- "What is it? Is the king dead? Has an enemy landed in Narnia? Is it a flood? Or dragons?"
- ―Puddleglum [src]
He had a rather solemn demeanor, and was, as Jill Pole put it, a "wet blanket." He would constantly be expecting the worst to happen, but always encouraged everyone to "put a bold face on it."
He was distrustful of strangers, although his misgivings were not often wrongly placed.
Puddleglum was a tall, gangly and weedy-looking fellow with greenish-gray tinted skin, a long thin face with rather sunken cheeks, a tightly shut mouth, a sharp nose and big ears.
His hair resembled long, flat reeds. He wore a wide-brimmed pointed hat.
Though humanoid, the length of his arms and legs in proportion to his short and narrow body belie any possibility of him being human, as they were both rather long. (His body is only the size of a dwarf's, but he stands rather taller than a human man.) He is always barefoot because his feet are partly frog-like and do not need shoes.
Puddleglum (and, by extension, all Marsh-wiggles) is described as being frog-like creatures with human characteristics.
His origins are unknown, though it is likely he grew up in Marshes south of the river Shribble. It's possible he may have lived through the War of Deliverance in 2303.
Quest for Prince Rilian
In 2356 NY, Puddleglum was visited by two owls, who left behind two human children called Eustace and Jill with him. He was asked to join the two on their quest to find the lost prince of Narnia, Rilian. Puddleglum agreed, and took the two children in, thereafter setting out as their helper and guide. They then traveled north, in search of the Ruined City of the Giants.
Puddleglum denounced her pessimisitically, and was reluctant to believe her, but at last went along with the children. Upon his arrival at Harfang, Puddleglum became very drunk, and had to be taken away by a giant.
He was later reunited with the children the next day, when they discovered that they had passed by the city Aslan had instructed them to find. Not only that, but they were trapped inside Harfang by the giants.
Devising a plan to try and escape, Puddleglum and the children played along with the giants, acting as friends. During the day, Puddleglum overheard two giants telling of how the venison they were eating had come from a talking stag. Horrified, he declared he would rather have killed himself than have done such a thing, comparing it to a human learning that they had been eating a baby.
Later, the three stumbled upon a giant's cookbook, where they found recipes for cooking both men and Marsh-wiggles, and realised too late that the giants intended to fatten and eat them.
Puddleglum led the children away from Harfang, and kept them calm as they attempted to escape. Once they were missed, however, he bade them run. Inside the Ruined City of the Ancient Giants, he found a hole and led the children underground, until a rockslide sent them down into the core of the earth. They were found there by a troop of gnomes, who arrested them and took them to the Queen of Underland.
At Underland's capital city, Puddleglum, Jill and Eustace met with the prince of Underland, in the queen's absence. They shared dinner and conversation, during which the three visitors deduced that the prince himself was a queer and malicious youth in love with the Queen, the very same lady who had directed them to Harfang.
In time, however, he shared with them that he was under a spell, and would soon turn into a serpent unless tied to a magical chair. He begged them to stay with him through his madness, to which they kindly agreed.
Once he had been bound to the chair, he had begun to lose his mind, and the Prince seemed to become a different person. He begged Puddleglum and the children to let him loose, telling them that it was this hour alone that he was sane, and that if he could only get out of that enchanted chair, it would last; he would be a man again.
During these pleadings, however, he apparently did not recognize Puddleglum as a Marsh-wiggle, or remember that he was the Prince of Narnia. He did, however, remember Aslan, for he besought the three in the name of Aslan to release him.
This gesture convinced Puddleglum and the children that he was telling the truth, and Puddleglum and Eustace freed him. Released from the enchantment, he destroyed the Chair, recognized Puddleglum as a Marsh-wiggle, and introduced himself as Prince Rilian, the very man for whom they had been searching.
Unfortunately, before the four could make further plans, the Queen of Underworld had arrived and discovered them there. She attempted for some time to re-cast the spell and enchant them all. Though they fought, they slowly, one by one, began to fall prey to her sorcery.
When the spell was nearly complete, however, Puddleglum, in a fierce and brave gesture, roused himself and stomped out her magic fire, burning himself rather badly and ending the spell, proclaiming that, if the Queen was telling the truth and her dark kingdom was the only world, he would rather live in the 'imaginary' world of Narnia and Aslan than her black pit of a kingdom. In fury, the Queen turned herself into a serpent and attacked Rilian, but was quickly killed by the swords of Puddleglum, Eustace and Rilian.
After treating Puddleglum's wound, the four agreed to escape at once. Puddleglum captured one of the former Queen's gnomes, and from him learned that the gnomes, too, had been under a spell. Now that the Queen was dead, they were all free, with the intent of going back to their own country.
Puddleglum and his companions rode through the tunnels of Underland to reach at last the only path leading to the above-ground lands. There they found themselves in none other than Narnia, where they were welcomed, and Puddleglum was treated for his wounds.
Later Life and Post-mortem
His later life is unknown, although it is likely he remained friends with the new King Rilian.
Puddleglum is described as an eternal, cheerful pessimist. His frontmost trait is his habit for expecting disaster in nearly every situation, and indeed assuming the worst in everyone. Humans may find this depressing and irritating, yet Puddleglum's fellow Marsh-wiggles consider him to be 'flighty'.
When disaster does strike, Puddleglum proves that he is not just a 'wet blanket', as Eustace calls him. He displays loyalty to Aslan, and to the signs even after his companions all but abandon their quest. He also shows remarkable courage and resilience in the face of the Lady of the Green Kirtle, and the Fall of Underland.
Puddleglum's most prominent trait is his unshakeable faith in Aslan. He is the most adamant in fulfilling all of Aslan's signs, as he argued with both Eustaca and Jill regarding on staying with the "Gentle Giants" of Harfang. When Eustace and Jill become dismayed upon hearing the enchanted Prince Rilian's explanation regarding the inscriptions of the giants' ancient ruined city, Puddleglum professes his firm faith in Aslan's guidance. When the four of them are under the enchantment of the Lady of the Green Kirtle, Puddleglum is the one who resists the hardest and, thanks to his faith and courage, he successfully freed them all from the witch's dark magic.
Puddleglum's weakness, it would seem, is strong drink, even bordering on alcoholism.
Puddleglum's house and home is very similar to old style, hand-made haystacks, which you can still occasionally see (in season) in Wolvercote Village Oxon.
- Lewis said that his gardener Fred Paxford was inspiration for the loyal and pessimistic Puddleglum (Douglas Gresham recalls, "If you said good morning to him, he might reply, 'Ah! Looks like rain afore lunch, though; if'n it don't snow or hail, tha's.'")
- He was played by Tom Baker in the BBC version of the Silver Chair.