- "He'll be coming and going. One day you'll see him and another you won't. He doesn't like being tied down - and of course he has other countries to attend to. It's quite all right. He'll often drop in. Only you mustn't press him. He's wild, you know. Not like a tame lion."
- ―Mr. Beaver (Chapter 17)[src]
Aslan appears in Narnia as a large and terrifying, but equally magnificent and wise, lion with kind eyes. He appears in different sizes to different people, although he himself never changes; as people grow in wisdom and character, they can perceive more of his greatness. Aslan is very wise, and a powerful force for good, but as Narnians often say, “He’s not a tame lion.” He is dangerous, and an unconquerable enemy, but he is unquestionably good.
Aslan is the one true king of Narnia; all of its inhabitants have faith in him, and obey him absolutely. Generally, he comes to Narnia to aid its leaders and heroes on important missions for external and personal peace, and to protect it from various evils. He watches over Narnia constantly, although he does not choose to solve all of its problems for its inhabitants. Aslan also periodically brings humans from Earth, both to help Narnia, and to teach those people important lessons.
Aslan is a divine being, and is therefore extremely powerful and almost omnipotent, with the only being known to surpass his authority and power being his father, the Emperor-Beyond-The-Sea. He possesses a certain omnipresence, and he can manipulate, transport, heal, and manifest himself in different shapes. His breath can heal those who have been petrified in stone, boost the morale of the faithless, and cause sleep for others, somewhat alike to Andrew Ketterley, Digory's uncle.
- "Can't we do something about the Deep Magic? Isn't there something you can work against it?"
"Work against the Emperor's Magic?"
- ―Susan and Aslan (Chapter 13)[src]
Creation of Narnia
- "Narnia, Narnia, Narnia, awake. Love. Think. Speak. Be walking trees. Be talking beasts. Be divine waters."
- ―Aslan at the creation of Narnia (Chapter 9)[src]
Aslan created the world of Narnia in the Earth year 1900. He brought everything –from the creatures, to the landscapes, to the sky and the stars – into being from an empty dark void, by singing and roaring.
Narnia was made in the image of Aslan’s Country, the “real” Narnia, although it was nothing more than a shadow compared to the latter’s glory. At the creation of Narnia, Aslan also witnessed the writing of the Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time by his father, the Emperor-beyond-the-Sea.
Aslan chose two specimens, one male and one female, of each species of dumb beasts, upon which to endow the powers of thought and speech. These intelligent beasts then formed the first council of Narnia, which eventually spawned the races of talking beasts that populated Narnia for centuries afterwards.
Aslan banished Jadis, a half-Jinn, half-giant woman, originally from the world of Charn, who had accidentally been brought into Narnia, to the northern land of Ettinsmoor. He then ordered Digory Kirke, a human boy from Earth in Narnia at the time, to fetch an apple from the Tree of Youth, from whose seeds grew the Tree of Protection, from which in turn he allowed Digory to take an apple to Earth, in order to heal his sick mother. This apple’s seeds eventually grew into the tree whose wood would become the wardrobe.
When the four Pevensies first came to Narnia, heralding the fulfillment of the Golden Age Prophecy, Aslan returned to Narnia in order to aid them in their fight against the wrongful queen, the White Witch. His presence brought an end to the Long Winter. Upon arrival, he began gathering all those still faithful to him near the Stone Table.
Aslan greeted Peter, Susan and Lucy Pevensie upon their arrival at his campsite, near the Stone Table. He asked where Edmund was, yet appeared emotionless when told of Edmund's betrayal to the White Witch, though he did say, "All shall be done" to save their brother.
After that, he briefly spoke to Peter, telling him how he would be the High King, and showed him the site of Cair Paravel. Shortly after, the Wolf, Maugrim, arrived and attempted to kill Susan and Lucy, only to be slayed by Peter. For his heroism, Aslan knighted him to The Most Noble Order of the Lion, as Sir Peter Wolfsbane.
He then sent the best of his army to rescue Edmund from the Witch's clutches.
Alas, though, according to the laws of the Deep Magic, it was the White Witch’s right to sacrifice Edmund, as he was a traitor, and all traitors belong to her. In order to save him, Aslan agreed to be sacrificed in his stead.
However, according to the laws of the Deeper Magic, Aslan, as an innocent victim, was resurrected.
After the war was won, Aslan revived those who had been petrified in the battle, and crowned the Pevensies as the new monarchs of Narnia, before disappearing.
Mr. Beaver told the Pevensies that Aslan often left to attend to other countries, and that he didn't like being tied down, but assured them he would return one day. He did warn them, however, not to press him, as he wasn't a tame lion.
Cor and Aravis
He also apparently helped save Cor as a baby, by seeing to it that the boat Cor was on floated to the shoreline, where he was found by his adoptive guardian, Arsheesh.
In the process, he helped Shasta discover his true identity as Cor, Prince of Archenland, taught Aravis to abandon her pride and faith in the Calormene god Tash, and helped stop Rabadash from conquering Narnia.
When Aravis fled to the Archenland border, he slashed her back to inflict on her the punishment she had caused to be inflicted on the slave she had drugged to escape her prideful stepmother. When he approached Aravis later, he explained his actions, and she agreed she had deserved the shock of corporal punishment. Thus reconciled, Aslan led the Calormene refugees to the council where Rabadash met his own punishment with distinctly less grace and dignity than Aravis had displayed.
Aslan was absent from Narnia during the Telmarine Conquest, and therefore most of the hunted and oppressed Narnians lost faith in him. However, when the Pevensies were transported to Narnia by Susan's horn, Aslan returned, and slowly tried to get them to believe in him once more.
Although they did not follow him at first, they eventually trusted him again, and, accordingly, Aslan awoke the hibernating Narnians, and called forth a river-god to end the Second Battle of Beruna.
Aslan blessed Caspian X as the next king of Narnia, and returned many of the conquered Telmarines to Earth, to start a new life.
Search for Aslan's Country and the Seven Lost Lords
Aslan called Edmund, Lucy Pevensie and Eustace Scrubb from Earth to join Caspian on his voyage, in order to teach them important personal lessons.
On Deathwater Island, Aslan helped Caspian and Edmund learn to resist greed, helped Lucy come to terms with her insecurities and need to be beautiful on Coriakin's Island, and turned Eustace into a dragon in order to help him realise his own flaws and self-righteousness on Dragon Island.
- "The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I've ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off."
- ―Eustace describing Aslan removing his dragon skin (Chapter 7). [src]
Once the Dawn Treader reached the sweet waters, Aslan ordered Caspian through a dream to send Edmund, Lucy, Eustace and the talking mouse, Reepicheep, to the shore at the end of the world.
Here, Aslan allowed Reepicheep to pass on from Narnia to Aslan’s Country, as was his greatest dream, and sent the others home.
Search for Prince Rilian
When Caspian’s wife, Ramandu's daughter, was killed by the Lady of the Green Kirtle, and his only son, Prince Rilian, was kidnapped by the same witch; she planned to use him to slowly conquer Narnia. As an old man, Caspian chose to search for Aslan, to ask him who should ascend the throne of Narnia after he died, believing that Rilian was lost.
Aslan, knowing that Rilian was alive, but hypnotized by the Lady of the Green Kirtle’s enchantments, brought Eustace Scrubb and Jill Pole to Narnia, and ordered them to find him. They eventually succeeded, but Caspian had by that time died; Aslan took him to his Country, a young man once more.
Destruction of Narnia
- "Peter, High King of Narnia. Shut the Door."
- ―Aslan at the destruction of Narnia (Chapter 14)[src]
During the rule of King Tirian, most of the inhabitants of Narnia fell prey to a lie, stating that the donkey Puzzle was Aslan, and that Aslan and the demon Tash, whom the Calormenes worshipped, were one of the same being. A great war between the Calormenes and the Narnians ravaged all the lands.
Aslan came to Narnia for the last time, and destroyed the entire world. He passed judgment of every one of its inhabitants, allowing those who were faithful, good and innocent to pass into Aslan’s Country, where they would exist in eternal peace, while the unvirtuous and honorless vanish into his shadow, their fate is unknown even to the author. It is presumed that they are sent to Tash's country for eternal damnation. At the same time, a train crash, which killed the Seven Friends of Narnia, as well as Mr. and Mrs. Pevensie, occurred, but Aslan had them all brought to Narnia.
He ordered Peter Pevensie to “Shut the Door”, on Narnia forever, and admitted them all to his Country.
Notably, Aslan chose not to bring Susan Pevensie to his Country (though she did not actually die in the train crash). She did not believe in Aslan or Narnia at the time, though it is considered likely that she would later remember the truth, and would one day enter Aslan's Country. Notably, Aslan himself had instructed the elder Pevensie children to look to their own lives and not try to enter Narnia again after the Exile of the Telmarines. It would seem quite out of character for Aslan to simply abandon Susan to the loss of her entire family for having done exactly what he had ordered her to do, though Aslan could have had other plans for Susan in the future.
In Other Worlds
- "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason you were brought into Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you might know me better there."
- ―Aslan as he's about to send Edmund, Lucy and Eustace home (Chapter 16)[src]
As seen in The Magician's Nephew, there are other worlds besides Narnia. There are a vast number of worlds with their own lands, inhabitants and laws, all of which are accessible from the Wood between the Worlds.
It is indicated that Aslan exists in all worlds as some sort of divine figure of good. His avatars are different in each world, as are his specific attributes and abilities. It is clear that on Earth, Aslan is Jesus Christ. C.S. Lewis writes in The Last Battle that in Aslan’s Country, Aslan no longer looks like a lion. It is unknown what shape he takes in his own country and it is also unknown what form (or forms) he takes in the various other worlds.
Portrayals in Adaptations
In the 1967 ITV serial program of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Aslan was played by Bernard Kay.
In the 1979 animated feature, Aslan was voiced by Stephen Thorne.
In the 1988 BBC television adaptation, he was voiced by Ronald Pickup.
In the 2005 film of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the 2008 film Prince Caspian, and the 2010 film The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, he was voiced by Liam Neeson.
In the Focus on the Family Radio Plays, he was voiced by David Suchet.
- Lewis originally did not intend for Aslan to appear in any of the books, until the form of a lion appeared to him in a dream one night.
- Lewis attempts to convey something of the ineffable mystery of the divine by frequently reminding his readers that "Aslan is not a tame lion."
- The words "aslan" and "arslan" are Turkish for "lion".
- Aslan is the only character to appear in all seven books of the Chronicles of Narnia.
- Aslan represents Jesus Christ, according to the author, C. S. Lewis, who uses the allegory in the books that Aslan is the Lion and the Lamb, which also says in the Bible about God.
- Aslan is said to have nine names, but not all of them are given in the series.
- His might went hand in hand with his kindness because he was in essence the Father of Narnia.
- In Aslan's Country, in The Last Battle, Lucy finds Aslan no longer looks like a lion, but we are not told what he looks like. There have been suggestions that he takes the form of a human - Jesus - since in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Lucy and Edmund are told by Aslan that they must learn to recognize him in their world.
- Lucy is the one closest to Aslan and who sees him most often.
- Aslan is said to have been inspired by the lion-shaped door handle on the Rectory at St. Mark's Church, Dundela, Belfast, Northern Ireland, where C. S. Lewis' grandfather, Thomas Hamilton, was vicar.
- David Suchet was cast as the voice of Aslan in Rupert Goold’s upcoming stage production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Suchet voiced Aslan in Focus on the Family’s Narnia radio dramas (1999-2002).
- In the 2005 Disney movie, when Aslan addressed the White Witch, he appeared to be more emotional/angry than he was in the book. In fact, his role and Jadis' seemed to have been reversed. In the book; Jadis was the angry one, while he seemed almost constantly calm, but in the film he seemed angry at her words while she was coldly calm: -
- "Have you forgotten the Deep Magic?"
"Let us say I have forgotten it. Tell us of this Deep Magic."
"Tell you?" said the Witch, her voice growing suddenly shriller. "Tell you what is written on the very Table of Stone which stands beside us?"
- ―Jadis and Aslan speaking in the book (Chapter 13).[src]
- "Have you forgotten the laws upon which Narnia was built?"
"Do not cite the Deep Magic to me, Witch! I was there when it was written."
"Then you'll remember well that every traitor belongs to me. His blood is my property."
- ―Jadis and Aslan speaking in the film.[src]