Synopsis: Narnians and Calormenes start to go into the Stable.
Griffle and his followers are so frustrating. Rishda Tarkaan calls them ‘children of mud’, which is similar to Aslan’s term ‘son of earth’, but clearly pejorative.
I discussed the issue of race in this book in an earlier post. Reading this chapter, I do wonder whether publishers will in future replace the unacceptable term ‘darkie’ with an insult which doesn’t have racial associations. Lewis purists would probably be unhappy but I’d prefer it. It makes for an uncomfortable read.
The idea of bears being essentially good, but a little slow on the uptake (See the Bulgy Bears in PC in particular) continues here. Shift’s spiteful comments to the poor bear are further evidence of his cruelty.
Shift asks the crowd, ‘What’s struck you all dumb?’, which of course is about to be the fate of Ginger.
‘We are all between the paws of the true Aslan,’ are comforting words, but surely they must be especially so for someone like Jill. Tirian has never seen Aslan. Jill has. She’s been to his country. She’s seen him resurrect someone. After that, I imagine thinking of him would comfort you whatever the situation.
What happens to Ginger always gave me the creeps. I know he’s a ‘baddie’ but something about it really unsettled young me.
I didn’t expect to read about the sound of cats ‘making love’. Presumably Lewis means this in the old fashioned sense, rather than how the term is used today.
It explains here that Calormene officers call their superior officers ‘My Father’. This detail didn’t sink in on previous readings, which means I spent a long time believing that Emeth was actually Rishda Tarkaan’s son. I did always wonder how such a character managed to grow up in Rishda’s house.
What did Emeth actually think was going to be in the stable? I can’t imagine he really believed in ‘Tashlan’. And at what point were the Calormene soldiers going to be told the truth, if ever?
Emeth is only a minor character, but one who stood out very clearly in my memories of this book. He’s the very image of traditional ‘knightly’ values.
There are many different parts of the Chronicles which provoke emotional responses in me. How much of this is pure nostalgia, how much the writing itself, is impossible to say. The boar being selected by the utterly disgusting Shift to go into the stable always makes me well up. Shift is flippantly selecting an animal to be murdered, for absolutely no reason at all. It’s the futility, as well as the cruelty, of this action, which gets to me. (And the fact that until Tirian acts, nobody does anything to intervene.) It puts me in mind of times in this world where people have acted like this towards other humans. All the unpleasantness, the violence, the negativity we are familiar with in our world is present in Narnia too. Talking animals can be selfish, cowardly and vicious, just like people.