finally ready to accept who he is and return home.

Hwin is drawn immediately to Aslan, and he makes it clear he knows her well. This reminds me of Emeth in LB.

Finally, Aravis learns the truth of her injury by the lion, and shows again how she has changed by asking after the slave. However, the wounds Aslan gives her seem (to me) to be unusual. Aslan doesn’t usually hand out corporal punishment. Edmund betrayed his family and friends and Digory  introduced evil into an innocent world. Neither was hurt physically. Aravis drugged someone in order to escape a forced marriage. Yes, she didn’t feel empathy, but being scratched on the back seems different from the way Aslan usually behaves.

When I was younger I loved reading about Shasta and Aravis being reunited, and the illustration of the scene (included in this post) was one of my absolute favourites.

Did Lewis take the idea of naming brothers in the Archenland style – Cole, Colin, Bar, Barrin etc. from somewhere, or did he invent it? And if Lune had a brother, what would he have been called?

Lewis loved learning but had detested his school days, and Shasta (now Cor) seems equally reluctant to have ‘Education’ imposed upon him.

Finally, the fact that Cor and Corin are twins is confirmed. At this point Michael Ward’s ‘Planet Narnia’ needs to be mentioned. His theory, that each book in the series relates to a heavenly body from medieval mythology, and references to this are made throughout the text, links HHB to Mercury. (See http://www.planetnarnia.com/planet-narnia/the-seven-heavens/mercury) The theory is most convincing. Mercury was known for being the (very fast) messenger of the gods, just as Shasta’s storyline is one of delivering messages. Mercury was also the god of boxing, which is referenced on a number of occasions in relation to Corin, and thieves, which Shasta and Bree become in order to survive their journey. In Greek, he was sometimes called ‘Hermes the Ram-bearer’. Of course, Cor’s son is called Ram. Mercury the metal was known for being able to ‘divide and recombine’ just as Cor and Corin do. And most significantly, Mercury was associated with the twins, Castor and Pollux, the horseman and the boxer.

Did Lune completely give up hope that Cor was alive when he wasn’t on the ship? Did he ever try to search for him?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Narnia re-read. The Horse and His Boy Chapter thirteen. The fight at Anvard.

Synopsis: Shasta and the rest of the Narnians join the battle at Anvard. The Hermit describes what is happening to Aravis and the horses.

Corin’s comments on Queens Susan and Lucy are often referenced in discussions about the representation of gender in the Chronicles. This subject is important and requires proper examination, which I intend to do in a dedicated post, rather than here. However, when Corin talks about Lucy being ‘as good as a man, or at any rate as good as a boy’, it sounds exactly like the sort of ignorant comment which the real-life ‘Corins’ of this world (of which I have had the misfortune to meet quite a few) like to share with you, without any prompting.

I haven’t been able to find any real-world examples of the spiked armour-boots which the giants wear here.

Shasta’s involvement here is really frustrating. I never enjoyed the thought of him ending up in a battle which he didn’t understand. I always wanted him to tell Corin ‘no thanks’. I don’t think he could be thought cowardly for doing so. But then I suppose that in LWW, Peter and Edmund joined the Battle of Beruna without really knowing much about swordsmanship.

When Lewis says ‘all prayers said,’ I wonder who Shasta would pray to: would he think that Aslan could be prayed to? Would he fall back on prayer to Tash? Or something else?

The storytelling device of having the battle described to the reader via a third party ‘commentator’ – much like a sporting event would be – is very similar in feel to Miraz and Peter’s single combat in PC.

Cities south of Tashbaan are mentioned, but we never learn whether they are all in Calormen or not. (None of the maps Pauline Baynes created showed the land this far south.)

The hermit’s pool reminds me of the pool of Galadriel in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Another echo of this book is in the eagles’ appearance for a key battle.

Once again we are shown the problem of pride: Rabadash is concerned with looking and sounding grand, but when this backfires it adds to his ridiculousness.

King Lune is presented to us as the epitome of real kingliness (after having seen what a dictator is like in the form of the Tisroc). He is disciplined and fair-minded, ensuring that Rabadash is treated ‘correctly’, despite the unprovoked attack he has just led. (I was surprised that Edmund – the just – was not quite so calm.) Lewis was a monarchist and throughout the Chronicles the ‘rightful’ royal is presented as the ideal person to rule a country. Lewis’ own home country is strange with regard to royalty. There is not an Irish royal family (there were noble ruling families in earlier centuries but not one established royal line.) However, in Northern Ireland, where Lewis grew up, those who were Unionists and Protestants considered themselves part of Britain, and saw themselves as associated with the British royal family. Feelings on such matters still run very high in many parts of Ireland.

Finally, we are about to have Shasta’s true identity spelled out to us, but surely the reader has already worked it out for themself?

 

 

Narnia re-read. The Horse and His Boy Chapter twelve. Shasta in Narnia.

Synopsis: Shasta reaches Narnia, and sends news of the attack on Anvard to Cair Paravel. When the war party passes, he is reunited with Corin.

The spring of refreshing water which appears in Aslan’s footprint is religious symbolism, but the image it most makes me think of is in Bill Melendez’s 1979 animated version of LWW. (I think I’ve seen this particular film more times than any other. I used to watch it all the time.) After returning to life, Aslan jumps around on grass with Susan and Lucy. Wherever he lands, flowers immediately grow.

Is there anyone who doesn’t like the idea of encountering a talking hedgehog?

Whenever stags appear in the Narniad they remind me of the White Stag. Lewis clearly admired these animals, as his description is detailed and beautiful.

One of the defining characteristics of Narnians always seems to be their homely hospitality. (This is discussed in Ford’s ‘Companion to Narnia’, where he notes the contrast to the offered hospitality of the Narnians with the forced hospitality of Arsheesh.) The idea of enjoying simple, homely, physical pleasures – hearty meals, firesides, laughter – is repeatedly described, most lovingly, by Lewis. We know that he himself thoroughly enjoyed ‘simple pleasures’ such as long walks, cups of tea and good books.

Duffle’s breakfast is one of those scenes in the Chronicles I always wished I could dive right into. An open door, a smoking chimney, sizzling bacon, creamy porridge, a checked tablecloth.

Would dwarf dinnerware really be much smaller than that used by humans?

Lewis never misses an opportunity for an unfavourable reference to Calormen: its food, the sound of its horns…

Queen Lucy in chain mail was pretty much the pinnacle of my childhood ambition: she knew Aslan, he knew her, she was a beloved queen of Narnia, and she was a medieval-style warrior. (While my friends were interested in football, ponies, ice-skating and ballet, I was busy designing my own heraldic banners and playing with my toy knights.)

So, at this point I must make a confession. I love Narnia. I love the characters. I love ‘good’ characters like Lucy. I love ‘difficult’ characters like Eustace. I even love the ‘bad’ characters, like Jadis, in a love-to-hate-them way. But I can’t stand Corin. I am absolutely certain that if he were real, I would barely be able to be in the same room as him. (The only other character in the Narniad who comes close is Shift.)

Corin is the embodiment of thoughtless privilege. At this point in the tale he doesn’t know he has a twin. He must be aware of Lune’s grief at losing his wife and other son, and also of his own duty to reign after Lune’s death, but this doesn’t make him more cautious about his own safety. When he visits Tashbaan, his behaviour is cause of distress and possible embarrassment to the Narnian party. He is utterly lacking in self-awareness, empathy or consideration for others.

Corin doesn’t modify his behaviour in deference to King Edmund, despite being a child who has not yet been knighted. The way he treats Thornbut shows a total disregard, not only for a respected dwarf, but for Edmund’s orders too. A king of a friendly country asks him not to do something, and he ignores this reasonable request. Worse still, he uses violence to get his own way, injuring Thornbut in the process. Even then, he shows no remorse, using the incident to once again push his own agenda. Then he drags Shasta along with him, with no thought for his safety either.

What I find strangest about all this is that I can’t imagine Lewis would ‘get on’ with Corin. He is just the sort of brash, overly-physical public schoolboy whom Lewis admitted detesting in ‘Surprised by Joy’. Yet we seem to be expected to like him. Writing this post has confirmed for me just how much I don’t; he’s like a Narnian echo of every over-confident, arrogant, spoiled brat I’ve ever encountered in this world.

 

 

Narnia re-read. The Horse and His Boy Chapter eleven. The unwelcome fellow traveller.

Synopsis: Shasta finds and warns King Lune of the attack. He then loses the rest of the party in the darkness and is joined by a mysterious fellow traveller.

I always felt heartily sorry for Shasta having to leave behind his friends, and continue his stressful journey alone. In his ‘Companion to Narnia’, Ford talks about Shasta’s having only to run and not question this instruction as demonstrating obedience, in a way which reflects religious obedience.

‘It had become one of those hot, grey days when there seem to be twice as many flies as usual’. This phrase often comes to mind when I am walking in England and Scotland.

I always loved King Lune – who wouldn’t love apple-cheeks, deep voices and twinkling eyes- but when I was very small his name confused me. (I didn’t know it wasn’t the same as ‘loon’.) There are various English rivers called Lune, and one in Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

Does anyone get through this chapter without working out who Shasta really is? Are we meant to?

The Archenlanders admire Shasta’s horsemanship. In the Chronicles, horse and rider working harmoniously together represent physical and spiritual aspects of a person working together. (Ford discusses this in detail in ‘Companion to Narnia’. This idea also appears in ‘The Great Divorce’, where a man is shown mastering his desires and fears, which then become a mighty horse, which he rides into heaven.)

I distinctly remember finding the next section of this chapter really frustrating. I wanted Shasta to ask for help, or call out to the others, or someone to notice him. Lune suspects who he might be; would someone who had lost their child at birth, then meets a boy who looks exactly like the child, really let this person dawdle off in some fog? I love the Chronicles, but there are plenty of plot holes such as this when you look at them with an adult eye.

I’m guessing that using ‘winded’ rather than ‘wound’ for the horn being blown is a more poetic or archaic version of the verb, but I have no evidence to back this up.

Shasta getting lost round the corner of a winding road was a really clear picture for me as a reader. It often pops into my mind when I’m driving through places like the Sottish Highlands, where the dramatic scenery, winding roads and unpredictable weather combine to put me in mind of Narnia – or, more accurately – Archenland.

Whenever we overhear a conversation Rabadash is involved in, we learn more about just how unpleasant his intentions and motivations are.

Usually when characters in books are feeling sorry for themselves I feel annoyed at them, but here I really do feel like Shasta is entitled to a moan. He’s had a life of near-slavery and misery, only recently enlivened by lion-chases, snobby put-downs, nights in graveyards and loneliness.

This is really difficult for me to say – bearing in mind that most of my childhood was spent longing to meet him – but I don’t understand Aslan’s behaviour here. Why be so oblique? Why not simply comfort Shasta, like the ‘cat’ at the tombs? Why frighten him?

Once again, it is made plain to us that we can’t (and shouldn’t) know the details of anyone else’s story. This idea surfaces throughout the Chronicles.

Until recently I had no idea why Aslan says he is, ‘Myself…myself…myself,’ in such a strange way. Now I can see that each ‘Myself’ represents a different aspect of the Christian trinity: the powerful Father, the joyful Son and the mystical but all-encompassing Spirit. And as has happened so many times already in the Narniad, meeting the ‘terrible or beautiful’ Aslan produces a combination of emotions: fear and happiness.

How of Earth did I read phrases such as ‘High King above all Kings’ when younger and make no connection with what I knew of Christianity?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Narnia re-read. The Horse and His Boy Chapter ten. The Hermit of the Southern March.

Synopsis: The companions reach Archenland, but see that Rabadash is not far behind. They are chased by a lion. They reach the Hermit of the Southern March, who sends Shasta on to warn King Lune.

When I was younger I always wondered how the arid desert could be so close the lush, green lands described from this point on in the book. The map at the start of the book didn’t really help with this – it doesn’t really look like a map of somewhere ‘real’ and doesn’t show the rest of the geography of Calormen which the journey moves through, only the mostly featureless desert and mountains.) However, I geography was never my strong point so I have no idea if this is a common or plausible situation or not.

The landscape of Archenland is never, to my mind, described in such as way as to make it sound quite as appealing as Narnia. The main image it left in my imagination, which my re-read didn’t really change, was one of damp greenness. It also felt small. Really small. I didn’t really picture much apart from Anvard, but surely a kingdom needs some subjects. Years after reading Narnia, when I discovered (the unadulterated joy of) Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, the tiny Ramtop kingdom of Lancre felt similar in size.

We are told about the difference between the horses thinking that they were doing all they could, and actually going flat out. This is something I’ve certainly experienced. Fear is a great motivator.

The description of the lion’s attack always puts me in mind of those times where you can see that something is about to go horribly wrong. You can see what is happening, with absolute clarity, and it almost feels as if time slows down, but you are totally powerless to prevent it.

Shasta’s desperate attempt to help Hwin and Aravis is one of the moments in the Chronicles that I find most moving. What he does is almost comical, shouting at a lion to ‘Go home’. But the intent is so selfless, so loyal and so brave, I find it really touching.

What sort of man is the Hermit of the Southern March? His appearance is similar to Coriakin and Ramandu, but he is not a star. His long beard, robes and staff all remind me of Tolkien’s Gandalf, and he certainly seems to possess some sort of magical skills, as he knows all about Rabadash, and where King Lune can be found. He mentions his ‘art’. What exactly is it?

I always liked the way the Hermit called the animals ‘cousins’.

Having read here that heather was ‘the best bedding’, I spent my childhood testing out the theory by lying in any outdoor spaces. (Heather is nice, but I have to say I prefer moss.) It’s little things like this which ensured that the Narniad was integrated with my ‘real’ life through my childhood.

I’m sure there’s a religious/spiritual reason for the Hermit’s home being like a ‘great, green cup’ filled with sunlight. By this point in the Chronicles, the Christian references are coming thick and fast, and I don’t always identify them correctly.

Once again, ‘lonely’ is used in a positive description of a place. Presumably, the loneliness of the Hermit’s home is a lovely loneliness like that found on the Lone Islands in VDT.

How mournful can a horse’s face be? Do horses like hot mash? Reading this, I realise I know nothing about horses in our world.

Bree’s wounded pride is shown here. In other writings, Lewis often referred to the seriousness of pride, and how he felt it led to other faults.

 

 

Narnia re-read. The Horse and His Boy Chapter nine. Across the desert.

Synopsis: Aravis escapes with the horses, and they are reunited with Shasta at the tombs. Aravis tells the others about Rabadash’s plan. The four set off to Anvard, to warn King Lune of the impending attack. They travel through the desert, stopping to rest at the gully.

Once again we see Aravis’ self-control. She is as scared and shaken as Lasaraleen, but she doesn’t waste time or lose sight of what she needs to do. I love the little detail of her sticking out her tongue as she braces herself to make her way to the tombs.

Aravis is affectionate in her greeting of the horses, but doesn’t give Shasta any indication that she’s changed in her attitude towards or opinion of him. The lessons which she needs to learn in order to complete her ‘journey’ have not been fully absorbed; she began to realise Shasta’s qualities when with Lasaraleen, but doesn’t yet give him any indication that she’s changing her mind about him.

Deserts, springs, thirst. Such things are often used as spiritual or religious metaphors. Deserts are also the backdrop to some Bible stories, such as Jesus’ temptation by the devil. It is then unsurprising that Lewis features one in a Narnia story.

Bree is vain and can be silly, but he’s not stupid. He shows this when he explains to the others about Rabadash’s execution of the plan, and also how they need to approach their crossing of the desert.

The actual crossing of the desert was my favourite part of this story when I was young, thanks to the author’s descriptions. It’s exciting, and dramatic, but also beautiful and even dreamlike in places. I’ve only ever travelled through a desert in a camper van, so I don’t actually know if it is an accurate description, but as a child I trusted the Narnia books implicitly. Any deserts I’ve heard about since have all been, in my mind’s eye, based on this desert, just as all the castles I visit have a little of Cair Paravel somewhere.

Beautiful descriptions are mixed with practical detail in the desert journey: we know about the squeak of the saddle leather, the altered sound of the horses’ hooves, the smells, the sounds, the physical experience of heat and light. Because of this, the refreshing relief of the water, once reached, is understood and appreciated by the reader.

Nightingales seemed to appear in quite a few children’s stories. I always imagined they’d have the most beautiful, haunting songs. However, having heard one, I think I prefer the humble blackbird’s call. Nightingales have been used in literature and myth, from as long ago as Homer’s Odyssey, to represent different things, chiefly love, faithfulness and yearning, and the relationship between love and loss.

It’s refreshing to see the heroes in a story making a mess of things every once in a while. It isn’t an enemy’s fault that they oversleep. This is typical of Narnia stories. Although there are external enemies – Jadis, Miraz, Rabadash etc. – the real battles faced by the protagonists are often internal struggles, against doubt, selfishness, greed, and so forth.

Like Aravis, Bree has yet to learn his ‘lesson’. He’s still condescending and superior towards the long-suffering Hwin, even though she is absolutely correct in what she says. He dawdles and wastes time.

 

 

 

 

 

Narnia re-read. The Horse and His Boy Chapter eight. In the House of the Tisroc.

Synopsis: Rabadash, the Grand Vizier and the Tisroc discuss Narnia. The Prince asks for the Tisroc’s permission to attack Anvard, in order to subsequently capture Queen Susan. The Tisroc agrees, but will pretend to know nothing of the plan.

This entire chapter has a very distinct feel. It is full of the ‘Eastern’ stereotypes discussed in my initial post about this book. For the modern reader, there are also echoes of Disney’s Aladdin to be found, with the portly ruler and thoroughly unpleasant Grand Vizier.

As is generally the case in Narnia, it doesn’t take the reader long to establish just what sort of people these characters are. As Ford points out in ‘Companion to Narnia’ Rabadash is well suited to his name; it sounds like ‘rabid’ and ‘dash’. He is certainly both wild and impetuous. We are left in no doubt about his suitability as a husband for Queen Susan.

The Tisroc’s calm, cold manner is in total contrast to his loud, over-emotional son. I’m not sure how I felt about it when I was young, but the Tisroc is certainly more menacing to my mind now.We’ve been shown how kings and queens should behave elsewhere in the Chronicles. (In this particular book, King Edmund and King Lune provide the most obvious examples.) Here we are shown a tyrant. He calls his own people ‘vile persons’. He has people put to death – for the most trivial of reasons. Even his own son is treated with disdain and suspicion – there is a distinct lack of love and affection between the Tisroc and Rabadash. They seem to tolerate each other and find the relationship useful, but I can’t imagine either would lose much sleep if something happened to the other. Throughout the chapter, the characters’ speech is evidently insincere: they reel off meaningless compliments while actually disregarding or even disliking each other.

I think the Grand Vizier, and his treatment by the others, is supposed to provide comic relief here, but it doesn’t really amuse me for some reason.

The discussion of Narnia is fun for the reader, when Jadis’ long winter is mentioned, and the ‘demon in the shape of a lion’. Of course, we know better.

It is interesting that Rabadash ascribes the changes in Narnia to ‘the alteration of the stars’. In the Narnian world, we have seen before that the movement of the stars is significant, and that centaurs can make accurate predictions based on what they see in the sky. Maybe the thinking is that Aslan decides how the stars move, and he decides the future, so their movements are able to be interpreted.

Rabadash’s plan for the attack on Anvard, and subsequently Narnia, shows us that he doesn’t ‘play fair’, something which in the Chronicles is a sure sign of a ‘bad egg’. It also seems to misjudge King Peter. I’m reasonably sure that if Susan was abducted he and Edmund – and Lucy – wouldn’t rest until she was either rescued or avenged. This suggests a totally different way of looking at the world; presumably Rabadash would be happy to reach a compromise or deal if one of his siblings was similarly treated. He can’t see what the Pevensies mean to each other.

I’m starting to think that ‘carbuncle’ must be a favourite word of Lewis’ as it keeps appearing in the Chronicles.